In 2004, there was no Pandora. There was no Spotify. In 2004, the first podcasts started to appear and the iPod Shuffle was still a year away from its initial release. In 2004, fewer than 20% of Americans could listen to or download music online because most people only had access to dial-up internet. In 2004, commercial radio, despite being 84 years old, still reigned supreme in the battle for listeners' ears by reaching 93% of all Americans. Flash forward 10 years: AM/FM radio still reaches 93% of all Americans, making it the number one audio choice among consumers and that's good news for Maine Small Business.
How Are New Audio Platforms Affecting AM/FM Radio?
Like businesses here in Maine, large national advertisers such as Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, and Walmart were interested in knowing how the profusion of audio entertainment options was affecting traditional AM/FM radio. So, MediaVest, one of the leading, full-service media specialist companies offering brand-building results and business solutions for its marketing partners including the fore-mentioned major advertisers, undertook a study to discover why, when and how consumers use particular audio platforms. The study, which surveyed thousands of audio listeners who use one or more of the following audio sources – personal music collections (CDs, iTunes downloads), broadcast radio, streaming AM/FM radio, custom online playlists, satellite radio, online music videos and digital music channels on TV.
Consumers Are Spending More Time With All Audio Platforms
The biggest takeaway from the MediaVest study for advertisers here in Maine is that AM/FM radio is still the most popular audio platform by far. But how can this be? How is it possible that iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and TV digital-audio channels have not combined forces to diminish the ubiquity of AM/FM radio? Well, according to the study, "the use of alternate audio devices, time spent across audio platforms continues to increase and growth in audio is predominantly additive." In other words, consumers are increasing the amount of time they are spending with all audio media so growth is not coming at the expense of traditional AM/FM radio. So, in the words of John F. Kennedy, "A rising tide will lift all boats."
The study also indicated that AM/FM radio is still a powerful way for all marketers, including Maine small businesses, to target their key consumers. According to the study, "Broadcast radio listeners are most accepting of advertising and broadcast radio delivers the strongest advertising recall and brand engagement."
Other key findings of the study include:
- The car remains the most popular location for audio listening throughout the day.
- 63 percent of teens listen to more than two audio platforms a day – the highest of any demographic.
- Broadcast radio is the most popular audio platform.
- Listeners choose broadcast radio to stay connected to “the world”: Top drivers for radio usage are its accessibility, timely news, traffic, weather, engagement with radio personalities and discovering new music.
- Personal music collections (CDs, iTunes downloads, etc.) are about control with 81 percent choosing the platform to control or customize their listening experience. Custom playlists are also about control and follow with 67 percent choosing the platform for this reason.
- 41 percent of consumers are willing to listen to ads in exchange for free online audio. Ads related to the music consumers like and optimized for the time of day are most powerful.
Audio media are an important element in people’s lives: -
- 81 percent say audio delivers fulfills their need for fun/entertainment
- 68 percent say it provides a great way to escape
- 55 percent indicated audio as helping to motivate & inspire them46 percent claim it offers a way to express myself/an outlet for self-expression
It's easy to understand how the explosion of audio media options can confuse and confound Maine small business owners when they have to decide which is the best way to advertise. This study helps cut through the noise and clearly demonstrates that traditional AM/FM radio is still a superb choice.
Note: The MediaVest study was undertaken in conjunction with Clear Channel Media And Entertainment, the nation's largest owner of AM/FM radio stations.
Maine Small Business Guide To Radio Advertising