Radio Advertising: Driving Sales And Building Brands

June 5, 2017 By Westwood One

Today we look to Local Ad Recall CEO, Tom Meyer, to discuss the impact of radio advertising through local radio ad recall and effectiveness studies.

Research company Local Ad Recall quantifies the impact of advertising on radio stations and measures what advertiser attributes are important to your listeners. After fielding 27 local ad recall studies with 8,377 consumers, we have uncovered powerful insights about the power of local radio advertising and strategies to create effective ads that can be replicated on a national scale.

Here are some strategies:

1. Build brand awareness to cultivate a reputation. Consumers cite reputation as the most important attribute for major car, health, home improvement, financial planning, and legal service decisions. Erwin Ephron, father of modern media planning, described it best when he said the job of advertising is to remind people of the brands they know when they need to make a purchase.

2. Use AM/FM radio to build unaided awareness. To measure unaided recall, we ask consumers to name retailers they know in a category without giving them any help. These are the brands consumers consider when they are ready to purchase products. Brands advertising on radio experience an average unaided recall five times greater than those not advertising on radio.

3. Devote more ad time to brand building, less to price or item. In a sample study, we looked at car dealers and their major marketing challenge. They sell car brands that are already made famous and well known by billions spent in national ads instead of their own local brand. We listened to auto dealer ads from around the country and found on average, only 21% of the ad time is devoted to building the brand of the dealer. 79% goes to call to action.

National retail brands can learn from this example. Don’t get caught up in promotions, price cuts, or item-specific information. Use time wisely to convey important brand messaging.

4. Find out what matters to consumers and tailor accordingly. We’ve listened to dozens of car dealer ads and found they are all the same. But depending on the market, there are huge differences in what’s important to new car buyers, even between station audiences in the same market.

In the graphic below we depict two attributes: special offers and deals and reputation. Depending on the market, the roles of these attributes vary widely by market and by station audience during the purchase decision process. According to the Advertising Research Foundation, 75% of ROI is based on the creative. So focus copy on what’s important to your listeners to influence decisions.

5. Have real people tell their story about your brand. Face it, most ads sound like ads. Consumers are growing less interested in what a brand has to say about themselves and more interested in what their consumers have to say. When a real person starts telling a story, we lean forward and engage.

6. Use radio personality endorsements to develop listener trust. Why? Our studies have shown listeners strongly consider radio personalities to be trusted friends. After reputation, 45% of listeners consider recommendation and referral from a trusted friend in deciding on an advertiser.

Key takeaways:

  • Build brand awareness to cultivate a reputation
  • Use AM/FM radio to build unaided awareness
  • Devote more ad time to brand building, less to price or item
  • Find out what matters to consumers and tailor copy accordingly
  • Have real people tell their story about your brand
  • Use radio personality endorsements to develop listener trust

Tom Meyer, CEO of Local Ad Recall, has been measuring listener (consumer) needs and perceptions in the radio industry for the last 20 years.

To learn more about how Local Ad Recall can work for you, contact Todd Alan at 212-735-1107 or email

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