Could political advertising on radio make the difference in 2022's all-important midterm elections? A just-released Cumulus Media analysis suggests it very well could, as it shows AM/FM radio is able to deliver swing voters unreached by political ads on TV.
“Recent elections have been decided by the slimmest of margins,” Cumulus Media Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says. “This new study reveals AM/FM radio’s ability to generate mass reach among elusive swing voters who could make a meaningful difference in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections, when all 435 representatives, 34 senators, and 39 governors will face the voters.”
Using data from Nielsen, Edison Research, MRI-Simmons and MoffettNathanson, Cumulus' Audio Active Group shows that AM/FM's mass reach, lack of political ad clutter, dominant share of ad-supported media time spent, and its unique ability to reach light TV viewers make it an especially effective vehicle for political advertising.
Cumulus cites Nielsen data showing that four in ten registered voters are light TV viewers who are nearly impossible to reach on TV, and that AM/FM reaches more than four in five registered voters who are also light TV viewers. Also among registered voters, AM/FM has a 74% share of ad-supported audio and an 87% share of ad-supported audio in the car, according to Edison’s “Share of Ear” study. Additionally, among the now-40% of the U.S. who do not subscribe or no longer subscribe to cable TV, AM/FM reaches millions not seeing political ads on channels like CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.
Other Nielsen data presented by Cumulus shows AM/FM radio has significantly less political clutter than television, allowing ads to stand out more. Based on Nielsen reports leading up to last year’s senatorial elections in Georgia, political represented one out of three TV ads in Atlanta, with ad volume on TV two to three times that of AM/FM.
All the above taken into account, Cumulus suggests that a political media plan of TV, digital, and connected TV which shifts 20% of the allotted budget to AM/FM radio would generate a 15% increase in voter reach, from 79% to 91%.