Radio Drives Auto Search

Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

Consumers today, specifically auto-buying intenders, shop differently.  Reasons for differences in their shopping behavior are due to age, brand awareness and ad influence.  Thanks to data collection via technology, there are now ways to quantify the impact of advertising and more importantly, the specific impact that can be attributed directly to radio.

According to Scarborough data, radio reaches 91% of adults whose household plans to buy any new, used or leased vehicle within the next year.  Because consumers research the vehicles they are considering online, radio can help drive the search to a specific website.  But what are the drivers?  Is it day of week, number of spots or something else?

NumericOwl (powered by AnalyticOwl — an attribution and analytics platform), aggregated response data from over 1.1 million auto ads that ran from January through September of this year.  This radio activity generated well over 54.7 million total sessions from interested car buyers.  And when it came to lift in website traffic, these radio ads generated an 8% increase in visitors.  The radio spots also influenced 1.1 new users per day.

Daytime has always been radio’s primetime for listening.  When it comes to its ability to drive website traffic, the same rings true.  Across this ad category, mid-day (10am-3pm) generated the largest number of new website visitors, followed by afternoon (3pm-7pm).  Morning drive and evening delivered comparable levels of new website visitors. However, when reviewing the total number of new users across these two dayparts, those spots which ran in the evening (7pm-12m) generated nearly as many new site visitors as morning drive despite having 33,000 less spots.  While evening is not a daypart used often by auto dealers, this insight should create interest for auto dealers as a new option to increase website traffic.

And when it comes to days of the week, there appears to be a direct correlation between the number of spots that air on the days and the number of new visitors. Data from over 300 auto dealers showed that the highest number of spots ran on Friday and Saturday generating the greatest number of new visitors, followed by Thursday.  The chart below illustrates the daily breakdown of new users by day.

There were additional findings.  During this period, auto dealers were on broadcast radio for 102 days and off-air for 124.  While on-air, radio generated an average of 453 new daily website visitors, compared to 409 when off-air.  In short, dealers see over 11% more new users on days when they air an ad on radio than on days when they do not.  However, the lift seen by days when not on-air suggests that radio advertising has an extended halo effect post-airing.

Radio is an effective medium for brand building and driving awareness.  With data attribution, we know that not only does radio drive search, but it can lead to specific web activity influencing new visitors to specific websites.

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