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Advertising In Boston: Five Amazing Facts About Local Radio

Jul 22, 2021 3:35:00 PM / by Larry Julius

Advertising is crucial to the success of Boston business owners. According to Investopedia, "lack of adequate marketing and publicity are among the issues that drag down small business".

According to Borrell Associates, a company that tracks advertising trends across the country, Boston business owners are expected to spend $3.6 billion to advertise the goods and services they sell. This represents a 6.3% increase versus last year.

Advertising Spending In Boston 2021

The majority of these dollars are being spent by Boston business owners to capture a significant share of the $72 billion dollars local consumers will be spending this year. These estimates are based on a revised forecast from the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Of course, there is an over-abundance of ways a local business owner can advertise. Perhaps the best way to generate sales from local consumers is with Boston radio. Here are the top five reasons why...


Every week, according to Nielsen, significantly more local consumers are reached by Boston radio than with any other advertising medium. This includes TV, cable, social media, streaming audio or video, and newspaper.


Reach, according to Nielsen, contributes more to the success of a radio campaign than all other media considerations. Only the message itself has a greater effect.

Advertise In Boston Successful Campaign


There are 1,028,430 millennials in the Boston area.  The oldest of them turn 40 this year. According to The Pew Research Center, millennials comprise the generation of Americans born between 1981 and 1996.

As a consumer group, millennials account for an outsized percentage of retail spending. This generation represents 25.6% of the Boston area population but almost one-third of metro-area sales. 

Millennials were the first demographic group to be completely comfortable accessing digital and technology media including streaming audio, streaming video, and social media. But, despite an abundance of options, Boston radio reaches more millennials every week than other choices.

Advertising In Boston Reaching Millennials 2020

Time Spent Listening

Before the pandemic, consumers spent about two hours per day tuned to Boston radio station.  Most of this time spent listening (TSL) happened at work or in the car. Then in March 2000, to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus, consumers spent less time on the road and at the workplace.

This shift in lifestyle,  however, had little effect on the amount of time consumers spend listening to local radio stations.

Advertise On Boston Radio Time Spent Listening May 21

Although the time consumers spend listening to Boston radio has remained little changed throughout the pandemic, where people listen has evolved to match lifestyle changes.

Advertising On Boston Radio Out of Home

Return On Advertising Investment (ROI)

Over the past few years, Nielsen has conducted more than 20 studies to determine how many additional dollars in sales could be achieved for every dollar invested in radio advertising.  On average, the businesses studied generate $10,000 in sales lift for every $1000 spent. The ROI, therefore, was of 10-to-1.

Between April 30 and May 27 of last year, the darkest days of the pandemic, Nielsen analyzed the sales results of a retailer who conducted an advertising campaign during that period using both radio and TV.*

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According to Nielsen, the retailer experienced a 6.2% increase in sales growth during the campaign period.  The majority of the increase came from households where consumers were exposed to the advertising campaign.

According to Nielsen, people exposed to only the retailer's radio commercials represented only 20% of all advertising impressions. However, these same consumers were responsible for 42% of the sales increases.

Here is the bottom line of this study. The retailer earned a $28,000 increase in sales for every $1000 spent. A 28-to-1 return-on-advertising-investment.

AdAge, a trade magazine for advertising professionals, calls these types of returns "eye-popping."  The magazine goes on to say radio's ROI is superior to commercials on TV, online, and social media.

Who Listens To Commercials

A 2011 Nielsen study discovered that, on average, 93% of listeners stayed with the radio station they are tuned to when the commercials come on. That number amazed many advertisers at the time who believed that audiences were far more likely to defect when the music stopped.

Advertise On Boston Radio FactsA lot has changed since 2011. Boston area consumers have many more media options and can instantly connect to each with a button-push, mouse-click, screen-tap, or voice command. With all of these choices, do radio audiences still stay tuned during commercial breaks?

According to a new study from the Journal of Advertising Research,  audiences in 2020 are more than twice as likely to stick with the radio station they are tuned to during commercials than they were nine years ago.

In the current study, the authors combined portable people-meter data ratings to measure loss of audience during advertising. They discovered a new benchmark of 3% for avoidance of radio advertising.

In other words, 97% of consumers stay glued to the station they are listening to during a commercial break.

More importantly, consumers who hear radio commercials respond to advertising messages.

A study conducted this year by Edison Research and NPR found that 50% of consumers who were exposed to radio commercials indicated that they were compelled to gather more information about a company, product, or service. Thirty-six percent of listeners said they were convinced to buy a product after hearing a radio commercial

Advertising In Boston: Radio Commercials

*Study commissioned by Cumulus | Westwood One

More Advertising Advice For Boston Small Business Owners

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Topics: reach, roi, small business owner, small business marketing, millennials, small business, small business advertising, reach & frequency, radio commercials, time spent listening

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