The Cost of Radio Advertising

The Cost of Radio Advertising 4


Radio advertising is the perfect medium for SMEs that are looking to grow. With over 36 million adult listeners every week, commercial radio is helping businesses reach out to new customers to not only build awareness but to boost response to websites and increase sales. The cost of radio advertising is often variable, however, the ROI of the medium towers above other traditional media such as television or print. 

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1. The cost of radio advertising 

There are several deciding factors to consider when determining the cost of radio advertising, these include: 

Number of listeners

The general rule is that the more people who listen to a radio station, potentially reaching more customers for you, the more expensive it will be to advertise on there. popular commercial stations such as Smooth North West or Heart Yorkshire will be higher in price than smaller local stations such as XS Manchester. 

Number of spots

The larger the number of spots or 'radio adverts' you choose to have, the higher the investment will be. Radio advertising campaigns vary in size depending on budget and brand, you may want to choose to play a couple of ads a day or create a more 'heavyweight' campaign so that you are covering the entire day. Radio delivers a larger audience than any other media throughout the morning and is used by people to accompany tasks and activities across the day, making it easier for brands to reach people at relevant times and in relevant places. 

Length of campaign

Radio adverts can vary from 10-60 seconds, with an average advert being around 30 seconds. Campaigns can run for one or two weeks (short-term promotions or giveaways) or a few months to ensure your getting your message and brand out there. Again, the longer the campaign the more reach and brand awareness the advert will garner, however shorter, more targeted campaigns can also work just as well. 

Time of spots

Depending on messaging, certain times of the day will work much better than others. Spots are mostly broken down into breakfast, day, evening, and overnight. These are known as 'day parts'. The most 'in- demands' spots are usually breakfast and evenings as they have the most listeners. This also comes down to your target demographic, think about when they will be listening to the radio, will they be working from home? travelling in the car? 


The production of an advert is an addition that you should consider, this will impact the overall cost of your radio advertising campaign. An ad that includes one simple voice would cost significantly less than a conversational commercial that would feature a number of different voice actors. Again, if you would like 'well-known' music on your spot, a fee for music licences may also apply. Strong creatives can also make your ad switch from barely memorable to an instant hit. 

Does radio advertising work once I have invested?

Commercial radio is a surefire way to speak to millions of people via a media that they can trust. Although often shunned for more modern method, the strengths of radio advertising are endless, however, we have pulled together some of the highlights here 

Return on investment 

A common goal for many advertisers is to increase the return on investment (ROI) from their advertising spend. The econometric analysis highlights how moving money into radio from other media leads to great returns at a total campaign level for no extra cost. 

According to Radiocentre, radio produces £7.70 revenue ROI for every pound spent. 

Using radio with other media 

Radio plays a highly effective role for advertisers on its own but placing this alongside other media can create a high impact for your brand., enhancing overall campaign performance.

Consistent advertising 

Historically, it is assumed that to make a big impact consistently you will need a big budget. However, this is far from the truth. Radio advertising delivers an average CPT (cost per thousand listeners) of £1.54. 

Context is key

According to research conducted by Differentology brands like McDonalds, Heinz and Deliveroo saw a sales uplift of 51% when they focused on targeting their customers when they were engaged in a relevant activity. 

A good advertiser will ensure that your message is reaching the right people at key times of the day by putting them in the context of the consumer. Will your key customer be listening to the radio at work? will they be doing the school run? A brand will know its audience and what it will be doing, therefore making sure the advert hits the correct touchpoints. 

How do I target my campaign to get the most for my money? 

When it comes to advertising, targeting an audience is the most important aspect of your campaign. It is important to get your targeting right and when radio advertising is planned correctly it can be a very powerful communication tool. 


One of the most important factors for many advertisers is selecting stations that focus on specific geographic locations. With a range of national, regional and local stations covering most of the UK, radio is highly flexible- providing opportunities for all kinds of advertisers to precisely target locations efficiently 


Commercial radio consists of a wide range of stations with a variety of content and playlists attracting different types of audiences. RAJAR data allows advertisers to analyse which stations are best for reaching their specific audience. 

Time of day 

Radio is a predominantly live and linear medium, meaning that radio ads play out in real-time. This allows advertisers to time their advertising to reach people on specific days of the week and/or specific times of the day to enhance the relevance and efficiency of certain messages, where appropriate. 


With more radio listening starting to take place through connected devices, some radio stations are now able to offer individualised personal data-led targeting of listeners to their streamed content. while still relatively limited in scale this is an important and growing element of commercial radio offerings. 

Consumer context 

Reaching people at relevant time can help enhance the effectiveness of your campaign and cut through the noise. Listeners can use radio to accompany a range of tasks and activities, from the school run, to working, right through to childcare, allowing advertisers to target audience in very specific contexts.

Think you're ready to start your campaign? or just want to chat about the ins and outs of radio? Click here to get in touch with one of our team. 


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