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RAB: Radio's Rebound Driven By Listener Motivation.

The importance of understanding what motivates radio listeners at various times of the day is the focus of the Radio Advertising Bureau's latest entry in the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) “Marketing Maestros” blog. “Radio is seamlessly experienced throughout a consumer's day, regardless of platform, with motivations for listening ranging from companionship to escapism to mood elevation,” RAB Senior VP of Business Development Tammy Greenberg says. “Listeners rely on the medium to connect them to the content they desire when they want it, how they want it, and where they want it.”

Citing research from Nielsen, Audacy and Jacobs Media, Greenberg shows how the combination of listener loyalty, trust in radio personalities and the importance of stations' local focus have fueled a post-pandemic rebound for the medium.

According to Audio Amplification: Defining Engaged Impressions, Audacy's study in partnership with Alter Agents, over-the-air listening and streaming across all formats tend to be anytime occasions, with significant peaks in listening when people wake in the morning, and while they are out and about or commuting to work and school, while podcast listening is reserved more for time alone. “Listeners lean into the audio that suits their moods and interests,” Greenberg says. “In turn, audio has the power to improve a listener's mindset, moments, and receptivity.”

The blog post also emphasizes the importance of listener trust in radio, noting that 60 percent of adults 35–49 and 54 percent of adults 18–34 consider radio spots very or somewhat trustworthy, according to Nielsen's March 2021 Total Audience Report. “In order for brands to earn and maintain trust and loyalty among their target audiences, they need to not only look inward and toward their consumers, but to look at the environments for which their advertising is running,” Greenberg says.

A major factor in that trust, according to Greenberg, is the importance of radio personalities. Jacobs' report of its annual measurement of consumer likelihood to recommend a radio station to others reaching an all-time high in 2020 is attributed to consumers gravitating to personalities and programming they were familiar with and could count on. “Radio influencers' proven track record to drive trust, build brands, and drive word of mouth is undeniable,” Greenberg says. “Audio endorsements by radio personalities increase receptivity and consideration, with 80 percent of listeners trusting and valuing their favorite personalities’ opinion and 77 percent indicated they are influenced by a radio personalities brand and product recommendations.”

As to the renewed focus on local marketing, RAB points to research from Jacobs Media's 2021 Techsurvey reporting 49 percent of consumers strongly agree that one of radio's primary advantages is its local feel, and Nielsen's Total Audience Report showing 74 percent of urban dwellers feeling it was very or somewhat important to shop in person at local businesses, compared to 67 percent of suburban and 70 percent of rural residents. “Local advertising is more important now than it has ever been, [with] consumers recalling advertising for locally owned businesses at a greater pace than national or online retailers,” Greenberg says. “Radio is the solution for marketers to engage hometown consumers, providing the trusted environment that will build loyalty, influence decisions, and the local insight to create relevant connections.”

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