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More Advertisers On Board With Visual In-Car Messaging Synched To AM/FM Radio Ads.


Advertiser interest in in-car visual displays that sync to AM/FM radio ads is picking up steam, based on findings from marketing intelligence firm Advertiser Perceptions.


Its May survey of more than 300 agencies and advertisers shows that four in five (80%) are interested in in-dash visual ads, up from 64% in 2021 and 69% a year ago. Likewise, 83% of agencies and advertisers are interested in geographically targeted visual ads, up from 71% in 2021.


According to an analysis of this and other related studies in Westwood One's weekly blog, this comes with a greater familiarity with the technology, with one-third (33%) saying they are “very familiar” with it, more than doubling the 15% in 2021's survey, and 23% a year ago. Another third say they're “somewhat familiar,” up from 24% in 2021.


“Agencies and advertisers love the idea of visual ad messaging on the in-car display synced to AM/FM radio ads,” Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says. “Awareness of this capability is growing.”


Along with the interest, the additional amount advertisers are willing to spend on a radio buy including in-car visuals has also increased since 2021, from 12% to 16%.


Not only is that added spend giving advertisers the already-powerful reach of AM/FM listeners in cars – accounting for 86% of all ad-supported audio time, according to Edison Research – it's reaching the elusive younger demographics, based on MARU/Matchbox research where 66% of adults 18-34, and 57% of 35-49s, say they regularly or occasionally pay attention to in-car radio visuals. Those percentages fall noticeably among older adult segments.


“Hard-to-reach younger consumers who skip online video ads, use ad blockers, and rarely watch linear TV confound advertisers,” Bouvard says. “It turns out younger consumers pay the most attention to the visuals on in-car radio displays.”


MARU/Matchbox's study also shows that 70% of heavy AM/FM radio listeners, and 64% of drivers logging 150 or more miles weekly, say they pay attention to the in-car AM/FM radio display screen when listening. “The more you listen, the more you notice the in-car AM/FM radio display,” notes Bouvard, “[and] the more you drive, the more you notice.”


As it is, two-thirds (66%) of consumers with a visual-display car radio are already prompted to look at it for music-related content such as song title or artist and album art, leading by far other possible prompts such as time or station confirmation. At the time this survey was conducted in 2021, nearly one-fourth (23%) were already looking at the display for anything related to a commercial while airing.


The MARU/Matchbox survey also shows that 57% of heavy AM/FM-listening adults 18-34, and 51% of those 35-49, are very or somewhat interested in geographically targeted in-dash visuals, allowing businesses in one part of town to target just those listeners. Additionally, 61% of heavy AM/FM listeners show interest in having sales and deals displayed on their in-car radios, with two-thirds saying they are likely to take advantage of such sales and deals, while listeners of Spanish, R&B/Hip Hop, Sports, Alternative, Adult Contemporary and Top 40 formats index higher.


The blog notes several case studies where in-car visuals boosted a radio station's ratings and listener engagement, and a higher recall of a retailer's ads along with a greater likelihood to visit its stores. “Advertisers can take advantage of this attentiveness and capability of in-car visuals to brand their firms and impart key messages,” Bouvard says.

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