Ad-Avoidance? Radio Is The Healthiest Mass Medium, Including TV!
January 14, 2013
First imperative of advertising, regardless of medium: Advertisers want their messages to be received, not bypassed.Â And nobody does it better than Radio.Â
NuVoodoo’s national studies of radio listeners 18-54 tell the story.Â These days, getting the consumer to the message is an advantage that Radio has over all other mass media.Â Ironically, we fight the perception that too many listeners tend to punch out commercials.Â And thus, that too few may actually receive that message, especially when placed late in a stopset.Â In reality, of course, virtually every mass advertising medium today allows consumers some opportunity to bypass the advertising.Â Accordingly, each medium poses its own respective risks of advertising-avoidance factors.Â Thus, for every one of these media, the number of consumers who actually receive the message, without bypassing, is always going to be some fraction of the head count of consumers who are using the medium.Â We thought it would be very useful to quantify those fractions.Â Â Simply put, we set out to learn an important truth:Â Accepting the fact that Radio as a medium has some spillage of listeners who punch out spots, how bad or good is that spillage when compared to the efficiency of other mass media?
We asked a national sample of 18-54 radio listeners a series of questions, each employing a 1-7 “none of the time / all of the time” scale, about how often they actually see / hear / read various kinds of advertising they encounter, as opposed to bypassing them.Â And when we asked about Radio, to underline our strength compared to other media, we deliberately loaded the dice against our medium as much as possible.Â We asked about the listening situation where commercial tuneout is most likely:Â Listening to music in the car.Â That will be, by far, the high water mark.Â Intuitively as well as empirically, we know that commercial tuneout will be a lower percentage of the time in other listening venues, or when listening to info-driven or personality-driven morning or talk shows.Â Thus, the percentage of our users who actually consume commercials in those venues and formats would invariably be higher than what we will report below.Â (Which accordingly will make our findings, and the great story they tell about Radio, even more powerful.)Â
The answer that comes screaming back out of our data is great news.Â Â Nobody does it better than Radio.Â And in fact, every other medium delivers a lower fraction of its respective users to its advertising.Â Our industry needs to get the word out loud and clear that right now, Radio outperforms all other mass media at delivering a high percentage of users who actually receive the message.Â
Watch this space later this winter, as we’ll present detailed findings, comparing Radio to one other medium at a time, on this one very basic dimension:Â how much of the alleged audience actually consumes the advertising.Â No medium can justly claim that its users consume the advertising “all the time.”Â Radio actually does have the highest score here, but it is still only 14%.Â To tell the story plainly and simply, we will be showing how much of the audience tells us they usually consume the advertising half the time (i.e.Â “4” on a 1-7) scale or more.
Let’s begin, this week, by looking at probably the single most significant finding: When it comes to delivering its users to advertising, Radio out-delivers TV.
Radio Retains Through Commercials (Even For In-Car Music!) Better Than TV
As TV has become more and more a watch-whatever-whenever medium, thanks to the DVR, digital downloads and streaming, only a minority of these respondents say they now stick around through TV commercials at least half the time.Â The rest of them typically reach for a button.Â Meanwhile, In Car Music Radio, that stereotyped fickle-listening environment, actually has significantly fewer users hitting the button when the spots come on than does TV.Â Among 25-54’s, about 50% say they usually stay through music radio spots (higher for men, lower for women) while about 40% say they typically stay through TV spots, and that number is certain to drop significantly more as digital technology penetrates further.Â In fact, the scary reality for TV, which we will document in a later column, is that TV is already doing a poor job of delivering affluent households (where technology is most common) and kid-family households (for various possible reasons) to advertising.Â Meanwhile, Radio delivers those same key market segments to the spots much more effectively.
What this means to you
This finding suggests two valuable strategies to nearly every radio station.Â One for us as an advertising provider and one for us as an advertising client.Â As an advertising provider, a strategy to educate our client marketplace about the inefficiency of TV buys, particularly when targeting certain groups, as we will discuss in later weeks.Â The faster Radio can present advertisers with hard data about TV audience waste, the faster we can shake loose some wasteful TV budgets.Â Â And as advertising clients, a strategy for assessing our own media choice.Â We now have an empirical basis for assessing how few ACTUAL impressions we are getting for our already-pricey TV buy.Â TV, even on paper, has become progressively less efficient, less-cost-effective, and less useful as a medium to advertise Radio, compared to much better direct marketing, targeted, and digital platforms.Â This dramatic finding about those actual impressions presents a good opportunity for radio stations to reevaluate whether, and if so, why, we should be buying TV campaigns in 2013.