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Radio marketing spend to increase and UAE consumers are good listeners

Radio advertising spend suffered in recent pre-COVID years but is currently forecasted to increase by 0.5% between 2019 and 2021

Online advertising spend in the region grew 44.1% between 2017 and 2019 Legacy platforms such as radio and TV still command the highest share of collective trust in advertising The youngest UAE listeners range from 10 years and above

WARC, a global provider of expertise and guidance for marketers, told AMEinfo that radio advertising spend in the Middle East region has been essentially flat in recent pre-COVID years, dipping 1.1% between 2017 and 2019, suggesting a potential missed opportunity for brands. 

It currently forecasts it to increase by 0.5% between 2019 and 2021.

For comparison, online advertising spend in the region grew 44.1% between 2017 and 2019, showing that advertisers in the Middle East are following a broader trend of moving money from traditional media to digital media.

The global radio industry market is to reach $56 billion by 2027, growing from $50 bn in 2020. 

Read: AM/FM radio under threat, but still thrives, especially in the UAE

Read: Step aside digital: Radio is here to stay

UAE radio stats in 2020

According to a 2020 survey by data measurement firm Nielsen, the radio industry is still thriving in the UAE. Nielsen’s UAE Radio Audience Measurement (RAM) showed that listenership in the country was still at an all-time high. 

During the first quarter of 2020, the study stated that 7.82 million people tuned in every week to listen to the radio. These listeners spent an average of 7 hours and 28 minutes each week on the radio.

The study found that the youngest listeners range from 10 years and above, and they spend an average of 6 hours and 12 minutes per week listening to the radio. People in the age group of 25-34 years, spend 7 hours and 44 minutes weekly.

While the majority still preferred listening the old-fashioned way via an AM/FM (79%); the report recorded an increase from the previous quarter in mobile listeners (35%), which accounts for 2.9 million of the weekly listeners.

Trust in radio

According to a Nielson 2021 report, legacy platforms such as radio and TV still command the highest share of collective trust in advertising. Sixty percent of adults 35-49 and 54% of adults 18-34 consider radio spots very or somewhat trustworthy, with TV slightly below that at 59% for 35-49 and 51% for 18-34. 

To marketers this should come as no shock, considering that the decades-old mediums have been constant companions in family rooms and automobiles a lot longer than more nascent technology. They should also understand that consumers are multi-taskers, second screen users, and many are also influenced by social media.