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Nielsen Research Shows Positive Impact Of Blending Broadcast Radio And Digital In Ad Campaigns.


New research from Nielsen strengthens the case for combining digital ad platforms and AM/FM radio in advertising campaigns. Nielsen Commspoint, the media planning platform, examined four types of AM/FM radio campaigns – small, medium, large, and very large. For each of the four radio campaigns, the addition of digital was priced as a 20% increase to the base AM/FM radio plan. “In each case, adding a digital media component of online video and social to the AM/FM radio plan generated a +13% to +20% lift in campaign reach,” says Cumulus Media Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard in a new post on the Westwood One blog.“The addition of digital to the AM/FM radio campaign saw reach grow in every age group, especially among 18-24s.”


The campaign’s weekly reach among 18–24-year-olds jumped 50% when digital was added to a broadcast radio-only ad buy. Reach increased one third among adults 25-34, and 29% for adults 35-44. Even campaigns targeting older listeners felt the impact with a 25% boost in reach among adults 45-64, 27% for adults 55-64, and 33% with adults 65+.


Flipping The Script


Results are directionally similar when flipping the script to add AM/FM radio to a digital-only plan. Bouvard calls broadcast radio “a reach accelerator” with campaign reach soaring between 27% and 94%. A heavy digital plan sees campaign reach increase 27% with the addition of AM/FM radio; a medium digital plan generates 38% reach growth when AM/FM radio is introduced; a light digital media plan finds campaign reach almost doubles (+94%) when AM/FM radio is added to the plan.


In perhaps the most surprising finding, the greater reach lift occurs when adding AM/FM radio to the smallest digital campaign. “Advertisers with small budgets are sometimes concerned that adding new media platforms might spread themselves too thin,” Bouvard says. “These new findings from Nielsen should be exciting news for advertisers with small digital budget programs. The 20% increase to the budget to add AM/FM radio to the small digital campaign results in an eye-popping doubling of reach.”


The Nielsen study shows adding broadcast radio lifted reach across all demographics. The older the demographic, the greater the reach lift when AM/FM is introduced to a digital media plan. “Given that older demographics hold the vast majority of the wealth in the U.S., growing 35+ reach is a powerful marketing strategy,” says Bouvard.


In addition, a separate study from Nielsen Media Impact found campaign reach explodes when AM/FM radio is introduced into a TV and digital media plan. This study shows a 57% campaign reach is generated by a media plan based on an investment of 68% linear TV, 13% connected TV, and 20% digital. When AM/FM radio is introduced into the media plan at a 10% allocation with no budget increase, the reach explodes. Nielsen Media Impact found an astonishing 41% increase in reach due to the addition of broadcast radio to the media plan with no budget increase.


Bouvard rolls in findings from other research studies conducted over the years to buttress his argument. Among them:


  • Advertising Research Foundation: Spending across multiple platforms delivers greater ROI than any single platform

  • World Advertising Research Center (WARC): The greater the number of media platforms, the greater the marketing effectiveness

  • Nielsen: Reach is the strongest media sales driver and the foundation of media effectiveness

  • Nielsen Scarborough: Digital and AM/FM radio work so well together because their audience profile is very similar

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