Study: Radio Puts Pedal To The Metal For Auto Dealers. –

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With new cars back on dealer lots and inventory to move, auto dealers increased their ad budgets last year to $8.9 billion, a $330 million increase compared to what was invested on marketing a year earlier, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. Radio captured a larger piece of the dealer pie, rising to 9.5% in 2023 compared to 7.8% in 2022.


That increased investment is paying dividends, according to a study by Analytic Owl. The firm examined the impact of over 175,000 auto dealer ads on radio from Jan. to Dec. 2023 and found that radio campaigns accelerate traffic as auto intention increases. Those radio campaigns drove a 7% increase in auto dealer website activity. Broadcast radio was credited with 3.2 new site visits for each ad aired and 560.9K total new site users. Broadcast radio also increased new site visitors by 12% for every day the campaign radio spots aired.

While midday was the biggest driver with the highest number of new users and visits per airing, evening was the biggest driver of new site visits per airing. The study found exposure to radio campaigns drove activity for new site visitors throughout the week but that exposure prompted greater web lift towards the weekend, with Tuesday through Saturday showing the greatest website activity. Midday drove the highest number of new users for each spot aired, followed by afternoon.


“When it comes to search, we know that consumers are constantly online doing their research. For automotive, this couldn’t be more true,” RAB Senior VP of Insights Annette Malave writes in a Radio Matters blog post about the Analytic Owl study. “Radio matters and it helps drive messaging to auto-buying intenders. Radio reaches over 81% of adults who plan to buy a vehicle – compact, full size, hybrid or SUV, per Scarborough.”

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