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What Makes a Radio Ad Effective? A Comprehensive Guide

The 1980 pop song ‘Video killed the radio star’ might imply no one listens to the radio anymore.

It would also be wrong. Over 235 million Americans listen to the radio every week.

Listeners tend to listen on a regular basis, making them a loyal audience to tap into. Yet with the rise of the podcast, some worry about the effectiveness of radio advertising in the digital era.

Wondering how to create effective radio advertising? Read on to learn more.

Is Radio Advertising Effective?

The short answer is yes. You can target a specific demographic more easily than you can with television.

Radio advertising is also cheaper to create. You may only need sound effects or a jingle and a voice actor to read your copy.

Take the classic radio commercial for Kodacolour Gold film as an example. It shows a clever way to tackle a difficult problem.

How do you advertise the depth of colors available using a color photographic film on the radio? The advertising team chose to compare the colors to sounds and the result is very effective.

Effective Radio Advertising Strategies

To really succeed with radio advertising, you need to realize one main truth. You’re not buying air time with your commercial. No, you’re buying access to an audience.

Start by choosing the type of station your target audience listens to. Next, check out the programs this station offers.

Who listens to them? Is there a certain type of person who calls in during these programs? Would your commercial complement these types of programs?

Next, choose the time of day. The slots during commuting times are the most expensive as there are more listeners.

Don’t stop at choosing the slot based on cost. Think about the receptiveness of listeners during that time period.

The morning drive time slot is the most expensive because it has the most listeners. Yet they’re also the most ‘awake’ and ready to listen.

Yet those listening during the cheaper late-night slots made an active choice to listen at that time. You can reach them with a repeat run of your campaign to build better brand awareness.

Finally, make sure you stick to one or two points in your ad. You don’t have much time so keep your commercial simple and easy to understand.

You should also include a clear, simple call-to-action so listeners know what they need to do next.

Measuring Radio Advertising Effectiveness

One simple way to measure the effectiveness of a radio commercial involves landing pages. By sending listeners to a custom website landing page, you can gauge how much of your traffic came from the ad.

Do these visitors go on to buy your products and services? 

Another way involves giving listeners a special coupon code. You can track how many sales are down to the ad through the number of codes used.

Do you encourage listeners to visit your store? Ask customers how they found you. That can help measure how effective your ad is.

Choose an advertising company that can this data for you. They can find other means of measuring radio advertising effectiveness.

Access a New Audience

One of the beautiful things about radio is the access you get to a new audience. Running an effective radio advertising campaign can build greater brand awareness among listeners.

Keep your ad short and relevant. Add a catchy jingle to help embed the message in the listener’s mind.

Above all, be yourself. Good copy and a personable style can take you far in radio advertising.

Check out our other articles for more tips about business and marketing.