Digital makes the AM/FM radio plan better and vice versa

November 18, 2022

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Background information

In this week’s egtabite we take a closer look on new research from Nielsen published by the Audio Active Group in the US. It shows why a blend of digital ad platforms and AM/FM radio is one of the most powerful combinations in media.

Some of the largest studies ever conducted on advertising effectiveness have found as the number of media platforms utilized increases, effectiveness and sales effect grow. Spending across multiple platforms delivers greater ROI than any single platform.

Nielsen Scarborough: Digital and radio work so well together because their audience profile is very similar

An examination of the socioeconomic profile of heavy Internet users and heavy AM/FM radio listeners finds many similarities. AM/FM radio and digital share very similar profiles for employment, presence of children, income, and age profile.

Compared to heavy TV viewers, heavy AM/FM radio listeners are younger, in larger households, more affluent, more employed, and are bigger users of social media. AM/FM radio and digital work so well together because of their similar audience profiles.

Campaign reach grows +13% to +20% when digital (online video and social) is added to a radio plan

Nielsen Commspoint, the media planning platform, examined four types of AM/FM radio campaigns – small, medium, large, and very large. For each of the four AM/FM radio campaigns, the addition of digital was priced as a 20% increase to the base AM/FM radio plan.

In each case, adding a digital media component of online video and social to the AM/FM radio plan generated a +13% to +20% lift in campaign reach.

The addition of digital to the AM/FM radio campaign saw reach grow in every age group, especially among 18-24s.

Radio is a reach accelerator: Campaign reach soars +27% to +94% when radio is added to a digital-only plan

For each of the three digital campaigns (heavy, medium, and light), the addition of AM/FM radio was priced as a 20% increase to the base digital plan. According to Nielsen Media Impact, the media optimization platform, heavy, medium, and light digital campaigns see a boost in audience reach when AM/FM radio is introduced into the media plan.

  • A heavy digital plan sees campaign reach increase +27% with the addition of AM/FM radio
  • A medium digital plan generates a +38% reach growth when AM/FM radio is introduced
  • A light digital media plan finds campaign reach almost doubles (+94%) when AM/FM radio is added to the plan

It is interesting to note that the greater reach lift occurs with adding AM/FM radio to the smallest digital campaign. Advertisers with small budgets are sometimes concerned that adding new media platforms might spread themselves too thin.

These new findings from Nielsen should be exciting news for advertisers with small digital budget programs. The 20% increase to the budget to add AM/FM radio to the small digital campaign results in an eye-popping doubling of reach.

The addition of AM/FM radio to a digital plan results in reach lift across all demographics. The older the demographic, the greater the reach lift when AM/FM radio is introduced to a digital media plan. Given that older demographics hold the vast majority of the wealth in the U.S., growing 35+ reach is a powerful marketing strategy.


Presentation of the key findings

Text adapted by egta – originally published by Pierre Bouvard – the Chief Insights Officer of the Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group®.