Local Radio Stations Now Getting One Tenth of Their Ad Revenues from Digital

February 18, 2020

This article is included in these additional categories:

Advertising Trends | Creative & Formats | Cross-Media & Traditional | Radio | Spending & Spenders

RABBorrell Local Radio Station Digital Ad Growth 2012 2019 Feb2020With an average of more than 244 million monthly users, radio has more reach in the US than any other platform. While digital has been slower to catch on as a revenue driver for radio than for print, local radio stations have seen digital ad revenues continue to increase. To wit, local radio stations’ digital ad revenues grew by 25% year-over-year last year to total more than $1 billion for the first time. That’s according to research [press release] from the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) in conjunction with ad tracking firm, Borrell Associates.

This 25% growth in digital advertising revenue is the highest it has been in the 8 years the report has been published, surpassing the previous fastest growth seen back in 2012 (22%). It’s also well above recent growth rates observed in 2018 (15%) and 2017 (13.4%). The news gets even better as the RAB forecasts local radio stations’ digital ad revenues to grow by another 29% this year.

The more than $1 billion in revenue is one milestone for digital radio advertisers – but there’s another: digital ads now account for one-tenth of radio stations’ ad revenues.

The study, consisting of data from online ad revenue from 3,488 radio stations along with surveys of 1,006 radio buyers and 208 radio station managers, reports that 70% of stations are selling digital services, up from 62% last year. It also notes that those stations that offer digital services have reported the highest revenue growth rates.

Here are some other findings from the report:

  • More station managers are positive about their digital strategy (78%) than last year (72%).
  • Although 73% of stations produce podcasts (no change from last year), stations are cutting back on the frequency, with half still not selling advertising on podcasts despite the reported advantages of podcast advertising.
  • Radio buyers are 26% more likely than others to be thinking about cutting radio if they are not offered a digital package by their sales rep.

About the Data: Finding for the report are comprised of an analysis of US online ad revenue from 3,488 radio stations, as well as survey responses from 1,006 local radio buyers and a survey of 208 radio managers.

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