How radio advertising can help brands find untapped audiences
By Mohit Gyanchandani
Radio is one of the most proven advertising channels out there, but many marketers today tend to look for newer, more measurable alternatives to audio in their media mix.
In reality, radio is anything but old school. In fact, we are witnessing the rebirth of a golden age of audio: According to a study by AZ Research Partners Private Limited, COVID has resulted in a 23% increase in radio time in India, many consumers turning to their favorite. channels to help them stay informed and up to date on news and regulations. Advertising budgets reflect this trend, and as regions slowly come out of lockdowns, the radio industry is seeing huge growth in brand spending: Advertising volumes rebounded 22% in the first half of 2021, according to data shared by AdEx India, a division of TAM Media Research.
But how do you get started in radio advertising and what are its main advantages over other forms of media?
A chain like no other
Radio advertising has three distinct advantages: its flexibility, its value for money and, more surprisingly, its targeting ability.
First, audio production is much easier than television, and creations and messages can be changed in a relatively short time. No other offline medium offers you the possibility of reserving so spontaneously: in some cases, you can reserve the radio inventory up to two days before the broadcast. This means you can even tailor the messaging to external factors like the weather or special events happening in your target region.
And because radio spots are quite easy to produce, they are also good value for money. Typically, you’ll need to budget for a studio setup, voice actor, and post-production costs, as well as localized translations and voiceovers.
Finally, many marketers may be put off by radio because it is not as easy to target as other forms of advertising. However, when it comes to regional campaigns, radio offers a great return on investment. With over 369 private radio stations operating in over 101 towns and villages across India, according to the Wikipedia page on FM Broadcasting in India, any product, business model or campaign with a regional aspect can make the most of local targeting capabilities of the radio.
First steps: three tips for success
Are you looking to set up a killer radio campaign? The process begins long before you are on the air. Careful planning and production is essential, but first it is about deciding the goals of your campaign.
As with other media, there are two basic types of radio campaigns: performance or awareness. If you’re focused on performance, you’ll want to spend your budget on maintaining a high frequency of one-off broadcasts. Keeping the pressure high will ensure that customers get multiple points of contact with your brand, which is more effective at driving conversions.
Rather looking to increase your brand awareness? This means that the broadcast frequency of the spots is lower. In short, your spots will broadcast more widely on the networks to more people, but each individual will hear the spot fewer times. Whichever route you decide to take, it’s worth considering how your radio spots fit into your larger marketing campaigns – and how other channels can help you resonate and to reflect your radio message.
From there, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the landscape: research pricing, fragmentation, flexibility, network ownership, and targeting possibilities before focusing on your target area. Here’s where working with a media planner can generate value, providing easy access to pre-existing relationships and networks, helping you negotiate prices, and advising you on the best stations to reach your target audience.
Finally, plan your hours well. Be aware of the behavior of your target consumers and how this affects the prices and efficiency of radio slots – in terms of hours of the day, days of the week or even seasons. Remember that prime time, especially on weekdays, is 7-10 a.m. and 5-8 p.m., and will give you the best chance of reaching a large audience.
Can you really measure the radio?
Because radio is not a direct response channel, your customers are unlikely to download your app or visit your site directly after hearing your ad. This makes it almost impossible to accurately attribute visits to individual broadcasts.
However, the industry has made great strides in recent years in radio attribution. Using Bayesian models is one of the best ways to start following the intraceable: the model tries to predict what a KPI (like website traffic) would look like without running a campaign, then compares it to the actual traffic data. The model can also be built by including information such as seasonality (e.g. day of the week vs. weekend), underlying long-term trends (e.g. organic user growth) and trends. effects of other marketing campaigns.
Are you looking for something a little simpler? Working with a consumer research company can help you survey consumers on the impact of your campaign. Has he been seen enough? Was the advertising pressure sufficient? Does the audience remember the campaign or your brand? If the answer is largely no, then maybe the creation wasn’t clear enough.
Radio in the “new normal”
Looking for more encouragement to start testing on the radio? Now is the perfect time to do it: Radio spending has dropped dramatically during shutdowns as commuters form the backbone of many stations’ primary audiences. With the majority of people stuck at home, it just didn’t make sense for brands to spend on radio. But with the slow resumption of commuting into our ânew normalâ way of life, now is the best time to start experimenting and targeting metropolitan cities across the country again.
Brands should not see radio as an old-fashioned channel, but as one that can generate real recognition and growth, especially as part of a cross-media campaign.
(The author is responsible for media planning and growth, DCMN India. Opinions expressed are personal.)