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Radio Media Buying: Why and How in 2023

“You’ve had your time. You’ve had the power. You’ve yet to have your finest hour.”
– Queen, “Radio Ga Ga”, 1984.

Radio Media Buying

It’s the most intimate medium: speaking directly into our ears. Radio, and now podcasts, are easy to access, multi-task friendly, and always available on demand. It’s no surprise that radio media buying – to help brands maximize this opportunity – is suddenly in high demand. In the US alone, podcast ad spending grew +26% YOY to $1.8B (IAB for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP). But why?

With the proliferation of podcasts, high-quality radio content is more plentiful than ever before. And with millions of listeners tuning in daily, radio media has become a vibrant and influential medium for brands.

The power of podcasts and other radio formats is in their captive, niche, and often very loyal audiences. It’s a space prime for meaningful connections that resonate with listeners. Radio is fast becoming an essential part of brand media strategy, but what’s the best way for brands to embrace this opportunity without irritating listeners…

…and without having your great radio media buy skipped over like radio roadkill? Keep listening for more.

Why Buying Radio Media Matters

There are two ways to buy radio media: linear (as with broadcast, and radio media) or digitally (as is typical for podcasts). Globally, the reach of linear radio is staggering: Nearly 3 Billion people worldwide will listen to radio weekly, and in the developed world that’s over 85% of the adult population (1). And while the digital transformation of radio media buying has brought new life to the medium, it’s important to remember that linear is too often a missed opportunity for many advertisers.

But whatever the avenue, it’s clear radio media buying matters now more than ever. As brands navigate a cluttered advertising landscape, buying radio media is a welcome break from digital that feels fresh, adds frequency and reach, strikes a chord with topical precision for B2B advertisers particularly, and has virtually zero creative barriers. Spoken word voice-over spots are available for free or can be produced at minimal cost in a 48-72 hours turnaround using a supplied script.

Additionally, podcast networks have grown so widely that it’s possible to effectively purchase programmatically at scale even using 1P data targeting for B2B or highly-targeted advertiser audiences.

Get in touch to explore the best methods for buying radio media for your brand.

Broadcast, Beyond Borders

Furthermore, radio media buying opens doors to local and regional markets, enabling targeted campaigns that resonate with specific communities. And again, this is arguably the lowest possible barrier to creative development – simply scripting and market-specific voice-over.

For example, South Africa’s radio culture of radio is a global example of mass media for a nation with 11 officially recognized languages. It’s simply essential to the media mix.

Whether you’re looking to boost brand awareness, drive sales, or promote a new product, radio provides a dynamic platform to deliver your message with precision. With the right international media buying strategy, your brand can cut through the noise at scale and effectively in new markets.

A woman holding a boombox in the street, from radio media buying agency.

The (Radio) Signal... And The Noise

As with any medium that’s purchased digitally, there is a temptation to treat radio as a direct response channel. However, studies show users infrequently remember to use promo codes from radio, TV, or print ads. The best way to prove lift is through media mix modeling, however, the time-intensive undertaking and flaws in reliability make it best to treat radio media buying as a crucial reach-based branding element to building brand awareness and favorability.

As with all media, planning is the key to unlocking radio’s full potential. Start by understanding your campaign objectives, target audience, and desired outcomes. Understand your brand’s unique selling points and craft a compelling story that resonates with your audience.

Tuning In, And Turning On

Criterion Global specializes in helping brands navigate the complexities of cross-channel media, which increasingly includes radio media buying. Our team of experts will work to develop a customized strategy tailored to your brand – from channels to buying strategy.

Contact us today to schedule a call and discover how our expertise in radio media buying can take your media to new heights. Together, let’s create an impactful radio campaign that captivates listeners, generates results, and propels your brand forward.