4 reasons why radio advertising should top any retailer’s list this Christmas

Dec 2019  RadioWorks Blog

why radio advertising

It should come as no surprise that many of the UK’s most notable brands have dabbled in their fair share of advertising. Retail alone accounts for a sizeable chunk of the ad market and said sector remains one of Britain’s top spending radio advertisers. Last month we spoke with the CMJ’s (The Company of Master Jewellers), the UK and Ireland’s largest buying group for independent retailers of watches and jewellery to discuss why promoting brands through radio is well worth the investment. Here are four reasons why radio advertising should top any retailer’s list this Christmas.


Currently, almost 49 million (88%) adults in the UK listen to radio, with 65% listening to commercial radio every week (RAJAR, Q3 2019). Radio’s ability to connect and entertain creates an ideal environment for advertisers to thrive. These factors resonate with listeners and build trust – which is likely why people are more prone to purchase a product they’ve heard about on radio in the first place.

For many years, radio has been a trusted source for news and companionship, both locally and nationwide. In fact, radio is the most trusted medium in Europe and according to Radiocentre, this channel can increase brand trust by 38% for retail campaigns, making it an ideal space for any local retailer.


Radio hasn’t always been the first channel that springs to mind when establishing an ad strategy. Much of this has to do with advertisers’ preconceptions. Luckily for us, success speaks for itself. Commercial radio has continued to rise in popularity, hitting record revenue highs of £713 million in 2018.

Preconceptions pertaining to radio have been thoroughly dismissed in recent years. Radiocentre released studies highlighting the major discrepancies between industry perceptions of individual media vs actual evidence. Despite radio appearing undervalued by advertisers and agencies, Radiocentre’s ‘Re-evaluating Media’ research strongly indicates that radio and TV are the top two channels for optimising reach, ROI and brand salience. radio is also especially useful when targeting the right people, at the right time and place, and holds the top spot in this category.


Radio advertising goes far beyond the usual 30-second ad. There are many creative ways to get your message across to an audience. The key to any great ad is that it must engage. Programme producers in radio talk a lot about reasons to listen, not reasons not to listen, and that applies to the way we communicate with consumers also. The commercials that are heard on radio should be treated in the same way as anything the station makes for itself – as content for the audience. That’s why we write and produce commercials in ways that generate talkable topics, or points of interest that will hook into people’s lives.

In terms of advertising a brand of jewellery, a creative would talk to the company about ways in which we could sign post how every ad that is made sounds like it comes from the same home. The ways in which we can do this range in price and ambition. The ways we can achieve this range in price and ambition. One way is to commission a bespoke piece of music or a sonic logo that immediately identifies your brand.

This is considered by some as an unnecessary expense, but the possibilities you create for your brand narrative are limitless and, with the explosion of smart speakers, the value of audio branding is only going to increase. Think how much money you once spent on that animation for social media, or the copyright you paid for on a unique font and consider how those will cut through in one of the countries that owns more smart speakers than anyone else.


In case you still had any doubt about the effectiveness of radio, data sourced by Radiocentre suggests that this influential touchpoint delivers an average ROI of £7.70 for every pound spent, which is second only to TV overall. And it gets better. Radio ROI for Retail brands in particular is the highest performing across all sectors. Brands in this area return on average a whopping £18.90 for every pound spent, that’s three times the average press amount.

From a local perspective, Commercial radio is an extremely effective channel for high street brands. This medium allows you to reach out to the local community in a targeted and cost-effective way. Interestingly, on average, 44% of consumers who shop locally (2-5 times a week), listen to Commercial radio every week (Kantar TGI Consumer Analysis, Q3 2019). So, in a nutshell, those who listen locally seemingly live their lives locally too.

With regards to effectiveness, a campaign can be measured in a number of ways. Tracking visits and sales before, during and after a radio campaign are vital steps.  Other options include tracking text responses and discount code usage. Frequency is also key with radio Advertising. Repetition allows your message to become front of mind, ensuring that brand recall is maximised. Luckily, there is a wealth of evidence to confirm that people are able to process messages from radio – even when doing other tasks. With radio, brands have the opportunity to reach people in ‘shopping mode’ before the point of purchase and while travelling to and from shops. So evidently, despite people often doing other activities while listening, even when your brand is out of sight, it’s never out of mind.



Get in Touch

If you want to find out more about advertising on commercial radio stations or digital audio platforms in the UK or internationally – we can help!

Get in touch here and we’ll talk you through the process and deliver the best audio solution for you.

Call us to plan your campaign

0207 907 0670 / 01228 580 380

The RadioWorks Group