covid-19 research

Case study shows radio drives strong awareness and behavioural change during COVID-19 pandemic

The latest radio case study published by Commercial Radio Australia explores the important role that radio played in helping the Federal Government to deliver health and safety information to Australians to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The study, undertaken by independent research provider GfK, examined the consumer response to the Federal Government’s national education campaign launched in March 2020. The full report can be downloaded below.
The key findings reinforce the relevance of radio, particularly during emergency and crisis situations, and the benefits that this can deliver to advertisers.

Radio delivers powerful reach Radio is a mass media that engages 95% of Australians each week#. There are no barriers to listening – content is live, local, free and easily accessible, regardless of geographical location. Radio enabled the Federal Government to maximise their campaign reach and deliver critical messages to Australians in capital cities, regional centres and isolated communities, including locations where internet services may have been unavailable. Broadcast radio’s strong reach is further boosted by its ability to deliver content to audiences across a broad range of platforms, including websites, apps, social media and smart speakers. This provides opportunities for advertisers to achieve scale on a cost-effective medium. Radio’s impressive reach does not compromise its targeting capabilities – it is one of the only channels that can target audiences based on demographic, location, context and time of day.
Radio drives awareness and consumer behaviour The Federal Government’s COVID-19 campaign aimed to educate Australians about the precautions they should take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Radio was able to effectively deliver these messages to a mass audience, with 7 in 10 Australians indicating that radio educated them about how to prevent transmission of the virus. Radio’s ability to raise awareness often leads to a strong conversion rate, helping to boost an advertiser’s ROI. Australians first made aware of the COVIDSafe app by radio were more likely to download the app than those made aware by TV. After being made aware by radio, the majority (55%) of Australians took action by downloading the app.
Radio has an immediate impact One of the Federal Government’s key strategies for reducing the spread of COVID-19 was to encourage Australians to download the COVIDSafe app. Several radio spots called on Australians to download the app. Nearly two thirds of radio listeners downloaded the COVIDSafe app within two days of hearing about it for the first time on radio. This demonstrates radio ability to prompt consumers into action, immediately or soon after the point of engagement.
Radio is a trusted source Radio is a trusted and reliable medium that Australians turn to during an emergency or crisis for accurate and reliable information. Six in 10 Australians trusted what they heard on radio during the pandemic. These high levels of trust prompted Australians to turn to radio for the latest COVID updates, as well as for companionship, entertainment and a sense of connectivity. These listening drivers led to a surge in listening during the height of the pandemic, when national lockdown restrictions were in place, with Australians listening to radio for an average of 1 hour 46 minutes longer per week, compared to the weeks prior to the lockdown. Radio’s audience remained strong even as lockdown restrictions began to ease, with commercial radio growing its audience by 7.1% (or 786,000 listeners), even as Australians began to resume their normal behaviour.*
Radio increases speed-to-market Radio’s speed-to-market enabled the Federal Government to adapt and deliver current messages to Australians, as the COVID-19 situation changed, often rapidly. Radio advertising can go from brief to broadcast within a couple of days, providing flexibility to advertisers when they need it most. When events were changing quickly, radio’s low production costs and short lead times provided the Federal Government with the opportunity to update their radio creative and schedule promptly. This is key when marketing messages are time-sensitive and agility can provide advertisers with a competitive advantage.

* GfK Radio Pulse, June 2020, People 10+, Mon-Sun 5:30-12mn, Time Spent Listening (hh:mm) & Cumulative Audience (000s). All comparisons are made with GfK Radio Ratings, Survey 2 2020. Note: GfK Radio Pulse was conducted using a different methodology to the regular GfK Radio Ratings.
# GfK Radio Ratings, Survey 2 2020, People 10+, Mon-Sun 12mn-12mn, Cumulative Audience (%). 


For more information, please email Briony McLean (Research & Insights Strategist) or call 02 9281 6577.

This data may not be used for, or in association with, any commercial purposes without Commercial Radio Australia’s prior consent.