How Does Radio Stack Up Against The Others?


(by Bob McCurdy) Have you ever wondered how radio stacks up against other advertising options when it comes to positively influencing oft-stated ad campaign objectives such as “awareness”, “trial” and “consideration”?

No need to wonder any more as Nielsen’s Commspoint, the widely embraced channel and communication planning tool has been updated with 2017 data, once again confirming that radio remains one of the most effective media options available to any advertiser.

Commspoint is a software program that takes the guesswork out of media selection, providing advertisers with unbiased, data based support for the exclusion or inclusion of various media in ad campaigns based upon pre-determined marketing objectives.

The program quantifies the performance of 71 different media channels ability to impact these marketing objectives as determined by an in-depth consumer study as well as a channel’s pricing and reach potential. It then ranks each channel and recommends a budget allocation for those media that performed best against the advertiser’s objectives.

The list of channels evaluated is comprehensive, including radio, TV, newspapers and magazines but also six “out-of-home” channels, twenty-one digital channels and eleven mobile channels, among others.

Over 26,000 U.S. consumers participated in Commspoint’s consumer study titled, Commspoint US 2017 and graded each channel on its ability to deliver against twelve key strategic marketing objectives. For brevity’s sake, four were chosen and are reflective of the other eight. These four rank among the most widely pursued campaign objectives:

-Awareness: Make aware of a particular product or brand for the first time
-Trial: To try or buy a brand for the first time
-Where to Buy: Helping locate the location to purchase the product
-Consideration: To help decide what to buy

The category chosen for the following charts were A18-64 passenger vehicle owners and the percentages in the chart below should be read as “The percentage of respondents who replied that the channel was suitable (good at) delivering on that task. Nine of the seventy-one media channels are compared:

Overall, in terms of these four objectives, radio was determined by A18-64 passenger vehicle owners to be about 85% as effective as TV. Note however how radio performed against some of the newer media options and against online audio (Pandora, Spotify). Desktop search and Mobile search as expected perform well against “where to buy” and “consideration” but not as well against generating “awareness” and “trial”.

To get a more complete understanding and the true scoop regarding each channel’s relative performance against these four campaign objectives, channel pricing and reach potential data were merged with the respondent insights.

The results might surprise some. The percentages below reflect a “relative rank” due to the merging of data:

The key takeaway from the chart above: According to the industry’s #1 channel planning tool, Nielsen’s Commspoint, radio takes a back seat to no medium when it comes to positively influencing these oft-designated media objectives, is the equal of TV, while out-performing many of the newer media alternatives.

Each medium has its strengths and limitations, which is why multiple media are often used and is why a mix of media usually out-perform the use of a single medium. But it is important to be aware, particularly today with all of the noise surrounding some newer media options, of just how impressively AM/FM radio performs when compared to other media channels.

The data above were not manipulated or massaged in any way and should enable us to take our “why radio” discussion up a couple of notches.

It’s a terrific story.


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