Using radio with television
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Other Guides in this series
This is the second in the series of RAB guides exploring the effects of radio with other media. In the first we considered how the different characteristics of radio and newspapers combined to create a powerful media pairing.This publication explores what is known about combining radio with television. Of all mainstream media, radio is most often combined with television, as evidenced by the many case studies in the RAB database testifying to the effectiveness of this combination.This publication sets out to examine what happens when radio is paired with TV, why the two media combine so well, and how advertisers and media planners can best exploit their strengths to maximum effect.If you are interested in finding out more on this topic or would like to share your own experiences of using radio and television advertising together, please contact us on 020 7306 2500
Radio and television offer a powerful and much used media combination.The reasons for this are seemingly straightforward as the two media share many common strengths – both are consumed on a daily basis, accounting for a high share of the average consumer’s media day, and as real-time media they are both effective at reaching out to new customers.However, it is the differences between the two media that build on these synergies to create a highly powerful and proven multiplier effect.
Functional media characteristics
Low ad avoidance, Frequency/recency of impact, Reaches people when engaged in relevant activities, Morning orientation.
Product demonstration, Water cooler moments, Segmented programme environments, Evening orientation.
Emotional connection characteristics
Personal, Friendly, Trusted. Radio seen as a ‘speak with’ medium.
Public, Glamorous, Exciting.
Television seen as a ‘talk at’ medium
- - Radio is four times more cost-effective than TV at generating awareness
- - 10% of a TV budget deployed onto radio can uplift overall ad awareness by 15%
- - Some form of audio branding is a common factor across the most successful radio and TV campaigns
What does this mean for advertisers?
- - Radio adds cost-effective frequency distribution, more executions and coverage to TV campaigns, and reaches people at more relevant times, all of which result in a strong multiplier effect
- - Radio can add a more personal, friendly connection alongside the public and distant nature of TV
- - Creative synergy is hugely influential in optimising the effect of combined TV and radio campaigns, especially in terms of audio branding properties
Functional media characteristics
To a large degree radio and television have similar strengths.As real-time media both enable advertisers to reach out to and engage new customers. Both also allow advertisers to decide when consumers will be exposed to their advertising messages (although in terms of TV the advance of PVRs is leading to greater levels of time-shifted viewing).They are both consumed for several hours on a regular daily basis, and combined they account for over 80% of the time that consumers spend with media each day.
Apart from dominating a high share of the media day, both media offer high levels of reach against most audiences – e.g. Commercial Radio reaches 32 million people each week.However, beyond this high level of similarity, each medium has distinct functional characteristics – this section reviews these in more detail.
Radio reaches people at relevant moments
Radio is particularly strong in delivering audiences across the morning – in fact, it offers the largest audience of any real-time medium across the morning through to the middle of the afternoon. This is valuable in helping to balance a brand’s media presence across the day alongside a television campaign.
For the most part (i.e. 9 out of 10 listening situations), radio is an accompaniment for people involved in a primary activity, e.g.
- - listening whilst getting ready for work
- - driving, working
- - doing housework
- - surfing the internet, etc (see figure below)
This is a unique characteristic of radio –
it is the only medium that people are able to consume as intended whilst involved in other activities. Whilst other media compete as primary media, radio is characterised as being a parallel activity.The benefit of this for advertisers is that research demonstrates that advertising recall is higher when the listener is engaged in an activity that relates to an advertised brand (see Figure 4).By contrast, the majority of TV viewing takes place at home and tends to be a primary activity, so there are fewer opportunities to speak with people concurrently involved in other tasks.
Radio has low ad avoidance Advertising avoidance is increasingly recognised as a challenge to effective advertising and some media suffer more from this behaviour than others, as the graph below shows. However, with the exception of cinema, radio is the lowest avoidance medium. This appears to be because people are listening to radio as a parallel activity while they are doing something else. Radio listening is not
their primary occupation and so they are less likely to change channels when the ads come on. This is very different from TV where the remote control dominates ad avoidance behaviour during the ad break.
Radio enhances frequency distribution Radio is often referred to as the ‘frequency’ medium because it naturally builds higher levels of frequency (up to 2-3 times) than other mainstream media.Because of the complementary nature of each medium’s audience strengths, adding radio to a TV campaign not only increases frequency but also significantly enhances frequency distribution to the lighter TV viewing audience.Similarly, the addition of radio ensures that campaign frequency will be more effectively distributed across the day to times when the message may be more pertinently received. This is of particular benefit to advertisers who conform to the recency model of advertising, which presumes that advertising is more effective if it is received closer to the time of action/purchase.
Radio offers greater ‘share of voice’ Many brands seek to gain a competitive advantage in terms of media presence by achieving a higher share of voice than other advertisers in the same category. Radio is a less mature advertising market than, for example, TV or print and is therefore less prone to saturation within individual advertiser categories.The result is that in most categories it is easier for advertisers to achieve a significantly higher share of voice in radio than in TV. For example, with an advertising budget of £1m a shampoo and conditioner brand can secure an 80% share of voice in radio – far higher than in TV, as illustrated in Figure 7.
Television can demonstrate products Armed with both sound and vision, TV advertising is one of the most effective methods for product demonstration. This can be particularly important for innovative new products or brands whose competitive point of difference is defined by how they are used and/or what they do differently.However, other media can also be valuably used alongside TV to continually refresh people’s memories of these product demonstrations. In this context, radio’s ability to behave as “Virtual TV” (see Page 19 of Effectiveness Evidence section) is of particular relevance.“Water cooler” momentsDespite a significant decline in the number of mass-audience “water cooler” programmes in recent years, TV still leads the way in delivering media experiences that people choose to share/discuss with friends and colleagues (see Figure 8).
This facet of evening peak time TV can be of benefit to brands with memorable creative seeking to attain talkability or social currency. By contrast, radio’s morning peak means that it delivers its “water cooler” moments just prior to people entering their first social situation of the day (work, school, etc) and can therefore be valuable in augmenting or reminding people of TV-based
memories from the previous evening.
Segmented programme environments Just as radio provides valuable context for brand messages by reaching people at relevant times, TV provides a segmented editorial environment for brands to place their messages in. So, viewers watching a home makeover programme are more likely to be interested in decorating products, in the same way that someone listening to the radio whilst engaged in DIY would be.
Emotional connection characteristics
Radio and television may share several functional characteristics but because they are consumed in very different ways they have a complementary set of strengths relating to the emotional connection they make with consumers.An overview of these differences are revealed in qualitative research asking listeners to project what would characterise Radio-land and TV-land, if such places existed.
Radio is up close and personal The majority of people are listening to radio on their own.Even if they are listening when other people are around, it is still very rarely a group experience: they will have their own personal experience of the output that is not shared with other people. Their inner eye and their feelings are doing the work.This is in contrast to TV, where people often watch programmes together and react collectively to the content.Radio presenters actively cultivate this apparent illusion with radio – it is a core part of presenters’ training that they learn to speak to an individual rather than an audience.So, despite the fact that radio is a broadcast medium, this intimacy offers the advertiser the chance to speak to the listener on a one-to-one basis.This concept of closeness is encapsulated in the media relationships map below.
Listeners identify with their radio station Listeners spend a huge amount of their time with radio (on average, 15 hours each week just with commercial stations). In addition listeners are very loyal to a small number of stations, and they tend to stay with them for years despite increasing choices available.The result is a warm and personal relationship between station and listener that creates a strong sense of identification with the radio station – over 80% of listeners feel that their radio station is “aimed at people like me”.By contrast, viewers tend to choose which television channels to view based on the specific programme they are showing at any given time. It is therefore much more difficult for broader based commercial TV channels to develop an emotional relationship along the lines of radio (although it is arguable that the narrower focus of several satellite stations, such as Sky Sports, is enabling them to move into this territory).
Radio’s role as “a friend” The friendly relationship that exists between radio listener and station (and presenters on that station) is extraordinary. Listeners feel the friendship very strongly, and this becomes very apparent if you take a listener’s radio away – they describe the subsequent feelings as being akin to “losing a friend”.As the chart below shows, this sense of radio being a friend is one of its strongest distinguishing features.
It also leads to a situation where the listener feels that the station is benign in its dealings with them. As the chart below shows, radio again comes top when the question concerns the extent to which media care about their consumers: they feel that the radio station does care about them, and this impression is cultivated by the stations.
Another side to this is seen in the following chart, concerning the level of trust in each medium. Again radio comes top for being trusted – or more accurately, it is the medium where people feel less distrustful about the things that are said.
Radio seen as a ‘speak with’ medium, TV seen as a ‘talk at’ medium The unique nature of radio listening clearly affects the way people feel about and interact with the medium. The relationship between listener and station tends to be a more inclusive one than with TV.Radio stations are seen as having a positive role in people’s lives – keeping them company, giving them information, and allaying feelings of loneliness or isolation, whilst they are engaged in other tasks. This is very different from TV, which demands the constant attention of the viewer. As a result radio is considered in a more positive light – people don’t feel that the radio station uses them,
they use the radio station.This has a knock-on benefit for radio advertising – it is perceived as being less interruptive than TV, which necessarily shouts for attention. The lower attention levels demanded by radio also mean that messages are often learned implicitly and absorbed more quickly into the long-term memory.Finally, the one-sense nature of radio advertising is often considered to be a positive by listeners as it allows them to complete the loop and interpret the message in a manner that is relevant to them.So whilst both media could be defined as ‘push’ media because of their real-time nature, radio can realistically be described as more benign and inclusive in the way it allows brands to speak with consumers.
Effectiveness evidenceAs already highlighted, radio has been regularly used alongside TV in the past. This section highlights some of the work that has been conducted into the joint effectiveness of the two media.
The Awareness Multiplier Study This study was devised to find out how effective radio advertising can be relative to TV, and to learn more about what kind of radio advertising is more effective: effectiveness was gaged in terms of measuring increases in advertising awareness.Millward Brown tracked awareness for 17 brands advertised in two comparable regions, Derby and Coventry (both in the Central ITV area). For each brand, one town had radio advertising while the other did not. TV advertising was the same across both towns.The relative effectiveness of the two media was evaluated on the basis of an Awareness Index.
Radio is four times more cost-effective than TV Radio was found to be, on average, three-fifths as efficient as TV at driving advertising awareness amongst radio listeners. However, in terms of price, TV was around seven times the cost of radio.
So, by achieving three fifths of the awareness at one seventh of the cost, the radio campaigns were significantly more cost-efficient than the TV campaigns. Obviously price variance between radio and TV will vary depending on area, audience and time of year.
Partially redeploying a TV budget onto radio uplifts overall awareness This cost effectiveness advantage means that radio has a multiplier effect when added to a TV schedule. If 10% of a given TV budget is redeployed onto radio, the efficiency of the campaign in building awareness increases on average by 15%.
Audio branding and synergy are important contributors to effectiveness
Some radio campaigns performed much more strongly than others, indeed the strongest outperformed the TV average.Radio campaigns with higher scores were characterised by good branding – these were campaigns where consumers were in little doubt which brand was being advertised. Enjoyability was also a characteristic of the better performing campaigns; although this could not overcome weak brand linkage.Proprietary audio branding devices (e.g. jingles, theme music) were strong contributors to the effectiveness of radio advertising, even though they may have originally been established on TV.
A landmark case study
Diet Coke – Radio as “Virtual TV”
This case study dates from the late 1990s and provides learning on the way radio advertising can prompt TV advertising to be ‘seen’ again in the minds of the listener.Radio was introduced onto the Diet Coke media plan to build coverage and frequency in support of the famous ‘11.30 Diet Coke Break’ TV campaign. In addition, radio was tasked with extending the life of the campaign idea by adapting the theme to keep it fresh and interesting.Creatively, all of the radio ads featured the highly recognisable musical property featured in the TV commercial (“I just wanna make love to you” by Etta James) built around dialogue scenarios that worked to radio’s strengths.Results demonstrated that radio played the role of “Virtual TV” by prompting people who had seen the TV commercial to re-run the video in their minds when they heard the radio advertising.Radio was also successful in enhancing the communication of the TV campaign. Amongst those who heard the radio campaign in addition to seeing the TV, imagery ratings and intention to purchase scores were much higher.This case study launched the concept of radio as “Virtual TV” and helped identify the importance of strong audio brand properties in optimising this effect.
Image transfer study 73% of respondents in Virgin Radio’s visual transfer study described prime visual elements from television campaigns when they heard the brand’s radio ad.
More from the RAB Case Study Database These case studies for brands that used TV and radio offer interesting insights into the ways that radio and television work together.
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