"Many small things have been made large by the right kind of advertising," Mark Twain once opined. So, if you are a Maine small business owner struggling to become larger, what type of advertising is the right kind?
In southern Maine, there is no shortage of advertising opportunities including television, newspapers, magazines, social media, bus sides, taxi tops, search engine, and yellow pages. Heck, you can even buy an ad on top of the Time & Temperature building.
But, when all the facts are considered, Portland radio remains the best option for Maine small business owners who are looking to expand. Here are the top 5 reasons why...
1. Portland Radio Reaches The Most Consumers
Last week, according to Nielsen, 706,000 people living in southern Maine tuned-into their favorite AM/FM radio station. This is more people than watched TV, read a newspaper, or used an internet app.
A fact that my surprise many business owners is that 93% of consumers listen to the radio every week. This percentage has remained the same since 2001...before there were iPads, iPods, iPhones, Facebook, YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, and Sirius/XM, Hulu, Roku, Netflix, Fire Sticks, Kindles, Nooks, Fitbits, Apple Watches, and countless other devices and distractions.
Media expert Doug Schoen, too, was surprised by this fact. Mr. Schoen said in Forbes Magazine, "You wouldn’t know it from all the media coverage focused on streaming video and streaming music, but recent Nielsen data shows radio actually has the most reach among American media consumers. 93% of adults listen to the radio each week as compared to 87% who watch TV, a substantive difference."
Mr. Schoen goes on to describe how radio advertising was credited with the success of Amazon's first Prime Day sales event. "Of those exposed to [Amazon's] radio ads, 52% made a purchase. That compares with 48% of people who saw ads online and 39% who saw TV ads."
"The implications of results like these are profound for the communications and advertising industries," said Mr. Schoen, "and as a marketing professional with over 35 years of experience, I found this data nothing short of fascinating. It’s quite clear that we should all be paying more attention to radio, its reach and potential to help our businesses. It’s doing the job with expert efficiency."
2. Radio Delivers The Highest Return on Investment
Research giant Nielsen has produced 20 studies that demonstrate AM/FM radio can deliver what Ad Age magazine calls an "eye-popping return on investment." Their latest study produced similar results. It revealed that a radio advertising campaign conducted by an auto-aftermarket retailer generated $21.00 of incremental sales for every $1.00 invested.
Over a three-month period, according to Westwood One who commissioned the latest study, Nielsen matched its Portable People Meter panel with credit and debit card spending data in order to compare purchases of those exposed to the radio campaign with consumers who were not exposed. The results continue to demonstrate radio advertising's jaw dropping ability to improve a business owner's bottom line.
In addition to the 21-times ROI, the current Nielsen study also found that during the radio advertising campaign, the retailer experienced a 64% increase in brand new customers. It also found that the retailer's share of total auto aftermarket sales increased by 71%.
This new Nielsen study not only affirms its 20 preceding studies, but it also confirms what many Maine small business owners already know: advertising on Portland radio works.
3. Radio Advertising Generates Website Traffic
According to a new research commissioned by RAB, radio advertising created a 29% increase in online search activity for the product categories and brands that were involved in the study. The study was conducted by Sequent Partners, who worked with partnering organizations including Media Monitors and In4mation Insights.
The study involved measuring the effect 2100 local radio ads across six different product categories had on Google search data. The results were definitive. Radio drove listeners to the web for more information.
According to the RAB, the study first looked at the typical number of Google searches that typically occur for the subject product category and brands. This information creates a baseline of pre-radio expectations.
Next, search activity was measured for the times when radio advertising occurred for the subject categories and brands. The results were overlaid on the baseline.
The green bars above, indicate the days and time radio advertising aired. The green peaks highlight the incremental search that is attributable to radio advertising.
Most importantly, radio proved to be successful for every brand involved in the study.
- Automotive Brand: +7%
- E-Commerce Brand: +9%
- Wireless Communication: +18%
- Auto Aftermarket Retailer: +65%
- Insurance: +73%
- Jewelry: +370%
An abundance of research demonstrates that the last chance for Maine small business owners to influence consumers before a sale is by advertising on Portland radio.
First, consider that AM/FM radio dominates, by far, the ear of Maine's consumers. A national study by Edison Research shows that radio commands a 52% share of the time adults spend using audio media. Nothing comes close. Not SiriusXM. Not Pandora. Not Spotify. Not podcasts. As a matter of fact, the second most used audio medium, with an 11.2% share of ear, is consumers' own music collections...their mp3s, their CDs, their records.
Now consider a study by global research company Ipsos. This research concludes that 84% of consumers use traditional AM/FM radio while driving. The second choice is the car's CD play at 64%. As you can see from the Ipsos graph below, AM/FM radio out performs the next 6 choices combined.
Intuitively, you could conclude, based on the Ipsos and the Edison study, that because consumers use their cars to travel to points-of-purchase, radio will be the last medium consumed before they make a final buying decision. In other words, Portland radio can help Maine small business owners get in one last word before customers buy.
The Missing Research Link
This, indeed, has been the conventional wisdom for many years. But now, there is conclusive proof. Data provided to trade publication Inside Radio from cross-platform measurement service USA TouchPoints clearly demonstrates the link between radio and retail.
According to the publication, "Radio’s ubiquitous in-car presence is such that more purchases are made within 30 minutes of radio listening than are made after tuning to satellite radio, streaming audio and downloaded music combined. USA TouchPoints reports that 13% of the time that purchases were being made, radio was listened to in the same half-hour, compared to just 3% each for satellite radio and streaming audio. And 45% of the 18-64-year-old population made a purchase and listened to radio in the same half-hour during the week, which is five times higher than internet streaming audio."
Source: Inside Radio
5. Radio Remains Top Reach Medium Among Teen And Millennial Listeners
Marketers call them Generation Z. You might better know them as today's teenagers. According to research giant Nielsen, they live in households that are loaded with video games, smartphones and tablets. They have easy access to Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter and unlimited data.
Knowing that teens have more media options than every generation that preceded them, it is easy to see why many Maine small business owners mistakenly believe that these kids don't listen to Portland radio anymore. But then again, who was the last grown-up who really knew what the kids were up to?
It turns out that 88% of all teens use radio each week, more than any other medium.
Teens just don't listen to the radio, they immerse themselves in radio. Each day, teens spend 4 hours and 32 minutes consuming media. Twenty-fiver percent of that time is spent with radio.
Most Maine small business owners don't sell or market products of interest to teens. So, then, why is it important to know that Generation Z invests so much of their time listening to Portland radio?
A robust teen audience is indicative of radio's general health and sustainability. Teens will become adults and will carry their media habits forward with them. This once again proves that radio, despite uninformed claims to the contrary, continues to be a viable advertising choice for Maine business owners.
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