While we continue to hear stories on how traditional media audiences are declining as people apparently ‘only watch Netflix’ and ‘never read’ a newspaper, one sector that continues to show growth is radio.
Radio has shown how it can continue to adopt new ways of reaching an audience that is still hungry for more. From headlines about period-on-period audience growth, or record-breaking revenue performance, it’s clear that the UK’s love of the medium is still growing.
One of the reasons for this is in the way radio as a medium has morphed into a wider ‘audio’ offering, not necessarily limited to one specific device. Unlike press, where digital has eaten into the purchasing of physical titles, getting your fix of Capital Radio works just as well if you listen on your desktop, mobile phone or DAB radio. Audio is a universal medium that is unaffected by the method of delivery and as such has meant stations have been able to combine that reach when selling.
The other reason it has done so well is that there is still a huge audience that can be poached without cannibalising from another commercial station…and that’s the BBC. With around half of all audio listening on BBC stations (50.9% share of hours), commercial radio still has a huge potential audience they can tap into. Which is why over the last 2 years, commercial radio has outperformed the BBC in weekly reach, quarter after quarter.
This growth leads to commercial radio breaking all records at the end of 2018, posting a total ad revenue figure of £713.3m, beating the previous figure in 2017 by more than £34m. Meaning radio’s share of ad revenue is now 6.3%, up from 5.2% in 2017.
So how are we making use of this growth?
All Response Media has always done things differently to the big network agencies, and with audio that trend continues. In much the same way as we use daytime TV to successfully target audiences, we believe that looking for opportunities outside of what other agencies do allows us to deliver efficient campaigns that work well for our clients. As with TV, we aren’t locked into big network deals that force us to use stations that aren’t the best for a campaign. Being able to choose the right station at the best price allows us to focus on delivering cost-effective performance lead campaigns.
Also, in the same way we can see tangible responses from TV spots that haven’t registered a viewer on BARB, we look to exploit the same situation with our radio planning. For example, targeting a bedding consumer at night when they can’t sleep, costing 80% less than during the day, not only delivers ads in the right environment but does so more efficiently.
Additionally, audio’s continued growth in the digital space allows for programmatic targeting to directly engage with consumers based on more specific audience types, such as ‘jobseekers in Birmingham’. Crucially though, we can also measure if they then interact with a client’s website and track that through to purchasing. Delivering a directly measurable cost per acquisition (CPA) in a medium that traditionally finds this hard to do.
So, is radio’s future going to be perfect? Unlikely. There is still pressure from platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud etc. that offer premium ad-free services, taking consumers out of the ad market. But what we know from other traditional media is that this doesn’t mean the end, it is merely a change in how people consume and will lead to other innovations. After all, most of the UK population still watch linear TV and over 12 million people still buy a newspaper every week, so people don’t change that much.