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Here Are The Digital Tasks Local Ad Buyers Need Help With.

Radio sales teams looking to grow their digital revenue in the second half should bone up on their web design/development skills, social media savvy, and search engine optimization prowess. These are the three most used digital services by local businesses, according to Borrell Associates’ first advertiser survey of 2023. Roughly half of local ad buyers rely on third party providers for each of these services. And about eight in ten (81%) are using some type of digital marketing channel.

Although four in ten learn how to perform these functions themselves, three in ten approach a local media company or agency to outsource it.

“If they're turning to somebody for a technical task, like search engine optimization, they’re going to see that person as a marketing expert,” Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell said during a webinar last week. “So you might want to have at least some expertise in this, or offer it as a service, whether it's website design, development, social media management, SEO, or even hosting.”

More than half (55%) of local ad buyers currently use an agency or firm to help with at least one digital task at their business. Topping the list of tasks delegated to outside firms or agencies is web design – 38% currently use a third party for that and 54% say they have at some point delegated it to an outside company.

The survey of ad buyers turned up an opportunity to offer creative and design development – 18% currently use an outside firm for this and 33% have used one for this purpose.

The survey also shows that local ad buyers are looking for help with strategic planning, tasks that AI can’t do. “That is a strategic competitive advantage and one that's going to get more and more attention,” Borrell predicted. Along the same lines, more than half (53%) of direct buyers say bringing new ideas to the table is what they value most from outside agencies.

For the first time, radio claimed the highest percentage of all local advertisers who purchase digital advertising from a local media company. As exclusively reported by Inside Radio, nearly one third (32%) of all respondents (not just radio buyers) said they were buying digital advertising from a radio company. Radio eclipsed all other local media channels – 26% of buyers surveyed purchased digital advertising from a newspaper company, 19% from an agency, 18% from a local TV station, and 9% from a local cable system.

Thanks to its strong sales force and storytelling prowess, Borrell told webinar attendees that radio is “best positioned” to cultivate relationships with the millions of smaller, higher propensity businesses that have sprouted up since the pandemic. “They're very well positioned to latch on to some of these new businesses if they could just get their eyeballs out of that Miller Kaplan data,” he suggested. These small businesses don't show up in traditional media, he added. “They aren’t buying radio, they aren’t buying billboards, they aren’t buying TV… forget that. Go out and prospect someplace else,” Borrell advised attendees.

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