Three Advantages of Radio Advertising

Written By

SMI Staff

Published On

Thursday, Mar 13
Money Graph_HD

Original article posted on April 13, 2011. The article’s content was updated on September 13th, 2017 to reflect changes in the industry.

Marketing and brand managers have never had it tougher. Today there are more marketing channels, mediums and opportunities than at any other time in our history. But the age-old question remains: Where do you get the biggest bang for your buck?

You would be surprised to learn that even in our modern age of streaming content, smart TV’s and increased consumer control over media choices – radio (yes, radio!) still dominates in several key metrics. Hard to believe that nearly one hundred years after the first radio ad aired 1922 on WAEF in New York City, radio is still a consumer favorite.

Here is a run-down of three direct response radio advantages.


A few years ago, consumer research giant Nielsen acquired its competitor Arbitron, greatly expanding the scope of their audio marketing analytics to more accurately measure and compare all media platforms. What happened next surprised everyone. Radio they discovered – the old man of media channels – reached more consumers than every other channel out there! The numbers weren’t even close. More than social media, more than smart phones, more than television. America, across all demographics and age groups, still loves its radio.

Years later, that hasn’t changed. In fact, radio’s audience continues to grow, adding new listeners by the millions every year! And now with podcast and more streaming audio in the mix, the universe of listeners continues to expand.


When it comes to impacting consumer behavior, nothing succeeds quite like radio. This has been studied over and over, and the results are always the same. Whether it is getting people to go online and make a purchase, stopping into a restaurant, or boost memorability for a product – nothing works better than radio.

When you think about it, this makes sense. We interact with radio differently from other media. We don’t watch, we listen. Listening, unlike watching, is never passive. It is an activity that involves our attention, our imagination and our engagement. The rapid growth of podcasts, a medium rich in storytelling supports this too.  Psychologists believe this sort of cognitive processing is why radio is so much more effective at influencing behavior. And because radio is often part of our communities and daily habits, it is trusted more than online advertising.


So what’s the most cost effective medium for your ad dollar? You guessed it, radio. More reach, more influence and better retention generally add up to better financial returns on your marketing dollar! To prove that point, Nielsen recently matched credit and debit card purchases to exposure of radio ads, comparing the lift to the same purchase data in markets where the ads didn’t run. In every measured category, they saw dramatic returns on ad spends (ROAS). Another study by Nielsen compared ROAS on radio to all other mediums by studying specific brands. They concluded that these brands averaged a sales lift of more than six dollars for every one dollar spent on radio ads – an ROI double that of even the best results from many recent studies of digital or TV media.

So what does this all mean? Simple. If you’re a marketing or brand manager and you’re not considering radio, you probably should be. Sure, there may very well be younger and sexier choices, but when it comes to a proven track record, nothing beats radio.

Is radio a good fit for your company? Contact us today. We will follow up immediately to answer your questions.

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