Radio Advertising Trends

Written By

SMI Staff

Published On

Thursday, Mar 13

One of the most valuable skills a radio advertising professional can have is the ability to also be a listener. Meaning, having the ability to hear, analyze, and decipher all kinds of different radio ads, in order to develop an accurate understanding of radio advertising trends. This includes not only radio ad production but also radio ad copywriting.

What’s even more valuable is the ability to not only note radio advertising trends, but to gain a clear understanding of the trends that are working, and the trends that likely won’t be around much longer.

Although 2011 has just started, there are a few popular radio advertising trends that are standing out so far this year.

Friendly Announcers

Not to imply that traditional radio advertising announcers sound mean, but many of the latest direct response radio commercials feature announcers that have a distinct down to earth, friendly tone to their voiceover. This radio advertising trend includes a wave of “friendly” sounding announcers that is accompanied with copy that is of a casual, conversational tone. Perhaps this change in tone is in effort to reach out to consumers on a more personal level.


Testimonials have been a mainstay in direct response radio advertising trends for many years. So far this year has been no exception. An important aspect we’ve noted about testimonial ads is that effective ones sound authentic, and drive home benefits of the product. Radio ad testimonials that sound canned or fake will automatically peak suspicion in an already skeptical audience, making radio commercial production key for these ads. And testimonials that don’t express a benefit or a reason to believe have no place in a time pressed radio ad of 30 or 60 seconds. If there isn’t a compelling purpose for the testimonial to be incorporated, it is best to delegate that ad space to stronger copy.

Stories and Events

One mainstay in radio advertising is that of framing the ad in terms of a new or noteworthy story. An example is the “free giveaway” sales approach. That is – framing the offer as a give away. Does this approach work? Only time and testing will tell. Not every radio advertising trend develops into a guaranteed formula for success. In order for the free give away approach to be successful, the appeal must resonate with the target audience in a manner that makes them want to act NOW. If free give away celebrations fail to make the phone ring, it will certainly not be a long lasting radio advertising trend.

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