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Radio And Digital Ads: Not Only Better Together, But Radio Makes Digital More Effective.

Advertisers heavying-up on digital media are not only better served by adding radio to the mix, but radio ads can lift the performance of digital ones, reinforcing recognition and recall and improving both search activity and Google and Facebook advertising.

“When you pair radio and digital ads, they’re an excellent complement to each other, because audiences consume content in multiple ways across lots of mediums,” Marketron's Manager of Client Development, Digital Dustin Wilson says in RAB's “Radio Matters” blog. “That’s a necessity in a world where people encounter hundreds if not thousands of ads in a single day.”

What makes the two media work together are the differences between them: the combination of different reach strategies that together can hit everyone, consumer use of different content at different times, and the different senses engaged by radio and digital. “Radio offers broad reach to anyone in the listening area [while] digital is more targeted, since you can define your audience,” Wilson says. “Someone could be listening to the radio on their drive into work, then on their lunch break, they’re scrolling online or on social media. Brands that pop up in both could influence a person’s decision when they need to make a purchase.”

As for radio's auditory-only quality vs. digital's multi-media capabilities, Wilson notes that “our brains process these interactions differently, and that could enhance their retention of the message.”

AM/FM not only comes to the party with a 76% market share across all ad-supported audio and a weekly reach of 84% of Americans 18+, but the ability to make advertisers' digital ad spend more effective. RAB's blog cites research showing radio ads generated an average 29% increase in Google search activity, and that the quality of the creative directly impacted search. Other research showed radio ads increased legal services website traffic by 13% in 2020 and 10% for the first half of 2021. Yet another study evaluating 100 radio advertisers from 2019 to 2020 showed radio spots lifted Google and Facebook advertising by as much as 18%.

Wilson recommends a strategy offering clients a cross-channel ad platform where “your proposal should include all tactics together,” he says. “If you have one for radio and one for digital, your customers may get confused as to how it all works together.” The radio-plus-digital sales strategy should also have a consistent message regardless of format, a defined target audience for digital, and calls to action properly aligned with each format. “For radio, the ad may direct the listener to the store,” Wilson says. “Digital ads can also be in-store offers, but they’ll go to the business’ website when they click.”

Used together, radio and digital advertising can reinforce recognition and recall given the 'blind spot' associated with digital where, Wilson says, “we ignore, often subconsciously, the content we perceive as an ad. The 'mere exposure effect' states that the more someone hears or sees something they are neutral to, the more likely they are to develop positive feelings for it. If your advertisers want to capture the attention of their audience, they’ll be in the best place to do so by using radio spots and digital. If you can offer that to them, it’s a win for you and them.”

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