How many times have you tuned into a radio station that’s just flowing with great songs, only to get hit with less-than-appealing commercials that lead you to turn the dial? It happens a lot, which is unfortunate because not only does it interrupt your listening pleasure, but it also hurts the advertiser.
According to the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), radio reaches 92.8% of persons 12 and older each week. Recent studies also conclude that vehicles are the primary location for radio listening and 60.4% of adults 18 and older listen to radio in the car on a typical weekday. In addition, RAB reports that radio captures nearly 15 hours of tune-in each week.
There’s no “one and only” formula that will make listeners stick through commercials without changing the station, but there are several ways to increase the odds of reaching your target audience.
Generally speaking, a good ad is one that delivers a simple, relatable message. Tell them what you have to offer and how it will enhance their lives. In radio production, there are a number of ways to do this. One way is to use sound effects leading into the message. For example: you hear the sound of a car attempting to start over and over until there’s a “click”…and the announcer says “Never-Die Batteries – Get yours at Ted’s Car Center!” While a message can be delivered with a straight announcer read, sound effects allow the listener to connect with your product in a different, often more emotional way. Never-Die Batteries sound intriguing, but that first, actual sound of the dreaded “click” is something many readers can relate to – because they never want to hear it again.
Time is a big factor when it comes to radio; there’s only so much time available (usually not very much) to get your message across to the listener. Although long, polished sentences and paragraphs work on paper, radio is a different game. Avoid unnecessary filler words and get to the point. Also, keep in mind that there are a lot of radio ads out there boasting “we’re the best!” or “lowest prices!” Think about how you can make your ad stand out among the more cliché spots by telling listeners what specifically makes you the best.
Phone numbers can be detrimental to radio ads, unless you have a memorable one that can be easily remembered (such as 1-800-CONTACTS) or produced in a jingle. A lot of ads end with completely numeric phone numbers repeated 2 or 3 times, resulting in wasted space, especially in the age of smartphones in which it’s so easy for a listener to immediately look up your contact information on a website or social media page. Unless your listener has an exceptional memory, they won’t remember your phone number – especially if they’re busy driving!
Listeners enjoy music, sports, news and more on the radio – teach them to enjoy your commercials, too!