Digital Audio Vs. Radio: 6 Reasons Why Broadcast Buyers Should Make the Switch

If you’re a local radio buyer who’s used to broadcast advertising, we get it. Why would you change your tried and true method? After all, for a long time, that was the main way to reach listeners. But what if we told you that you could make your audio advertising better than ever before? With the rise of online audio and the latest tech innovations, digital audio now has a ton of advantages for advertisers.

Ever considered going digital, but not sure where to start? Or maybe you’ve tried it before but aren’t convinced? We’ll show you how digital audio takes the best parts of radio, and makes them even better. 

1. Get in the ears of more listeners

To start, digital audio has overtaken radio as the dominant listening choice. In the U.S., 64% of audio listening now happens on digital platforms vs. traditional AM/FM radio.1

Not only that, but people are spending more time listening to the medium (an additional 1 hour and 32 minutes, to be exact, than non-digital audio.2) For advertisers, this means you can reach a wider customer base who are tuned in for longer.

2. Reach the listeners you actually want to

Your target customer will actually hear you. With traditional radio, ad buyers purchase spots based on time of day and station format. The thinking goes, if you want to reach adult males aged 25-34, for example, you could buy the Alternative Rock station during the morning commute time slot.

But this is based on estimates. And inevitably, there will be people outside of that demographic listening, like females aged 18-24. Your ads will be served to the wrong customer, which is wasted money that your brand could be spending more wisely. 

With SXM Media’s platforms, targeting makes all the difference. You can take advantage of our logged-in user base and target your exact customer by demographic data (age, gender, geography, etc.). This makes for accuracy and ensures that only people in your target audience will hear your ads. And that equals more $$. 

3. And, when they’re actually listening

Remember those adult males, aged 25-34, that you wanted to reach on the Alternative Rock station? The thing is, they may not even be listening when your ad plays, resulting in ad waste. But when it comes to digital audio, your ad only plays when the consumer is 100% for sure listening. And with unskippable ads on music platforms, like Pandora, your audience will be listening from start to finish. 

4. Stand out from the competition

Ad loads for broadcast radio can be as high as 15 minutes per hour. We’re all quick to change the station once we realize the radio is switching to commercial (you know exactly what we’re talkin’ about). But guess what? Pandora’s ad load averages less than five minutes per hour, which is good news for you: your ad will be more memorable, and listeners are more likely to stay engaged.

5. Hook your listeners in the car—and beyond

Fun fact: listening to audio is the #1 preferred phone activity for consumers (yes, more than social media and gaming.3) It’s also the #1 activity on smart speakers.4

Digital audio is mobile-friendly and lends itself to cross-platform listening, so you can reach your customer on more devices, not just during that road trip. Catch them when they’re going for a jog and listening on their phone, at work on a desktop, or in their kitchen on a connected speaker.

And audio is gaining ground on in-car listening, too. Among the newest cars (2017 or newer), listening via digital audio platforms now makes up half of all daily audio time.5

6. Podcasts, too

As a local advertiser, you can also get in on the podcasting boom. With podcasts, listeners tend to be fully engaged with the long, conversational format (yep, even the ads). In fact, 86% of Stitcher listeners say they have taken action as a result of hearing a podcast ad.6

And with the latest advancements in ad tech, you can target your individual customer the same way you would with music content, by age, gender, and geography. 

Reach a Local Audience at Scale with SXM Media

So, in the showdown between digital audio vs. broadcast radio, who comes out on top? We see it as digital audio, and we think you will too.  At SXM Media, we’re the pros at audio advertising. Our leading house of brands—SiriusXM, Pandora, Stitcher—and off-platform offerings reach 150 million+ people in the U.S.7 If you’re interested in seeing what digital audio can do for your brand, talk to a sales rep today.

1. Edison Research, Share of Ear Study, Q2 2021, AM/FM listening online was attributed to AM/FM category.
2. Edison Research Share of Ear Study, Q2 2021, Percent More Time with Audio, Compared to Non-Digital Audio Listeners.
3. Pandora Soundboard Study, March 2020.
4. Qualcomm, “The State of Play Report 2020,” Sep 3, 2020.
5. Edison Research Share of Ear Study, Q2 2021. Daily time spent to audio Type. AM/FM listening online was credited to AM/FM category.
6. Midroll network Podsurvey listener data.
7. Q2 2021 Internal Metrics, SXM Media include: SiriusXM Satellite & Digital, Pandora, Stitcher/NBC, SoundCloud + Audience Exchange user logs.