Radio vs. Streaming Services—What Advertisers Should Know

Radio vs. Streaming Services—What Advertisers Should Know

Spotify, Pandora and other music streaming services have quickly risen in popularity — but, despite the hype, they have not eclipsed the power of AM/FM radio. The AM/FM radio landscape remains strong, with reach of 227 Million or 90% of adults.  This is particularly favorable for advertisers, as loyal listeners continue to tune in to their favorite shows each day.

As you work on determining where to focus your advertising efforts, you can benefit from learning why radio is a much more viable marketing channel than streaming platforms. Use this guide to explore the benefits of advertising through traditional radio.


Although growing in popularity, streaming services do not even get close to radio when it comes to reach. In fact, the Q3 2018 Edison Research Share of Ear Report reveals the audience share of AM/FM radio is 11 times bigger than Pandora and 24 times larger than Spotify, both leaders in the music streaming industry. Since these services only serve certain demographics, it can be much harder to send advertisements to your target audience through these platforms.

With 93 percent of adults listening to their favorite radio programs each week, you can easily reach your audience through their preferred channels. To further maximize radio’s reach and effectiveness, most stations offer a combination of traditional and digital marketing services to consider as you dial in your targeting.

Local Advantage

Streaming services boast national access, which is great for listeners, but not so beneficial for advertisers. To precisely deliver your marketing campaigns to the right listeners, radio offers a much more effective way to deliver your message to local audiences.

Also, radio is always there in dire times of need, including natural disasters and political crises, securing its place as a leading communication platform for the community. As a result, people turn toward radio for local insights and trust the information, including advertisements, coming through that channel. This gives you the ability to engage with your target audience by delivering your ads through their trusted local platforms.

Convenience for Listeners

In using streaming services, loading times, login screens and the like often stand in the way of listeners quickly reaching their music. Radio, on the other hand, instantly starts up with the push of a button or flick of the dial, making it much more convenient and accessible. According to Marketing Charts, over 70 percent of listeners choose radio over streaming services for this very reason, especially while in the car.

The sheer convenience keeps listeners tuning into their favorite radio programs each day over streaming services. By delivering your ads through radio channels, you can regularly reach and engage with your target audience to increase the success of your marketing campaigns.

Emotional Connection

Unlike streaming services, radio positions on-air personalities at the forefront of their content to create an emotional connection with their listeners. As these listeners tune into their favorite programs, they develop a deep emotional connection with these influencers and the station as a whole. They often view them as trusted friends who they can rely on to deliver news, weather, sports, traffic and much more.

Through this connection, listeners build trust that you can leverage to advertise your products and services to your target audience. Radio offers ample opportunities to partner with these on-air personalities, helping you build brand recognition and loyalty with each marketing campaign.

Captive Audience

As desktop and mobile applications, music streaming services compete for listeners’ attention, as they have many other entertainment options at their fingertips. As a result, only 54 percent of these listeners pay attention to the ads, leaving almost half of listeners diverting their attention during commercial breaks, revealed by a recent study highlighted by the All Access Music Group.

In comparison, AM/FM radio ads draw the attention of 84 percent of listeners by relying on news and influencers to keep engagement levels maximized. So, unless you want your ads to miss the mark at least 46 percent of the time, radio is the best partner in marketing your company.

Despite how fast streaming services have grown in popularity, radio remains the top choice in effectively advertising to your target audience. Through radio, you can take advantage of its extensive reach, engagement, loyalty and more with each of your marketing campaigns. To get started, learn more about Hubbard Chicago to tap into our AM/FM radio advertising opportunities.

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