We tend to hear a lot about the early-adoption habits of affluent Americans in terms of digital media, but radio as an effective vehicle for reaching this audience has been largely overlooked. Studies show that the majority of those in the car still listen to AM-FM radio, where they can find traffic and weather, local news and events.
It may come as a surprise to some, but affluent consumers are the sweet spot of radio advertising. Each week, radio reaches some 94% of adults in the $75K+ household bracket, which, let’s not forget, is over twice the average national income. We call these people “mass affluents.” They are typically people commuting to white-collar jobs, shopping, or driving their children to practices or school events.
Radio gets these users’ attention like no other medium. Daily tune-in times for radio average 2 hours and 27 minutes. And the likelihood that this audience is listening intensely is high, particularly among commuters. People driving to work are typically driving alone, many of them are in traffic, and most look to radio to engage and accompany them along the way. Unlike people watching a second screen during a TV show or checking social media on mobile, commuters are paying close attention to what they are hearing.
Recent evidence shows that radio is a medium that dominates mindshare just before purchases are made, even in this digital era. According to an annual study carried out by Arbitron and Edison Research, in 2013, 49% of those polled who went into a store to shop had been listening to AM/FM radio in the half hour just ahead of that visit. Compare that to only 6% who had been using a cell phone to research information or 6% who had been researching on the Internet via desktop. Only 3% had been viewing a magazine.
A number of advertisers are already cognizant of the potential of radio. In particular, financial institutions such as PNC Financial Group, Wells Fargo and H&R Block all actively used radio to reach their target audiences in 2013. Additionally, American Express has long been savvy about the use of radio in promoting itself as a champion of small business. For example, it recently ran spots on radio and TV that focused on how high-tech company Weigl Works — whose interactive control technologies are used for themed entertainment, exhibits and attractions — uses American Express ReceiptMatch and Business Gold Rewards to manage its business.
Even with the media landscape changing daily, radio continues to offer advertisers a captive audience of mass affluents ready to hear their message.