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Over the last one decade and half, the medium of radio has experienced revolutionary changes not only in terms of numbers of listeners but also how transmission is done. Many people used to listen to a radio set where they had to turn a knob to tune to their favorite channel.

This is not the case anymore. The majority of radio listeners have migrated to digital platforms where they listen to their favorite channels. Now you just download an app of your favorite station on your PC, laptop, or smartphone, and you are ready to go.

Exponential Target Customers

A 2015 State of the Media report published by Pew Research Center and cited by New York Film Academy had interesting facts on the growth of online radio. The report observed that half of all American aged from 12 years and more listened to online radio. Additionally, between 2010 and 2015, the population of online listeners grew from 27% to 53%.

Market projections by eMarketer paint an even more attractive picture of the potential consumers that online radio can deliver to your marketing strategy. The report indicates that from the year 2013-2019, the US monthly digital listeners population would grow from 147.8 million to 191.9 million.

Based on those figures, you can easily see the potential customer base that online radio affords your audience.

Apart from the growth in number of online radio users, the channel offers more opportunities about the media you can use to reach existing and potential customers. The multitude of devices that you can use to listen to online radio is increasing, with the leading one being your smartphone.

It is estimated that in 2014, a third of all Americans streamed music from their phones. Additionally, 73% of online radio listeners interviewed in 2015 indicated that they used their smartphones, a record 13% increase from the previous year. Laptops and desktops also accounted for a substantial proportion of online radio listeners. Interestingly, young adults aged 18-24 years preferred online radio rather than the traditional one. YouTube and Pandora topped the list of preferred online radio streaming channels.

You might be wondering about the kind of content that these online radio users prefer. The content ranges from music, news, and talks on countless topics. So, do you think you can squeeze the content from your marketing strategy anywhere within this digital platform?

Advertising on Online Radio

In most cases, marketers have rarely given much consideration to the model of radio that they use to facilitate their marketing. For instance, the terrestrial broadcast model continues to reach many existing and potential customers. The only major difference between the terrestrial and online radio models is the approach they use to link with their customers.

For instance, Spotify offers on-demand streaming while Pandora allows users to select a radio stations based off their music preferences. As a marketer, you can see that the differences between the radio models are meager compared to their customer base. To advance your marketing strategy through online radio, your major concern should be the target audience as well.

Digital radio as a marketing platform also offers you an opportunity to engage with users by targeting them based on a variety of metrics. Depending on your advertising needs, you can segment the market based on demographics, listening behavior, social connections and geography among others.

As a marketer you know that current customers expect personalized, consistent, and intelligent online experiences. Irrespective of whether they are consuming content or shopping, they expect your advertisements to meet these qualities. Understanding the nature of online radio, it is possible to offer your products through multiple channels. Subsequently, you can create a platform you can reach out to customers at diverse touchpoints.

Today, digital radio offers you the opportunity to incorporate your marketing with a variety of content providers such as online music providers. The collaboration should enable you to segment and decode your audience by incorporating mobile and internet radio buys within their digital ecosystem.

How would you convince the immense population of potential customers to view your advertisements then?

You might desist from tapping into the potential offered by internet radio on the basis that most of these service providers charge a fee. However, once you understand how the model works, it becomes clear that your marketing campaign will be effective all the same.

Online radio subscriptions automate the radio advertisement buying process. This allows you to identify and buy audience profiles instead of the traditional model where your marketing is not directed at a certain user. Simply put, assuming you want to work with Spotify, the online radio units you purchase will be based on the music listening behavior of a targeted consumer group.

The approach is not only effective, but also eliminates the spend wastage due to the efficiency of the purchases. You should not worry about the subscription either. A study by Strategy Analytics suggested that 89% of online radio listeners prefer listening to channels that support ads as opposed to the subscription-based ones. The information is even more favorable considering the development of programmatic radio, whereby listeners can listen to online channels with ads without any subscriptions.

Does it Really Work?

BMW recently partnered with Spotify to develop bespoke playlists for U.S. road trips. The BMW-branded app was so successful that Spotify reported that users of the app made 14,000 playlists under the program.

Anheuser-Busch, Procter & Gamble, and Sony PlayStation are also successfully working on a similar program on Pandora. Sony PlayStation has teamed up with Pandora to make the Pandora Internet Radio application available on the PlayStation. Now streaming on this device allows for a whole new audience to see brand messages and advertisements. As stated by Mr. Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer of Procter & Gamble, the company spends “enormous amounts of time trying to understand, analyze and explain the differences between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Pandora, YouTube and the dozens of different viewability standards claimed to be the right metric for each platform.” As a result, huge companies see that not only social media is taking the digital marketing throne, but so is online radio.

Overall, its apparent that online radio offers you not only immense power in the present, but also unlimited potential for your marketing needs in the future. All you must do is tap into it.

Arya Bina
Arya Bina
CEO at | More Posts

Arya Bina is the founder & CEO of Kobe Digital, a Los Angeles based digital marketing agency that focuses on helping mid-size businesses reach their target audiences by leveraging the power of the internet.