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RAB: Radio Scores High Grades In Higher Education Advertising.

With graduation season around the corner, seniors-to-be beginning their college research, and people of all ages seeking continuing education, it's as good a time as any for colleges and trade schools to be advertising to an always-lucrative market. Not surprisingly, radio ads for higher education hit the mark, according to an analysis of a report from AnalyticOwl in Radio Advertising Bureau's latest “Radio Matters” blog.

“Radio has proven to be an excellent medium to not only keep listeners thinking about education, but also drive action,” AnalyticOwl Senior VP of Strategy and Operations David Schapira says. “Not only does radio have high reach, but it also has the ability to drive consumers to visit and engage education websites and their content.”

With data from Scarborough cited by Schapira showing radio reaches 83% of adults planning to attend continuing education classes, and 79% planning to go back to school for certification, advertisers clearly have a wider market to focus on than just high school and college students.

The results of AnalyticOwl's study, based on response measured from over 275,000 aired commercials in the education category, show that 75% of website visits occurring immediately after ads aired came from search engines, vs. 23% from users entering a specific website address. “Many visits are from people who heard a commercial and then searched what they remembered from the ad,” Schapira says. “Understanding that people will overwhelmingly behave this way, regardless of the call to action, is key to understanding the full impact of radio.”

The results suggest that radio-driven site visits show higher engagement levels, with sessions averaging four minutes and 20 seconds with an average 2.4 pages viewed. Half of site visitors did so using a mobile device, which Schapira notes is “a great reminder that radio audiences can easily respond anywhere and everywhere.”

According to AnalyticOwl, higher education ads generating the greatest response aired Tuesdays through Fridays – with 15%-50% higher response than those airing Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays - with middays and afternoons the most effective dayparts. “The best strategy is a consistent presence throughout the week,” recommends Schapira. “Morning drive airings help drive this 'halo effect' later in the day, and evenings and overnights often prove to deliver good value given lower rates.”

The report also notes that 30-second spots performed best. “For those using :15s and/or :60s, those durations should be used to supplement a main thrust of :30 ads, which can deliver more of the message without losing the audience’s interest,” Schapira says, while stressing the importance of the ad content itself. “Different messages will influence prospective students at the end of high school, their parents and adults looking for higher/continuing education, or a change in careers. It is important to consider and test messaging across all of these potential responders.”

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