Re-evaluating Media

What the evidence reveals
about the true worth of
media for brand advertisers

Re-evaluating Media is a study commissioned by Radiocentre and independently conducted by Ebqiuity which makes an impartial and robust re-evaluation of online and offline media. The results highlight a major discrepancy between perceptions of individual media and what the evidence says, suggesting that it is time for the industry to re-evaluate media decisions to optimise advertising budgets.

The Main Findings

How radio promotes brand growth

1.Both audio-visual and audio advertising have a significant effect on helping brands spring to mind more readily in purchasing situations (salience)

2. When included in the mix, audio advertising significantly increases the effects of brand communication over audio- visual advertising alone:
a. Expanding a brand’s network of mental associations
b. Building brand associations amongst a wider audience
c. Increasing share of mind for a brand

3. When applied to broadcast media, these findings demonstrate how including radio alongside TV can improve the cost-effectiveness of brand campaigns


Ebiquity identified what advertisers and agencies consider to be the most important attributes when building a brand. They then evaluated how each medium performs against those attributes. The five most important media attributes for growing a brand in the longer term are:

  1. targeting the right people in the right place at the right time
  2. increasing campaign ROI
  3. triggering a positive emotional response
  4. increasing brand salience
  5. maximising campaign reach.

Judged against these, TV and radio are top overall. Combining evidence scores from all 12 attributes firmly places TV as the best performing medium, followed by radio, newspapers, magazines and out of home. Online display is the weakest performer.

With the exception of TV, advertisers undervalue traditional media, especially radio. They overrate the value of online video and paid social.

There is a clear disconnect between the scale of investment in online media and the value it delivers. Re-evaluating the media mix may help advertisers better achieve long-term brand growth.

Overall Media Ranking:
perception vs. reality

Ebiquity analysed all of the publically available evidence to evaluate each medium against each attribute and then weighted these by the relative importance of each attribute to evaluate which media channels deliver the best performance overall for brand building campaigns.

TV came out on top but other traditional media are undervalued by advertisers and agencies.

The performance of radio, which ranks a close second behind TV on the evidence, was one of the most strikingly undervalued, coming in only sixth according to the advertisers and agencies interviewed.

Conversely, performance of online video and social media were notably over-rated.

Overall weighted score – all 12 attributes combined


Implications for advertisers

Ebiquity’s view on the implications of the findings.

Re-evaluate the media mix

There is strong evidence from this research that digital advertising, especially online display, is not performing as well as other media in delivering the qualities required for a long-term brand-building campaign. This is at odds with the scale of investment in online advertising. Advertisers should re-evaluate the media mix to ensure they are using the most effective combination of media for their brand.

TV and radio stand out as ticking all the boxes for a brand-building campaign but radio appears undervalued by advertisers and agencies. Used creatively, radio is a cost-effective way of extending reach, building brand salience and optimising ROI.

Targeting – getting the balance right

Targeting is the single most important attribute of a brand building campaign. Advertisers quite rightly see digital media excelling for their highly sophisticated targeting potential. Ebiquity’s view is that there is a balance to achieve here because conventional targeting is still effective.

Be in control of programmatic

The research has highlighted some concerns about programmatic targeting. We’ve been calling for greater accountability and transparency in programmatic trading for some time. Our advice to clients is to be in control of how they allocate, audit, and manage programmatic spend, vendors, data, and technology.

Media owners need to prove it works

Traditional media, and notably radio, have a robust body of research evidence to prove the medium works. There is little such research for online media and this is something Ebiquity think the online industry should invest in. It will be in everyone’s interest to get a true perspective on the effectiveness of online advertising and build understanding of how to get the very best from the platform.

Keep improving creativity

No matter how effective the medium, the key to success is good creative. A key theme running across the research is the need for advertisers to strike the right balance between creatively integrating campaigns across media and optimising them for each platform.

How media perform against each attribute

For the full detail and analysis of each attribute, download the full report. These charts show the overall ranking of each attribute based on the evidence, alongside how advertisers and agencies ranked each medium for that attribute.
Sound, commercial, sense.
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