How to advertise on radio
When to use radio advertising
Radio works well with many other marketing strategies and can be a cost-effective way to implement a traditional medium and reach a lot of people.
How much does radio advertising cost?
Number of People Listening x Cost to Reach 1,000 listeners (CPM) = Cost of Advertising Per Spot
FrequencyAnother element that impacts pricing is frequency. This is the number of times the average person hears your radio ad over the course of a week. With radio, repetition is key. One radio spot isn’t going to do much for you. The more times people hear your ad, the more familiar they will be with your brand. Just like cost, frequency has no magic number. Frequency will depend on the stations and dayparts you are purchasing. A marketing agency with traditional radio buying experience should include frequency in your branding strategy.
LocationRunning an ad in a large metro area will cost more because there is potential to reach more listeners. A Top 40 station in Los Angeles will cost more than a talk station in rural Michigan. However, don’t discount the power of local stations. Radio builds a connection with listeners through on-air personalities. These hosts often live in the communities where their listeners live, giving them more credibility and trust with their audience. If you’re a local business hoping to boost awareness, think about selecting stations that are a cornerstone of the community.
LengthThe duration of the ad can also impact cost. Rates tend to be higher for longer ads and cheaper for shorter ads. A 15-second spot may be cheaper to produce and run than a 30-second spot, but ask yourself: can I effectively get my message across in that amount of time?
CompetitionCertain times of the year, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or during special events, can drive up the cost of an ad spot due to more demand.
ProductionDon’t forget to consider the production costs of creating a radio ad. Businesses can produce these spots themselves, or choose to outsource these services to a radio network or company that specializes in this type of ad production. Speaking of spots, there are a few different methods you can use to advertise on the radio. Most people think of radio ads as a traditional spot played during commercial breaks, but there are other options as well.
- Produced Spot – these are ads played during classic ad breaks. Produced spots are pre-recorded advertisements that require some production to get done. They can have multiple voices, sound effects, or a jingle, and generally include a call to action.
- Live Read – this type of ad is when the radio host or DJ reads your script live on air. This leverages one of radio’s biggest advantages – the local market. The personality of the DJ can shine a light on your business and help your brand stand out.
- Sponsorships/Promotions– some stations will let your business or brand sponsor news, sports, traffic, or any of the regular programming they air.
Finding your radio audience
Finding the right audience for your ads is crucial for your bottom line. If you’re advertising to the wrong group of people, you’re throwing money out the window. There are so many stations out there – how do you find your audience with radio? Start by looking at demographic data. Choosing to run ads on stations that you personally listen to will probably not get the results you want. Instead, advertisers focus on finding stations that your current customer base or target demographic is listening to.
Radio station programming is formatted to reach specific segments of listeners based on demographics. Factors like age, location, gender, and interests are considered and on-air content is tailored to appeal to these groups of people. For example:
Top 40 Radio
The primary audience for Top 40 Radio is men and women between the ages of 18-34. Their interests likely include social media and fitness.
If you’re looking to target an older male crowd, talk radio might be a good option. Men between the ages of 45-54 dominate the talk radio format.
If you’re not sure what station demographics look like, consider reaching out to stations to see if they will give you information about their audience and advertising rates. Marketing agencies with a traditional team, like Media Place Partners, can also leverage our decades of experience in the marketplace to help you find the best stations for your ad.
The bottom line
Just like as in decades past, radio continues to offer a combination of music, local content, and personalities that listeners tune in to. However, the questions surrounding radio advertising can scare businesses off before they consider this option. What are the costs of running a radio ad? How do you know what audience you’re reaching? We hope we helped answer these questions and took away some of the mystery that surrounds radio ads. If you’re looking to reach a lot of people at a fraction of the price of other traditional advertising channels, radio can be an effective tool to incorporate into your marketing toolkit.