Outside Insight: Bauer’s Krissie Ford explains why radio still matters to Millennials


Millennials – making up one in four adults in the UK – are notoriously difficult to reach, but are also a highly valued audience for advertisers, with a predicted audience growth to 17m in 2019. Krissie Ford, Head of Client Development at Bauer Media, explains why Millennials are so important, why radio in particular is still a fantastic medium for this group, and how advertisers can use it to reach them.

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The latest Rajar results show that the radio industry continues to thrive, with 89% of the population tuning in to radio every week, including 86% of 15 – 34 year olds, demonstrating that it remains very much a valued media for younger listeners.

Our latest piece of research, Bauer Knowledge: The Millennials Chapter, looks more closely into Millennials’ relationship with radio, revealing that they use it as a mood changer. Advertisers need to keep in mind that Millennials look to radio for energy and motivation so brands must entertain and inspire their audience to keep them listening.

Once Millennials are engaged they always want to be kept up to date on the latest trends and news so they don’t experience the dreaded Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). Radio can fulfil this, with new Rajar data showing that 37% of 15-24’s currently receive social updates about their favourite radio station or presenter, demonstrating how the Millennial audience fully interact with radio brands across different platforms.

On the back of this research and changes in UK media habits, we are working with advertisers on how to best utilise the power of radio, whilst making it as simple as possible. One major change centred on our portfolio of local stations, the Bauer City Network, which we recently re-launched to target three separate audiences. Each station is now split into three properties and one of these, City 3, is specifically focused on targeting a younger Millennial demographic, giving brands a much more targeted offering.

The growth in digital listening, with 385m digital hours now listened to in an average week, is also affecting how advertisers can engage with Millennials via radio. Firstly, digital radio listeners tend to be younger – 34% are between 15 and 34, compared to 31% of all radio listeners – automatically giving advertisers a larger target group within the audience.

Secondly, the digital trend has also resulted in a range of successful brand extensions from national radio brands, all created to increase the offering to Millennials and therefore expanding the opportunities for advertisers. KISSTORY and KISS FRESH are two of these, with KISSTORY recording one million listeners for the first time in last week’s Rajars!

The KISS brand now reaches a total of 4.9 million listeners across the UK and although music remains at its heart, KISS’ brand strength has allowed it to expand into social campaigns involving issues such as anti-gun crime and sexual health, as well as features related to fashion, film and gaming – all issues of interest and importance to Millennials.

These digital brand extensions also tap into the 36% of 15-24 year olds who listen to radio via a mobile phone or tablet at least once a month – up 20% from this time last year.

All of this proves that Millennials are still tuning into radio regularly for updates, entertainment and relief, positioning radio as a hugely influential medium with a wide range of creative opportunities to engage younger listeners. As the radio industry continues to boom and digital listening goes from strength to strength, the medium’s influence within the Millennial group will only increase.

Krissie Ford is Head of Client Development at Bauer Media

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