Four in ten (39%) local advertisers say they used radio in 2020 and half (20%) plan to boost their spending in the medium this year. Borrell Associates’ annual Local Advertiser Survey finds that no other traditional media was used more than radio with average spending in the medium of $23,700 per client last year. Television, which was used by 14% of those surveyed, typically got more money, however. Borrell says the average local advertiser that bought TV last year spent $111,300. Both newspapers and direct mail had about $19,000 in average spending, according to the annual survey.
The most-used ad format among local businesses was social media with nearly six in ten buying ads on sites like Facebook. And while social media’s average buy ($14,200) was significantly smaller than radio’s, that gap could close somewhat as nearly half of local businesses plan to increase their social media ad spending this year according to the Borrell survey.
What may be driving that is a quest for something new. Borrell says 46% of local advertisers said they want to try something different this year. For seven percent of those surveyed, that also means a newfound interest in radio.
One potential opportunity for radio to pull in more dollars is through events. Four in ten local businesses said they spent on event sponsorships last year with an average $17,000 investment. And a third plan to increase those budgets this year. That includes eight percent who did not invest in event marketing at all during 2020.
Digital audio is also something that has sparked interest among some local ad spenders. Borrell says six percent said they plan to buy some digital audio ads this year for the first time.
The annual report also points to a strengthening ad market overall. Borrell says those surveyed expect to spend $108,800 on advertising this year, a 6.8% increase compared to the size of their ad budgets in 2020.
Typically local businesses say they spread their ad dollars across five different companies. How do they buy those ads? Three-quarters say via emailing with a sales rep compared to 55% who say they meet with salespeople in person or talk to them by phone. Nevertheless, Borrell says three in four said they like having the option of having a face-to-face meeting with sales reps.
That is more than just being sociable. The survey data suggests that local businesses have a lot more respect for local reps than those selling national advertising. Three quarters of those surveyed said they find local reps more knowledgeable and 70% said local reps are a good source of marketing intelligence.
“Local advertisers see local media reps as knowledgeable resources who care about their business,” says the report. “They may not always help advertisers save money but they bring value in other ways.”
Radio Sellers Seen As Marketing Experts
And as earlier reported by Inside Radio, the perception of radio sellers as expert marketers is higher than it is for any other type of sales rep, and the perception of digital savvy of radio reps is now also the highest. When buyers were asked, which sales reps are considered savvy about marketing, radio (41%) topped all other forms of traditional media: broadcast TV (35%), cable TV (30%), newspapers (29%) and direct mail (23%). Five years ago, radio stood at 31%. That 10-point increase was the biggest in the survey. And when asked which sales reps are considered digitally savvy, radio and broadcast TV (28% each) led the field, outpacing cable TV (27%), newspapers (22%) and direct mail (12%). Again, radio was the biggest gainer en route from worst to first: In the 2016 survey, the medium stood at just 15%.
The survey is based on data collected from 2,811 local advertisers and 701 ad agencies fielded by Borrell between April and June. The biggest share of advertisers came from the real estate, restaurant, and insurance industries.
Borrell will conduct a webinar about the annual survey on Aug. 31. Get details HERE.