The radio industry is doubling down on digital, according to research by not-for-profit trade association the Radio Advertising Bureau and ad-tracking firm Borrell Associates.
In 2017, radio stations’ digital revenue totalled $700 million, up 13.4%, according to the sixth annual “Benchmarking Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues” report.
Additionally, “the report shows that 85% of radio advertisers are also buying some form of digital advertising, and that three-quarters of them are buying digital and radio together.” Also, digital now accounts for 7.5% of the average station’s ad revenues, which is up from 6.3% last year.
“Radio is definitely embracing digital as an opportunity to serve customers better, more so than in previous years,” Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell said in the announcement. He added that stations are demonstrating “a level of marketing expertise to their customers that makes the digital buy ‘safe’ and certainly stronger when combined with radio spots.”
Also, the report indicates the number of stations selling digital services such as SEO, website development and social media management has doubled since 2015. Overall, the Borrelll-RAB concludes that “stations’ confidence in their digital strategy is improving.”
“As radio continues to provide integrated marketing solutions to its advertisers we expect to see continued growth,” RAB President and CEO Erica Farber said in the announcement.
Stations should also be aware that radio advertisers cite their “top marketing goal” as acquiring new business, and they rank social media and radio as the two best methods to achieve that.
The RAB-Borrell report analyzes online ad revenue from about 10,000 stations, as well as survey responses from more than 1,300 local businesses that buy radio ads.
Note that RAB no longer provides regular overall industry revenue reports, but the general trend in recent years has been that the digital portion of overall revenue was the only one showing consistent growth, while the older familiar categories of spot, national and local dollars generally were flat or declining.
Learn more about radio’s digital revenue trends in this RAB webinar.