13 Mar

Re-Evaluating Media & Undervaluing Radio

Targets the right people in the right place at the right time

Right Place Right Time 3

It probably went largely un-noticed, but last week was something of a monumental one for the UK radio industry. In fact, so far, 2018 has been quite a remarkable year for the sector.

Firstly, last week commercial radio announced record revenues of £679 million – up 5.2% – out-performing the ad industry’s estimated growth of 4.7%.

And according to Radiocentre, 12 out of the Top 20 radio advertisers now spend more than 20% of their total advertising budget on radio, and over half of those same advertisers increased their spend by 40% or more.

Tesco increased its investment “significantly” to £7.8m for its Food Love Stories activity, while Amazon raised its total spend by 118% to £5.2m and eBay by just under 40% to £8.4m.

Sky remained the UK’s biggest radio spender, increasing spend on the medium by 46%.

It was all-round great news for the industry.

But the absolute gem came in the form of the most in-depth study ever on the value of different media. “Re-Evaluating Media” was commissioned by Radiocentre and conducted by Ebiquity – the independent marketing analytics specialists – and it has really thrown the proverbial cat amongst the marketing pigeons! It’s almost impossible to describe just how important the findings of this report are.

The main headline is that radio clearly has a perception problem. In the study, agencies and marketers were asked to judge different media across a range of criteria they considered most important: for example, targeting, ROI, triggering an emotional response, reach maximisation, and brand salience. And the results are clear to see: “perception” and “reality” simply don’t match. Marketers persistently undervalue the impact of traditional media such as radio.

When comparing agency and marketer’s perception to evidence based reality, here are some of the results:

Targeting: radio came 9th on perception, but 1st on the evidence.

Brand salience: radio was 7th on perception, but equal 2nd on evidence.

Overall on all criteria: radio was equal 6th on perception, but 2nd on evidence (behind TV).

It has to be said that this mismatch didn’t occur for every criteria; on Campaign ROI for example, radio was 2nd on perception and equal 2nd on reality.

But those first three (and other) comparisons are startling to say the least. There is radio, top of the performance charts for targeting, and yet it sits at the bottom of the perception charts, joint-last in the mind of clients.

And it’s a ‘perceptual’ table that looks very familiar: the idea that TV, online video and social media represent the three leading advertising channels in 2018 would surprise few people. But it’s the evidence-based performance table that should be sounding marketer’s alarm bells. Radio performs much, much better than social media and online video on the issues that matter most to marketers. But will this out-performance be reflected in terms of advertising spend this year? It’s doubtful.

According to Ebiquity, the implications for advertisers are:

It’s time to re-evaluate the media mix to ensure they are using the most effective combination of media for their brand.

Targeting – get the balance right. It’s the single most important attribute of a brand building campaign and radio tops the targeting charts.

Keep improving creativity. No matter how effective the medium, the key to success is good creative. A key theme running across the research is the need for advertisers to strike the right balance between creatively integrating campaigns across media and optimising them for each platform.

Media owners need to prove it works. Traditional media, and notably radio, have a robust body of research evidence to prove the medium works. There is little such research for online media and this is something Ebiquity think the online industry should invest in.

You can read the full findings of the study here. If you’d like to discuss any of the information contained in this blog, please do get in touch with the Kalua team.

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