The value of radio advertising definitely exists, but the extent of its value depends on whose opinion is being given at the moment. Some business owners believe that it has little value because of over-saturation of advertising that has caused listeners to develop a deaf ear when an ad is played on the radio. Others say that it has boosted their business with new clients and added sales, as evidenced by surveys and questionnaires asking where customers first heard of the business or what brought them to a particular company. Radio advertising can be extremely effective on AM/FM radio. Radio ads can reach millions of listeners in a geographical area.
It requires first finding the target audience that the business would like to reach. This is fairly easy to do because certain genres of music have specific audiences, as do AM talk shows. Once the target audience is found, a business can work a deal with a local station if they want to reach this audience. Some advertising agencies and stations claim that if a listener hears the same ad three or four times a week, then there is more chance of the person really paying attention to it. Radio stations often offer bonuses to companies who advertise, including extra ads, contests, or business of the week features that highlight a certain advertiser.
A helpful tool in determining the value of radio advertising is a media and market research firm, Arbitron. This company provides helpful information about radio, television, and cable and advertising, including current trends in the radio advertising market. They are able to estimate the value of a target audience by coordinating listening estimates with data on how much business came from this group. These facts help them sell radio time by demonstrating how a company’s commercial growth was related to radio advertising.
Arbitron offers another tool called the Portable People Meter (PPM) that is carried by customers to measure consumer listening patterns. This method is used in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and other parts of the world to gather information. The results can then be used to identify target audiences for specific types of radio advertising. This is the first step for a business to take in deciding when and where to advertise their product on the radio. Additional information is found by following trends of which genres of music certain groups of people listen to on FM stations or AM talk shows.
AM/FM radio has competitors today with Internet stations, satellite radio, Internet jukebox such as Jango or Pandora, and many people listen to their MP3 player, iPod or iPhone rather than turning on the radio. Most people see radio advertising as a nuisance because it interrupts the music that they are listening to. In reality, advertising is necessary to keep stations on the air. Many of today’s Internet radio stations try to make their ads brief and to the point, much like those on public radio in an effort to get listeners to listen to their ads rather than turning the dial to another station.
The cost of radio advertising is very low compared to other media advertising. Television is extremely expensive at around $200,000 for a 30-second commercial during prime time, while radio is generally about $90 to $120 per week. The amount of online advertising has bypassed that spent on radio advertising as of 2007 when $21.7 million dollars were spent on online ads and only $20.4 million dollars on radio. In 2011, advertisers spent twice as much on online ads as those that were broadcast on the radio.
Radio is not going anywhere, and neither is radio advertising. It is an economical way to reach potential customers, and many small businesses have marketing budgets that can include this type of advertising.