Radio Does Drive Search

The majority of shoppers today search before purchasing any product. They look for product information, compare prices and brands. Does radio, as an advertising medium, drive that search or influence online behavior? That question is often posed to us at the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) by advertisers, agencies and our members.

Radio is the top reach medium – reaching consumers everywhere they go and throughout their day. It delivers a strong return on investment. When radio is part of a media-mixed campaign, it improves brand awareness – it’s the quintessential complementary medium. And yes, now we have quantifiable proof that Radio Does Drive Search!

Based on a study commissioned by the RAB, radio generated an average 29% lift in Google search activity. The result of the study was calculated by an analysis of over 2,100 local radio ads across 6 different categories.

So how was the data compiled?  Using radio occurrence data, the list of advertisers was filtered down based on weight and spending levels.   Those advertisers fell into six buckets:  automotive, eCommerce, insurance, auto aftermarket, jewelry retail and wireless communications.  The occurrence activity of these advertisers was matched – by date, time and market – to Google search activity.  Across all instances, radio increased the search activity of each advertised brand.

This study also revealed that, among those advertisers, radio search levels varied by daypart with morning drive and midday delivering the highest search levels – 33% and 32%, respectively.

As mentioned earlier in this blog post, radio is a complementary medium.  One particular advertiser analyzed also used  television.  In this instance, radio drove 228% more search activity than television – in total and dollar for dollar.

Of course, we all know that not all advertising intent is geared to drive web activity, so there are naturally some categories that will generate more search activity versus others.  This was also apparent in the findings in the study, but was there something else that contributed to that lift? Indeed, there was.

Previous blog posts referenced the importance of good radio creative and this study underscores that importance. A look (or in this case a listen) into the radio creative provided the answer.  There were certain attributes that helped generate a greater lift in search activity including mentions  of price, product or product feature news, mentioned a locale, and spoke directly to specific target audiences.

So what does this all mean?  To summarize:

  • Radio is the #1 reach medium.
  • Radio is a medium that connects emotionally.
  • Radio delivers a strong return on ad investment.
  • Radio improves campaign performance in a media-mixed campaign.
  • Radio not only drives search, but is proven to increase search activity by an average of 29%.

If you’d like to know more, click here.


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