Research reveals radio ad spend is expected to rise

Dec 2020  RadioWorks Blog

radiocentre, tuning in, radio ad spend, matt payton

New research suggests that radio is one of the best performing media to help brands recover from a recession. Additionally, according to the study from Ebiquity, more than a third of advertisers are planning to increase radio ad spend in 2021.

Re-Evaluating Media for Recovery, commissioned by Radiocentre and independently conducted by Ebiquity, aims to help advertisers recognise the most valuable media for brand growth during a recession and explores advertiser perceptions of media performance versus evidence.

The research is a follow-up to a 2018 Re-Evaluating Media report, which aimed to help advertisers understand the difference between perception and reality in the importance of individual media channels. The report looked at the most effective media for long term brand building. Evidence showed that radio was only second to the top performer, TV, but was undervalued by many advertisers who did not appreciate radio’s strengths in helping brands grow and placed it at 6th.

This year’s report indicates that television and radio remain the top two best performing media. The report also suggests that perceptions of radio are catching up with reality for certain specific attributes including targeting the right people in the right place at the right time and building brand salience, meaning that radio’s overall perception ranking has improved from 6th in 2018 to 3rd (behind TV and Online video).

However, the research also highlights that media decision-makers underestimate the time audiences spend listening to radio and overestimate the time they spend listening to podcasts and music streaming services such as Spotify.

Evidence indicates that advertisers and agencies believe listeners spend 58% of commercial audio time listening to radio, 26% with on-demand music and 16% of their time with non-BBC podcasts.

Re-Evaluating Media for Recovery

The evidence from RAJAR MIDAS reveals a very different reality, with live radio making up 84% of listening time, while on-demand music accounts for 9% and podcasts for 8%.

Radiocentre Planning Director Mark Barber said:

“These findings are crucial given the challenges brands face as they attempt to market their way out of the global recession,” said. “We are pleased to see perceptions of radio come closer to the truth and that media spending intentions show radio is in line to get more investment from advertisers wanting to ensure their brands bounce back from recession.”

Ebiquity UK’s Managing Director of Media Martin Vinter said:

“Understanding the effectiveness of different media channels is key to making the most of hard-pressed marketing budgets, especially during times of uncertainty like the one we find ourselves in now. Marketers need to be asking themselves whether they have evidence to support their proposed media mix, and whether it is optimised for the best return on investment.”

Key Findings

  • Radio remains the second most valuable medium after TV for successful marketing in a recession

Re-Evaluating Media for Recovery


  • Perceptions of radio are improving

Re-Evaluating Media for Recovery


  • More than a third of advertisers (34%) are planning to increase radio ad spend in 2021

radio ad spend




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