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Study: Advertisers Underestimate U.S. Worker Commutes, AM/FM Recovers Upscale Listeners.

Advertising decision makers underestimate the number of U.S. workers commuting to work and overestimate those working from home, according to the results of an Advertiser Perceptions study reported by Cumulus Media Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard.

In a new posting on Westwood One’s “Everyone’s Listening” blog, Bouvard also reports that AM/FM radio completely recovered listening from households with an income of $75,000 or greater, compared to a year earlier, according to Nielsen’s Fall 2020 Nationwide Report.

The results of the January 2021 Advertiser Perceptions study – which asked 300 media decision makers their perceptions on the percentage of U.S. workers working from home daily, commuting some days or commuting every day – were compared to figures from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tracking study of American worker commutes for the same month. While the Reserve reports 60% of U.S. workers commuting every day, the marketers and agencies’ estimate is far lower, coming in at 33%. Conversely, media decision makers significantly overestimate the percent of U.S. workers working from home every day, at 38% compared to the Federal Reserve’s 24%.

In other words, while marketers and agencies perceive there to be more work-from-home employees than daily commuters, the Federal Reserve figures show daily commuters outnumbering work-from-home employees by nearly three to one, according to Bouvard’s report. “Marketers and agencies need to take the ‘me out of media’,” Bouvard says. “[They] believe that since they are all working from home, so must the rest of the country.”

The Westwood One blog also reports Nielsen Nationwide’s weekly reach data for Fall 2020 vs. 2019, which show that not only has AM/FM radio retained 94% of its pre-pandemic reach among persons 25-54, it has also recovered virtually all of its reach among persons 25-54 with an annual income of $75,000 or higher.

Among households with an income of $75,000 or greater – which account for nearly half of all AM/FM radio listening, according to Bouvard – total U.S. AM/FM weekly reach for Fall 2020 was identical to that of a year earlier, among both persons 25-54 and 35-64.

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