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Nielsen: How Network Radio Delivers A Bigger Bang For Advertisers.


As national advertisers and agencies map out their 2024 media plans, Nielsen presented a deep dive on network radio for its clients on the buy and sell sides Wednesday. Using the media planning tool Nielsen Media Impact and data from the latest installment of its Audio Today series, the measurement giant showed how network radio can greatly expand a campaign’s reach and how it fits into the media plan.


To illustrate network radio’s ability to drive key campaign metrics, Nielsen showed how a Tier One national auto brand campaign that ran last year would have performed if 20% of the budget was spent on radio. Without radio in the mix, the $5 million one-month campaign using linear TV, connected TV and digital media reached 60.1% of the adults 25-54 target with a frequency of 4.0. It delivered 298,828,000 impressions at a $17 CPM. But when $1 million was reallocated to network radio, reach jumped to 75.5% with a frequency of 4.5, and 416,295,000 impressions were delivered at a $12 CPM.


“Network radio, because it's so big and broad, has the ability to really reach a national audience,” said Nielsen VP, Audience Insights Jon Miller. “And it shows up immediately here, with a quarter increase in reach. Frequency is up by half a point; impressions are up, and cost per thousand is lower. When you bring in radio, you get a much higher bang for your buck.”


The automotive case study also showed radio boosts effective reach – those that heard the message three or more times – by 39% as 8.8 million more people were reached three or more times by adding network radio.


The webinar also keyed in on research conducted by Lumen for ad agency dentsu that shows consumers pay more attention to audio ads than video. Using the metric of average attentive seconds per 1,000 (APM), the study showed audio has 56% greater attentiveness scores than dentsu norms.


The presentation offered a primer on network radio, demonstrating how the medium reaches a wide variety of Americans with a broad range of programming. “Network radio pretty much offers something for everybody, no matter what it is that you're interested in,” said Jane Shapiro, Nielsen Director of Data Science - Audio Insights. More than 93% of radio listeners tune to a network-affiliated station every week. The percentages are higher with Black persons 12+ (97%) and Hispanic persons 12+ (96%). And the network audience closely mirrors the total radio audience. “Because of the depth and the breadth of the affiliate lists across all of the radio networks and syndicators, chances are, if your client or customer is listening to radio, they're also being exposed to an affiliate from a radio network,” Shapiro added.


Nielsen also unfurled new monthly reach numbers for six different media types based on second quarter 2023 data. The headline: radio remains media’s top reach vehicle, connecting with 90% of adults 18+ per month, out-performing live + time-shifted TV, (88%), smartphone (88%), TV-connected devices (86%), PC (79%), and tablet (55%).


“The total use of audio and radio on a monthly basis matches or exceeds the reach of television, particularly live and time-shifted TV, and exceeds that of video on other platforms,” Shapiro explained. “This is important because you can get a lot more reach for the same dollars just by adding audio.”


Homing in on the audio universe, Nielsen audience data shows radio’s monthly U.S. reach towers above all audio platforms, both ad-free and ad-supported.


Radio’s reach is even more pronounced among ad-supported options for audio marketing campaigns. In fact, Shapiro said radio out-reaches all of the other ad-supported audio sources combined. Moreover, Nielsen data shows radio leads all audio sources in share of time spent listening.


Among the top takeaways from Nielsen’s network radio webinar:

  • Network radio can boost reach and impressions when added to the media mix.

  • It can be deployed to target a wide variety of consumers.

  • Radio reaches more Americans than any other platform, linear or digital.

  • Audio has unique characteristics that influence audiences in ways that video and display cannot.

  • The ad-supported radio audience is mobile, reached closest to the point of purchase, and delivers a scale that advertisers need to stand out in a crowded audio marketplace.

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