Thousands of local companies depend on radio advertising to market their goods and services. But, most of these business owners choose to buy commercials only between 6:00 am and 7:00 pm. Is this a good idea? Maybe not. Here are the facts.
Last week, for instance, 3,543,709 adult consumers tuned-in to their favorite Boston radio stations. This is significantly higher than the number that tuned-in to a local TV station, read a local newspaper, logged-on to social media sites like Facebook, or streamed audio from Pandora and Spotify.
But radio listeners do not roll-up their ears just because the sunsets. According to Nielsen, 57.1% of Boston area consumers who listen to the radio during daylight hours, also tune in at night.
To put this in perspective, 600,000 more consumers tune-in to Boston radio at night than listen to Pandora or Spotify at any time during the week.
Unlike the way the moon affects the tide on the Boston Harbor, it has zero effect on the quality of the audience that listens to local radio stations after the sun goes down.
In terms of the socio-economic characteristics of the audience that many business owners desire to reach, nighttime radio listeners and daytime listeners are comparable. Of note, though, the audience listening to Boston radio after dark consists of a slightly higher percentage of consumers who are employed and have household incomes of $75,000 or more.
There is an extraordinary value for New England small business owners to advertise on the radio after dark.
The cost of radio advertising, like most goods and services, is driven, in part, by demand. Because many business owners choose to place their commercials between 6:00 am and 7:00 pm, prices during those times of day become less affordable for smaller businesses.
At nighttime, however, when demand for commercials is lower, the cost to advertise is sometimes as much as 65% less. That means a business owner can reach 57% of the daytime radio audience for less than half of the cost.
Investment bankers would call capitalizing on this cost disparity 'arbitrage': the science of making of money by exploiting an imbalance in pricing. Most New England small business owners would just call it good business.
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