Radio Makes The Deepest Link to Emotion, Study Finds

Radio Makes The Deepest Link to Emotion, Study Finds

Direct Response advertising means exactly that; the creation and execution of sharply focused ads that elicit an immediate action. A successful branding campaign comes down to the deep emotional connection consumers have with the product.

While the effectiveness of emotion in advertising is a well-researched topic, a recent report released by Mediaprobe demonstrated the massive role emotion plays in the success of radio.

In a study measuring the second-by-second electrodermal activity (EDA) of 227 adults with pre-recorded AM/FM segments, Mediaprobe found audio-based emotional advertising saw a 13% spike in audience engagement when compared to TV.

The number of ads your average American sees on a daily basis is a bit up in the air, but generally sits around the 5,000 range. That’s a lot of content. Cutting through the noise with content that connects usually comes down to a pretty simple notion: solving a problem. By acknowledging pain points, offering solutions, and eliciting emotion—you can tap into both the conscious and subconscious needs and desires of an audience. This is the alchemy of conversion.

So, what does emotion look like from a creative standpoint? How does SMI turn a talking point from a white paper brief into an ad that successfully hits that part in the brain that warrants action?

It’s an all-hands-on-deck attitude from the very beginning: our media team finds your audience on the right formats, our analytics team optimizes all the moving pieces in real time, and our creative team sharpens your message to the heart of what your audience needs.

Mediaprobe’s study solidified, not only, the success of emotion in driving decision-making, but radio’s continued role in making those messages come alive through the medium of storytelling.

Contact SMI to connect with your audience.

Why True Crime Podcasts Are Great for Advertisers

Why True Crime Podcasts Are Great for Advertisers

In a study of over 450 of the top podcasts, Pew Research found that True Crime tops the list when it comes to the biggest shows. Of the top podcasts examined, 24% were True Crime.


Why do people love True Crime podcasts? “Podcasting’s intimate nature makes it an especially effective vehicle for True Crime storytelling,” said Steve Mondor, Podcast Operations at SMI. “A large percentage of women are drawn to true crime stories for the thrill and storytelling aspect, like watching a thriller movie. And True Crime podcasts are evergreen, so you can relisten years later.”


Combining the growth of True Crime podcasts with SMI’s expertise in campaign management has yielded strong KPI performance for our clients. Our large pool of quality shows to choose from enables us to effectively grow and scale campaigns. SMI’s Podcast Team regularly meets with podcast hosts to review brand goals and to ensure hosts are prepared to deliver a compelling ad read. Podcast ads delivered by hosts who speak personally about their experience with a product or service have proven especially effective for our clients

According to Magellan AI, in 2023, True Crime Genre generated over $177M in podcast ad sales, more than 2.7 times greater than in 2020. In 2023 True Crime was the 6th largest Genre in spend behind Sports, News, Comedy, Society & Culture, and Business.

A table outlining estimated ad spend across podcast categories

From 2021 to 2023, True Crime saw a 34% in spend growth. 

True Crime: From 2021-2023 spend increased by $45M (34%)

True Crime is just one of the many genre types that has experienced significant growth over the past few years. Sports, Comedy, and Society & Culture are a few other genres that have collectively experienced tremendous growth and provide excellent options for overall campaign growth. 

Are you ready to reach large, loyal audiences to grow your brand on podcasts? Contact SMI today.

How to Reach B2B Decision-Makers with Audio

How to Reach B2B Decision-Makers with Audio

Research shows that only 5% of businesses are in-market for a product at any given time. So how can B2Bs market to other businesses effectively?

The key, according to Dale W. Harrison of Inforda Life Science Services, is for B2B brands to be “known before they are needed” so that when an “urgent high-value need” emerges, their brand is top of mind. 

A wise B2B strategy would be to grow brand awareness and trust while increasing brand recall, which will lead to an increased propensity to purchase your brand when the business goes in-market for a product or service. 

AM/FM radio has already proven its effectiveness for B2B advertisers such as Staples, Indeed, Dell, Intuit, and ZipRecruiter, and podcasting has become a growing media platform for B2B brands. Magellan, the firm that tracks podcast advertising expenditures, found that Top B2B brands have spent $182 million on podcasts over the past 14 months.

According to Scarborough, AM/FM radio reaches 85% of all business decision makers weekly, well above cable (64%) and broadcast TV (63%). Additionally, AM/FM radio reaches 84-86% of business decision makers working in management positions, or those who purchase information technology, business travel or convention arrangements, overnight delivery services, or office equipment and supplies. 

“For years, we’ve known radio excels at B2B marketing as it offers several unique advantages that make it effective, even now in the age of digital dominance,” said Vanessa Verrillo, Senior Account Manager at SMI. “For starters, each radio format has a specific audience with specific listener demographics. This allows B2B advertisers to be laser-focused in targeting their ideal audience based on factors like age, income, and profession, and to ensure the message reaches the most relevant potential customers like business owners, executives, and managers who listen to radio during commutes, on breaks, or while working.”

Radio is an accessible medium that can reach decision makers when linear TV cannot, whether it is commuting to and from work, in the office or even at the gym,” said Heather Hansen, Media Director at SMI. “As AM/FM radio reaches 85% of business decision makers weekly, radio affords B2B campaigns the ability to efficiently and effectively reach their target audience where they are. The medium provides the frequency needed to build brand awareness, consideration, recall, and purchase intent, keeping the brands services top of mind for not only current business needs but for future business endeavors as well.”

Not only is radio more effective at reaching decision-makers than TV; it is a more cost-effective medium for advertisers.

“Testing radio advertising can be significantly less expensive than some other mediums, which is great for all businesses watching their bottom line” said Verrillo. “In short, radio is a great way for B2B companies to maximize their marketing budget while still reaching a targeted audience.” 


According to Verrillo, the effectiveness of radio advertising for B2B marketing depends on various factors, including the target audience, frequency in airings, the type of product or service being advertised, as well as the creative execution of the ad campaign. But with careful planning, execution and measurement, radio is a highly effective marketing tool for B2B advertising.  

Are you ready to reach decision-makers the proven, cost-effective medium of radio? Contact SMI today.

Reach Twice the Audience of a Super Bowl Ad with Radio

Reach Twice the Audience of a Super Bowl Ad with Radio

Marketers paid a reported $6.47 million for a network TV spot aired during the Super Bowl, reaching over 100 million viewers for 30 seconds.

What might have been a wiser investment? Radio. 


For the cost of a Superbowl ad, a marketer could reach over twice the audience (214 million radio listeners) for weeks or months—as opposed to just 30 seconds. For one-fifth of the cost of a Super Bowl ad, a marketer could reach half of the 25-54 demo in a monthly network radio campaign, Inside Audio Marketing reported. “At $300,000 per month, an audio campaign can achieve the same number of impressions as one 30-second Superbowl ad,” said SMI’s Senior Media Buyer Josh Knock. 


In addition to a wider audience, audio campaigns provide numerous benefits. Here are some key advantages outlined by SMI’s Media Team:


  • There is no frequency with Super Bowl ad placements. With Audio, campaigns are developed to build and achieve frequency and brand awareness, whether it is through a targeted AM/FM campaign or through a multi-platform (SXM, Streaming, AM/FM) approach.
  • Frequency is important for consumer response. It is believed that an average listener needs to be exposed to a brand seven times prior to taking an action.


  • With audio, if creative messaging does not prove effective, messaging can be changed with ease, making it a low-risk medium for advertisers. With Super Bowl ad placements, this is not doable. There is only one shot of resonating with the audience.
  • Audio advertisers have the ability to pivot should performance be a factor.


More Creativity

  • Due to the relatively low production costs associated with radio, it is easier to test multiple creatives in order to understand how messaging resonates with the listener.


  • For campaigns that are geo-targeted in nature, audio can easily target those geos, allowing for minimal waste in advertising dollars.
  • Audio campaigns can also target specific demographics relevant to the product or service that is being marketed.
    • Super Bowl ad rates are based on total reach, of hitting an extremely large viewership. Audio rates are reflective of rates needed in order to reach a target audience for the product or service, whether that audience is women 25-54, adults over 25, men 35-64, etc. 


  • Although people watch Superbowl ads, they are likely to be distracted while doing so, as there are a lot of other things going on at the same time. “A large majority of people are not actually engaged in watching TV ads,” said Network Buyer Jared Kulaga. “An example to support this can be seen in the increase in technology that allows viewers to skip ad placements, or to not receive ads at all.”
  • Audio, on the other hand, is consumed in an environment in which there is less distraction—such as in the car or streaming at work—which enables audiences to pay greater attention. 

“There is a fascination with watching Super Bowl ads,” said Senior Media Buyer Pam Wolfgram. “The fascination comes from the entertainment value that the ads present with the use of humor, the eliciting of emotions and the inclusion of celebrities in the ads.” However, for savvy marketers looking to reach wide audiences in order to raise brand awareness and drive sales, ad dollars would be better spent on audio.

At SMI, media plans are built to accommodate client budgets with the objective of achieving campaign goals. We consider targeted demographics, geographic restrictions, and behavioral components such as household income and education to pinpoint the most effective channels for growing your brand.

Are you ready to reach audiences with a cost-effective audio strategy? Contact SMI today.

AM/FM Radio Ads Boost App Downloads

AM/FM Radio Ads Boost App Downloads

In an effort to increase app downloads, Audacy recently launched a multi-media audio campaign across broadcast radio, digital streaming platforms, and podcasts. The campaign was hugely successful, driving 1.4 million app downloads. 

To determine which audio channel drove the most app downloads, Audacy partnered with data analytics firm Redbird. Their study found a clear winner: Broadcast radio. 

Broadcast radio generated the most downloads and achieved the best return on ad spend. “This channel proved to be the most effective and cost-efficient, driving 3.6 downloads for every $100 spent on advertising,” as Radio Ink reported. 


At SMI, we frequently use audio to drive app downloads. “Nearly every client we work with has an app to engage with their customers,” said Brooke Murray, Director of Strategic Growth. “For our clients who leverage their app for customer acquisition efforts, we have been very successful in achieving their KPI targets.” 

We have also found that other audio channels—not just broadcast radio—have successfully driven app downloads. And while a multi-channel audio approach can be helpful, it is not necessary to reach consumers on more than one audio medium for a campaign to achieve its goals.

“We don’t need to hit folks from every angle possible (ie. Radio, Streaming, SXM, Podcast) in order to achieve success,” said Murray. “One of our current clients is an example of that. They include their app in their customer acquisition funnel. We’re only running host-read podcast and their results are beating all of the KPI targets. Their success depended on finding the right target shows, executing the proper creative messaging through host endorsements, and having measurement in place to know how to react and optimize.” 


Do you want to drive app downloads through the proven medium of audio? Contact SMI today.