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AM/FM Ads Drive Business For Tax Prep Services, According To New Research.

The results of two studies commissioned by Cumulus Media show that not only are heavy AM/FM radio listeners more likely to use and spend more on tax preparation services than TV viewers, but radio ads in the category also drive-up site traffic 48%.

“Radio knocked it out of the park,” Cumulus Media Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says in this week's Westwood One blog. “Heavy radio listeners are more engaged in the category [and] spend way more than TV viewers. AM/FM radio is the ideal media platform for tax preparation services and generates significant impact.”

A MARU/Matchbox national brand study conducted by Signal Hill among 1,000 Americans age 18+ during April 19-22, 2022 – so immediately following the 2021 tax deadline – shows heavy AM/FM radio listeners 13% more likely, and heavy TV viewers 7% less likely, to use online tax preparation services, while AM/FM listeners are 50% more and TV viewers 19% less likely to be users of onsite services. Put another way, heavy AM/FM listeners are 22% and 85% more likely than heavy TV viewers to use online and onsite services, respectively. “Spending money on TV in the tax preparation services category means you're spending money on a group of people that are really less likely to pay to have their taxes done,” Bouvard says.

Helping give AM/FM radio this advantage is that its heavy listeners – along with those of podcasts – outscore heavy TV viewers when it comes to tax preparation service brand familiarity, consideration and aided ad recall, and to customers paying more than $100 for tax preparation in 2022. “This is a shock because so much money is spent by tax preparation services on TV, trying to grow their awareness,” Bouvard says. “This category is putting good money after bad because the heavy TV viewer is just not interested in the category: they don't spend in the category, they're not engaged in the category. No matter how much you spend on TV, it's not going to move the needle on brand equity.”

Cumulus' other commissioned study, with marketing attribution company LeadsRx, focused on how a tax preparation service's Q1 2022 AM/FM ad campaign impacted its brand search and site traffic. Based on ad run data from Media Monitors and adults 18+ impressions data from Nielsen, it found that during the flight, site traffic for the service increased a significant 48%.

At the same time, the campaign's share of attributed web sessions lined up with the shares of its impressions by AM/FM radio format, with over-delivery from both top 40 and news/talk.

Another notable takeaway for radio from Cumulus' research is that, according to the Signal Hill and MARU/Matchbox data, the share of Americans extremely or very familiar with most major tax preparation service brands is close to the share of those saying they would consider or try the service next year. “The greater the brand familiarity, the more people would consider using that brand,” Bouvard says. “The key to getting prospects to consider your brand as a viable option is to ensure people are 'extremely or very familiar' with your brand.”

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