Business case studies No 170 - 24.03.2017

Radio, a perfect match for quick service restaurant consumers

This week’s egtabite brings you compelling evidence of radio advertising’s perfect partnership with quick service restaurants (QSR), a sector commonly referred to as fast food restaurants in Europe.

Research presented by Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer at the American radio company Cumulus/Westwood One, identifies the close match between the profiles of heavy radio listeners and frequent QSR consumers, the alignment of radio’s peak listening period with the parts of the day that see the heaviest QSR footfall, and the 3:1 ROI radio advertising delivers for quick service restaurants.

Put those figures in a bun, top with some special sauce and serve with a large serving of fries!

Heavy radio and QSR consumers look very similar

The research, carried out by the local market research company Scarborough, identified heavy QSR consumers as the 20% of Americans who have used quick service restaurants ten times or more in the past 30 days, and heavy media users as those that sit in the top quintile (i.e. top 20%).

Heavy TV viewers tend to be older than heavy radio or Internet users, who are more closely aligned with the average age of people who frequently visit quick service restaurants. The median age of heavy QSR consumers is 40, just a little under the average age for a heavy radio listener at 45. Heavy TV viewers, however, have a median age of 59.

Heavy radio listeners are also much more likely to be in full-time employment, have children and use social media than those who watch a lot of TV, all of which aligns the radio audience better with the profile of frequent QSR visitors.

People listen to radio while their tummies rumble

Visits to quick service restaurants peak at lunchtime (noon), with a smaller bump in the early evening at about 7:00 pm. Radio advertising is well placed to reach people when they are considering what to eat for lunch and dinner, times when TV viewing is much lower.

According to Bouvard, “AM/FM radio is the ideal medium to reach consumers during lunch planning and consideration hours (10 a.m. to noon) and the afternoon, when dinner meal planning occurs. With the vast majority of radio listening occurring away from home, in the car, and at work, radio is the ideal “last mile” medium to create QSR consideration and purchase.”

Radio station formats are also a great match for heavy QSR consumers, who are more likely than the average adult to tune into urban, rock, adult contemporary, gospel and a host of other radio formats.

Radio gets people buying

Despite the fact that radio gets a higher share of media time spent than TV during the QSR primetime (6:00 am to 7:00 pm), it receives a much smaller share of QSR adspend compared to TV.

Findings from Nielsen suggest that radio deserves a bigger slice of the pie: an analysis of 100 different radio commercials found that QSR ads outperform the average for likability, relevance, memorability, engagement and brand recall.

Additional data from Nielsen, in which PPM listening data was matched with consumer purchase behaviour, showed that radio advertising drove a 6% increase in the total number of QSR buyers and a 1% increase in the spend per customer.

The headline? Quick service restaurants generated $3 of incremental sales for every $1 they spent on radio advertising. As Bouvard states, “Fast food radio ads connect with consumers.”

Why this matters for egta members

The alignment of the profiles of heavy radio buyers with, in this case, frequent QSR consumers offers an interesting and compelling case for brands to invest more into radio advertising.

Add to that the proximity in time between the times people are typically exposed to radio ads and the periods they make decisions about their lunch and dinner choices, and it’s clear to see why radio achieves the sales impact that it does.



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