Radio Enhances Your Listener's Mood
October 2, 2012
New research indicates how listeners feel when they are tuning to radio.
Recently at the NAB Convention, Arbitron debuted the findings from a new study, sponsored in conjunction with the Media Behavior Institute, of consumer's media usage patterns. The institute used their USA TouchPoints system to investigate a number of behaviors including the radio listening patterns of more than 2,000 people aged 18-64.
While the study was primarily sales-oriented, there are a number of interesting statistics that programmers should take note of. Specifically, the study provides information about the overall mood of radio's audience when they tune in, what people are doing while they listen, and how well radio works in conjunction with other media.
Touchpoints: Media usage in context with life activities
The USA TouchPoints system uses a mobile app to capture data on five different dimensions of the study and the participant's lives -- where they are, what they were doing, who they were with, what media they were consuming and their mood at the time.
Respondents used an app to answer those five questions every half hour for 10 days. That means the study results include 20,000 days or 480,000 hours of these people's lives.
Radio is a mood enhancer
The Touchpoints study reinforces one of radio's strengths: that it's a mood enhancer. When consumers tune in to radio, they are in a positive frame of mind.
Among the 25-54-year-olds who participated in the study, nearly 75% reported feeling positive when they were listening to the radio. This was a virtual tie with television for the most positive feelings, nearly 10 points ahead of how consumers feel when using the Internet, mobile web, apps, social networking platforms or print publications.
Nearly six out of 10 respondents reported being happy when they were listening to radio, more than a quarter reported feeling confident (more than television) and 20% reported being hopeful.
Simply put, the majority of radio's audience is feeling pretty upbeat when they tune in. Keep that in mind the next time you're talking with your talent about how to deal with the angry outliers who pop up on the phones or through social media.
Radio is not a solitary experience
Another widely shared belief about radio is that people tend to listen when they are alone. While we often think of television as a medium with multiple people present, the view of radio is that it's a solitary experience (alone in my car, driving to work). However, solo listening may not be as prevalent as we think.
Among 25-54-year-old respondents, 43% reported listening to the radio with their children; more than a third said they were with their partner or spouse; and just over 20% listen in the company of co-workers.
Not only are radio listeners tuning in with others, but people listen to the radio while they are doing other things, like commuting, for one.
It's no surprise that commuting (60%) tops the list of activities people reported being engaged in while listening to the radio; 58% reported they were talking or chatting and nearly 20% said they listened while socializing. Other activities people reported when others were present included working (30%), having a meal (30%) and drinking (26%). This means that radio can spark topics of discussion and become part of what listeners are talking about.
This is great news for the sales team because it means people are listening when they are doing many of life's activities, and more importantly shopping and buying.
For programmers, it is another illustration of how important it is to grab and hold the listeners' attention with compelling content that will cut through, both literally and figuratively.
Radio plus other Media
The study also shows that combining radio and the Internet can be a very potent combination for reaching a wider audience, which reinforces the importance of your digital assets. Digital responsibilities may feel like a lot of extra work, but the increased reach could be quite beneficial for building cume and increasing the level of listener engagement with your station.
Used on its own to deliver a message, radio reached 59% of the 25-54-year-olds who participated in the study, while the Internet reaches 48.8%. When you combine the two, however, the same message reaches more than 75% of the audience.
The way to truly maximize the impact of what you create is by reinforcing it with an online component. Making sure hosts are not only catering to their over-the-air audience but also engaging their online friends, fans and followers will help maximize the impact of their efforts.
In Other News
To conclude, there were also a number of other positive stories for AM/FM radio in the study:
- AM/FM radio is still the most popular audio platform with nearly 85% of 25-54 year olds tuning in. Only 25% use satellite radio and just 15% reported streaming audio on the internet.
- Radio is the second-most-heavily-used medium behind television, and during the day radio holds the top slot for audience.
- Radio's lead over television during the day gets even bigger when you boil down the audience to people who are employed and have money to spend ... further evidence that radio is strongest with consumers who leave their homes on a regular basis.
The summary findings from this study show that radio remains a healthy medium and is a vibrant environment for advertiser's messages. To learn more about the results and share them with your team, visit the Arbitron client portal to download the presentation from the Radio Show Conference.