While overall radio listenership has largely returned to pre-pandemic levels, some listening habits shifted as a result of lifestyle changes and other factors. “Those shifted listening habits can translate to a big victory for car dealers,” says Casey Taylor, VP of Client Success at CivicScience. According to research from CivicScience, different times of day correspond to different types of shoppers, and this becomes a factor in what an auto dealer’s messaging should be.
Case in point: Those who work from home in many cases begin their radio listening day later in the morning and late morning listeners appear to be slightly less picky overall, Casey says. “Those consumers are significantly more likely than listeners at other times to say they buy whatever is on the lot when their preferred car isn’t available,” Taylor says in an auto-related post on the Radio Matters Blog from the Radio Advertising Bureau. “For promotions or messaging about clearing stock, [this] might be the time to strike.”
Expanding on the thesis that some dayparts are better than others for targeting specific consumer segments in the automotive market during a related RAB webinar, Taylor said late morning listeners also tend to be younger, which often means they’re more prone to be in the market for a used vehicle or looking to lease rather than buy. “Those are the folks that aren't exactly sure what's going to be coming down the pike and you want to talk a little bit differently about flexibility and things like that,” Taylor said.
Other dayparts lend themselves to reaching other consumer segments in the automotive market. Early morning is ideally suited for reaching working class consumers that have higher interest in trucks, SUVs and other utility vehicles. Consumers in the family stage segment are also typically early risers who are more likely to be listening in the early morning and in the evening. That makes those dayparts ideal times for automotive advertisers to be promoting SUVs.
“Things change throughout the day because your listenership changes,” Taylor said on the RAB webinar. “When the listenership changes, the lifestyle changes and when the lifestyle changes, the message has to change as well.”
Taylor also made the case that despite all of the challenges the auto industry is facing, from supply chain shortages to diminishing inventories and gas prices topping $5 a gallon, radio’s importance in marketing campaigns has only increased.
“Radio is as important if not more important now than it has been,” he said on the webinar. “So, during the pandemic, one of the things that we have identified is an increase in engagement with radio and increasing engagement with podcasting.”
Taylor also said radio “continues to be the way to reach consumers who make up a high proportion of the buying market.”