As a business owner or marketer, you work hard to attract new customers to your business. You’ve probably thought about advertising on the radio before and I’m sure you’ve heard about the many online advertising options. You’re trying to figure out which medium is more beneficial to you. Is there any one answer in the radio vs. Internet advertising debate or does the right choice vary by company?

It’s important to understand the benefits of radio vs. some of the online advertising options available before we can answer that question.

How Radio Advertising Can Grow Your Business


Many businesses face the issue of finding the money to spend on advertising. Some businesses struggle to make ends meet and may find it hard to invest any money into any kind of marketing. Radio, however, can be very affordable. The cost of radio advertising may range from a few hundred dollars per week in some small cities to a few thousand dollars in larger ones. But the ROI on radio has proven to be very profitable in some markets and for certain companies. According to this AdAge article, certain brands in a Clear Channel study averaged a $6 lift in sales for every $1 spent on radio advertising. For any business, small or big, that ROI is nothing to be sneezed at.


Radio’s diversity of programming affords advertisers the ability to zero in on narrow target groups. Formats allow advertisers to speak selectively to consumers they want to reach. Almost any audience you want, you can reach through radio.


Consumers need to be exposed to ad messages multiple times before they begin to respond. Radio’s relatively low cost in relation to other media allows advertisers to use multiple stations to reach their targets and build frequency levels for maximum impact.

There are no guarantees when it comes to advertising, but when you combine the right target with enough frequency and a creative message, your chances of success and results increase exponentially.

What About Internet Advertising?

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads

One of the most prevalent forms of online advertising is pay-per-click or PPC. PPC ads are small ads for websites that appear along with natural (typically called “organic”) search results on Google, Bing or Yahoo!. The way PPC ads work is you choose a keyword to target, create a short ad that focuses on it, and decide what you will bid to appear along with the search results for that keyword. You only pay for your ad when someone clicks on it—unlike radio.

PPC ads can range from very inexpensive to somewhat pricey, and their cost all depends on the keywords and phrases you choose to target for your ads. The biggest advantage of PPC over radio is that you pay for action. With radio advertising, you pay the same rate no matter how many people are actively listening to your ad. But with PPC, your account is only charged if someone clicks on your ad and goes to your website.

Online Display Ads

Online ads (banner ads) typically sell your product(s) or service(s) through visually appealing text as well as graphics, animation and video. Strategic placement of display ads is critical. Placing them on sites that are already enjoying wide patronage of your target market can make the ads relevant, personalized and timely. All of this helps create a successful advertising campaign and increases the chance of your ads getting noticed, clicked and bought by your target audience. Online display advertising is generally not expensive. In fact, this kind of advertising can level the playing field for businesses with limited resources.

Is Radio or Internet Advertising a Better Choice for Your Business?

The biggest difference between radio and online advertising is the intent and the interest involved. When you place an ad on the radio, only a small portion of the listeners who hear it may be interested enough to take action. But when you market online, you’re targeting your website directly to people who are actively seeking it out.

When someone searches for a business online, they are ready to visit it, buy something, or at least learn more about it. But when someone hears a radio ad, it’s hard to say if they are interested in what you are advertising.

So to answer the question of which medium is best for your business, the answer is that there isn’t a clear cut answer. Every circumstance is different, every nuance of your business is unique. However, if you aren’t already incorporating some kind of internet marketing into your overall marketing plan, you should start now. Yes, there are many options to consider and it can be confusing, but don’t worry—we’re here to help.

Trish Wiest
Media Director