5 Reasons Radio Advertising Works


There are many reasons to love radio as a marketer. At a glance, radio reaches more than 235 million Americans every week in an uncluttered environment—meaning your message isn’t surrounded by others, and you can speak with the intimacy of the human voice to tell emotional, memorable stories.

Still need convincing? We’ve compiled the facts to showcase some big reasons to consider radio advertising.

5 Reasons Why Radio Works


1. Radio Reaches 9 out of 10 Americans

Why It Matters

Reach is critical to successful marketing. Radio enables you to reach over 92 percent of Americans age 12 and up each week, essentially covering every segment of a potential target audience. Radio is a truly mobile medium, as listeners tune in everywhere—in the car, while exercising, at work, anywhere you can think of—providing many opportunities to make an impact.

How To Make It Work For Your Business

As Adweek put it, “Reach is the new black.” Leverage the power of radio’s reach among consumers in Chicago and beyond. By identifying your target audience and comparing it to listener demographics for a particular radio station, you can determine which formats are the best fit for obtaining optimal reach for your ads.

2. Daytime is Prime Time (but Not the Only Time)

Why It Matters

Morning and evening drive time are the two most desirable time slots for radio advertising because listener engagement is high as people prepare for their day, commute to and from work, and wind down. In general, popular talk shows air between 7am and 7pm, and many listeners tune in to their favorite music stations during work hours. Daytime is when you will reach many consumers on the go, making it a particularly effective daypart to drive customers to your store. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t advertise outside of this timeframe.

How To Make It Work For Your Business

Radio spots outside of the daytime prime time still have value and can be much less expensive, while adding to your frequency (meaning your ad will be heard more than once). Also note that every station is different. Some formats will have different drive times and peak listening hours, so it’s important to keep that in mind when making comparisons.

3. As Much as 16+ Hours of Tune-In Time Each Week

Why It Matters

On average, Americans aged 12 and over listen to 13+ hours of radio each week. Men 35-64 represent the most active listeners, tuning in for almost 17 hours weekly, while women in the same age bracket listen for 14 hours a week. Studies show that consumers need to be exposed to an advertising message at least three times before it begins to stick, so all of that listening lends itself to the type of frequency advertisers need to make an impact.

How To Make It Work For Your Business

Newspaper, TV, and even digital are effective “reach media,” but radio combines reach and frequency in a unique and powerful way. Implement radio into an integrated strategy to add that necessary frequency and make your message resonate. And even though some psychology tells us three times is enough for a message to stick, that doesn’t mean you can only run your radio spot three times! Your media partner should help you find a frequency and schedule that’s appropriate for your particular marketing needs. (Pro Tip: In advertising it usually takes someone hearing/seeing your ad more than three times for them to take action.)

4. Radio Ad Spend Continues to Climb

Why It Matters

If radio advertising wasn’t effective, businesses would not be spending a significant portion of their marketing budget on radio spots. Radio has maintained its popularity over the years among both national and local advertisers. In fact, radio revenue is expected to hit $14.9 billion this year, and by 2021, it will top $16 billion.

How To Make It Work For Your Business

There are two ways to approach this particular fact about radio. Perhaps your competition is already on the air, and investing in radio is a smart decision to help you stay competitive. Or, if your competitors are not on the air, you have an opportunity to step in and own this space.

5. Proven ROI

Why It Matters

A study by Nielsen examined radio’s return on ad spend in four retail categories—department stores, home improvement stores, mass merchandisers, and quick-service restaurants—and showed that, depending on the category, every dollar spent in radio advertising could generate up to $17 of revenue from listeners exposed to ads. Not only does radio provide proven ROI, but local businesses tend to see a more immediate return than with other types of advertising. Radio can deliver a powerful sales lift within a few days of the ad being heard, meaning it’s not just effective when consumers are in their cars, already shopping or close to a point of sale.

How To Make It Work For Your Business

The goal of your marketing is likely to generate more and new revenue. Don’t underestimate the power of radio’s impact on potential customers—and the value of professional help when it comes to crafting the right message, choosing strategic dayparts, and monitoring the success of your radio spots.

For local businesses, advertising on Chicago radio works. We hope these five facts have made a compelling case for why radio should play a significant role in your media mix. Investing in radio advertising is an affordable option to increase sales, attract more people to your business, and amplify your brand message.

Want to learn more about Chicago advertisers taking advantage of the power of radio? Check out videos featuring Chicago businesses.

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