A Companion For Your Commute

Traffic congestion across the United States continues to worsen every year and correspondingly so are the amount of expected delays and commuting times for travelers. In some cities, Americans on average spend over 7 hours commuting to and from work weekly by car. Add in those of us who use public transportation and commutes increase to as long as 9.5 hours weekly.

While none of us enjoy long commutes, this is good news for radio. As Edison Research’s Share of Ear® studies consistently show, when people are in their cars, AM/FM Radio is overwhelmingly the dominant audio companion time and time again – with 67% of all listening accounted to broadcast radio.

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Coming in at second place, SiriusXM accounts for roughly 14% of audio listenership. And while podcasts listenership continues to grow exponentially; Edison Research notes 22% of podcast listening takes place in the car. With the slew of topics and podcast shows available and growing daily, there is a something for everyone to enjoy.

For the 77% of Americans commuting by car, audio is the number one companion and friend. As a medium which entertains, informs and educates it’s listers, there isn’t just one type of audience you can reach with radio. Through traffic, news and weather reports, many are informed before they even turn on their computer at work. Loyal listeners can engage with their favorite DJ through call-ins, social media and attend special events hosted by their companion…like an ongoing friendship.

And finally, radio is great for brands to reach consumers. With 93% of all Americans (over 300 million) tuning in to radio each week, radio carries powerful potential to help elevate your brand and drive the right customers to your business.

Generation Z is Still Listening

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The newest base of consumers advertisers should get to know are known as Generation Z and they make up roughly 25% of the population, consisting of one of the largest generations so far. Their media consumption habits differ from previous generations as Gen Z does not know a world without technology, enabling them to adapt quickly and embrace new digital developments. Another major differentiation with this tech savvy generation is the way they listen to radio.

Gen Zers overwhelmingly prefer connecting to the radio through streaming services in addition to other audio platforms like Spotify and Pandora. These digital platforms offer more music options and shows than ever before. Although Gen Zers aren’t consuming radio in a traditional way, doesn’t mean they aren’t listening, as radio reaches 88% of Gen Z weekly. While this generation can discover a new artist, band or song through a configured playlist on Spotify or Pandora, they tend to reconnect through the radio. Since radio provides a more personal connection, whether that be through on-air live interviews, events and special artist giveaways, this is something Spotify and Pandora are unable to sponsor in real-time.

Source: Nielsen 2017

Source: Nielsen 2017

Comparatively, AM/FM radio currently plays a smaller role in Gen Z’s lives than it does in their parents, but some researchers theorize this is because they are not adults and in a different stage of their lives. Yet, two-thirds of Gen Zers report discovering new products, movies and events by actively listening to the radio. In order to capture Gen Z listeners, radio stations like the iHeart community have already adapted their own on-demand streaming app, which consists of traditional radio and podcasts so Gen Zers can listen anytime, anywhere.

What is clear is that these young adults care about connecting through digital formats on their own terms. Streaming radio apps provide an opportunity for traditional radio to connect with Gen Zers whether it is through their Amazon Alexa in their living room or through their smartphone on their way to class. Radio, a more personal medium, can only continue to fonder a stronger relationship with Gen Z, as long it can keep up digitally.  

Smart Speakers Boost Radio

“Alexa, start my day.” Smart speakers are beginning to change our daily routines and have become one of the most rapidly adopted tech products since the smartphone. Companies including Google, Amazon, and Apple are all carving out their place in the smart speaker market as users are growing at a compound growth rate of approximately 48 percent annually. According to RBC, almost 41% of homes in the US have at least one smart speaker device. Once you’re an owner, it appears their popularity is contagious: more than half of all smart-speaker-equipped homes report owning multiple speakers placed in various rooms, according to Strategy Analytics. You can listen to what you want with the ease of voice command – no buttons, no wires, no clicking, no scrolling, and best of all, no hassle.

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Many Americans are unwilling to compromise on convenience, and smart speakers deliver exactly that.

Smart speaker convenience creates a unique opportunity for listeners to listen to the radio more than they did before. Recent research released by iHeart suggests that 70% of smart speaker users in the US report using their device to listen to the radio. On top of this, Jacobs Media studied that a substantial portion of AM/FM radio listeners have increased their consumption of radio after bringing a smart speaker into their home. Study after study continuously establishes a strong correlation between the increase of radio listenership and smart speaker audience growth that is hard to ignore.

Finally, smart speakers are not only functionally efficient, they are also aesthetically pleasing. These modern designs of luxury pivot radio, an almost 100-year-old medium, into the 21st century with power and ease. Americans are still choosing to listen to the traditional media format of AM/FM radio, but they appreciate the sleek design smart speakers offer. Turning on the radio is as easy as turning on the lights with a smart speaker and it’s easy to remember voice activated commands and controls, which create seamless transitions for the bustle of busy lifestyles. And keep in mind, that since smart speakers are fairly new, it’s safe to assume that radio consumption rates will continue to rise as smart speakers’ popularity grows.

Spotify vs. Pandora - Which is Right for You?

SETTLING THE DIFFERENCES
Trying to figure out the differences between Pandora and Spotify audiences is not hard. There’s plenty of data to be found, and even a quick Google search has the potential to overwhelm you with charts, comparisons and statistics. But the important differences between the two giants of music streaming are found in the more considerable pieces of demographic data that keep appearing in every study.

 

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MUSIC TO YOUR EARS
Firstly, Spotify listeners are a bit younger and more tech-savvy. Whatever the reasons may be: The Spotify user experience or its’ youthful branding, there’s no disputing it. According to Comscore’s latest numbers, approximately 50 percent of US Spotify users are between the ages of 18 to 34, while Pandora users skew a bit older, with the largest group of users falling somewhere between the ages of 25 to 44 years-old. 

To put that in one perspective, Spotify users are more likely to use Gmail, whereas Pandora users are more likely to use Yahoo! Mail. To some of you, that may not mean much, but for those of you who are in on the joke, the idea of using Yahoo! Mail, to a younger audience, is culturally verboten. In other words: Yahoo is not the most hip.

But that’s okay. After all, 44 year olds are consumers too, and they represent a very important segment of the population. Hawking higher ed? Maybe Spotify is more in tune with your audience. Selling financial services? Perhaps Pandora is music to your ears. But the best part? Both can be segmented, optimized, programmatically placed and highly tailored to your target audience, making either streaming radio service a very savvy buy for any data-driven marketer.

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ADDRESSABLE VS. NON-ADDRESSABLE AUDIENCE
If you do decide to add streaming audio to your marketing plan (which you should), be sure to keep one important metric in mind: "addressable audience." An addressable audience means a group of users who listen to their content for free, with ads. Non-addressable means the audience is using the paid version of the audio-streaming app and are therefore listening without ads, and therefore cannot be reached by any campaign. As of now, Pandora has an advantage. Although Spotify recently boasted about 95 million active users within the U.S., while the number of ad-supported Spotify listeners is 65 million users (i.e. addressable). Pandora’s numbers look more like 88 million active users (U.S), with about 71.5 million of those being non-paid, ad-supported and therefore addressable.

THE BETTER BET?
Despite the fact that Pandora and Spotify attract different audience segments, there is a time and place for each platform to be used. Both platforms have shown growth, continuing to evolve how ads are delivered. This past fall, Spotify teamed up with Warner Bros and experimented with 3D sound and a video ad. The ad mimicked the movie theatre surround-sound effect in order to create a more unique experience and break through the ad clutter.

On the other hand, Pandora offers thousands of audience segments to construct ads specifically for your target audience. If you have a smaller budget and a highly-targeted group you’re trying to reach, Pandora may be a better play. In addition to Pandora’s AdsWizz acquisition last May, Pandora continues to enhance their targeting techniques by adding the right players to their team. AdsWizz specializes in programmatic audio advertising; something Pandora has beat Spotify in providing, in the past.

MIND THE TREND
When it comes to digital and mobile marketing (streaming audio included) it’s often more important to pay attention to trends rather than current figures. And if you abide by this rule of thumb you must note that Spotify's audience numbers are steadily trending up at a much greater rate than Pandora's.


*Global growth trends

*Global growth trends

THE BOTTOM LINE
While both Spotify and Pandora both have their pros and cons, the biggest thing to take away is that streaming radio is a fantastic and efficient place to generate highly-targeted user engagement, establish a great branding campaign, or extend and supplement your current marketing plan.

Podcasts: Past, Present, Future

Podcasts, an on-demand audio broadcast hosted for free on the internet, have emerged as a major opportunity for advertisers to reach a captive audience. The word ‘podcast’ originated in the early 2000s, as a combination of the Apple iPod and the word broadcast. At the time, podcasts were available through the iTunes store and downloaded by listeners onto their personal devices to listen to on-the-go or at a convenient time. Since then, podcasting has evolved into a major player in the audio arena and podcasts are now available on all types of internet-equipped devices.

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Podcasts are popular among all generations, with close to 25% of the US adult population listening to at least one podcast in the last month.

In 2006, 22% of the US adult population knew what a podcast was, but by 2017, 60% were aware of the podcast popularity. Of that 60%, 96% of those surveyed aged 18-29 were familiar as well as 93% of those surveyed aged 60+. The medium proves interesting to listeners due to its great accessibility. Firstly, podcasts are free to download. There are no prohibitive income barriers like what can be found with other formats: all you need is an internet connection. Secondly, podcasts are portable, they are available on mobile and tablet devices.

One of the reasons podcasts are so popular? Well, upon downloading the content, they afford the listener the freedom to listen on their own schedule: whenever or wherever. Research shows that the majority of users choose to listen to their podcasts on portable devices, however, one-third of listeners opt to listen via desktop, particularly while working as a distraction-free way to pass the day.

Researchers predict that in 2019 there will be 79 million podcast listeners in the US alone. By 2021, that figure is expected to grow to 112 million listeners. Podcasts have shown tremendous growth since their accessibility through hand-held devices in 2004, with no signs of slowing down. New podcasts are created weekly and new creators are continuously entering the market. Podcasts also offer a unique opportunity where advertisers can be exposed to loyal, affluent, and educated listeners. Several advertisers are already present on podcasts – and the number keeps growing as it is a market that one cannot ignore.

Radio Adds Analytics

Ever since the first advertisement, marketers have been looking for ways to measure and quantify their results.  We have come a long way since the late 19th century’s John Wanamaker, a pioneer in today’s marketing stage, said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half.”

Today, even with all the available analytics tools at our fingertips, it still isn’t always clear which advertising channels are yielding the best outcomes.  But most would agree that some feedback is better than none when analyzing advertising results.

While a little late to the game, radio advertising recently launched its own analytics tracking program. Companies like Owl Analytics have started providing a similar product where they track Google searches for a brand’s radio commercial immediately after it airs. At the local market level, these services track branded Google searches within an eight second window. We have found it a useful tool to help clients improve their advertising strategies.

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While far from perfect, these services provide a glimpse into what happens when the radio commercial airs. Granted, some commercials or brands aren’t likely to lead to a Google search conversion, but when enough people do visit a brand’s website, it offers valuable directional information like:

  • Which station or stations generate the biggest lift in Google searches?

  • What creatives/commercials are having the biggest impact?

  • Tracking engagement by time of day and day of the week.

  • Bench-marking results against industry/category averages.

Similar to any analytics tool, alone, it tells only part of the story. However, for the first time, radio can provide some insights to illustrate what works best and to create a path to optimize results.

Perhaps best of all, radio analytics reporting is available at no charge to advertisers, and may just offer priceless results.

Pandora Gets Sirius

We’ve all heard about the $3.5 billion blockbuster deal where Pandora has agreed to be acquired by Sirius Radio, but while we wait for Sirius to officially take ownership, some of us are still wondering how this story might end. As a reminder, this will be the second time SiriusXM has bailed out Pandora. Just last year, Sirius bought $480 million of Pandora’s stock, gaining a 19 percent stake in the company. The combined entity will form a major new power as the largest audio entertainment company in the country.

Pandora is a market leader in customizing playlists based upon a user’s personalized interests and likes, which currently manages around 6 million paying users and over 70 million active free users’ playlists. Their unique technology curates radio stations for subscribers based on music tastes. Tim Westergren, Pandora’s Co-founder and former CEO, says each song has over 400 attributes consisting of range in tempo, harmony, and rhythm that compose each song’s special coding. It’s reasonable to assume that Sirius may apply Pandora’s unique technology to its satellite radio platform to enhance a more personalized listener experience down the road.

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“In 2018 Q1, SiriusXM’s profits increased 40% and monthly users reached 33 million subscribers with a strong history of year-over-year growth.”

Pandora released their subscription based paid service, Pandora Plus, a little over a year ago, but still houses a majority of its users as free subscribers. Rounding out Q2, Pandora announced it had reached 6 million premium paid subscribers. Followers may not be surprised to notice the Pandora platform continuously moving toward a more subscription based model under the new ownership. If so, perhaps SiriusXM can help Pandora achieve profitability again, which it hasn’t seen since 2014.

Ultimately, if anyone can save Pandora and make it a more profitable company, Sirius is up for the challenge. Jim Meyer, SiriusXM’s current CEO, recently explained where the opportunity lies for them to increase Pandora’s in-car listening audience in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Meyer noted, in order to do this, Sirius needs to make the Pandora platform a “favorite go-to” after people who go through the SiriusXM free trial and then reject paying the monthly subscription fee, and for Pandora to then become the number one choice for free listening. According to Sirius, when the listenership of both services is combined they will have the “largest digital audio audience in North America.” According to ComScore, competitors including Spotify, in the month of September, had 33.9 million active listeners and 63 million unpaid active listeners. Apple Music’s latest paid subscriber count ranks in at just over 20 million, which also includes those on their 3 month free trial. Judging by the numbers, it seems that the streaming industry has a new contender to keep an eye on.  

Radio Ads Increase Curiosity

Nowadays, there are more online shoppers than ever before. Marketers concentrate their advertising efforts in the online realm hoping to steer those shoppers to their websites. But, what exactly is spurring them to go there in the first place? There are several advertising mediums out there that claim to be the reason behind the drive to search online, but there's one that's stands out in the crowd.

A recent study commissioned by the Radio Advertising Bureau and performed by Sequent Partners showed that radio advertising generates, on average, a remarkable 29% incremental lift in Google search activity.

So, how do you suppose radio is accomplishing this feat? Here are three reasons why radio ads can increase curiosity to a brand, product or service.

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Morning and Midday Exposure

The RAB study reported that the highest searches occurred during the morning and midday hours, precisely when people are commuting to work and running errands. Most audiences listen to the radio in their cars or while getting work done at home. According to the study, morning hours noticed a 33% increase in online search activities, while midday hours increased by 32%.

Radio Already has their Attention

Radio listeners like to enjoy music, which can uplift or inspire them throughout the day. When the music stops and the commercials start, listeners don’t just completely tune out. Audiences continue to remain attentive to what's being said, even if they're doing other things. If something sparks their interest, listeners often grab their phone and search online. The more listeners hear the same advertising message, the better they will remember the product or service too.

Building Trust

The use of radio personalities have long been a popular and proven method for increasing sales. People listen to their favorite radio hosts and sometimes even follow them for years as they relocate from station to station. As listeners get to know the person behind the mic, they tend to value and trust their opinions more. When radio personalities promote a product or service, it is as if it comes with their seal of approval.

The RAB study also makes it clear that radio is the number one reach medium for advertising. If you're not using radio in your marketing campaign, then you should consider it. A 29% lift in online search is no laughing matter when you want to increase your brand awareness and profit margins.

Millennials Still Listen to Radio

With the overwhelming popularity of social media and mobile technology that both reach massive audiences with minimal effort, it isn't surprising that some believe radio is no longer the entertainment titan it once was. Despite this concern, new findings from Nielsen Media Research suggest that radio (and radio-based marketing) is far more relevant than you might think.

Millennials Spend More Time with Radio Than Social Media

According to the Nielsen Total Audience Report: Quarter One, 2018, on a weekly basis, millennials spend more time listening to the radio than they do using social media applications on smartphones. While Nielsen's report claims that as many as 60 million millennials use their smartphones for social networking, it also found that even more listen to the radio—approximately 69 million in total; in other words, 82% of millennials use social media apps on a weekly basis while 91% of millennials regularly listen to radio broadcasts. 

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91% of millennials regularly listen to radio broadcasts.

Radio Reaches a Larger Audience Than Other Platforms

The Nielsen Total Audience Report also compared radio to television-enabled devices and computers with internet access. The report found that radio has both the largest reach of the three—91%, compared to 59% and 62% respectively—and, on average, is used the most by millennials during a typical week.

To reach this conclusion, Nielsen looked at the average number of minutes a typical millennial uses each device during a normal week: internet is accessed around 270 minutes a week, television roughly 525, and radio nearly 600. 

Nielsen's findings demonstrate that the reach of radio broadcasting should not be underestimated. Despite the ever-growing popularity of social media, smartphone technology, and internet-based advertising, radio still plays a notable role in the average person's weekly routine—even if they're a millennial. 

Make Room for Radio

From news to talk shows, from live sporting events to playing the latest hits, radio radiates energy and excitement. And now it seems advertisers are very much re-discovering the power of radio, and including it in their media plans to strengthen and amplify their media mix.  

Nielsen and Entercom recently teamed up and released their 2018 Guide to Radio, and the numbers almost seem too good to be true. Among some of the most impressive statistics, the 2018 Guide notes is that radio increases overall campaign awareness, enhancing awareness up to 261 percent when radio advertising is married with mobile internet advertising. Yes…radio doesn’t just double, it almost triples awareness to your advertising campaign! Not to mention, the average ROI for radio is 10 dollars for every dollar spent.

Finally, the 2018 Guide to Radio recalls radio’s effect on memory, which it turns out that radio amplifies TV advertising memorability by 35 percent. Needless to say, radio isn’t a fad, ratings aren’t deteriorating and listenership isn’t declining. With 240-plus million weekly adult listeners, your message will be heard loud and clear with radio, a solution that is proven to drive results.

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240+ Million

 

Weekly Listeners

Summer & Radio Are the Perfect Couple

Think back to the summers of your youth. There was always the one song on the radio that defined that summer, and all the emotions and good times that went with it. Summer and great tunes go together like beach volleyball and bikinis, and there's no reason for your business to be standing on the sidelines. Here are three reasons why the dog days mean loads of radio listeners, eager to hear all about your business. 

Playlists don't give beach traffic reports.

There are some things streaming just can't do, like give you the latest beach traffic, summer weather, or updates about events happening around town. People need to tune in to their local radio stations in the summer to get the information they need. 

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"radio provides the local flavor and personalities that are just the right mix for summer fun."

Summer road trips.

Let's face it, radio is the perfect companion on your summer road trip. When you're traveling, checking out the local radio stations is one of the best ways to get to know the area. Whether it's a cross-country road trip or just a jaunt to a nearby sporting event, radio provides the local flavor and personalities that are just the right mix for summer fun.

Everyone's enjoying the outdoors.

When people are at the beach, gardening, or just hanging out in their backyards, radio is a carefree way to spend hours enjoying their music outside. The continuous variety of songs keeps everyone happy during their favorite summer activities, and no one will get sick of a playlist on repeat. People working outside also rely on radio to keep their day moving in the summer heat, and local advertisers are front and center as people go about their summer days with the radio by their side. 

Interest in local radio stations peaks during the hot summer months. Your business is poised to take advantage of all those attentive listeners with a creative advertising package designed specifically for this season. 

Radio Thrives In Every Season

In today’s digital marketplace, traditional media like Radio is often overlooked. However, brands must not forget that radio is an essential part of any media plan. According to the NYMRAD (New York Market Radio) Quarterly Market Report, “The value of Radio has increased in the last year. While other players such as Pandora and Spotify continue to disrupt the way we listen to audio, terrestrial Radio still has the furthest reach.” So, why is Radio still relevant? The report states that, “Radio reaches 93% of the population each day…and still dominates in-car entertainment.” And with innovations like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, Radio once again lives in the home and not just in the car.

Radio is a powerful medium for advertisers to get their best results, as it successfully saturates itself into our lives. NYMRAD mentions during the summertime, “New York Radio listeners are active all summer in outdoor activities such as grilling, gardening, and boating.” Listeners love to be outside and radio can play as a soundtrack to those summer activities.

It is clear that Radio media is alive and well, building recognition and cause action faster than any other advertising platform. While digital is great when your goal is to reach individuals, Radio powerfully motivates thousands with every airing.

 
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Why Radio is the Simple Choice

These days nothing is simple. Cars are driving themselves, Amazon’s Alexa is telling me what to wear to work, and the first robot citizen, Sophia, is dating more celebrities than I will ever have the pleasure of meeting. Technology continues to blend into every part of our lives, but with all these new accessories, it’s important to leave room for the technical glitches and latest versions in order to stay up-to-date. As radio approaches its' 100th birthday, it seems to be the only simple constant in the equation of media platforms.

Today, many of us feel increasingly addicted to their phones, but radio has always remained a loyal friend. In fact, 93% of the U.S. population listens to AM/FM radio even without including digital listeners, and the numbers continue to climb. The statistics speak for themselves…as radio rakes in one of the largest audiences and is one of the few mediums we don’t consistently need to learn how to use. There are no new updates, just new platforms where the medium integrates well with new technology, creating more opportunities for us to listen and for advertisers to get their message heard.

Aside from traditional AM/FM radio being simple, it’s also friendly. Researches note that radio gives listeners a sense of companionship, providing mood enhancement features. In the end, unlike social media, traditional radio is never deceptive, depressing or difficult to use. Radio is simple and with the number of listeners they currently have, is it clearly appreciated.

Teens and 'Tweens Like to Turn It Up

Radio is an important part of teens and 'tweens daily media mix. Radio garners the most of their time spent listening to music, compared to time spent listening on smartphones and other devices.

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When Radio Listeners Tune-In, They Stay Tuned-In

New Nielsen Audio research shows that radio weekly tune-in time is high—over 14 hours on average to be precise. And this data isn't just limited to one demographic. Radio tune-in time is high across all Americans and is, in fact, higher among certain audience segments like black and Hispanic Americans.

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Radio Rules the Road

Eighty-two percent of all American drivers use AM/FM radio while in the car. It’s astounding to think that radio is the only media that does not require our full attention—it’s unique in that way. As long as we have cars, radio does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

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Radio vs. Social Media? You'd Be Surprised...

Social media is often thought of as a ubiquitous content vehicle. However, AM/FM radio reaches nearly 25% more adults each week than social media does. 

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Engine on, volume up.

Americans listen to radio in their cars an average of 73 minutes a day. Commuters are already especially pressed for time. So the more they can do on their commute, whether in their car, on the bus or on the train, the better. Radio allows us to listen to news and entertainment and discover new music. It gives us more time to get things done while on the go.

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Radio Boasts Highest Reach Among Media Channels

In comparison to TV, desktop, TV-connected devices, smartphones, and tablets, radio reaches the highest audience, at 93% of Americans every week. Radio reaches 10 percent more Americans every week than mobile does.

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Radio Ads Bring in More Customers and Lift Market Share

 

In a recent retail program test, radio grew the client’s sales and increased the number of new and existing customers by 64% when the ads were running.

 
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