Radio Defines Mass Medium

by Natalie Hale and David Alpern on Jan 11, 2016 12:00:00 AM DRTV, Consumer Behavior, Radio

Radio_Defines_Mass_Medium-259359-edited.jpgWithout disputing the vitality of digital, television, and print in any DR media mix, it needs to be reinforced that radio is the one remaining true mass medium; reaching more than 93 percent of Americans each and every week. In many markets, there are often individual stations that easily cume (reach) 10 percent or more of their entire local population. Radio’s affordable price point for advertising means that it is an excellent medium for creating awareness to such an extent that it can be considered brainwashing due to the immense saturation of impressions that radio is able to deliver within a relatively reasonable budget allocation.

“Radio remains the format that can give advertisers the reach and returns they covet.”

Thus while digital is capturing headlines, and television is fragmenting with not much water cooler programming left anymore to coalesce around, radio remains the format that can give advertisers the reach and returns they covet. A recent Nielsen sales effect study of radio’s ROI in four retail categories—department stores, home improvement stores, mass merchandisers, and quick-service restaurants—found that every dollar spent in radio advertising could generate up to 17X in targeted revenue. Hispanic radio demonstrated even higher response rates with reported sales increases ranging from 9 percent to a staggering 49 percent. 

Some interesting observations by category:

  • Department stores reported an ROI of 17X. Radio delivered increased foot traffic comprised of customers who spent more each time they shopped.
  • Mass merchandisers reported an ROI of 16X driven by increases in the total number of buyers and an increase in the amount spent per transaction.
  • Home improvement stores reported an ROI of 9X.
  • Quick-service restaurants (fast-food) were one of the largest category spenders and reported an ROI of 3X in incremental revenue from customers exposed to radio campaigns.

Recent saturation examples amongst our stable of clients include a health and wellness product that has been using radio on both SiriusXM’s various news-talk channels, as well as across many terrestrial talk-radio networks. Self-help and improvement remains a strong category that we are finding has strong demand for radio advertising.

This makes a compelling case for why radio should continue to play a significant role in a mass marketers’ 2016 media mix. Harnessing radio advertising’s influence on the marketplace can increase sales, deliver more foot traffic, amplify brand messages, and positively contribute to overall growth trajectories.
Photo by Stuart Miles/

Natalie Hale is founder and President of Media Partners Worldwide in Long Beach, Calif., a remnant radio advertising agency. David Alpern is the Director of Digital Media at Media Partners Worldwide.

Natalie Hale and David Alpern's blog
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