2022 is Expected to Be Another Big Year for Radio and Broadcasting

2021 has successfully proved that radio made a major comeback. The oldest and most popular medium returned to pre-pandemic levels last year.

With radio and podcasts expected to see remarkable growth this year and beyond, now could be the best time to consider the medium as an effective advertising strategy.

Last summer, Radio Research Consortiums released analysis of Nielsen Audio data for PPM markets over the course of the pandemic which showed that total average weekly cume listeners in Spring 2021 revisited the 130 million-mark. This was 95% of where it was in Winter 2020 before COVID. 

Total average quarter hour listening was up 11% from Winter to Spring 2021 and passed 8 million. This figure was at a staggering 89% of pre-pandemic levels. 

Portable People Meter data had additionally revealed last October that AM/FM radio listening had recovered 96% of March 2020 AQH and 99% of March 2020 cume levels. 

With more people heading back to the office and getting into their cars to commute to work and school, radio listening is bound to continue speeding up this year even further.

Radio is the medium that people spend the most time with throughout the day, providing ample opportunity for a message to reach its audience. People carry out a wide range of activities while simultaneously listening to the radio. 

According to findings by Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group, 2022 AM/FM radio revenue growth is projected to see a 6% and 8% climb respectively.

BIA/Kelsey Vice President and Chief Economist Mark Fratrik believes that AM/FM radio advertising revenue this year will grow +8% and hit a tremendous $13.4 billion.

In fact, Cumulus Media and Westwood One Audio Active Group has also found that compared to 2019 spend levels, five of the ten advertising categories have already recovered or are close to recovering (professional services, financial services, casino/lottery, insurance, and charitable/government).

Speaking at the Radio Ink Forecast 2022 conference, CEO of Katz Media Group, Mark Gray, said national spot radio revenues are expected to grow +5% to +6% this year, not counting digital and political.

At the same conference, Doug Ray, Chief Product Officer at media agency Dentsu International, projected there would be a 10% increase for audio in 2022, with most of the growth coming from streaming and podcasts. 

IAB/PwC forecasts that podcast advertising will grow +31% from $1.3 billion in 2021 to $1.7 billion in 2022.

International marketing intelligence service WARC says that music and podcast service Spotify is one of the key players and excitingly, Spotify will see ad income top $2 billion for the first time when 2023 hits.

According to Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner, radio’s growth has been fueled in part by “red-hot categories” like sports betting, political, and recruitment. 

As the economy continues to rebound, next year Berner believes radio will see growth in industries that are still struggling because of the pandemic, including automotive, retail, and entertainment. She sees continued growth ahead for streaming, podcasting, and digital marketing services.

In response to a study by WARC that found brands are underspending on audio by a factor of 3X, Berner remarked, “I’m hopeful that this study, combined with the collapse of linear TV and the excitement over digital audio – which is causing many advertisers to rediscover the power of audio to connect with consumers – will cause the imbalance between share of consumer time spent and advertiser spend to narrow. It only makes sense.”

MAGNA Global Advertising has additionally said that the economy is powerful right now and they see every vertical increasing in spending.

BIA has also increased its 2022 U.S. local ad forecast across media to $173.3 billion, up from an earlier estimate of $161.5 billion.

Ironically, a new study from WARC called “The Investment Gap: Understanding the Value of Audio” has shown that brands are overspending on TV and digital and underspending on audio. The “investment gap” is that consumers spend 31% of their media time with audio, but audio only accounts for 8.8% of media budgets. Other media represent 69% of consumer media use and 91.2% of ad spend. 

The study revealed that audio spending has several benefits, which include higher levels of audience engagement and attention, a greater share of voice, plus more effective ads.

Radio messages can resonate in the consumer’s ears with proper voice acting, sound design, and copy. It’s also a notable benefit that radio ad is cost efficient, targeted, easy to track, and extremely effective if done properly.

In fact, a 2020 Nielsen survey found that “radio remains one of the centerpieces of the media universe, reaching 92% of U.S. adult listeners each week, more than any other platform.” 

Ever since radio first struck the airwaves, radio ads have been very effective in communicating a message to a mass audience. 

As 2020 projections show radio and podcasts seeing significant growth, now may be the perfect time to create a captivating and memorable radio ad that will resonate with your target audience.