Case Study: Radio Advertising vs. Digital Audio Advertising

5 min read

Awareness is always the start to any customer's journey. It's the part when a person gets introduced to your business (or organization, cause, event, etc.) for the very first time.

While it's your job as the marketer to try and get the word out to as many people as possible.

AM/FM radio has traditionally been one of the most effective channels for raising awareness, largely because it used to reach as much as 98% of all working-aged Americans. But as this next generation of listeners continue to flock more and more to streaming audio apps, we're actually beginning to see more and more long-time radio advertisers follow suit.

Like South Bay Paints. Whose successful pivot to digital audio advertising is the subject of our story.

The Client

South Bay Paints is a local chain of Benjamin Moore franchisees in Santa Clara County, California. They’ve been in operation for 31 years and they've relied almost exclusively on radio as their go-to awareness channel for all of them.

But, like most other things, that all changed in 2020.

Drawn by the growing popularity of Digital Audio (podcasts, in particular) - and the appeal of an affordable self serve platform that completely automates ad buying and creative production - South Bay Paints began to use AudioGO in earnest during the pandemic as a way to reach local customers who were quarantining at home and looking for help around the house.

The Solution

Since the start of the pandemic, in-home audio streaming has increased 44% according to Edison Research. During that same time, the IAB also found podcast listening had jumped a dramatic 21% as well.

Meanwhile, South Bay Paints was launching a series of ads as part of their 'Hire a Painter' campaign. Using AudioGO, the paint and supplies chain was able to take advantage of a few features you won't normally find in traditional radio advertising, like:

The ability to create professionally-made English-language (click here) and Spanish-language (click here) audio ads in under 24 hours and for only $10/each.
  • With radio, getting an ad recorded would typically require a contract with some outside agency or studio. It's very likely that they'll charge more than $20 too.
The ability to narrowly target streamers of popular podcast genres (like news, business, and sports) in the cities and zipcodes their retail locations serve.
  • With radio, you'll get a much broader audience as targeting is limited to geography. In other words, with Digital Audio you can message specific listeners (by their demographic, interests, user profiles, etc.) - whereas with radio, you're restricted to locations.
The ability to add tracking links to their AudioGO campaigns for extra monitoring and management of clicks to their website through Google Analytics.
  • With radio, it would be difficult to measure the impact of their integrated marketing activities all in one place.

South Bay Paints Ad

The Results

South Bay Paints' two (2) Spanish and two (2) English-language campaigns ran over 260,000+ ads to an audience of 165,000 unique listeners. 160,000+ (98%) of which heard their 30-second ads all the way through. Engagement you'd love to see from any awareness campaign.

By also leveraging real-time performance data from their AudioGO and Google Analytics dashboards, South Bay Paints was able to improve their campaign effectiveness over time as well.

One example of this was when they experimented with several different genres in their earlier campaigns and found electronic music and news podcasts got more engagements - giving them the data to make decisions that helped their subsequent campaigns outperform the next each time.

Jennifer Stivers of the South Bay Paints team goes on to add:

"For us, the ability to submit a script and get a custom studio-produced ad so quickly was a key factor in what made AudioGO work so well. We were able to create messaging that was timely and get it out quickly."

"In addition to the reporting, I measure ROI in other ways. For example, calls requesting help from Spanish-speaking staff increased during the time frames we ran Spanish ads."

The Bigger Picture

To fully understand this story better, it might help to know that it's not just South Bay Paints, nor is it today's market of listeners, that's undergoing a digital transformation.

The ad industry as a whole is in the middle of its own digital revolution. For decades, they've maintained this old-school service model that involved people in every step of the ad buying, planning, and placement process.

But only in the past few years has a 'smarter' way to advertise emerge, where humans get replaced for intelligent algorithms that automatically fulfill those functions in a matter of clicks. No differently than how AudioGO works.

This new way of digital advertising - called programmatic advertising - is the future. It's data-backed. It's targeted. It's faster. It's easier.

And if you ask Jennifer, she'll also tell you that it's better:

“In 2020 when listeners made the leap to streaming audio and podcasts, we used AudioGO to reach them. The self-serve platform allowed us to control targeting and campaign management effectively with measurable ROI that you can’t get from radio. I would highly recommend AudioGO!”