Radio – A Trusted Medium

Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

After a tumultuous year, consumer confidence and optimism are slowly on the rise. According to the Consumer Confidence Index®, these improved in February after an increase in January. While confidence is increasing, what about the issue of trust?

According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, as of January 2021, trust has declined across all U.S. institutions. Specifically, as it pertained to sectors to do what is right, while consumers were neutral in some sectors, consumers placed greater trust in consumer product goods, education, transportation, healthcare, food and beverages. Social media placed lowest on the list.

What about advertising? How do consumers feel about advertising? Similar to trust, only 19% of U.S. adults consider social media ads to be the somewhat/very trustworthy. What advertising do consumers trust? Traditional media ads – and radio ranks in the top three.

Based on a YouGov online interview conducted between December 31, 2020 and January 2021, adults trust radio ads (45%) and another form of audio that also outranks social media – podcast ads.

Consumers not only trust radio ads, but also believe radio to be a source of information. Regardless of age group, consumers believe that radio provides information that helps them. According to MRI-Simmons, consumers ages 25-54 state:

  • Radio keeps them up to date with the latest styles and trends – (56%)
  • Radio advertising provides useful information about bargains (agree strongly/somewhat) – (54%)
  • Radio keeps them informed/up to date – (52%)
  • Radio provides useful information about new products and services (agree strongly/somewhat) – 52%
  • Radio is a good source of learning – (49%)

Despite numerous options available to consumers today to gain information and trust the means of that information, traditional media still ranks high. As a traditional medium available across a multitude of devices and platforms, radio is a local medium that is not only a companion but a trusted source of advertising and for information.


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