Unleash The Power of Radio Advertising – How to Thrive on the Dial!

Unleash The Power of Radio Advertising – How to Thrive on the Dial!

Radio ads – right now you’re hearing a quirky voiceover for a tile shop, right?  Maybe a shouty announcer talking up tools?  Perhaps it’s all about the latest car you’ve had your eye on?  It doesn’t matter – when you think radio ads, you recall radio advertising just like the 68%* of Australians that listen to the radio every single day.

In fact, the latest data proves that radio is among the leading media ROI performers. It’s right up there for influence, engagement and response. Radio advertising gets a bad rap, it’s true. It’s not cool and hip and down with the kids – and yet, those kids, their parents and their grandparents consistently respond to radio advertising.

That means, for potential advertisers, radio campaigns offer all the benefits of high impact advertising, without the “cool tax” you pay for digital and TV.

The myths and realities of radio advertising in 2019

This is the digital age, right?

Radio advertising is an antiquated medium, right?

Actually, radio is wearing the digital storm better than most traditional media, and cumulative audiences are currently at record highs^.

Why isn’t your ad agency telling you this? There’s a cultural cringe associated with radio advertising in the ad industry right now, but that’s all it is, the ad industry is besotted with the shiny new digital toy – even when the data says different.

The data says that the most effective advertising campaigns consistently combine traditional and digital media to create more reach, frequency and engagement.

  • 16 million Australians listen to the radio every week#
  • Radio and online is the strongest two channel combination, delivering an average ROI of +23%, nearly three times more than TV and online (+9%) +
  • Radio advertising delivers an average ROI of +17%, more than online (14%) and TV (13%)+
  • Radio is the only channel that consistently increases ROI; the results for radio are always positive+
  • Up to 1 in 3 people respond to presenter endorsements (live reads etc)*

Most recent findings on radio effectiveness

In 2018, data analysts Ebiquity UK examined 4500 radio campaigns to determine the relevance of radio in the digital world (and published a rather interesting rant on the findings). They assessed radio against other media for 12 key campaign success factors including targeting, ROI, emotional response, brand value and campaign reach.

So how did radio fare amongst TV, Digital, Newspapers, Magazines, and Direct Mail? Overall, radio performed second only to TV and yet 68 leading advertising agencies rated it way down in number six.


Source: http://www.adnews.com.au/news/advertisers-and-agencies-overvalue-online-video-undervalue-radio-and-print-ebiquity-study

So where does radio advertising rate for key effectiveness factors?

  • Targets the right people in the right place at the right time: Ranked 1
  • Increases campaign ROI: Ranked 2
  • Gets ads noticed: Ranked 3
  • Increases brand salience: Ranked 2
  • Triggers a positive emotional response: Ranked 2
  • Short term sales response (Call to action campaigns): Ranked 2

So which media ranked number one? In most cases it was still everyone’s traditional favourite, television advertising. TV advertising is still a high ROI, high relevance media and as specialists in metro and regional media buying, ADFX can help you create a powerful state-wide TV and radio advertising campaign.

Which products get the best ROI on radio?

Like all media, it’s all about strategy.  It’s vital to have a media strategist and creative team that is invested in your success.  A good media planner and strong creative department can make just about any product sell on radio – but some products kill it on the airwaves.

The power of “out and about” advertising

When you’re thinking of buying a new car, you see that car everywhere. It’s like there’s suddenly a run on new car ads.  This “dog whistle” effect is particularly powerful for products people are thinking about when they’re on the road and 48.4% of radio listenership happens in the car.#  So, it’s no wonder cars and other vehicles kill it on radio.  In fact, consumers are 7 times more likely to buy cars heard on radio.* Food, entertainment, retail, travel – all rely heavily on radio to drive ROI.@

To-do list products and services

We carry the worries of the world on our shoulders and we take the time to think about them while we’re stuck in traffic.  That’s why products that solve a financial, health, home or career problem do well on radio.  The Financial sector is one of the biggest radio spenders.  Government, telecoms, retirement, family services, household and pharmaceuticals all rely on radio to catch listeners when they’re in the “need to take action” headspace.@  With workplace and home listenership a close second and third, you’ll also hear a lot of business services and household products getting excellent ROI on radio.@

Theatre of the mind

Ahhh, the old radio cliché – theatre of the mind.  Creating an “aspirational” mental picture allows the listener to form an emotional attachment to the product.  This works for everything from luxury holidays to high end electrical goods. But then there’s the other end of the market – where sales are hindered by the product’s appearance.  Generic products that have no/little visual differentiation (bathroom tiles anyone?) can come alive with the right radio creative – radio alone sets them apart from their somewhat similar competitors.

Radio advertising costs compared to other media

Radio’s always been one of the most cost effective advertising mediums. Compared to TV and newspaper, radio is downright cheap – and its track record for ROI makes it a stellar investment, not just a cost. Traditional media is feeling the “squeeze” from ad budgets being diverted to digital – so while the listenership is staying steady, and even rising, radio ad costs are dropping.  Radio spot costs vary based on market share (survey results), time of day, demographics and location – and metro radio costs a whole lot more than regional radio. 

You’ll also pay more for spots with higher cut-through, including announcer live reads. Up to 1 in three* listeners respond to a live read when the announcer is trusted, the timing is right and the product is perfect for the audience.  So although a live read may cost more than a regular advertisement, the ROI can be staggering. The right media strategist will recognise opportunities suited to your product, be it ads, sponsorships, live reads or high frequency stings. ADFX uses our 20+ years in media buying to find the perfect opportunities for our clients – driving their ad spend further.

Queensland radio stations – mining for GOLD in the regions

Radio advertising is cheap. Regional radio ads are not only extremely affordable, but speak to a loyal and dedicated audience. Radio announcers are trusted “friends” giving their valued opinions on your product or service and there’s no listener loyalty like a regional listener. Queensland boasts a powerful regional radio network with just enough listening options to laser-target your demographic, but not so many that the message lacks cut-through. Queensland radio stations are hidden gems, overlooked by major metropolitan advertising agencies. Adding Queensland regional broadcasters to your advertising mix can greatly improve ROI on your campaign because your spend goes a very, very long way. 

Like all media buying, it’s vital to have an expert in the medium in the room. ADFX is the leading media buyer and planner for regional Queensland media and we know radio.  We know the programming. We know the announcers. We know how to laser-target your message to the listeners in each region.  Check out our track record of achieving stellar ROI on Queensland radio campaigns.

How to unleash the power of radio advertising


It’s no secret that the top-performing campaigns hit the right audience multiple times. Integrating your radio campaign with digital activity has consistently proven to be the most effective approach to advertising.* Other surprising top performers include TV and print. Spend wisely based on solid, data-driven advice from an advertising professional.


Creative that cuts through is the most overlooked element in broadcast media campaigns. The Nova radio network revolutionised the radio industry by putting creative first and then building the radio spot schedule around it. They knocked other radio networks out of the park for ROI and cut through. Engaging an agency that can bring together the RIGHT creative for various media channels to form a coherent message across each “audience touch” is vital – otherwise you’re paying for air time with fewer results.

Full Service Agency

Direct Vs Agency: it’s the never-ending debate in radio land.  Where is the better buy and the better results? Accredited advertising agencies cost the advertiser no more than buying direct. With the right ad agency, however, your ROI goes through the roof, costing you LESS per lead than buying direct. Good ad agencies offer you transparent, hands-on help to make every ad spend dollar go further and return more.

Ad agencies provide expert media buying and planning services. Agencies ensure that your message is carefully crafted for every audience and every medium. Full service ad agencies create cut-through creative (let’s face it, your spend is too important to leave it up to direct, in-house creatives!).  We also provide you with higher ROI on your digital marketing activity because we know the data and can find the RIGHT influencers, channels and advertising activity for your needs.  Frankly, who has time to manage multiple media reps, each with their own agenda and budget to hit?  Right message, right strategy, right ad spots… it’s not rocket science.  Anyone with twenty years in the game could do it!