Do Stats Tell The Real Radio Story?

It may seem surprising that Kantar Media’s latest findings showed radio revenue up about 5 percent in Q2 while overall spend on advertising slipped 3.9 percent.

We have always believed that sound is perhaps the most potent sense in marketing persuasion.  So to us, the revelation that regular AM/FM radio, with its 250 million listeners, remains strong was no shock.

But Kantar attributes the increase in revenue to stations jamming in more spots. If so, radio stations are shooting themselves in the foot. Increasing ad clutter is a precursor to a medium’s implosion, as effectiveness will wane, rates will drop, and audiences will migrate to other emerging forms of audio entertainment and information.

What do marketers need to do? (And here, forgive the CRN plug because the following reflects our core beliefs.) There are more effective and organic ways to reach consumers outside of crowded ad breaks: through branded content, strategic promotions, perceived earned media, on-air shopper marketing, and more.

Marketers, in our view, would also benefit from treating whatever hits the ear—digital, satellite, streaming, pure play, terrestrial, point-of-sale radio, and so on—as part of a holistic, integrated strategy.

Too often, digital buyers in one building work on Pandora and Spotify while broadcast buyers in another building negotiate terrestrial buys. At some shops, point-of-sale radio is handled by yet another group: out-of-home buyers.

Listeners don’t pick audio platforms because of the platform; they pick them, unconsciously or consciously, based on content and convenience.

So our insights are:  Sound is good. It’s more than an ad conveyer, should be thought of strategically, and is most effective if integrated with all platforms that hit the ear.

Barry Berman