‘Put your money where your mouth is’: CRA urges marketers to give more of their budgets to radio
The return of the radio ratings next week should force a rethink for media buyers and marketers about where their budgets are going, CRA has said.
Throughout the pandemic and its associated lockdowns, radio listening and engagement has gone up, Commercial Radio Australia’s CEO Joan Warner said, so it’s been “frustrating” to see radio ad spend plummet.
“I don’t think the future of radio is a concern,” Warner told Radio Today. “We’ve got a very well-developed product, and good content, which we’re now offering across a complete audio ecosystem. So we’ve got digital offerings, we’ve got podcasts, we’ve got broadcast, of course, we’ve got access to our social media pages for advertisers.
“So the future of radio is not keeping me up [at night]. What is keeping me up is how quickly the economy is going to recover, and will marketers be allowed to spend their budgets?”
Warner noted that in recessions or times of economic uncertainty, the first thing to get cut is the marketing budget – a key mistake for brands, which also hurts struggling media owners.
“So I feel sorry for CMOs [chief marketing officers], because they’re trying to deal with that and convince their board that they need to keep pumping this money out to keep their brand up there in front of people when they’re ready to spend again,” she said of the ongoing conundrum.
The return of the ratings next week, she said, should give marketers and media buyers the proof points they need to justify spending more of their limited budgets on radio.
“It’s valid. It’s been audited… and we can assure everybody that what we’ve been saying – that listening has gone up,” she said of the data which will emerge next week.
“So it’s really the proof point for us that radio is still strong and still has high listening levels and time spent listening and great cume… We’ve still got millions of people [listening], now come on, put your money where your mouth is and give some to radio.”
She said CRA’s member networks are also “cautiously optimistic” about the ad market, as certain business sectors begin to open up and increase spending in the lead-up to Christmas.
“We’re hopeful, can I say? Hopefully optimistic.”
Standard Media Index (SMI) figures show that ad spend booked via media agencies dropped 29% in July. Regional radio spend dropped by 11.6%.