Radio Ads Paired With Visuals In The Car Supercharge Advertising Impact

April 9, 2018 By Pierre Bouvard

As of May 2018, all new American vehicles will be mandated by federal law to have a backup video camera. The regulation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) “will go a long way to preventing injury and deaths, especially among young children.”

The prevalence of in-car screens provides consumers with visuals associated with in-dash AM/FM radios. This display, also known as “Artist Experience®,” is a service of HD Radio™ technology from DTS, a subsidiary of Xperi Corp.

HD Radio provides visuals connected to FM radio broadcasts

Ever notice album art paired with a song playing on the FM radio display in late model cars? That’s HD Radio technology paired with TagStation™ at work.

Nielsen reports half of consumers indicate they have these types of video displays in their cars. 60% of Americans report they always or sometimes read the scrolling text that appears on FM radios with the station’s name, artist, and song title information. Among those that don’t have a video display in their car, 63% say they would like to have one.

Advertisers can now pair a visual with their FM radio ad in the car

HD Radio in-dash displays provide a major opportunity for FM radio advertisers. A static visual can now be synchronized to the FM radio ad as it airs in the car.

What is the brand impact of pairing a visual with a radio ad in the car?

Nielsen conducted a national study of 1,204 vehicle owners aged 18-64. Half were exposed to FM radio ads for The Home Depot and an auto dealer. The other half of the consumers were exposed to the same audio ads with an added static visual.

Here are the key findings:

Unaided awareness for the auto dealer soars when a visual of the dealer’s logo is paired with the audio ad

Pairing an in-car visual with a radio ad has impressive +550% impact on advertiser recall. When consumers were asked for the name of the car dealer in the ad, the radio ad paired with the in-dash visual had a much higher awareness (26%) than the audio-only ad (4%).

Scotts Turf Builder experienced a 63% boost in awareness when featured in an ad for The Home Depot with a visual

Unaided awareness for Scotts Turf Builder featured in The Home Depot ad grew from 19% among those exposed to just the audio ad to 31% among those exposed to the audio ad with a visual.

The audio ad with a visual generated an 8% increase in message awareness for The Home Depot’s ad

After being exposed to The Home Depot ad, consumers were asked to indicate what the main message was. Those that were exposed to both the audio and visual ad had a 79% message recall compared to the 73% of consumers who were remembered the message but were just exposed to the audio ad.

How can radio stations offer advertisers in-car visuals with their ads?

For HD Radio stations, adding this feature doesn’t require much effort. Engineers just need a TagStation™ subscription or Artic Palm™, Jump2Go™, BE/TRE™, or other HD Radio image integration software.

Engineers use this third-party software to interface with the station’s existing automation system. Advertisers provide the image or visual they wish to appear on properly-equipped HD Radio car receivers when their ad plays.

Spots are scheduled normally and the third-party software automatically pairs the audio with the proper advertiser visual. The image will be displayed simultaneously with the audio when the advertiser spot airs.

The combination of sound and visuals is powerful. Advertisers who want to make an even deeper connection with consumers will be able to use the changing technical landscape of the car to make smarter integrations using both audio and imagery.

HD Radio in-car visuals enhance radio advertising:

  • The number of vehicles with visual display capabilities will grow as backup display becomes mandated by federal law
  • Unaided awareness for the auto dealer soars when a visual of the dealer logo is paired with the radio ad
  • Scotts Turf Builder saw a boost in awareness when featured in an ad for The Home Depot with a visual
  • Stations equipped with the HD Radio technology can offer advertisers a visual associated with their radio ad

Pierre Bouvard is Chief Insights Officer at Cumulus | Westwood One.

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