Can Radio Really Boost Search Performance?

Radio Search Performance Featured

At the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Atlanta, Ed Gorman, Client President & Managing Director of Carat USA, said, “Radio had the highest correlation to increasing search” compared to any other medium they used. Mike Hibbison, the VP of Integrated Media for Home Depot, agreed, and said, “We see it happening.” The question is, is it truly easy to see and measure radio’s ability to drive traffic online?

Connecting Online & Radio Advertising

First, your digital presence is crucial in today’s world. However, focusing solely on SEO and SEM strategy may actually lessen your ability to develop an integrated brand. I believe you should do your best to ensure common messaging and timing to users across marketing channels. Online display should be in line with your radio, as both increase branded awareness. Social media can solidify relationships through deals, education and interaction. That, too, should be incorporated into your radio campaigns. And finally, search, both paid and organic, should highlight key value propositions learned in the research phase. Those keywords should be incorporated into your radio spots to help induce search.

How Radio Ads Boost Traffic from Search & Other Channels

An advertiser I’ve been fortunate enough to work with has run a radio flight over the past few years with great success. We have seen via their Google Analytics that when radio ads have run, their online channels observed a bump in volume during the flight as show below.

The graph above shows the relative boost in site traffic broken out by channel during a radio flight. During the 13-week reporting timeframe, visitors increased by over 20% across organic search, paid search, display and social.

We would expect a significant brand awareness push to help branded paid and organic search. However, this bump has extended beyond brand into core non-branded terms as well, as shown below.

There is a logical lag between launching the radio flight and then search increasing. On the flip side, there is also a lag time between the flight ending and the impact on search reverting to its normal trend.

More importantly, this is not a one-time occurrence. Over the course of more than five radio flights, we continued to observe core non-brand search terms generate 15-25% incremental visitors that equaled great performance.

Radio and Top of Mind Awareness

So why, Based on this observation, do we see radio not only influencing multiple online channels but non-branded PPC? I believe its radio’s ability to create top of mind awareness. Radio grabs attention, creates interest, and builds desire that supports your digital display, SEO/SEM and social strategy. All these elements together will help generate leads that increase sales.

As an example, let’s say someone is in the market for a new mattress and search a non-branded term like “Minneapolis Mattress store” to start their research process. Let’s also say they have heard a consistent branding message from their favorite radio talent on a local radio station for Mike’s Mattress Company. Mike’s Mattress Company also purchased a PPC ad that was just served to them next to two other companies. In terms of paid results options, one would more likely choose the familiar PPC brand. Also, if a user skipped the PPC section, they would more likely click on Mike’s Mattress Company in the organic results as well due to the warm lead process, from the radio branding, which has already done some of the leg work for Mike’s Mattress Company.

This potential customer started the purchasing cycle with the simple need of a new mattress. The cycle can speed up once they know who they want to purchase that mattress from. Even though they might not have started search looking for Mike’s Mattress Company you can see how they would be more willing to visit Mike’s in the end. Radio can be challenging to measure, but it is possible with the right strategies, tools and analytics.

Originally published by Mike Gale on LinkedIn