Dec 2020 RadioWorks Blog
Over the past year, listeners have become more dependent and connected with audio for means of entertainment, companionship and distraction from the clamour of Covid-19. More time spent at home has led to impressive growth in audio consumption throughout the year:
Unsurprisingly, In-home listening has been the growth area where radios are turned on and left on throughout the day to improve the mood of its listeners. We foresee this habit continuing well into 2021 with our evolved way of working and modified way of life at home.
At the same time, research indicates growing confidence in radio as a source of news, with an impressive 74% of listeners tuning in for this very reason. Radio has proven its strength in this area with launches of Times Radio and LBC, securing stellar guests.
Additionally, according to a recent Ofcom survey, radio remains the most-used source for news and information about Covid-19. This further supports the conclusions of the annual Eurobarometer survey, which found that radio has been the most trusted medium in Europe for 10 consecutive years. With the road ahead still very uncertain, and as we head towards the new year, we expect listeners will continue tuning in to find out more about Brexit and the latest rules and restrictions of the pandemic.
Within the overall media mix, Radio remains one of the strongest mediums for:
This is all the while being able to be targeted at a low-cost. Misconceptions about radio and its effectiveness could result missed opportunities for growth in the new year. Marketers will need to consider whether they have the right evidence to support their proposed media mix, and whether it can be optimised for the best return on investment with the presence of radio.
While radio has remained incredibly significant to many listeners, music streaming has allowed people to unwind and relax under their own rules. This is reflected by way of playlist creation. With more people socially distancing and working from home, reports show that people are changing the way they stream and create playlists.
Podcasts were one of the immediate audio growth areas back in March. Themes and verticals listened to have evolved over the year – from news and mindfulness, to comedy and business. Listeners and revenues will continue to grow due to its ability to directly access content with host reads as well as define a brand through clever targeting.
Connected cars incorporate radio and audio services into their on-board infotainment systems. Research shows that consumers value radio in the car:
Car radios are already becoming more sophisticated than ever before. As and when we return to our cars, our radios will be able to access a tri-platform hybrid radio app (DAB+/FM/IP) which will allow users to select a radio station from the strongest available signal, prioritising DAB+, then FM, followed by streaming, and automatically switching between platforms if the car moves out of coverage. This means that drivers and passengers alike can stay locked into their favourite stations and enjoy the music and shows they love. The opportunities for targeting and engagement will only continue to increase.
The way we listen to radio today is evolving. With the entry of smart speakers and other connected devices, listeners are able to access their favourite stations beyond traditional means.
Measuring engagement of radio ads has never been as straightforward as other mediums. With the rise of listening via smart speakers, being able to engage with your Alexa is very much a technology where listeners will be able to order samples or brochures or even donate directly to a charity. All through an ad. We expect a rise in adoption of these technologies as well as “shake” ads which direct you to a URL when listening to the ad on your mobile. As the ‘QR code’ has made a comeback this year, the text response weaved into the creative is something we are seeing real returns on.
Although overall radio revenue is down (circa 15% YoY), it is expected to rebound 10% in the new year. Radiocentre’s latest research indicates that more than a third of advertisers are looking to increase radio spend in 2021. Some sectors will be slower to return, but many brands are returning and staying.
While we expect technology to continue to play a pivotal role in the ways in which we communicate with consumers, we can’t dismiss the shared experiences of 2020 and the efforts that brands took to connect more with audiences. As I result, we anticipate creativity and engagement coming more to the fore in campaigns. It’s a great irony of the industry that creativity is so much easier to provide with audio, and yet the execution of messaging is often dictated first by visuals. It’s the most efficient and effective medium to be creative with, and we think 2021 is going to be boom time for brilliant copywriters.
As the temporary norm evolves, we’ll keep updating you with the latest news and research, and why audio is such an important tool in light of the current climate. For more radio or podcast advertising insight, call a member of the team or get in touch here.
For more industry news and views, visit www.radioworks.co.uk/latest-radio-news/
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