Current Issue Summary
Dec 2020 (Vol. 60, Issue 4):
A New Benchmark for Mechanical Avoidance of Radio Advertising: Why Radio Advertising Is a Sound Investment
Radio advertisers have been relying on earlier research that showed that as much as one-third of their audience switch stations, or turn off the radio, during advertising breaks. But a research team at Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, University of South Australia claim that figure is misleading. Their new benchmark—3 percent, or about one-tenth of current estimates—could attract greater investment in this advertising medium.
The five-member research team—Aaron Michelon, Steven Bellman, Margaret Faulkner, Justin Cohen and Johan Bruwer—found that, “overall, radio has a low level of mechanical advertising avoidance.” This suggests that “previous estimates of 22 percent to 32 percent were misleading (Generali et al., 2011).” The new study, grounded in the use of portable people meters for 800 panel members in Canada, measured loss of audience during advertising. In addition to their calculated 3 percent benchmark, the researchers saw little variation in mechanical avoidance across different types of radio media—a finding that likely demonstrates the close alignment in subject matter between programming and content on talk radio.
Among other findings:
- Music stations have slightly higher rates of ad avoidance than talk stations.
- Radio avoidance was higher out of the home due to greater access to switching devices (consider the ease of station-changing in cars).
- Light listeners “listen for shorter times than medium and heavy listeners, so they constantly are entering and leaving the audience.”
- High turnover for light listeners occurs because “most radio listening is done while driving, and the turn-on and turn-off actions likely signify the beginning and ending of travel instead of advertising avoidance.”
Read the full article here