A beginner’s guide to the benefits of radio commercials

Radio commercials are cost-effective ways to target specific demographics and raise your brand awareness. Here’s how to create a radio ad script.
Radio commercials: person turning the dial of a car radio

Even in today’s tech-driven day and age, radio commercials remain one of the best ways to reach your target audience. And with both traditional over-the-air broadcasts and digital radio spots available, there are more options with this format than ever before.

If you’re new to the world of radio advertising, diving into this format can feel somewhat intimidating. In this guide, we’ll break down the what, how, and why of using radio commercials to get the results you need.

If you’ve ever turned on the radio while commuting to work, chances are you’ve heard a radio commercial. Most radio ads appear during a break in a radio show, using a combination of voice over work and sound effects (and occasionally even a jingle) to promote a product or service. 

The benefits of using radio ads in your campaign

Radio commercials: Brand Awareness GIF

Bottom line: Whether digital or over the airwaves, radio commercials should definitely be part of your marketing strategy. Radio ads have several valuable traits that can make them the ideal way to reach your target demographic.


The Rule of 7 is a frequently repeated mantra in advertising that states that a potential customer needs to be exposed to a brand at least seven times before they’ll make a purchase. 

That may seem like a lot, but radio advertising can help you get to that milestone much quicker! One of the advantages of radio campaigns is that you can generally play your ads several times over the course of the week. When combined with social media and other marketing tactics, you will build awareness and recognition of your brand.

Even when a radio commercial doesn’t lead to a direct sale, repeat exposure will make your brand top of mind when the time comes to make a purchase. Radio can reach listeners while they’re driving, folding laundry, or doing any other activity where they want to have their headphones in.

Demographic targeting

Both traditional and digital radio can make it easier to reach your target audience. Traditional broadcast radio has a limited broadcast range, but they can be great for reaching a local audience. 

Because of this, understanding the different demographics of the radio stations in your area can also help you decide which will best reach your target market. People who listen primarily to news and talk radio at 7 am may have different interests than those who listen to the Top 40. Find out where your target audience listens!

With digital audio platforms like Spotify or iHeartRadio, you have even more targeting options thanks to programs that cater to niche audiences. Plus, podcasts offer detailed targeting algorithms. Behavioral targeting (which focuses on things like actions a user took while visiting your website) or targeting listeners based on demographic factors like age can help you narrow in on your target audience beyond just their ZIP code. This way, you can be confident that your ads are reaching the right people.

Cost effectiveness

Radio production can be a lot cheaper than creating a TV or social media ad. With radio, you don’t have to worry about getting a quality camera setup for a video shoot, or making sure that an actor’s makeup is just right.

If you write the ad yourself, the only production cost you need to worry about is renting time at a recording studio and hiring a voice actor to read your script — but even that can be done at very little cost (particularly if you already have your own mic and editing software). Human voice actors may cost a few hundred dollars, and can offer a greater range of flexibility in how the script is delivered. However, AI voices have also come a long way in terms of sounding like actual human beings, with several different male and female “voices” available (all for free with Anchor AI). 

Thanks to its low production costs, audio is ultimately a cost effective way to reach large audiences — though you should always pay attention to a radio station or streaming platform’s cost per conversion or cost per mille (cost to reach 1,000 listeners) to maximize your budget.

Just like how it’s more expensive to buy TV commercials during the Super Bowl, there are several factors that can affect how much a radio ad costs. The popularity of the radio station, the time of day you want to broadcast, and the size of the market (or the city where the radio station is located) can all play a role in your advertising costs.

Basically, it comes down to how many people are potentially going to hear your ad spot. You’ll get a lot more listeners during rush hour in New York City than at 3 am in Lincoln, Nebraska. Stations know this and adjust their rates accordingly.

How to write a successful radio ad

Sponge Bob writing GIF

To engage your audience, you’ll need to pair quality copywriting with a compelling voiceover. 

So how do you write a winning radio commercial? Start with a hook that catches the audience’s attention — something that will be instantly compelling to people who could use your products or services. This is followed by the pitch for your product or service, where you showcase your product or service’s unique value proposition.

Finally, end with a call to action. This could include giving your company’s phone number so listeners can schedule an appointment, encouraging them to visit your website to place an order, and so on.

Radio script example

This sample script for a dental practice offers a great example of these important elements:

Need quality dental care fast? At Pierre’s Dental Practice we take same day appointments! Whether you’re looking for a whitening, routine cleaning or something more comprehensive, our qualified team is always happy to welcome new patients into our contemporary and relaxed office. Don’t wait any longer for that fresh, clean feel—call now at 555-5555 or find us online at https://pierresbusiness.com/ and book your appointment today. That’s Pierre’s Dental Practice, conveniently located at ADDRESS.

This ad starts with a hook identifying a specific need related to dental care. It then pitches the brand’s same-day services, and follows up with a call to action that tells listeners exactly how they can book an appointment. It’s clear and easy to follow.

The final touches

After finishing the script, it’s time to bring the ad to life through the recording process. While features like a jingle or sound effects can make your ad more engaging, they aren’t always necessary. This is especially true if you have a limited budget and sound design capabilities. 

No matter what your ad budget, you’ll need to make decisions regarding voice talent — or who will read the script. The right voice talent will help your script come alive in an authentic, engaging manner that is tonally consistent with the ad content. For example, a serious, somber tone would likely be well suited for an ad for a personal injury attorney. On the other hand, a peppy, upbeat voiceover would probably feel out of place.

Sometimes, you’ll also hear live reads, where the radio announcer reads a promotion as part of their show, rather than the ad being part of a programmatic commercial break. These ads tend to have higher engagement and recall thanks to the connection listeners have with the radio host.

Level up your radio marketing strategy with Decibel

Ninja Turtle listening to the radio GIF

While traditional radio is certainly important, the value of digital radio networks and streaming services cannot be understated. With robust targeting options, digital audio enables you to reach your desired target audience with quality radio commercials, whether they are commuting or folding laundry.

By writing quality content with a strong hook and call to action, making use of quality voice over work and sound effects, and buying placements with the right networks or radio shows, you can create a cost-effective campaign that makes your brand top of mind.

Though they can be easier to produce than television ads, creating a radio or podcast commercial can still be costly. This is where Decibel helps make a difference. On our platform, anyone can buy audio ads without breaking the bank. That way, small businesses can also take advantage of this advertising method. Get started today and see how easy it is to launch your own digital audio campaign.

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