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The Pros And Cons Of Radio Advertising

Posted by dodgeadmin on January 14, 2017 4:12 pm

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Long gone is The Golden Age of Radio, a time when the whole family gathered around to listen to Little Orphan Annie or Orson Welles. Even though times and media habits have changed a lot, radio is still a valuable resource, one that just might get you a leg up on your competitor with your very own 30 or 60 second story. But is it right for your business? Let’s break down the pros and cons.


Honk If You’re Listening To The Radio.

Driving to work, running errands and carting kids everywhere they need to be leaves most of us captive in the car for long stretches of the day, and our faithful companion the radio is always on. Listening to the radio in the car is a habitual experience. It’s ingrained in our daily lives, and that spells opportunity for business owners. Your audience is on the road, and for some companies, this is the best time to reach them — when people are out and able to shop. A convincing radio ad can inspire a family to change their dinner plans from their old standby to your restaurant, or swing by your shop to check out a sale.

Radio Advertising Is Affordable.

In general, radio is less expensive than TV. The ads are cheap and easy to produce, and depending upon your market size, running radio campaigns on 2 or even 3 stations can be affordable for a small business.   Rotators are scheduling strategies where the station guarantees your ads will run a specified number of times each day in predefined blocks of time, like 5-10am, 11-3pm, and 3-8pm. When the advertiser offers scheduling flexibility to the radio station, they often get a cheaper rate on the ads.

If you want to cherry-pick the radio station’s programming and run during specific shows or time slots, you are going to pay more. Peak drive times on popular stations can be costly. A campaign similar to the one we mentioned above in a major metro area could cost up to $10,000. It all depends on the size of the audience and how often you want to reach them.

Radio Is The King of Ad Frequency.

One of radio advertising strengths is frequency. Radio can deliver a lot of frequency, and frequency gets results. It’s important to air a commercial repeatedly to enter the consciousness of the listener. Remember when the DJ promised to play “Fade to Black,” so you waited through the ads only to find yourself singing about how cotton is the fabric of our lives later that day? That’s how it works! A catchy, memorable ad can work your brand right into the minds of listeners.


Lots of Stations Mean Smaller Audiences.

There is a sea of radio stations out there. Radio has become quite fragmented, and that means each individual station delivers only a small portion of the total listenership. The industry has tried to solve this problem by creating “station groups” where one company owns many stations. You can often buy advertising on 4 or 5 stations through one ad representative, which can be useful as long as they can deliver the particular audience you need.

So Many Distractions…

It’s a well-known fact that people cannot put their cell phones down, and even though they shouldn’t be handling them at the wheel, drivers often do anyway. This not only takes their attention off the road, it takes them away from your message on the radio! The proliferation of satellite radio has also eroded the audience.

And are the kids in the car too? I’m willing to bet they have earbuds in. Pandora, iTunes, Spotify – whatever the source they are listening to, it’s not your message. Despite the prevalence of these distractions, there is little research that measures how these tech devices truly impact the effectiveness of radio campaigns.

It’s Easy To Get Lost In The Noise On The Radio.

Not only are radio ad breaks packed and harried, making it hard for brands to stand out, they are also impermanent. A listener cannot save the ad and come back to it later; they have to remember the message, and with our fast-paced, ad-cluttered existence this gets harder and harder to do. We are all easily distracted these days, which can sometimes turn radio into background noise. Listeners rarely tune in solely to focus on the station’s music or mission. They are always multitasking.

Radio advertising can be a valuable resource for building awareness and driving sales, but it often works best in conjunction with other advertising platforms. The key is to define your customer base as thoroughly as possible, then let a media buyer or station representative build a schedule that helps you to reach them within your budget.

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Topic: Advertising ,radio

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