• Hugh McPherson

Increased digital focus paying off for radio and its advertisers

(from RAB) The radio industry’s investment in digital advertising continues to pay dividends, generating a 13.4% increase in digital revenues totaling $700 million in 2017. That figure is projected to climb even higher this year, according to “Benchmarking Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues,” the 6th annual report prepared by the Radio Advertising Bureau and Borrell Associates. As a complement to radio stations’ traditional over-the-air ad packages, the study showed that 85% of radio advertisers are also buying some form of digital advertising -- three-quarters of them are buying digital and radio together.

The report also determined that digital ad revenue accounted for 7.5% of the average station’s ad revenues in 2017, up from 6.3% in 2016. The study analyzed online ad income from over 10,000 radio stations, in addition to survey responses from more than 1,300 local businesses that purchase radio advertising. “Radio is definitely embracing digital as an opportunity to serve customers better, more so than in previous years,” said Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates.

“Stations are clearly offering a level of marketing expertise to their customers that makes the digital buy ‘safe,’ and certainly stronger when combined with radio spots.” The RAB-Borrell report also revealed that over the past two years, the number of stations selling high-demand digital services such as SEO, website development, and social media management has doubled. In addition, the study identified the acquisition of new business as radio advertisers’ top marketing goal.

These advertisers rank Social Media and Radio as the top two methods of reaching this objective. “Digital has been integrated into all facets of broadcast radio’s offering both in programming and sales, and the results are definitely paying off,” stated Erica Farber, President/CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau. “As radio continues to provide integrated marketing solutions to its advertisers we expect to see continued growth." She added that “the RAB is focused on providing digital training and continued knowledge-building for our members so they can better serve their clients.”

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