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Radio: The Online Multiplier

01 January, 2010 - Source: Radio Advertising Bureau

This is an intriguing report because it addresses a very hot topic in the online advertising business. The polite way of expressing this is: how to raise – or even maintain – brand awareness in a world dominated by generic search?

The blunt formulation is: how to escape from the tyranny of the big search engines? I’ve just done a Google search for “car insurance UK”, for example, which has returned over 46 million results: and the first page (which we all know is the only one that really matters) lists no fewer than a dozen different brands, lost amid a welter of price-comparison sites. The corresponding figures for Bing were 35 million results and eleven brands. So the $64 billion question is: how do you persuade a web user to search for your brand rather than a generic product or service? Attempts to do this by purely online means – display advertising, ‘viral’ YouTube videos, word-of-mouth via social networks – have so far had very mixed results. This new study suggests that one answer to the brand awareness challenge may lie offline – in creative uses of radio advertising to influence online behaviour. The headline finding – that exposure to radio advertising boosts brand browsing by an average of 52% – is so startling that at first I assumed it had to be a misprint. Surely there’s a missing decimal point? But there isn’t. Read on to find out why…

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