More listening occasions, better targeting: HEARD 2024

“Audio audiences are continuing to grow because there are now more listening occasions.”

One of the most important learnings for media buyers and advertising creatives at today’s HEARD conference was that advertisers can now reach both mass and niche audiences far more effectively in audio than ever before.

In a panel discussion featuring ARN’s Venessa Hunt, SCA’s Olly Newton, NINE’s Ash Earnshaw, and Nova’s Nicole Bence, the audience was reminded that audio audiences are still increasing.

Despite people thinking that audiences are migrating to other digital media, radio’s mass broadcast reach actually is still continuing to grow.

“There is no digital migration, we are increasing audiences…

 “We don’t have a decreasing audience problem in audio like some other media, we are having incremental growth of audiences as more audio platforms are increasing their  listening.”

In addition to the mass reach of live broadcast and streaming live radio, the audio industry has now developed highly targeted content through podcasts. Audio can now speak both one to one and one to many, with broadcast radio reaching lots of listeners in real time and podcasts targeting specialist communities of interest that niche advertisers want to reach.

Media buyers should be thinking, “my $10 stays where it is on radio, because the audience is still there and I will find some more dollars to catch the new audio audience on the digital platforms.”

In another session, Nine’s Matthew Thompson described the listeners to his podcast as niche and highly targeted. “When people open a podcast they are asking to be engaged. They are wanting compelling long form emotive content that is highly relevant to them.”

It’s now easier to buy audio programmatically across podcasting and streaming.

“Radio360 has been an absolute game changer for us all to understand how people are consuming live radio and digital. We have more capability now… unlocking the full value of total audio can help the advertising businesses in this room.”

The way that radio can deliver for clients was highlighted by the ARN CEO and CRA Chair Ciaran Davis who pushed home the message that radio reaches more than 80% of Australians and that it can deliver big for advertisers.

Backing up the message, Mark Ritson likened radio to Robin in Batman and Robin, or Spock in Start Trek, Lois Lane in Superman, Dr Watson in Sherlock Holmes and the many side kicks to heroes, who have very low profiles and whose names no one ever remembers.

They’re practical, stoic, loyal, dependable (surprisingly hot), dedicated, unpretentious and supportive. But we don’t give them enough credit.

“Radio is the ultimate media side kick… they save the day and make everything greaat, but often don’t get the credit they deserve,” said Ritson.

He used data to prove his point.

“ESOV (Excess Share of Voice) is a thing… it has been reexamined for the digital age, it improves the effectiveness of both low and hig attention campaigns.”

ESOV is a very good signal that sales growth will follow. “Maintaining a good share of voice in your campaign, and adding emotion to good creative can deliver more than the expected return… it’s a real thing. Radio in the mix helps the effectiveness of your campaigns…  it also improves brand image.”

He presented data showing that radio, if added to a typical ESOV campaign, increases return by 16%. “In other words, a little bit of radio makes your campaign better.”

Based on Ritson’s figures, advertisers should spend 11% of their campaign budgets on radio to get maximum effectiveness.


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