USA Touchpoints 200

When riding the often-circuitous path to buying a new vehicle, radio is the consumer’s top GPS, new media usage research shows. Radio reaches 84% of buyers age 18-64 who visited an auto showroom during the Friday-Sunday period that accounts for 80% of all dealership traffic, and it outshines every other medium.

What’s more, radio captures a 30.7% share of media time among these showroom visitors during that crucial period, second only to broadcast TV networks. The story is similar during the total week.

The new data from USA Touchpoints is significant as automakers shift large portions of their ad budgets away from traditional media to digital channels. With each media playing distinctly different roles in the auto purchase funnel, the new data highlights radio’s unique role in the mix.

“Making the decision of what kind of car you’re going to buy occurs in a very short compressed time period,” says Alice Sylvester, chief growth officer, sales & strategy, at USA Touchpoints parent company RealityMine. “Given its ubiquity, radio is part of that last-minute crush of thinking and evaluating and making the decision on a car purchase.” While the Internet plays an important role in research and info gathering, radio’s calling card is its immediacy, local nature and proximity of exposure during the compressed final phases of the buy process. “Radio plays a very big role in getting people to the showroom and exposing consumers to messages as they’re going to the showroom,” Sylvester says. “Radio owns a very important part of the journey and is a very viable media for people who are shopping for new cars.” The USA Touchpoints data is based on a nationally representative sample of 3,255 smartphone owners age 18-64.