‘Put your money where your mouth is’: CRA urges marketers to give more of their budgets to radio

Former Editor & Content Director

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%.

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Truth Bead
23 Sep 2020 - 5:04 pm

PLEASE SPEND WITH US…WOW. listen to our radio ads. “sally listens to the radio all day – do you want Sally as a customer”. Put back some shows that direct can sell “up the street”, honestly you’re killing yourselves and now you’re actually telling the world too.

23 Sep 2020 - 7:47 pm

“put your money where your mouth is”

Does Joan know what that saying means?
How is that applicable here?

Radio has lost a large amount of listeners to digital and as a result agencies are spending across different digital channels. Is she not aware of this? Seems like she isn’t.

24 Sep 2020 - 11:04 am

Are you really surprised to see radio ad spend plummet when you made the ridiculous decision to stop the radio ratings because it wasn’t safe for people to fill out a diary when they listen to the radio?

Quint Entaren Tino
24 Sep 2020 - 12:19 pm

Our methodology of showing results to clients sucks… and it gets killed by digital who can show real numbers, so what we’ll do is we’ll remove it for covid. then by the time its back, everyone will have moved on. COOL!

24 Sep 2020 - 1:06 pm

That’ll bring the advertisers back! Another winning strategy from the CRA.
Time for a clean out.

Dare ya
24 Sep 2020 - 5:30 pm

Ah yes, next we’ll get CRA ads that proffer ‘I double dog dare you to buy radio ads’

If the best we have as an industry is ‘spend money on radio because’ then I don’t think we’ve got much hope.

That's Rich... Like the C-Suite
24 Sep 2020 - 9:57 pm

From an industry that just gutted itself of localism, pays pennies on the dollar for almost every department compared to digital and still uses a diary system that is nothing more than an exercise of brand recall… Yeah, pass.

25 Sep 2020 - 10:58 am

Hardly a way to win back advertisers. Most media CEOs are using their position to restore confidence in the market by outlining how they can add value to advertisers. Being “disappointed” isn’t going to bring in the dollars. Changing your PR tact might.

Radio Today. Gone Tomorrow
25 Sep 2020 - 6:37 pm

” the future of radio is not keeping me up”

It should be Joan

Every spare time I have is spent listening to a podcast or streaming music & tv


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