Watch Out – Facebook is a Huge Threat to Radio


Radio uses Facebook as a mean to increase engagement, i.e. conversation between stations and between their personalities and listeners. However, Facebook isn’t all sunshine and unicorns for radio, it is stealing your advertisers at a pace that can only be increasing.

Facebook pulls in a lot of money; from 2015 to 2016, Facebook advertisers grew by 50% (Forbes). In 2016, $66 billion was devoted to digital advertising in the U.S. and 15% of this went to Facebook.

Facebook provides targeted advertising tools to businesses and can generate strong growth in the key metrics. Now, Facebook are only making their platform better for advertisers with top new features.

  1. Audio Auto-Play

    Audio is critical to driving an emotional reaction to an advertisement. With Facebook making videos autoplay audio as soon as a user scrolls past a video, adverts will be more tempting to watch. Audio auto-play should increase engagement, driving more advertising revenue and also attracting more advertisers.

  2. MMM (Marketing Mix Modelling) Tool

    Facebook has launched a new method for marketers to compare how their ads perform across digital, TV, and print. MMM will let measurement partners gather information directly from Facebook, Instagram and Facebook’s audience network on behalf of their clients for cross-channel measurement and planning.

  3. Vertical video viewing 

    According to Facebook, vertical video ads drive an incremental increase in brand lift, including a three to nine point increase in ad recall.

These features will do nothing but attract more and more advertising budgets to be spent on Facebook. According to media analyst Gordon Borrell, money from weaker media, will slide over to the social media platform. Who will be losing out? Most likely print and radio. With Facebook taking on board the impact of radio and acting upon it (Facebook Live Audio!) advertisers will be drift more towards Facebook, who can not only deliver audio messages but also images, videos and texts, not to mention how easy it is to share and engage with campaigns on Facebook.

So what can radio do to compete with Facebook? Radio’s strength is that it is local and usually knows its audience very well. But location, on its own, is no longer a sufficient advantage. Facebook offers targeting by location as well.

Radio should play up to its other strength; its ability to emotionally connect with its audience. Convert that emotional connection to online engagement and complement the on-air reach with online reach (learn more).

Armed with better online reach to listeners, Radio can enable its advertisers to not only advertise on air but also include visuals when advertising to online listeners. Furthermore, brands should be able to advertise on radio station websites as well as target their ads depending on the likes/dislikes, location, gender etc of their audience.