Even as we debate how video on demand may change the role of broadcast television, and as we watch print media struggle with dwindling audiences and revenues, radio remains a resilient and critical part of the media and marketing mix.

Per the Radio Audience Measurement survey, 35.7 million people listen to radio regularly with an average listening time of nearly four hours a day. That means radio still reaches significantly more people than the Internet. Each channel has enormous reach on its own, but the picture gets interesting when we consider the overlaps and synergies between them.

Radio broadcasters are adapting well to how digital channels are changing the industry, turning mobile phones and the Internet into a way to extend their brands, protect their listener share, and reach new audiences.

For example, most broadcasters and presenters have built strong social media followings and use social networking and SMS to engage with their audiences during live shows.

Many radio stations have also created engaging websites and apps, where audiences can listen to podcasts, stream radio broadcasts, and experience visual, video, text, or interactive content.

The All Media and Products Survey (AMPS) 2016 estimates that around 5% of South Africans listen to radio online, while 15% of the population listen to radio on their phones. The radio experience no longer ends when the listener is not commuting or listening at work.

Even more importantly, radio and digital channels form a powerful duo in a world where consumers multitask across different devices and channels for most of the day.

For example, many of us sit at home flicking through social media on a smartphone with the TV on, stream some music on a mobile phone while paging through a magazine, or work on a computer with the radio playing in the background.

Radio and digital play well to each other’s strengths, which means that integrated radio, digital marketing, and advertising campaigns have strong synergies when they tap into people’s existing multi-tasking behaviour. Here are five reasons why marketers should be looking at radio and digital as natural partners:

1. Radio piques listeners’ interest, digital lets them act

Radio marketing and advertising are particularly good at delivering a short, sharp call to action that inspires the consumer to find out more or to enter a competition. It is not as good at providing them with the detailed information they need to make a final purchasing decision or giving them a place to transact.

Radio programming content and commercial messaging are both effective ways to compel people to search for something online, visit a brand website to learn more, or even place an order.

2. Radio stations’ brand relationships with listeners extend into digital platforms

Many listeners visit a radio station’s website to enter a competition or find out more about a promotion. They also use the station’s and presenter’s social media channels to keep up-to-date with the station when they can’t listen.

Thus, if a brand identifies a radio station’s regional or demographic listenership as its target market, it may make sense to partner with digital campaigns, too.

3. Radio adds trust and credibility to a campaign

For many listeners, radio is still one of their most trusted sources of information. Radio placements can thus boost the credibility of a campaign a brand is running through its social media accounts, the search engines, major portals, and other digital platforms.

4. Radio breaks through the noise

Consumers’ attention is fragmented among multiple devices and channels, so advertisers need to be at more than one touch point to maximise the opportunities to engage with their audiences. Radio and the Internet, between them, cover most of the adult population.

5. Digital is narrow and focused, radio casts a larger net

Even though the trend in marketing is towards more personalised engagement with consumers, mass media remains an efficient way to reach large numbers of people in the same region or with the same interests or socio-economic characteristics. Pairing radio and digital offers a great mixture of reach and personalisation.

Think customers, not just channels

Brands today need to think about customers rather than channels as they build their campaigns. The question is not just how to get the best reach and frequency, but how to maximise engagements.

That means combining platforms and assets such as regional radio, real-world activations, social media, digital display, and television in a way that optimises return on investment.

Here are some textbox tips for maximising the impact of radio and digital campaigns:

  • Consistent messaging is key – ensure that brand messages at each touchpoint reinforce each other; 
  • Use your call to action to funnel consumers to a website or app that allows for greater attention and engagement with commercial messaging; 
  • Create content that adds depth to and complements the radio experience by focusing on topical areas; 
  • Think about which media will be at the forefront of customers’ attention and which will be in the background; and
  • Tailor content appropriately – richer, more detailed info for digital display ads and punchy and attention-grabbing ads for broadcast media. 

For more information, visit www.www.mediamark.co.za. Alternatively, connect with them on Facebook or on Twitter.