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How Much Does It Cost to Advertise on the Radio?

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many businesses to have to rethink their entire marketing strategies and overall business plans. Those that are willing (and able) to adapt and think outside the box will be the ones that survive and come out on top.

One option that is growing in popularity is radio ads. But, many businesses aren’t familiar with the ins and outs. For example, how much does it cost to advertise on the Radio?

Don’t worry, we’ve got all the information you need so you can decide whether radio ads are right for you.

How Much Does It Cost to Advertise on the Radio? It Depends!

If you were hoping for a straight-up summary of radio advertising rates, we’re sorry to disappoint you. Unfortunately, things are a bit more complicated than that.

There are many different variables that impact the total cost of radio commercials. First, it’s important to understand that radio ads are quoted on a “per spot” basis. That means that you’ll be charged every time your ad plays.

If you wanted your ad to run 5 times a day for 7 days straight, you would purchase a total of 35 ads. So, if the salesperson quoted you $10 per ad, you can expect to pay $350.

What goes into determining your per-ad price? There are several factors. Here are the most common.

Time of Day

One of the most important things that affect radio advertising costs is the time of day when your ad will run. The most expensive time is, understandably, morning. That’s because this is the time of day with the highest number of listeners.

The morning commute hours from 6 am until 10 am are when most people are tuning in. More listeners mean more value, which translates to a higher cost. The second-highest cost is the evening commute from 4 pm until 6 pm.

If you want to save money on your ads, then overnight is your best time. After 8 pm, prices drop. There may be fewer listeners at this time, but, depending on your target audience, this might actually be the ideal time slot.

Pro tip: if a salesperson is talking to you about “available spot” rates, beware! This is often the lowest rate, but this term means that your ad will only run in “available” spots after all “non-available” spots have been scheduled. In this case, it’s highly likely that your ad will only run during the overnight hours.

Length of Ad

The common lengths for radio ads are 15, 30, and 60 seconds. Sometimes you can also purchase an ad that runs for 45 seconds. The price you’ll pay per ad will depend on the length you choose.

This is why sometimes you hear a longer ad on the Radio, then a few weeks later hear a shortened version of it. This is one way that businesses control their radio ad costs.

Sometimes, you can also save money by choosing to run your ad for a longer period of time. When you’re purchasing more ads at a single time, then you may be able to negotiate a better per-spot price. This option will give your business more exposure while also saving you money!

Ad Creation

Lastly, there’s the question of whether you want to create your own ad or have the radio station do it for you. Most stations won’t charge you anything extra to create your commercial unless you want to add a celebrity voice or a jingle.

The Station You Choose

More popular radio stations often charge more for their advertising spots. This makes sense. They have more listeners, and since every station only has a finite number of spots each day, the greater competition among businesses makes each of those spots more valuable.

When choosing a radio station, don’t choose it based on price alone. You’re much better off choosing the stations that your target audience is most likely to be listening to. If this means that you have to purchase fewer ads, it still may be the best option for you.

It’s also a good idea to talk to the radio station to see if they’re running any promotions that could save you some money. And, once you’ve established yourself as a client, you’re also likely to be one of the first to learn about upcoming promotions.

Different Types of Radio Ads

If you want to dip your toe into radio advertising but don’t want to spend too much money, you might want to consider different types of radio advertisements aside from the 30 or 60-second commercial break that occurs between morning show breaks or songs.

Some thoughts to consider which may end up giving you more bang for your buck includes:

  • Sponsoring the weather or school-closing announcements
  • Sponsoring contents
  • Sports segments
  • “Deal of the Day” sponsorships
  • Station promotions
  • Giveaways

These are all excellent ways to use Radio to raise brand awareness and increase your company’s visibility.

Does Radio Advertising Make Sense for You?

Now that you’re clear about all the factors that go into answering the question “How much does it cost to advertise on the radio?” you’re ready to decide whether adding this extra form of advertising to your budget makes sense.

Before you go, take a look through a few more of our blog posts particularly on marketing. We have plenty of information that can help you put your business in a position to survive–and thrive–during this uncertain time.

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