AM/FM radio rules ad-supported listening, despite advertisers’ perceptions

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In 2021, more than three-quarters of the time that US adults spent listening to ad-supported audio went to AM/FM radio. Podcasts trailed way behind traditional radio, capturing just 11% of ad-supported listening, while Pandora, SiriusXM, and Spotify each accounted for less than 10%. AM/FM radio held a majority share across adult age groups and was the most listened-to ad-supported audio not only in the car (88%), but also in the home (72%) and workplace (68%).

Beyond the chart: Advertisers and agencies vastly underestimate traditional radio. According to those surveyed by Advertiser Perceptions last August, AM/FM radio accounted for only 28% of US adults’ time spent with ad-supported audio—about a third of its actual share. By contrast, the perception of Spotify and Pandora was that they took up 25% and 20%, respectively, when in reality their shares were closer to 5%. Marketers must be careful about being swept up in the digital audio excitement and, instead, should base their strategies on the reality that AM/FM radio is still very much alive.

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