Not too long ago, business publications and industry trades warned of the death of radio, destined to be buried by music videos, online games and the proliferation of portable listening devices where people could port their own playlists.
But once radio caught up with technology and embraced its potential rather than rail against it, all things radio flourished. Satellite brought 100+ channels of diverse network-quality programming one could enjoy, without interruption, driving coast-to-coast. Internet radio enabled tens of thousands of global stations to stream from your cell phone. And podcasts made radio and audio programming content an “on demand” listening event, just as DVRs transformed the way we watch TV.
The latest “Comparable Metrics” report from Nielsen shows the lines between these various radio platforms are blurring. 92.7% of all Adults 18+ listen to AM/FM every week. That’s 225.3 million people; not bad for a medium all but buried a decade ago.
Smartphone use is exploding and “smartphone streaming audio” is now used by over 101 million Americans. That’s roughly a 20% annual leap in usage from 35.7% to nearly 42%.
Even tablet usage is growing, from an 11.1% reach to 14.6%, despite the fact that tablet sales have leveled off. The only delivery system that’s slipped is desktop/laptop “PC streaming audio,” which dipped from a 9.6% to 9.1% reach.
This means, increasingly, Americans are taking their radio and audio entertainment mobile. And that’s great news for advertisers seeking to influence consumers who are traveling to make their biggest purchase of the day.
Radio advertising is enjoying a noticeable uptick in 2017 as these diverse delivery systems enable pinpoint targeting, driving the cost of radio advertising down and boosting return on investment.
So crank it up. Radio has never been more accessible, more mobile and more entertaining. This new/old, 800 lb. gorilla deserves more of your marketing budget.