Senior Editor and Researcher
As digital marketing continues to evolve and new promotional opportunities emerge to support companies in the modern world, radio ads might seem outdated.
However, recent stats from the radio promotion landscape suggest radio campaigns are just as valuable as ever.
According to Grandview Research, the global “traditional” radio advertising market was valued at $25.02 billion in 2021, and it’s expected to grow at a CAGR of 1.9 percent through 2028.
While radio advertising may evolve slower than other marketing methods, such as social media ads and augmented reality campaigns, it’s still driving significant results.
This is particularly true in the United States, where 92 percent of Americans regularly tune into radio shows. As a result, companies are expected to spend a whopping $30.6 billion on radio campaigns by 2024.
So, which companies are betting big on radio ads right now?
Major Companies Investing in Radio Ads
Most companies today don’t provide transparent insights into their exact advertising strategy or spending budget, so it’s difficult to know for certain which brands rank as the most prominent radio advertisers in the US.
However, we can derive some insights from press releases and marketing reports.
Here are some of the biggest companies investing in radio advertising right now.
P&G (Procter & Gamble)
Major multinational consumer goods company P&G has long been a big believer in the value of radio advertising.
According to a report from Media Monitors, the company was the number one parent advertiser in the US in 2021, allocating more than nine million spots to the radio.
The company spends more on radio than television advertising.
In 2022, P&G increased its radio ad budget by 43 percent, spending around $235 million on radio campaigns alone.
This decision to increase radio advertising spending came when the company attempted to reduce costs and improve its brand reputation.
After dominating the airwaves for AM/FM broadcasts in 2021, Indeed made waves as one of the biggest American radio advertisers in 2022.
The online recruitment service aired around 1.67 million spots on broadcast radio throughout the first six months of the year.
Indeed is one of many recruitment agencies taking advantage of radio campaigns. The Media Monitors report found ZipRecruiter also aired more than 1.25 million spots from January to February 2021.
Insurance companies in America are taking advantage of radio’s impact on brand credibility and growth.
Progressive ranked as the second biggest radio advertiser in the US in 2021, with more than 1.26 million spots in the first quarter.
Progressive is one of five total insurance companies mentioned by the Media Monitor report investing in radio advertising.
Other well-known names include Geico, the Bank of America, Liberty Mutual, Allstate, and State Farm.
The mobile app, Upside, committed to helping users save money on gas and grocery purchases, was another major spender in the radio landscape in recent years.
The brand has slowly increased its spending in the radio advertising space since launching in 2016.
In the first six months of 2022, Upside ran almost the same number of radio ads as it did throughout 2021 (around 1.14 million spots).
In 2022, Babbel became one of the biggest radio advertisers in the US. The language learning app has invested in radio campaigns before, with around 931,325 airings during 2021.
However, in 2022, the company invested in more than 2.8 million spots on radio channels.
Babbel is one of many online companies recently taking advantage of radio campaigns, joined by businesses like Indeed and ZipRecruiter.
Though there’s limited information revealing how many radio spots T-Mobile purchased during 2021 and 2022, the company’s spending on radio campaigns has undoubtedly increased in recent years.
In 2021, the company spent around $88 million on radio ads.
It was ranked as one of the top radio advertisers in America for 2021, joined by well-known companies such as the Bank of America and DraftKings.
Home Depot is another well-known company with a phenomenal airwave presence.
Though the company is gradually beginning to explore new forms of advertising, it remains heavily focused on the radio landscape, with almost 600,000 advertisements running in the first six months of 2022.
The company appears to be the most prominent radio advertiser in the home improvement space.
Rival company Lowes also spends a decent amount on radio campaigns. However, its ranking as one of the top radio advertisers has been slipping in the last couple of years.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, leading fast-food brand Mcdonald’s also has a fantastic radio advertising strategy.
For years, the company has ranked as one of the leaders in radio advertising. In 2021, Mcdonald’s aired more than 1.3 million radio ads throughout America.
The quick-service food brand, like many other organizations, has begun to increase its focus on other forms of advertising in 2022.
However, you’re still likely to encounter a lot of Mcdonald’s ads when listening to your favorite shows in the US.
Other Major Radio Advertisers in the US
Alongside the major companies mentioned above, several well-known and reputable brands have also explored radio promotion in the last few years.
Parent companies like the Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway, and Walmart have all had strong presences on the airwaves throughout 2020 to 2023.
Other companies you may have heard advertising on the radio recently include:
- Autozone: Auto parts retailer Autozone aired almost 700,000 radio advertisements during the first six months of 2022.
- DuckDuckGo: Online privacy service and browser company DuckDuckGo acquired around 600,251 radio airtime spots in the first six months of 2022.
- Macy’s: Well-known retailer Macy’s also launched around 571,206 radio ads throughout the beginning of 2022, placing it in the top 20 radio advertisers within the US.
Which Industries Spend the Most on Radio Advertising?
Though the data available on radio advertising spend and success is somewhat limited, a handful of reports offer insights into the evolving landscape.
For instance, Statista and Grandview Research studies show that radio advertising is particularly popular in specific industries.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the retail sector is the most consistent industry leveraging marketing through the airwaves.
In 2021, the retail space spent around $247 million on radio ads, around $2 million more than the second top segment – communications.
The media and entertainment sector is expected to register the fastest growth rate of any industry investing in radio campaigns between 2022 and 2028, with a CAGR of around 3.4 percent.
Studies suggest countless streaming and entertainment companies are leveraging radio as a new way to reach their audiences outside of the cluttered digital marketing space.
Other top industries benefiting from radio advertising today include:
- Miscellaneous services and amusements
- Government, politics, and organizations
- Insurance and real estate brands
- Financial services companies and banks
- Restaurants and hospitality companies
- Medicines and healthcare providers
- Automotive dealers and services
Why Are Companies Still Investing in Radio Ads?
As the advertising landscape grows increasingly diverse, with new campaign opportunities emerging, it’s easy to assume radio advertising numbers would drop.
However, the stats consistently show that demand for radio ads is still significant and even increasing in some areas.
For instance, Procter & Gamble has doubled down on its investment in radio in recent years, growing increasingly frustrated with narrow digital advertising campaigns and a cluttered online landscape.
Ultimately, while it might not be the newest form of advertising available, radio offers access to:
- A trusted medium: Although trust in digital marketing is growing, around 8 out of 10 customers still say they trust traditional campaigns more. The invasive nature of online advertising strategies can make it harder to connect with audiences on an emotional level. However, radio still captures the hearts and minds of listeners everywhere.
- Loyal audiences: Radio listeners are often extremely loyal to their stations. When companies advertise consistently on the right station, they align themselves with their customers, showcasing shared values and interests. This makes it easier to cultivate an affinity with a suitable target audience base.
- Brand recall: Most consumers won’t remember the last banner ad or YouTube commercial they saw, but radio advertisements can be highly memorable. This is particularly true when they include interesting statements and memorable jingles. One study found that ad recall grows to around 82 percent for radio advertising companies.
Additionally, while radio might not be new, it’s still a timeless and robust solution for advertising. Radio stations and channels evolve with the times, consistently capturing the attention of new listeners and generations of consumers.
For companies looking to take their marketing strategy to the next level, radio ads could be the perfect way to boost their chances of loyalty, unlock new revenue, and enhance brand reputation.