Television and Radio Advertising – Does it Still Work?
What comes to mind when you hear, “I’m lovin’ it?” What about “like a good neighbor?” If you’ve spent any time watching TV or listening to the radio over the past two decades, you’ve probably got fast-food and insurance on your mind.
You hear catchy jingles or see commercials frequently in everyday life, and the evidence shows that they work. Some people question the effectiveness of snappy twenty-first-century radio or television advertising since so many people are shifting their watching and listening habits to streaming services such as Spotify or Netflix. It’s a fact that U.S. consumers spend more time on the internet and less time in front of cable or network TV today than they did a decade ago.
In 2019, spending on digital media ads was higher than on television ads for the first time, according to the Washington Post. Media experts think that two-thirds of advertising budgets will be allotted to digital media by 2023. The cord-cutting booster organization NoCable reports that a total of 182.5 million people subscribed to streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Sling, and others in 2019. They expect that number to rise in 2020.
Companies looking at the media landscape have started to wonder if they should advertise on television and radio or make the digital switch, eliminating an integrated campaign.
The Allure of Digital Media
Digital media advertising is certainly alluring, especially since ad buys are cheaper than they are on TV. A smart website filled with free, organic SEO brings in valuable customers. Upping the numbers with pay-per-click and social ads is fairly easy to set up and can cost as low as a few cents per click. On the other hand, producing and placing a television or radio ad can run thousands, if not millions, of dollars depending on when and where it airs.
Supporters point out that digital ads allow businesses to more effectively target their customers. The ads and even future purchase are just inches from the potential customer’s fingers since almost every potential customer has a smartphone in their pocket. Ad buyers can work with Facebook to target particular age ranges and demographics with just a few clicks. In contrast, TV commercials and radio advertisements broadcast the station’s entire audience.
On top of that, advertisers can re-target their audience. That means they can set up ads that will reappear throughout a potential customer’s internet browsing experience. They’ll see the ad over and over again. Marketers can even monitor results in real time and make adjustments to ensure their effectiveness. With all these positives, why would you choose the more expensive, less targeted option?
How Much Reach Does TV Advertising Still Have?
While all of this might add up to a convincing argument on behalf of digital advertising, marketers should know that TV still has a wide reach. Leichtman Research Group found that almost 80 percent of households still subscribed to some form of pay-TV service in 2018. When they broke down their data, the survey found that:
- Seventy percent of adults aged 18 to 44 and 84 percent of those 45 and up subscribe to some kind of cable TV.
- Just 20 percent of people with incomes exceeding $50,000 do not pay for TV.
Research completed by WARC found that people are 15 times more likely to pay attention to an ad on TV than one they see on Facebook, and twice as likely to watch TV ads over YouTube ads. TV advertising captivates and holds attention, while digital ads can turn into just noise to internet browsers.
Dropping TV ads from your advertising budget could ultimately lose you a large portion of your potential audience. As tempting as it is to follow the drift to digital media, the decision risks losing touch with important demographics. Many Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers still use TV as their prime source of entertainment, and they still command much of the country’s buying power.
Broadcast ads allow you to reach large numbers at one time, especially during primetime TV hours. Popular TV shows and must-watch events can have more than ten million viewers in one night. These viewers may take out their smartphones while they watch the commercial to do more research on the product that you advertise. Smart marketers can capitalize on the interest and target them with digital ads.
You can shape TV ads so that they appeal to the viewer’s emotion and turn that emotion into a purchase. For example, a digital ad for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals may momentarily draw attention, but their emotional TV commercials prove to viewers that the ASPCA’s cause is important and that they should help animals.
Your marketing company can help you come up with a TV spot that reflects your company’s culture and goals. Ad producers come up with incredibly creative commercials all the time and know how to get your company to stand out from the others. Most importantly, you can create an ad that actually sells.
How Effective Is Radio Advertising?
Radio advertising is cheaper than TV advertising, but still more expensive than digital media. It might be worth your money: it’s effective.
Many people listen to the radio on their daily commute. Your ad buys you a captive audience, and if your ad is effective, new customers. Car commuters can’t zone out as easily as TV watchers. Drivers can’t pick up their smartphone to scroll through social media during a commercial break.
A quick turnaround is another perk of radio advertising. You can create your spot in a short amount of time, whereas TV ads and digital media graphics take more time and labor to build. With the help of a marketing agency, you can construct a radio spot that airs on local radio stations at the peak time for your target market.
Many people still listen to the radio even though music streaming sites like Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music draw more customers each year. A 2018 report by Nielsen found that Americans are still listening to AM/FM radio. More than 90 percent of adults 18 and older use the radio during their week, a higher percent than television, smartphone, or computer use. The conversion numbers are perhaps the most convincing argument for radio advertising. Another Nielsen report found that for every dollar spent on radio advertising, companies got back $12 worth of sales.
Radio stations allow you to target their particular audience. Advertising on a classic rock station means that Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers will hear your message, while advertising on today’s top hits may target the Millennials and Gen-Zers. Nielsen published statistics documenting how each generation still routinely listen to the radio:
- 41.2 million or 98 percent of Baby Boomers listen to the radio habitually
- 80.5 million or 97 percent of Generation Xers use the radio weekly
- 71.6 million or 95 percent of Millennials listen to the radio regularly
Combining data across adults 18 and older, Nielsen found that radio reaches more than 243 million people each month—the highest reach of any medium.
The Importance of Running an Integrated Ad Campaign
The smartest choice may be not to put all of your eggs in one basket. Going all-in on TV, radio, or digital ads exclusively will limit your reach and exclude important segments of your potential customers. Spreading your ad budget across platforms will allow you to capitalize on the full benefits of the contemporary media ecosystem. Yes, digital media is the way of the future, but you want to make money today. Consider allocating money across the media landscape: from digital to radio and television ad spots.
Advertising Research Foundation’s 2016 study uncovered that companies who put their ad money into different platforms tend to see a higher return on investment in their advertising–by as much as 35 percent. That’s a huge bump. If you limit your buys to one medium, you could be leaving money on the table.
Need to Plan Your Organization’s Ad Strategy? Our Advertising Experts Are Ready to Help.
For more than 30 years, the professional advertising experts at The Remnant Agency have created successful, award-winning campaigns. We have placed more than one million radio and television ads for our satisfied customers, so we know what to do to make ads work for you.
We can help you plan an ad strategy for your organization that gets your products or services in front of more eyes. And we’ll help you create a message that turns those eyes into dollars. The Remnant Agency can create a campaign that will maximize your ROI for your ad spend, so head over to our Contact page to set up a free consultation.