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AM/FM radio delivers the largest reach of any medium before the peak shopping hour of 1PM ”“ 2PM, find Arbitron and MBI Touchpoints in a September 2012 report. AM/FM radio reaches 31% of American consumers aged 25-54 in the hour before that peak shopping time, which is considerably higher than next-in-line live TV (17%), the internet (8%), social networking and mobile and web apps (both at 3%) and print media (1%). 40% of Americans aged 25-54 listen to AM/FM radio in the 2 hours before the peak shopping hour, 37% in the 90 minutes prior, and 22% in the final half hour before that peak shopping period, as data from “Where Radio Fits: Radio’s Strengths in the Media Landscape” reveals.

The study does not examine exposure to outdoor advertising, though. According to a May 2012 report from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America and the Media Behavior Institute, adding out-of-home (OOH) advertising formats to other media can significantly boost a campaign’s reach throughout the day.

Radio Dominant Before Mall, Store Visits

According to the Arbitron study, mall or store peak hours occur a little later in the day and last longer, from 1:30PM ”“ 3PM. Yet radio’s reach is greatest prior to this period, too: 26% in the hour before such a visit, ahead of live TV (12%), using the internet (6%), using mobile and web apps or reading print media (both at 3%) and social networking (1%).

Grocery store visits peak between 5PM and 6PM. AM/FM listening, at 27% reach, is 3 times that of live TV viewing (9%) in the hour before grocery store visits, with internet use also at 9% reach. Mobile and web-apps both reach just 2% of grocery shoppers in that hour, and print just 1%.

The study measured the media consumption, consumer activities, social setting, and moods of 2,000 Americans aged between 18 and 64, capturing data using a proprietary Touchpoints mobile application for tracking consumer behavior. The study was conducted in 2 waves from October 2010 to March 2011 and from August 2011 to January 2012.

61% Travel Or Commute While Listening

Per the study’s findings, as with mobile activities and TV viewing, radio listening often occurs when consumers are engaged in some other activity.

Of 12 such activities, most respondents (61%) listened while traveling or commuting, followed by talking or chatting (59%), working (31%), eating (30%), drinking (26%), doing housework or chores (21%). Rounding out the list were socializing, shopping, grooming or dressing (each at 19%), relaxing (15%), snacking or cooking (each at 14%). This, concludes the study, provides marketers with opportunities to reach consumers when advertising is relevant to their activities.

Other Findings:

  • AM/FM is the most popular radio platform, reaching 85% of participants, followed by satellite (25%) and streaming (15%).
  • AM/FM represents 86% of the aggregate time spent with audio by consumers across those platforms.

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