Most marketing and sales teams tend to overlook radio as a serious selling tool. After all, it was killed by video (which in turn was killed by the internet). But new data suggests that radio is back from the grave.
Traditionally radio has been known as the theatre of the mind. In the time since its inception 120 years to now, radio has fulfilled a number of roles, from news and music, to broadcasting drama and talk shows. It is here that the identity of radio as a mass medium was forged. In the past few decades radio has competed strongly against the interloper of television, in terms of audience numbers and advertising revenue.
The sale of actual radio boxes has steadily declined and yet, against the backdrop of the online revolution, radio as a medium remains as steadfast. Despite the influx of different devices and different channels of consumption, people still listen to the radio, be it on their smartphones, tablets, laptops or even in the car. So really, it is the ways of consumption that have changed.
But what does it mean for radio advertisers? Well, for the first time since 2000, adspend in the industry was up 8.9% in 2014, according to data published by the UK’s Advertising Association. Coupled with forecasts from analyst organisation Strategy Analytics that state digital advertising will account for 50% of all adspend in the UK for the first time and the fact that the largest area of growth is mobile phone advertising, the future is bright.
With that in mind, looking at the advantages of radio advertising, it is easy to see why it is popular and is continuing to grow. For one thing, radio is extremely cost-effective versus other mass media, like television, in terms of both production and placement costs. It is also quite intimate – listeners can be anywhere when they hear something, from home and the office, to shopping or driving. In addition, they often form a connection with the station or its personalities and invariably there is a large degree of brand or show loyalty. The frequency of the adverts is also beneficial as it ensures the message is repeated and reinforced for maximum exposure.
Finally, the main advantage of radio adverting is that it can be extremely targeted. In the past, targeting was based on demographics and geography. Now, however, through the use of new technologies aimed at mobile radio listeners, targeting is down to a fine art.
Broadcasters are using on-premise technology, servers and software integrated with playout systems to some degree, but the expense and effort required is prohibitive. New technology that is “on-device”, however, allows organisations to insert the adverts on the end device as opposed to the broadcaster’s server. It negates the need for expensive and integration, and provides a scalable, reliable and highly targetable solution. As a result, personalised ads can be inserted based on time of day, location, device used and other criteria.
Radio advertising presents a significant opportunity for business. Of course, in order to do it successfully, there are things to consider – not least making use of broadcasters and radio stations that are able to offer technology solutions that enable you to deliver that truly personal, targeted advert.
By Shankar Meembat, CEO, Exaget