Radio advertising used to be fairly simple. We evaluated the top-rated stations for our target audience, factored in qualitative to make sure those stations were a good fit, negotiated rates to bring in the cost-per-point, and fought with our reps for added value. Now, it’s not that simple. Radio advertising has taken on many new forms, and the same radio fans who used to listen to radio mainly in their cars, are now listening to radio in a variety of different formats.
Radio stations cater to loyal listeners who want to hear their music after they shut off their cars and head inside to work. So, for those avid listeners, streaming is available. Go to your favorite station’s website and click on the “Listen Live” option to hear what’s playing in real-time. Radio stations will sell streaming packages to advertisers as well, and while online listening peaks during the day, the spots are usually affordable and can be packaged in with a regular radio schedule.
iHeartRadio is the streaming portal for many radio stations across the country. You can find stations around your physical location that you may already listen to, or create your own custom radio station a la Pandora. iHeartRadio is being cross-promoted by radio stations, but has recently gained notoriety with its partnership with Ford. So, now you can access iHeartRadio from your Ford car or truck. iHeartRadio has also made a name for itself with its annual music festival. This huge concert features a variety of hot artists from all genres and has a huge draw. This year’s festival is Sept. 21-22 in Las Vegas.
One of the first internet radio sites to burst onto the scene was Pandora. You get to listen to radio for free and you can choose the type of music you like to listen to. Pandora captures your age, sex and zip code for targeting purposes, and with nearly 59 million monthly unique users spending an average of 2 hrs. 17 min. per day, it’s prime for advertisers who want to target an 18-49 demo. Pandora is mainly used through the web, but mobile use has grown to about 55%. Pandora has also solidified its relationships with 23 automotive manufacturers to include Pandora in its new vehicles. And, previously, advertising on Pandora required a huge minimum spend, but with increased competition from other internet radio sites, Pandora’s minimum campaign costs start as low as about $7,500 per campaign. Also, geo-targeting is an option.
SiriusXM is a subscriber-based satellite radio service, which costs about $175 per year. Recent data shows the average radio listener spends 16% of their time listening to AM/FM radio, 7% listening to digital music/iPod/itunes/MP3, and 2% listening to streaming audio. Sirius listeners spend 2 hrs. 41 min. in their vehicles per day, and 70% of that time listening to SiriusXM. SiriusXM has relationships with 42 OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and because it is subscription based, listeners are qualified respondents, ideal for targeted advertising messaging. Another benefit with Sirius is that you can target by genre, and in addition to utilizing a spot schedule to reach listeners, you can more effectively reach your audience with targeted sponsorship opportunities. This is a national advertising medium, so there is a huge overall reach.
Spotify is a digital music service that allows you to download music for free with your subscription. Used through Facebook, this service has spread throughout the US and to other countries, allowing you to share and download music from a variety of sources/genres. During you initial 6 month trial period, there are listening limits and advertising will pop up. But, with an unlimited subscription, you can get unlimited listening hours and they eliminate the advertising. Premium memberships give you bonus features and mobile access. From an advertising standpoint, you can only reach the audience during the initial 6-month trial period, making it less desirable.