Radio Audiences Recover as COVID Concerns Drop

Written By

Liz Iversen

Published On

Thursday, Oct 14
Closeup of a hand turning the volume dial on a car radio.
In a company video, Cumulus Media/Westwood One’s Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard presented new data on consumer driving, COVID sentiment, and radio audience recovery. Here are some key findings:

Concern over COVID is subsiding

“One of the most interesting ways to track consumer interest in any topic,” according to Bouvard, “is Google search trends. This free tool lets you put in a search term like COVID, and you can track search volumes over time.”

According to Google Trends, COVID search volumes have fallen sharply through September and into October 2021. And as Bouvard wrote on Westwood One’s “Everyone’s Listening” blog, “As of early October 2021, COVID Google searches are down -56% from the peak of consumer interest.”

Americans are driving

Consumer movement data from the Federal Reserve, Geopath, and Apple Maps reveals the following:

  • 66% of Americans are commuting every day and 18% are commuting some days.
  • American miles traveled has recovered to 2019 levels.
  • Driving search traffic has recovered from Covid lows and surpassed pre-Covid levels.

According to Bouvard, “All of this explains why radio listening continues to recover. Americans are on the road and they’re driving, and that has powered the recovery of U.S. radio listening.”

Radio listening has recovered 

According to Nielsen data from March 2020 through September 2021, radio listening has recovered 94% of the pre-COVID norms. September 2021 Portable People Meter (PPM) listening levels are actually 4% higher than those of September 2020.

 

Data shows that COVID concerns have declined, consumers are back in their cars, and they’re listening to radio. Are you ready to hear your commercial on AM/FM, satellite, or streaming radio? Contact SMI today.

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In a company video, Cumulus Media/Westwood One’s Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard presented new data on consumer driving, COVID sentiment, and radio audience recovery. Here are some key findings:

Concern over COVID is subsiding

“One of the most interesting ways to track consumer interest in any topic,” according to Bouvard, “is Google search trends. This free tool lets you put in a search term like COVID, and you can track search volumes over time.”

According to Google Trends, COVID search volumes have fallen sharply through September and into October 2021. And as Bouvard wrote on Westwood One’s “Everyone’s Listening” blog, “As of early October 2021, COVID Google searches are down -56% from the peak of consumer interest.”

Americans are driving

Consumer movement data from the Federal Reserve, Geopath, and Apple Maps reveals the following:

  • 66% of Americans are commuting every day and 18% are commuting some days.
  • American miles traveled has recovered to 2019 levels.
  • Driving search traffic has recovered from Covid lows and surpassed pre-Covid levels.

According to Bouvard, “All of this explains why radio listening continues to recover. Americans are on the road and they’re driving, and that has powered the recovery of U.S. radio listening.”

Radio listening has recovered 

According to Nielsen data from March 2020 through September 2021, radio listening has recovered 94% of the pre-COVID norms. September 2021 Portable People Meter (PPM) listening levels are actually 4% higher than those of September 2020.

 

Data shows that COVID concerns have declined, consumers are back in their cars, and they’re listening to radio. Are you ready to hear your commercial on AM/FM, satellite, or streaming radio? Contact SMI today.

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When it comes to audience targeting, nimbleness, and reach–the evidence is clear: audio advertising is a wise investment.  

That being said, marketing managers are more often forced to justify ad spend with ever increasing returns on investment. Budget and talent constraints–no matter how remarkable your product or service is–often put your brand at a disadvantage when it comes to breaking through the noise and seeing any meaningful ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) so relying on great creative alone is not enough. A multifaceted approach is paramount.

In order to launch, scale, and optimize a campaign for success, strategizing where and when your ad is heard is critical.

A group of gears stacked on each other

We Have the Expert Infrastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation.

influencers streaming a podcast at college radio station

We Have the Expert Infrastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation.

A group of gears stacked on each other

We have the Expert Infastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation. 

 

 

influencers streaming a podcast at college radio station

Collaboration Yields Results

Senior Media Buyer, Pam Wolfgram underscores the importance of our industry relationships:  

“Our media partners are exactly that: partners. They have a vested interest in helping us help our clients; it means more business! Even if they have to take it on the chin here and there for a client’s success–and they do–they know they’ll make it up in the long game, as we will send them every schedule that makes sense down the road. They want to work hard for us and for our clients.

As an example, we recently orchestrated a massive creative change affecting over 600 stations and it had to go off without a hitch, as “hitches” are mistakes that lead not only to credits being taken, but also to skewed results that make a test difficult to read. I reached out to every rep impacted by the change to express the importance of the test and walked away feeling completely at ease knowing that they were going to get with their traffic people and watch over the test like hawks. A little extra communication goes a long way!” 

All of SMI’s media buyers, researchers, and strategists have something in common: they know firsthand the value of respectful dialogue and perseverance. 

The motto of our Media team? 

There's always a workable solution to get meaningful return on ad spend. 

If you’re ready to invest more wisely in your audio advertising, start a conversation with us today! 

This is part one of SMI’s three-part series called Give Your Brand a Voice. Stay tuned for our next article focused on Creative! 

    facebook
    twitter
    linkedin
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[/et_pb_column]

When it comes to audience targeting, nimbleness, and reach–the evidence is clear: audio advertising is a wise investment.  

That being said, marketing managers are more often forced to justify ad spend with ever increasing returns on investment. Budget and talent constraints–no matter how remarkable your product or service is–often put your brand at a disadvantage when it comes to breaking through the noise and seeing any meaningful ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) so relying on great creative alone is not enough. A multifaceted approach is paramount.

In order to launch, scale, and optimize a campaign for success, strategizing where and when your ad is heard is critical.

A group of gears stacked on each other

We Have the Expert Infrastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation.

influencers streaming a podcast at college radio station

We Have the Expert Infrastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation.

A group of gears stacked on each other

We have the Expert Infastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation. 

 

 

influencers streaming a podcast at college radio station

Collaboration Yields Results

Senior Media Buyer, Pam Wolfgram underscores the importance of our industry relationships:  

“Our media partners are exactly that: partners. They have a vested interest in helping us help our clients; it means more business! Even if they have to take it on the chin here and there for a client’s success–and they do–they know they’ll make it up in the long game, as we will send them every schedule that makes sense down the road. They want to work hard for us and for our clients.

As an example, we recently orchestrated a massive creative change affecting over 600 stations and it had to go off without a hitch, as “hitches” are mistakes that lead not only to credits being taken, but also to skewed results that make a test difficult to read. I reached out to every rep impacted by the change to express the importance of the test and walked away feeling completely at ease knowing that they were going to get with their traffic people and watch over the test like hawks. A little extra communication goes a long way!” 

All of SMI’s media buyers, researchers, and strategists have something in common: they know firsthand the value of respectful dialogue and perseverance. 

The motto of our Media team? 

There’s always a workable solution to get meaningful return on ad spend. 

If you’re ready to invest more wisely in your audio advertising, start a conversation with us today! 

This is part one of SMI’s three-part series called Give Your Brand a Voice. Stay tuned for our next article focused on Creative! 

    facebook
    twitter
    linkedin
[/et_pb_section]
[/et_pb_column]

When it comes to audience targeting, nimbleness, and reach–the evidence is clear: audio advertising is a wise investment.  

That being said, marketing managers are more often forced to justify ad spend with ever increasing returns on investment. Budget and talent constraints–no matter how remarkable your product or service is–often put your brand at a disadvantage when it comes to breaking through the noise and seeing any meaningful ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) so relying on great creative alone is not enough. A multifaceted approach is paramount.

facebook
twitter
linkedin
[/et_pb_social_media_follow][/et_pb_column]
In order to launch, scale, and optimize a campaign for success, strategizing where and when your ad is heard is critical.

A group of gears stacked on each other

We Have the Expert Infrastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation.

influencers streaming a podcast at college radio station

We Have the Expert Infrastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation.

A group of gears stacked on each other

We have the Expert Infastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation. 

 

 

influencers streaming a podcast at college radio station

Collaboration Yields Results

Senior Media Buyer, Pam Wolfgram underscores the importance of our industry relationships:  

“Our media partners are exactly that: partners. They have a vested interest in helping us help our clients; it means more business! Even if they have to take it on the chin here and there for a client’s success–and they do–they know they’ll make it up in the long game, as we will send them every schedule that makes sense down the road. They want to work hard for us and for our clients.

As an example, we recently orchestrated a massive creative change affecting over 600 stations and it had to go off without a hitch, as “hitches” are mistakes that lead not only to credits being taken, but also to skewed results that make a test difficult to read. I reached out to every rep impacted by the change to express the importance of the test and walked away feeling completely at ease knowing that they were going to get with their traffic people and watch over the test like hawks. A little extra communication goes a long way!” 

All of SMI’s media buyers, researchers, and strategists have something in common: they know firsthand the value of respectful dialogue and perseverance. 

The motto of our Media team? 

There’s always a workable solution to get meaningful return on ad spend. 

If you’re ready to invest more wisely in your audio advertising, start a conversation with us today! 

This is part one of SMI’s three-part series called Give Your Brand a Voice. Stay tuned for our next article focused on Creative! 

[/et_pb_column]

When it comes to audience targeting, nimbleness, and reach–the evidence is clear: audio advertising is a wise investment.  

That being said, marketing managers are more often forced to justify ad spend with ever increasing returns on investment. Budget and talent constraints–no matter how remarkable your product or service is–often put your brand at a disadvantage when it comes to breaking through the noise and seeing any meaningful ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) so relying on great creative alone is not enough. A multifaceted approach is paramount.

[/et_pb_column]
twitter
linkedin
In order to launch, scale, and optimize a campaign for success, strategizing where and when your ad is heard is critical.

A group of gears stacked on each other

We Have the Expert Infrastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation.

influencers streaming a podcast at college radio station

We Have the Expert Infrastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation.

A group of gears stacked on each other

We have the Expert Infastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation. 

 

 

influencers streaming a podcast at college radio station

Collaboration Yields Results

Senior Media Buyer, Pam Wolfgram underscores the importance of our industry relationships:  

“Our media partners are exactly that: partners. They have a vested interest in helping us help our clients; it means more business! Even if they have to take it on the chin here and there for a client’s success–and they do–they know they’ll make it up in the long game, as we will send them every schedule that makes sense down the road. They want to work hard for us and for our clients.

As an example, we recently orchestrated a massive creative change affecting over 600 stations and it had to go off without a hitch, as “hitches” are mistakes that lead not only to credits being taken, but also to skewed results that make a test difficult to read. I reached out to every rep impacted by the change to express the importance of the test and walked away feeling completely at ease knowing that they were going to get with their traffic people and watch over the test like hawks. A little extra communication goes a long way!” 

All of SMI’s media buyers, researchers, and strategists have something in common: they know firsthand the value of respectful dialogue and perseverance. 

The motto of our Media team? 

There’s always a workable solution to get meaningful return on ad spend. 

If you’re ready to invest more wisely in your audio advertising, start a conversation with us today! 

This is part one of SMI’s three-part series called Give Your Brand a Voice. Stay tuned for our next article focused on Creative!