Posted February 24, 2007 6:38 pm by with 4 comments

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The Radio Ad Effectiveness Lab has released a study on the effectiveness of Internet ads. “Are they confused?” you ask yourself. No, no: it’s the effectiveness of Internet and radio ads. Specifically, it’s how memorable these repeated ads are.

The “Radio and the Internet: Powerful Complements for Advertisers” study (Executive Summary) found that:

Recall of advertising is dramatically enhanced (27 percent versus 6 percent) when a mix of Radio and Internet ads is used compared to website ads alone.

Overall, the study found that an effective radio+Internet ad (compared to two Internet ads) can influence visitors to:

  • better recall information
  • visit the site
  • increase the likelihood of buying from that site
  • increase the likelihood of describing the brand as one which they like or love
  • increase the likelihood of describing the brand as a “good or perfect fit with their self-image”

Well-established brands, however, seemed less likely to influence visitors to accomplish the goals measured in the study by adding radio ads to their marketing mix.

The study also implies a few best practices for radio/Internet campaigns.:

  • Use more emotion-based appeals on the radio. According to the study, radio ads “may be more effective at making emotional connections with consumers, thanks to the much more emotional link that listeners have with the medium itself.”
  • Radio and Internet can each be used to reach “light users” of other media, but their reach is different. Together, they reach 83% of adults aged 18-54.
  • Finally, since the radio often reminds people to look up information or sites on the Internet, it’s probably wise to advertise when people are both listening to the radio and using the Internet. Peak hours for simultaneous usage for both are 6 AM to noon (32.6% of Internet users also listening to the radio) and noon to 5PM (24.8% of Internet users also listening to the radio).

Now there might finally be a market for Google Audio Ads.

  • Supported with funding provided from Radio industry companies

    Studies by agencies like this generally *will not* publish anything but favorable things about radio. All such industry sponsored research is therefore suspect.

  • Jordan McCollum

    Well, yes and no. They might not publish their studies that don’t have favorable results, but (I hope) they’re not screwing with their methodologies to produce results skewed in their favor in the experiments that they do publish.

    And while increasing unaided recall 450% is a pretty nice stat, it’s the only concrete, conclusive, across-the-board improvement found in the study. The other positives were significant for some brands studied and not others, with aggregate totals of almost no change. That’s why I said that it can influence them, but “well-established brands” might not be as effective.

    Thank you for the comment, though. You’re right–you gotta follow the money.

  • Jordan it’s a very slippery slope to use industry studies due to the selectivity, though it is really common. Interestingly studies like this don’t have to screw with anything at all to create problems for people who want unvarnished truth. Assume for example that they did 3 excellent, methodologically sound studies on this topic and 2 of them indicated “zero increase in unaided recall”. The logical research conclusion is to be skeptical of the recall claim, but if we only see the positive study we’ll draw wrong conclusions. It’s rarely this cut and dried and you rarely see industry studies with good sets of assumptions, so all I’m also suggesting that studies like this are better left on the shelf if you are building a quality marketing strategy. One should stick to research done by people or groups who will still be around regardless of the outcome of the research.

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