How Much Does an Average Radio Ad Cost?

Promoting your company via the “radio waves” is a surefire way of attracting customers to your establishment. But how much does an average radio ad cost? And is it worth it? 

According to the Radio Advertising Facts, over 92% of Americans aged 12 and up listen to the radio weekly. Radio marketing is a medium many still interact with daily and is worth your time and investment.  

But there are loads of marketing and advertising costs to consider when planning on developing and airing a radio advert. 

Let’s first talk about development costs. 

Development Costs of a Radio Advert

While it may seem simple enough in a day and age where you can upload TikToks in seconds, recording a commercial radio advert is more complex. 

You can take a few steps to ensure you get the best piece of informative and compelling creative radio advert. What’s the first step?

Writing a Brief

As a business owner, it’s always in your best interest to write a brief for yourself before approaching an agency or individual writer. It lets you focus on what you need this advert to do or achieve—more sales, education, or simply informing clients.  

If you’re worried about how to write a brief is to keep it to a simple Get, To, By. To begin, you need to define who you are talking to, the Get. 

The next element is to define what you’d consider a successful response when someone watches or hears the advert, which is the To part of the brief writing exercise.

And the last question to answer is the “By,” which is developing the creative to meet your needs. 

For example:

Get: Young professionals aged between 18-32 years old

To: Visit your local store

By: Being the best in the local industry 

This is an incredibly vague brief, but you can tailor it to suit your needs. Hiring a professional writer and radio producer to assist you with production is key to ensuring you get the correct result.

While many stations will assist you with creating a local spot, don’t expect it to be award-winning creative content. But if you can only afford a basic and informative spot—that’s all good, take the easier route.  

Developing a more creative advert will take time to even out the issues. But it will be unique and fun.

Budget for Developing an Advert

Once you’re happy with the creative, it’s time to select a voiceover actor. Depending on the delivery you need, you will hire a professional who will charge more or a newcomer. 

Always make sure to listen to other adverts these voiceover artists have delivered. When you’re happy with the talent, it is time to book a sound engineer with experience in the field. Some sound engineers mix music tracks. 

Sound engineers will assist with the recording and ensure that the voice levels are good, the backtrack works with the radio commercial, and finally, help to edit (cutting down timings).  

Costs you’ve raked up so far include:

  • Development of creative script and feedback sessions 
  • Voiceover artists and their time in the studio
  • Studio rental time
  • Sound engineer time (includes sourcing music and sound effects)
  • Feedback about final mixes

After these steps, you’ll be the proud owner of a radio advert.

According to Bunny Studio, to get to this stage, scriptwriting and ad recording services could cost between $300 to $1000. This varies on who you’ve hired.

Generally speaking, all these costs can vary widely. If you are sure, you can skip the creative part and go alone. And use our Ad result estimator to get a better idea of the budget.

But be warned, poorly scripted radio adverts can cause more damage than good. Such as the state of Texas suing Google for misleading endorsements of local DJs using their devices. 

Now, for broadcasting this piece.

Costs to Broadcast an Advert

When you’re happy with the recorded piece, it’s time to decide which radio station to choose. Selecting a radio station depends on many factors.

Selecting a Radio Station or Network

When choosing a radio station or a network, marketing and advertising budgets come into play. 

Select a regional radio station if you’re looking to broadcast your advert to a smaller audience due to budget. Or, if you are a larger entity, you will want your messages to be sent far and wide, selecting prime time slots on a national or state-wide station. 

Most broadcasters will present a breakdown of their audience, indicating whether your product’s offering will interest the general listenership. 

If you want your advert to appear on a streaming platform, their packages will indicate who’s listening to the forum. And be aware the broadcaster’s size and location will determine the price. 

If you’re looking for airtime in New York City, it will be more expensive per spot than a hyperlocal radio station. But if you are the local Mum and Pup shop on the main road, you know which station your listeners are tuning into. 

Once you’re happy with the broadcasting partner, you must understand the costing sheet for spots.

Reading Radio Costing Sheets

Here are a few radio terms to understand when reviewing a pricing sheet are:

  • The length, or len, of the advert play time, usual sizes are 15, 30, and 60 seconds
  • When referring to spots, that is the number of times your advert will play during a time slot or show
  • The rate refers to advertising costs for your spots at a particular time
  • When reviewing the cost, it’s the cost of len, how many spots you’ve taken, and the pricing of these spots for the time (some shows are more popular)

Also, on these price listings is the average listenership numbers at certain times. The frequency refers to the number of times your advert plays for a week (how many times a listener will hear it a week); another number is the estimated net reach. 

All these factors will also help determine when to broadcast the advert you’ve developed. 

Throughout the process, it is always a good idea to have you Get, To, and By on your person. If you feel overwhelmed, review it and make an informed decision. 

If you’re looking for more data to bite into you, use programmatic radio insights. 

Working Out Radio Ad Costs With More Data

As with any element in advertising, there are a lot of grey areas. So, in short, how much does a radio ad cost? Depends, but with the right expert, it can be easier. 

With Media Shark, we can assist you with scheduling your advert via programmatic systems on internet stations, streaming services, and traditional broadcasters. Using a radio programmatic platform will also help produce real-time costings, actual reach, and real-time ROI on adverts you are airing.

To find out more, feel free to contact us today. 

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