In the world of radio, and in other media for that matter, impressions are a key metric that marketers track when assessing an ad’s performance. Put in the simplest of terms, impressions are the number of people who hear your ad. Because marketers want to know how many listeners their ad will reach, impressions are often discussed when looking at the total cost of an ad.
If you look at the weekly cume (the number of unique listeners who tune in to a station for at least five minutes in an average week) for Hubbard’s 3 radio stations, for example, you’ll find quite a variation. On 97.1 The Drive there are around 1.3 million, on 100.3 WSHE the number is 1.1 million and on 101.9 The MIX there are over 1.4 million unique weekly listeners.
However, when it comes to radio ad impressions, they are not all created equal. Allow us to share a few key factors that impact radio ad impressions and how that affects your advertising results.
Frequency is the number of times your ad is heard by the average person over the course of a week. How often the ad is played will have an impact on how effective it is. There has been a lot of research done on this topic; however, the idea is that you want your message repeated more than a few times so that it sinks in and becomes memorable. Finding a station that offers you the optimum frequency is key. A station that plays your ad regularly will enable you to achieve more impressions and make a more significant impact on those who do hear it.
2. Target Audience
When considering impressions, one of the most important factors is the target audience. Your ad could play hundreds of times, but if it is reaching the wrong audience it will not have a positive impact on your bottom line. For example, 100.3 SHE in Chicago is an Adult Contemporary radio station that has an audience of more female than male listeners. This station will likely have a much different target audience than a station playing hard rock music or the top 40 hits. Companies looking to connect with the modern, woman-in-the-workplace market may find 100.3 SHE to be a great fit, while a company that is more male-centric or looking to gain a younger market share may not. To receive quality impressions, it’s important to match the profile of your target audience with the demographics of the station’s primary listeners.
Reach and impressions work hand in hand. Reach describes how many unique listeners hear a message in a given time period. Radio is a reach media, so it is important to look at not only how many times your ad will be played, but how many listeners you can expect to hear it at any given time of the day. Sit down with an account executive at the radio station you’re considering for your ad and delve into these numbers. Knowing you’re working with a station that has a million or more unique listeners in an average week, like Hubbard’s three mainstays, will give you confidence that you’ll have a higher reach for your ad. When you have a great balance of reach and frequency, you’re most likely to achieve quality impressions.
As you plan your radio ad campaign, be sure to look at the number of impressions you can expect to receive. However, make certain you consider the other factors mentioned above to see how effective those impressions will likely be as you work to connect with radio listeners and share your message with your audience.