Last week, Nielsen released the latest issue of Audio Today 2022: How America Listens. In the report, Nielsen profiles how Americans use broadcast AM/FM radio, podcasts, streaming, and satellite audio. With consumption at all-time highs, the audio landscape has never had more potential for advertisers as the United States emerges from two years of the pandemic.
Here are the key takeaways from the report:
AM/FM radio has mass reach among Americans 18+, adults 35-49, and even Millennials 18-34
Nielsen finds that AM/FM radio “continues to reach more Americans every month than any other platform, linear or digital.” On a monthly basis, AM/FM radio reaches 93% of adults 18+, more than live + time-shifted TV (90%), smartphones (86%), TV-connected devices (81%), PCs (76%), and tablets (46%).
Even among Millennials 18-34, AM/FM radio’s monthly reach of 87% is comparable to smartphones (89%) and beats live + time-shifted TV’s 80%.
Among adults 35-49, AM/FM radio (93%) trumps the monthly reach of smartphones (91%), live + time-shifted TV (90%), TV-connected devices (89%), PCs (82%), and tablets (52%).
AM/FM radio has massive monthly reach among African American and Hispanic audiences
AM/FM radio has substantial monthly reach among African American Millennials 18-34 (88%) and African Americans 35-49 (92%).
Similarly, among Hispanic audiences both 18-34 (93%) and 35-49 (98%), AM/FM radio’s monthly reach beats all other media and device platforms.
AM/FM radio should be the go-to media platform for any marketer seeking to target Hispanics. AM/FM radio decisively beats TV 93% to 79% among Hispanic 18-34s and 98% to 89% among Hispanic 35-49s.
AM/FM radio is “the center of the total audio universe” with an audience that is 16 times bigger than those who only listen to digital audio and satellite radio
According to Nielsen, AM/FM radio makes up the majority of the U.S. audio audience with a 93% monthly reach among adult Americans 18+. Those who only listen to digital audio and satellite represent only 6% of America. AM/FM radio’s reach is 16 times bigger than the “digital only” audience.
Among adults 18-34 and 35-49, AM/FM radio’s monthly reach of 87%+ makes it the centerpiece of audio consumption. As such, AM/FM radio needs to also be the centerpiece of any audio marketing campaign looking to build a brand, drive sales, and reach consumers at scale.
Among 18-34s, those who only listen to digital audio and satellite represent only 12% of America. AM/FM radio’s 18-34 reach is 7 times bigger than the “digital only” audience.
Most AM/FM radio listening takes place in the car on the path to purchase during key periods throughout the week
Two-thirds of all time spent with AM/FM radio occurs away from home. In contrast, the vast majority of Pandora and Spotify listening occurs at home, according to Edison’s “Share of Ear.”
AM/FM radio is the soundtrack of the American worker
Despite the perception that most Americans are working from home in the post-pandemic world, most are commuting to work and listening to AM/FM radio. Nielsen reports 86% of pre-pandemic commuters are working outside the home. Even during the working weekday, 45% of AM/FM radio listening takes place in the car and 23% occurs at work.
During weekday drives times, nearly half of AM/FM radio listening occurs in the car (48%) and 17% occurs at work.
During weekends, AM/FM radio is “the soundtrack of the American shopper” with 46% of all listening occurring in the car. AM/FM radio on the weekend is the perfect media platform for advertisers to reach consumers on the path to purchase.
Audio listeners are more willing to shop in stores, attend events, work in an office, and travel by air
In March 2022, Nielsen conducted a consumer study of 1,000 American adults to probe their sentiment on the economy, work, shopping, and activities as the country emerged from the pandemic.
Nielsen found that across the board, both AM/FM radio and podcast listeners were more willing than the average American to participate in activities like taking public transportation, attending indoor and outdoor events, work in an office setting, and shop at stores in person.
Major purchase decisions: Heavy AM/FM radio listeners have +26% greater purchase intentions than heavy TV viewers
AM/FM radio and podcast listeners are fueling the post-pandemic economy with higher purchase intentions across key shopping categories than heavy TV viewers and the average American.
Heavy AM/FM radio and podcast listeners are more likely to take a trip, purchase new technology, a major appliance, or home entertainment item, or do a major landscaping project.
Heavy AM/FM radio and podcast listeners are also more likely to make a major financial purchase:
- 7% of heavy AM/FM radio listeners and 11% of podcast listeners intend to buy a house in the next 12 months compared to 5% of heavy TV viewers
- 31% of heavy AM/FM radio listeners and 34% of podcast listeners intend to buy or lease a new/used vehicle in the next 12 months versus 28% of heavy TV viewers
No matter the target demographic, there is an AM/FM radio format that delivers the ideal audience
Nielsen Scarborough data shows that no matter what demographic an advertiser may be trying to reach, there is an AM/FM radio format that can be used for that target.
Formats like News/Talk, Classic Hits, or Classic Rock deliver mature, high net worth, 55+ heavy spenders while formats like Alternative, Urban Contemporary, or Pop and Rhythmic CHR deliver younger audiences.
Audiences can also be targeted by employment, household size, and those who have children under 18 in the home.
“Traditional media – society’s cornerstone”
According to Nielsen Managing Director Brad Kelly, “Traditional media are regarded as credible, trustworthy, cost effective, contextually relevant safe-havens for marketers” and with strengths like “emotional connections, music, humor, news, traffic, weather, and more,” AM/FM radio continues to offer value both to audiences and advertisers.
With massive reach and significant listening taking place in car, a format for every demographic, and consumers looking to spend, AM/FM radio is an ideal media platform for brands and their agencies.
- AM/FM radio has mass reach among Americans 18+, adults 35-49, and even Millennials 18-34
- AM/FM radio has significant monthly reach among African American and Hispanic audiences
- AM/FM radio is “the center of the total audio universe” with an audience that is 16 times bigger than those who only listen to digital audio and satellite radio
- A significant amount of AM/FM radio listening takes place in the car on the path to purchase
- Audio listeners are more willing to shop in stores, attend events, work in an office, and travel by air
- Major purchase decisions: Heavy AM/FM radio listeners have +26% greater purchase intentions than heavy TV viewers
- No matter the target demographic, there is an AM/FM radio format that delivers the ideal audience
Pierre Bouvard is Chief Insights Officer of the Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group®.
Contact the Insights team at CorpMarketing@westwoodone.com.