“If They Don’t Say It, They Didn’t Hear It” (Radio Advertising Misconception #1)

Common Misconceptions About Radio: If They Don’t Say It, They Didn’t Hear ItWe don’t need to tell you that tracking ROI is important to your advertising success. But when it comes to analyzing your radio results, what data are you turning to? If you’re like some business owners and marketers, you might still be asking customers, “Where did you hear about us?”

It can be helpful to talk with your customers and conduct surveys that directly ask them to identify the source that brought them to your business. However, this is an unreliable and incomplete way to attempt to track the touchpoints your customers are exposed to prior to purchase—especially when it comes to radio.

This post explores one of the most common misconceptions related to radio advertising—“If they didn’t say they heard it, they didn’t hear it.”—along with tips to better track your radio results.

3 Things Radio Builds (Even if Customers Say They Didn’t Hear Your Ad)

Your customers may not be consciously aware that radio had an impact on their ultimate decision to choose your brand. They may only remember the very last thing that influenced them to walk in the door, not the other touchpoints along the way.

However, radio is an important marketing tool with proven impact. Here are three things radio builds, which help to guide potential customers through the marketing funnel toward conversion.

1. Trust

Studies have shown that consumers see radio ads as more honest and believable, and radio endorsements can build trust, drive business, and increase website traffic. An IAB study revealed that brand perception was markedly higher for media mixes that included radio (68% for digital, radio, and TV, versus 7% for TV only and 11% for digital and TV). Across internet users in the U.S., radio remains one of the most credible ad vehicles they trust when making a purchase decision.

2. Recall

With mass reach and the ability to add frequency for optimal impact, radio can boost brand recall. In one RAB study, adding radio to a newspaper buy lifted ad and brand recall, while another study showed that replacing just one TV ad with two radio ads lifted unaided brand recall by 34%.

3. Influence

Radio doesn’t just drive awareness and recall—it also drives customer action. For example, one study from the RAB revealed that radio advertising was the cause of a 29% lift in Google searches.

Now that we’ve covered how you can’t rely on your customers’ memory to assign advertising attribution, what can you rely on?

3 Ways to KNOW Radio is Working for Your Chicago Business

Here are three simple tips to help you gather more dependable data on your radio advertising results.

1. Track Redemptions with Promo Codes

Mention a special code in your radio spots that listeners can use in store or online, either for a discount or as part of a contest or other promotion. Only listeners exposed to your radio ads will know the code, so you’ll get a clear sense for its role in driving sales. While it’s easier to track promo code use with online purchases, a simple tracking system (coupled with staff training) can be implemented in store.

2. Direct People to Your Website

Mention a specific URL in your radio ad—like your homepage or a special landing page—and you can observe changes in traffic as it correlates to your radio campaign. Using trackable URLs (like a custom bit.ly, as an example) can give you even more detailed metrics. An added benefit of setting up a landing page for your radio campaign is that you can continue to encourage conversion by including a form to capture lead intelligence.

3. Watch for Lifts in Leads and Sales

Web traffic isn’t the only change your business may experience during your radio ad campaign, and radio can pay dividends well after your final spot airs. Keep a close eye on new leads and sales throughout your campaign, including the weeks after. Even if customers don’t cite your radio ad specifically, increases in these areas that correlate to your radio campaign suggest your advertising is working.

If you’ve invested in radio (or are considering adding it to the mix in 2018), you want to know it works, right? Truly understanding its impact will require you to go beyond asking customers how they found you.

Don’t fall for the radio advertising misconception that your customers will know (and tell you!) that radio played a part—or worse, cut your radio budget because you think it’s not working. Trust the research and data, and set yourself up radio advertising success by building tracking mechanisms into your campaign.

Share This

Posted in


Stay on top of industry news and trends.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Recent Posts



There's so much more to talk about.

They say word of mouth is the best advertising. Well, we’ve got a big mouth. But in a good way. A way that drives interest and demand in your business. Check it out!