How to Measure Radio Advertising Effectiveness

How to Measure Radio Advertising Effectiveness: Fame, Fluency and the Feel-Good Factor

Streaming services are going from strength to strength. The podcast ecology is thriving. Live linear radio is in as good health as ever. So it follows, logically, that audio content consumption is higher than we’ve seen in the history of media. To that point; each one of us spends an average of 26 hours with audio content every week (Audio Time, RAJAR). 

For marketers, this spells one thing: massive commercial opportunity.

In this era of mixed-channel marketing, where every second and every interaction counts, audio-based advertising represents an important piece of the pie. As a marketer, understanding how your audio campaigns resonate with the audience is crucial for making informed commercial decisions. 

So, how exactly can you quantify sonic creativity? How can you measure radio advertising? Enter our groundbreaking research: Listen Up! Emotion’s Defining Role in Audio Advertising Effectiveness.

In collaboration with RadioCentre – drawing on analysis of 113 ads across 13 industries, this new report aims to do three things.


  1. Boost your long-term audio ad effectiveness.
  2. Improve brand recognition.
  3. Increase short-term radio ad impact.


In this blog post, we’ll zero-in on just one of the report’s elements: that is, the question of how to measure radio advertising. For far too long, advertisers have been browbeaten with endless, vague, meaningless metrics. 

Today, we’re breaking it down to three pivotal factors that can transform your ad campaigns – but if you’d like to access these learnings and more in greater detail, you can download Listen Up! for free here

For now, let’s get into it.


Wait… Why Measure Radio Ad Effectiveness?

As with all corners of the marketing arena, precision is paramount. Data matters: taking the guesswork out of your strategies becomes a real competitive game-changer. 

Understanding the effectiveness of your radio ads is not just about decoding past campaigns, but also about unlocking the potential for future brand growth success.

In other words, reliable predictions are the cornerstone of strategic planning. By measuring radio ad effectiveness, you’re not only gauging the impact of your current campaigns but also enabling a more confident steer on future ones. 

Time, effort, and capital are precious resources. By measuring the effectiveness of your radio ads, you trim the excess, avoiding wasteful spending on underperforming campaigns. It’s a strategic move that not only enhances your bottom line but propels your brand towards sustained success. 

Why measure radio ad effectiveness? Put simply, because in the world of audio marketing, precision is power.


What Features Should You Look – Sorry, Listen – Out For? 

In the tapestry of radio advertising, certain features stand out as key threads for success… or failure. Let’s unpick these elements to reveal the most important elements of effective radio campaigns.


Audio, Sounds, and Music

The auditory landscape of your ad holds immense power. From surprising or humorous sounds to recognisable jingles and melody-led music, each element contributes to the memorable imprint your ad leaves on listeners.


CTAs, Slogans – Are They Memorable?

Straplines, taglines, and calls to action are the backbone of effective commercial communication. Are yours memorable? Do they provide clear instructions? Assessing their impact is crucial for ensuring that your message lingers in the minds of listeners, prompting immediate action and long-term effects. Think: McVities’ ‘P-p-p-pick up a penguin!’, or Stella Artois’ ‘cidre, not cider.’



A compelling narrative – a storyline that audiences can identify and relate to – is the heartbeat of any ad. Does your story resonate with your audience? This presents its own unique challenges when it comes to radio, but crafting a narrative that captivates listeners will ensure that your brand becomes part of the listener’s own story. 

You can read our article, What is Brand Storytelling for more information.


Following the above, connecting with your audience on a personal level is the mark of a successful ad. The relatability factor can turn a passive listener into an engaged customer. This is when elements such as recognisable distinctive assets (such as characters), or scenes from daily life, can really come into their own.


Emotional Response

Our research revealed that the emotional response – the Star Rating – is the linchpin for long-term brand impact. Testing the intensity and reasons behind positivity emotional responses unveils the key to influencing consumer behaviour. As we know, when people feel more, they buy more: a central tenet for crafting emotionally resonant ads.



What lingers in the minds of your audience after the ad concludes? Assessing memorability is vital for ensuring that your brand stays in the long-term and short-term memory of listeners, fostering lasting brand connections.


Right-Brain Factors

Drawing inspiration from Orlando Wood’s seminal book Lemon, we explore how right-brain features – characters, unfolding stories, a sense of place, dramatic intimacy – create positive emotions, fewer negatives, and a broader, more captivated audience. These are essential elements for lasting brand effects and long-term brand impact.


The Ad Metrics We Use at System1

When it comes to identifying specific metrics to quantify the above, here at System1, we’ve developed a unique scoring system. Find more information on this below.  

  • Star Rating: Forecasts long-term brand growth, evaluating the creative quality of audio ads by gauging emotional responses.
  • Spike Rating: Focuses on predicting short-term sales effects, taking into account the robustness of branding and the intensity of emotional response. 

We also leverage learnings from the 3 Fs: Fame, Feeling, and Fluency. 

  • Fame: If a brand comes readily to mind, it’s a good choice for consumers.
  • Feeling: If a brand feels good, it’s a good choice for consumers.
  • Fluency: If a brand is recognisable, it’s a good choice for consumers. 


How To Measure Radio Ad Effectiveness

So now we come to that central question: how to measure radio advertising? Well, no prizes for guessing – there’s a lot that goes into this. That’s what makes radio advertising such a big, potentially lucrative business. Of course, you wouldn’t expect us to reveal the inner machinations of our ad prediction mechanism; that’d be like the Colonel handing out the secret sauce recipe on a flyer! 

Your best bet, in order to effectively and cost-efficiently measure radio advertising, is to get in touch with our team and learn more about how we can help you create 5-Star audio advertising. 

In the meantime, here are a few tips, tricks, best practices, and strategies that we use here at System1 that will set you on the right path.


Test Regularly and Often

What works today may not tomorrow. Take the pulse of your ad’s performance with day-by-day measurements, ensuring that even top-performing ads undergo scrutiny. 

Regular testing, as well as both ad monitoring and brand monitoring, provides valuable insights into the ever-changing dynamics of audience response. Short-term metrics unveil immediate impact, while long-term measurements shed light on enduring brand success. By embracing a proactive testing regimen, you’’ stay agile, adapting strategies to resonate with the evolving preferences of the target audience. In other words: test and iterate, in order to elevate your radio ads.


Benchmark Against Competitors

Assess your Share of Industry (SOI) to gain a comprehensive understanding of your standing in the market. SOI provides a crucial benchmark, revealing the percentage of radio advertising within your industry attributed to your brand. Tracking this metric enables you to identify areas of strength, capitalise on untapped opportunities, and stay ahead of the competition.


How to Measure Fluency Rating

Tailored to our unique System1 methodology, Fluency Rating measures the speed and accuracy with which your audience recognises and recalls your brand. 

It goes beyond mere awareness by quantifying correct ad-brand linkage immediately after exposure. Represented as a 1-100 score, this percentage reflects the precision of brand association. A high Fluency Rating is paramount for attributing ad effects to your brand, ensuring robust ad recall and heightened awareness. For newer and smaller brands, achieving a high Fluency Rating is more difficult and demands strategic use of distinctive audio brand assets.


How to Measure Spike Rating

Spike Rating gauges the precision of ad-brand linkage right after exposure, providing a 1-100 score that signifies the percentage of correct brand linkage. A robust Fluency Rating is important in unlocking Spike Rating’s full potential, as it enables ad effects to be rightfully attributed to your brand in the market.


How to Measure Star Rating 

Star Rating, meanwhile, is grounded in how favourably your audience responds, offering predictions on the potential for long-term brand growth. Ranging from 1 to 5 stars, a higher Star Rating signals an opportunity for brands to invest strategically and construct impactful campaigns around the ad. 


Measuring Radio Ad Effectiveness With System1

Ultimately, the most effective ads, as our research indicates, are those that evoke emotions, building positive associations with recognisable brands. System1 predicts the impact on sales and growth by measuring emotion, enabling advertisers to craft commercials that entertain for commercial gain.

Our suite of tools includes Test Your Ad, our ad testing platform which provides marketers with next-day predictions, intuitive metrics, and actionable diagnostics, empowering them to create ads that are not only effective but also drive long-term brand growth.

Finally, be sure you don’t miss out on our groundbreaking Listen Up! study, delving into the features that appeal to the right hemisphere of the brain. This groundbreaking approach marks a significant leap in understanding audio marketing, providing you with new insights to refine your radio advertising strategies.


At System1, we help the world’s largest advertisers make confident, creative decisions that lead to transformational business results. Our powerful ad testing platform (Test Your Ad) and our concept testing platform (Test Your Idea) help brands predict the commercial potential of ads and ideas. Complementing TYA and TYI is Test Your Brand, our brand testing tool which measures the impact of ads and ideas on brand health, ensuring long-term brand growth through predictive success.

Get in touch or book a demo with one of our experts to learn more.

Want More Radio Advertising Insights?

Are you interested in the ways radio advertising can build your brand in the long term? Looking for data to support creative, commercial radio ad decisions? Download our new report, Listen Up!, for free now.