Has Digital Demolished Portland Radio? Maine Business Owners Ask.

Portland Radio Maine Small Business Digital Marketing AdvertisingPortland radio’s perpetual dominance over internet-fueled media defies the persistent and pervasive prophecies that traditional AM/FM would succumb to the wrecking ball of all things digital.

In August 2007, eMarketer predicted, “Data from a number of researchers indicates that traditional radio is losing its significance in people’s lives. US adults are spending more time each day on the Internet and watching TV than listening to the radio.”

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Last week, according to Nielsen, 700,000 adults tuned into a Portland radio station. This is, by far, more southern Maine consumers than watched TV or read a newspaper. It is even more than visited a social media site; streamed Pandora or Spotify; or did a Google search.

Comparative data released last month demonstrates, yet again, that radio reaches more adults than all other media, digital or otherwise. Substantively more.  This is great news for Maine small business owners who depend on Portland radio to market their products and services.

Portland Radio Maine Small Business Advertising

Even more astounding is how radio listening compares to broad categories of internet usage. More adults consume venerable AM/FM stations each month than visit social media sites like Facebook; search sites like Google or Yahoo; e-commerce sites like Amazon; video sites like YouTube; sports sites like ESPN; and news sites like CNN or The Portland Press Herald.

Portland Radio Maine Small Business Advertising Digital marketing

To answer the title question posed by Maine small business owners: No! Digital media has not demolished Portland radio. At the dawn of the 21st century, radio reached 93% of all consumers. This was in the days before YouTube, Facebook, Pandora, Sirius/XM, smartphones, and smart speakers. Today, despite our constant inundation by new digital media, radio still reaches 93% of all consumers each month.

Radio’s dominance doesn’t signify, however, that small business owners should not invest in digital marketing. Many consumers do depend on the internet for some portion of purchase decisions. So, sensible business owners are learning how to integrate local radio’s immense reach into online shopping habits.

Radio Advertising Generates 29% More Search Activity

According to recent research commissioned by RAB, radio advertising created a 29% increase in online search activity for the product categories and brands that were involved in the study. The study was conducted by Sequent Partners, who worked with partnering organizations including Media Monitors and In4mation Insights.

The study involved measuring the effect 2100 local radio ads across six different product categories had on Google search data. The results were definitive. Radio drove listeners to the web for more information.

According to the RAB, the study first looked at the typical number of Google searches that typically occur for the subject product category and brands. This information creates a baseline of pre-radio expectations.


Portland Radio Maine Small Business Radio Advertising and Marketing Online

 Next, search activity was measured for the times when radio advertising occurred for the subject categories and brands. The results were overlaid on the baseline.

Portland Radio Maine Small Business Radio Advertising and Marketing Online

The green bars above, indicate the days and time radio advertising aired. The green peaks highlight the incremental search that is attributable to radio advertising.

Most importantly, radio proved to be successful for every brand involved in the study.

  • Automotive Brand: +7%
  • E-Commerce Brand: +9%
  • Wireless Communication: +18%
  • Auto Aftermarket Retailer: +65%
  • Insurance: +73%
  • Jewelry: +370%

This research complements the 21 recent studies conducted by Nielsen that demonstrate radio advertising’s ability to deliver “eye-popping” returns-on-investment for business owners. It is this type of information that made Doug Schoen all gaga in a Forbes Magazine article.

“The implications of results like these,” said Mr. Schoen, “are profound for the communications and advertising industries and as a marketing professional with over 35 years of experience, I found this data nothing short of fascinating. It’s quite clear that we should all be paying more attention to radio, its reach and potential to help our businesses. It’s doing the job with expert efficiency.”

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