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Don’t Cut Radio Advertising; Drive up Paid Search Performance

by Brian Colling - November 15, 2022

Don’t Cut Radio Advertising

The demise of radio as a legitimate advertising channel has been exaggerated for decades. Radio remains a vital marketing tool for all advertisers who use it. The strengths of radio advertising remain the same as when the medium arrived in the 1920s. If radio did not deliver results, companies like Indeed, Progressive, ZipRecruiter, AutoZone, GEICO, McDonald’s, and The Home Depot would no longer keep it in marketing campaigns.

5 Reasons to Keep Radio Advertising

  1. Reach
  2. Affordability
  3. Contextual Targeting
  4. Geographic Targeting
  5. Demographic Targeting


Radio advertising is here to stay because radio is the leading reach platform: As of June 2022, 92% of us listen to AM/FM radio over the airwaves. Advertisers are once again dedicating increasing budgets to marketing over the radio airwaves. Even in the “Digital Age”, radio advertising is still a highly effective and viable marketing medium. Why? Because it works for brands on so many levels.


Radio delivers messages to a targeted and captive audience at a much lower cost than most mediums. For many small businesses, the prices of producing and airing a 30-second commercial during prime-time television programming can be prohibitive. Still, the costs to reach the same audience on the radio are significantly more affordable.

Contextual Targeting

Radio is one of the few advertising mediums that include a built-in loyal audience. Most radio listeners have one or two favorite radio stations they tune in to regularly. Heavy radio users work listening into their daily habits and have specific times they tune in. Radio advertisements are tailored to particular times of day to ensure you’re hitting your desired audience at the exact right time. Radio listeners also report a greater willingness to listen to advertisements. Many listeners show excellent response rates to radio spots. If you’re looking for a built-in audience for your brand, radio provides a perfect medium.

Geographic Targeting

Another significant advantage of radio advertising is the ability to market to both local and national audiences. Radio is one of the few forms of advertising allowing brand control over who experiences ads. Radio advertisers can target by city, state, region, or cover a national audience on networks like ESPN, NBC News Radio, and National Public Radio.

Demographic Targeting

According to Nielsen, in 2019, 9.5% of U.S. radio listeners in metered markets ages six and older tune to a News/Talk station, Adult Contemporary Radio (8.1%), followed by Country (6.7%), Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (6.5%) and Classic Hits (5.8%). Radio formats allow advertisers to dial in their specific demographics like women 18-34, men 25-54, or Hispanics 18+.

For the 18-34 age group listeners mostly tuned into Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (10.1%) followed by Country (7.7%) and Adult Contemporary (7.6%). 25-54-year-olds showed an overall preference for Adult Contemporary (7.7%), followed by Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (7.6%) and Country (6.8%). News/Talk is strong among 18-34-year-olds at 10th (4.3%) and 4th among 25-54-year-olds (6.7%).

Successful Radio Advertising Requires Expertise

Running successful radio advertising campaigns takes a professional who understands the ins and outs of radio advertising to manage a successful radio campaign. What time of the day should spots run? How many advertisements should run at one time? How do advertisements make the biggest impact? These are all questions a professional media and advertising firm can help answer. Many first-time advertisers make mistakes by cutting corners or managing their radio advertising campaigns.

Radio Lifts Digital Marketing Channel Performance

Regardless of radio’s perceived popularity, companies using radio ads in the marketing mix can see substantial growth in digital channels like Google, website traffic, web conversions, and purchases. Because radio advertising is typically “top of the funnel”, part of awareness campaigns or branding, digital channels experience a lift from potential customers seeking out products and services online.

An auto body shop increased its radio budget by 9% from August to October 2022 compared to May to July 2022. The company observed changes in several key Paid Search volume metrics and saw increases in branded keyword search volume (+34%). While all other marketing remained the same the company experienced the following results:

2022 Paid Search Performance (Aug. - Oct vs. May - July)

Month over month, the same auto body shop spent more for August 2022 (+27%) in radio buys on four different stations versus July 2022 using endorsements on one station. As a result, it saw an increase in conversion volume of over 49% in Paid Search, among other measurements in Paid Search volume.

2022 Paid Search Performance (Aug. vs. July)


Colling Media has found that combining both traditional radio and digital media advertising has a direct relationship with providing higher value and performance to marketing campaigns.

Ensure your message reaches the largest market segment and generates the best results by working with an experienced advertising and media agency. Colling Media understands how to help brands using targeted radio advertising generate high-quality leads and measurable results. Our media buying experience allows us to ensure our clients receive the best value with their radio advertising campaigns. We provide our clients with advertisements to reach the maximum number of prospective customers.

Interested in learning more about what radio advertising can do for your business? We’re happy to discuss how your organization can benefit from professionally managed targeted radio advertising.

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