Will Media Buyers Like Radio In 2019?


In a new report, What Big Local Advertisers Are Cutting, Increasing, Borrell and Associates shows radio is the only traditional type of media in the top five types of marketing used by the respondents with the most experience. These master marketers are also roughly twice as likely to say they plan to increase their radio spending in 2019.

Borrell & Associates CEO Gordon Borrell tells Radio Ink: “About 40 percent of novice marketers buy radio, versus 76 percent for master marketers. However, there’s one area where novices beat the masters when it comes to radio: They are more likely to start buying radio in 2019. Our survey showed that 5 percent of these smaller, less-experienced advertisers said they planned to buy radio for the first time, while 3 percent of master marketers said they would.”

More than 3,800 completed surveys from April-June, 2018, were received. Eleven percent of the respondents are considered large local advertisers, who reported spending $200,000 or more annually on advertising.

“Of the larger local ad-buyers, less than 2 percent are eliminating radio and 19 percent are trimming. That leaves an encouraging statistic: 79 percent are either keeping their radio budgets the same or increasing them.” Not bad, says Borrell. “It’s that 19 percent trimming budgets that’s most worrisome. We didn’t ask ‘How much will you trim?’ But it’s logical to assume that they’re trimming to fund digital media initiatives, that digital media initiatives aren’t hugely expensive, and that, therefore, the trimming isn’t likely to be a lot.”

That migration of traditional media ad dollars into digital media is reflected by the report. “We’re forecasting local radio advertising to be down 2.8 percent in 2019. Local digital spending is forecast to increase 9.2 percent,” said Borrell. “But know that what’s actually happening is that we’re seeing an extremely crowded advertising marketplace, so what you’ll see is perhaps two-thirds of the stations taking the brunt of the loss, and the rest possibly seeing growth next year.”

So where will the ad dollars be in the new year? “Restaurants and auto look pretty tough for radio right now, according to survey responses. But there’s a glimmer of hope in franchises and some of the home-services categories, many of which are also franchised,” said Borrell. “I’d say look at HVAC, windows and siding, plumbing, and electrical, and the old standby, law firms; particularly personal injury and those focusing on elderly care. They aren’t as affected by co-op programs that have increasingly directed more dollars toward digital media. There’s big competition from direct mail, but I think radio can complement their mail campaigns nicely because most are ‘marriage mail,’ and a radio campaign can make them stand out when the mail drop is made.”


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