The audio revolution during the pandemic

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Campaign’s inaugural Radio & Audio summit celebrated the power of audio and offered an in-depth look at the latest research, best practice and case studies – and it started at the very heart of the audio revolution, with a session from Radiocentre’s Client Director, Lucy Barrett.

The event, which was sponsored by Global, was attended by clients, agencies and media owners. Delegates included media decision makers from brands such as TSB, Unilever, AO.com, Nestle, Unilever, Costa, Bupa, Direct Line and Honda.

Lucy provided an industry overview of where audio stands in the ‘new normal’, with a look at how listeners have responded to the pandemic, their changing habits – and the opportunities this affords advertisers.

Radiocentre’s research with DRG to measure listening changes in lockdown has seen several waves of findings throughout 2020 (with more to come this year). The surveys demonstrate how listening remained higher in lockdown 2.0 than pre-pandemic, especially for those working from home. As Lucy explained, there are many reasons for this, from radio serving as a connection to the outside world, as well as a mood-boosting friend in the room. More recent research has also demonstrated how it provides a vital news service for those who don’t consume news anywhere else.

Lucy also demonstrated why radio was such an important medium for both listeners and advertisers, because 82% of respondents in the DRG study said they turn on commercial radio and it makes them feel happy.

Returning to look at those newly working from home, Radiocentre research shows that radio also plays an important role in buying habits, particularly for that demographic. From supporting the local economy more to new online shopping habits, radio can help advertisers respond to these changes in shopping behaviour, delivering a 30% uplift in in-store purchase intent, and a 52% boost in online brand browsing.

New research from both Radiocentre and Ebiquity, Re-Evaluating Media for Recovery, looks at the most important attributes for brands during times of uncertainty – and which media platforms offer these the most. Radio ranks second only after TV, with 34% of advertisers planning to increase spend on the platform in 2021. 

Lucy closed her keynote with a snapshot of new brands that had joined radio in the last 10 months, and many reflected the times we are living in and the amount of time we have spent at home. From fitness trackers to lawnmowers, and of course Disney+, plenty of brands are realising the power of radio, as Lucy extended an open invite to others to join the audio revolution too.

Global had a session on data alliance headed up by Katie Bowden, Director of Commercial Audio, Global who was joined by TSB’s high profile Chief Marketing Officer Pete Markey, and the bank’s head of Head of Data, Morgan Reavey. They discussed how Global worked with the bank and its agency The 7Stars to accelerate the media activation of its 1st party data pool, combined with attitudinal and behavioural insights from Global’s data to increase TSB product applications by and impressive 31%.

Global’s creative director Jo McCrostie, joined a panel to discuss how audio has created a trusted voice throughout lockdown. The panel was chaired By Campaign’s UK editor Maisie McCabe who also chaired the conference. Jo and Maisie were joined by Sam Austin, from Goodstuff  and Tom Coare from OMD UK who both added that more clients had invested in radio since the pandemic started. The panel concluded that audio was headed for more success as smart speakers increase household penetration.

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