Traditional vs. Social: How Radio & Social Media Stack Up

microphone for radio
Traditional vs. Social: How Radio & Social Media Stack Up

Do you think radio is just for car dealerships and nightclubs? That it’s dying off just like the rest of traditional media?

We find that radio can be a great fit for some clients. In fact, studies show that radio reaches 91% of adults over the age of 12 in the course of a week.

However, social media can also “broadcast” your message. Facebook ads give you the power to deliver your message to a highly targeted audience, and typically for a lot less money.

Let’s review the pros and cons and see just how radio and Facebook advertising compare.

How Radio & Social Media Stack Up

Pros –


  • Control your marketing message
  • Defined demographic
  • Reach a lot of people
  • Location-targeted ads (Internet-Based Radio)

Facebook Ads:

  • Easy to track conversions and calculate ROI
  • Dynamic ads include click-to-buy, lead generation, video views, and more
  • Highly targeted based on demographics, locations, behavior, and interests
  • Relatively inexpensive

Depending on your budget and the type of ad campaign, radio might be a viable tactic. If you invest $1,000 for a week of radio ads, you could get $6,000 back in sales. That’s an excellent ROI.

And we already established that your message could reach a high percentage of listeners.

Facebook ads, on the other hand, give you trackable ROI and customized demographics, all within a visual medium. Pictures, videos, and clickable buttons and links give Facebook the edge in a distracted marketplace. Not only does it provide an immediate path for interaction, but people remember more of what they see and hear vs. hearing alone.

Cons –


  • Expensive
  • Is a background medium/ People are distracted
  • Radio listenership is down
  • It may not be effective if you are located where there is little exposure to car radio

Facebook Ads:

  • Time investment – set-up, monitoring, analytics
  • Potential to waste money if managed poorly
  • Complicated setup
  • Limited copy space

Radio ads can be expensive. If your business has a limited budget and wants prime spots on the highest ranking station in town, you’ll pay big bucks for it. A single radio commercial can cost from $25 – $125. Thinking through the frequency needed for maximum recall, that can add up.

Facebook ads might have a lower barrier to entry, but the potential to waste money is high if they are not executed properly. Well-run ad campaigns can be complicated and time-consuming. Consider too if you will be managing them on your own or hiring an agency. You can head off some of the cons listed above by hiring professionals, but then budget again becomes a consideration.

Give It A Try

Radio won’t always be a good fit for your business, but when it is, use radio and social media together. Social media can provide a visual backup to your radio campaign. And radio can send people to your website or social media for additional content. The best way to determine what will work for your business is to do your research and make sure the strategy supports your tactics, whatever they may be.