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Local Advertisers Survey Uncovers Online Video Opportunity For Radio.

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

What marketing channels grew stronger in 2020? According to Borrell Associates just-released annual Local Advertisers Survey, it’s those that communicated and served customers virtually in a locked-down world. Among them are services that more and more radio companies are selling as part of digital marketing offerings, like search engine management and optimization, email marketing and website design.

The survey is based on data collected from 2,262 local advertisers between August and October. More of a barometer than a forecast, one of the most eye-opening findings, Borrell says, is that demand for online video is growing faster than social media was in its early days. More than half of surveyed advertisers that use streaming video (53%) said its effectiveness increased in 2020, the highest for any channel, and 24% said it stayed the same.

“Radio sellers should take a very hard look at the video needs of advertisers, particularly storytelling via video,” says Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell. “The most likely buyers of streaming video marketing are actually those who buy radio and outdoor advertising.”

While a broadcast TV schedule may be too rich for their budget, the survey shows many advertisers have an affinity for the kind of brand marketing that video delivers. The data also shows a large chunk of buyers who stopped buying radio in 2020 said the reason was they wanted to "move the money to something else." Says Borrell: “The real opportunity that streaming video offers to radio is allowing it to pursue TV, outdoor, and cable buyers.”

The advertisers survey found nearly four in ten (36%) of those surveyed said they believed podcasting and streaming audio advertising became more effective in 2020. Another 35% said that the effectiveness of the medium held steady this year.

Overall, the Borrell survey found that local advertisers generally gave higher improvement grades to digital media. Podcasting and streaming audio’s score was in line with what they gave to Facebook and email marketing.

Yet traditional radio held its own too, even with all the disruption the pandemic brought to media habits. Half of local advertisers said they saw no change in the effectiveness of audio advertising on AM/FM radio this year. And 14% said they believed broadcast radio preformed even better.

Borrell’s Local Advertisers Survey also found that the average local business it surveyed plans to increase their advertising budget 13.6% in 2021 compared to 2020. That’s significantly higher than what the survey turned up in the past decade, with percentages usually in the +3 to +4% range.

In other findings, 16 out of 19 forms of marketing are slated for increases. The only three that advertisers said they will be trimming are newspapers, print directories, and local magazines.

Double-digit growth, ranging from 11% to 26%, was reserved for digital media with the lone exception of direct mail. Streaming video/OTT came in at No. 1 in budget growth for 2021 compared to 2020. Radio, TV, cable, and outdoor all came in at single-digit percentages.

Borrell will hold a webinar tomorrow (Dec. 8) when it will release more details of the survey. Register HERE.

Separately, the firm is currently polling radio managers for its annual survey with the Radio Advertising Bureau. Preliminary results show 80% of stations are selling digital services, and that SEO, SEM and website design are the most prevalent services being sold. “Two of those three will continue to be important in 2021: SEO and SEM,” said Borrell.“Website design won't be as much in demand because it was already tackled in 2020 and isn't typically an ongoing expense.”

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