How to maximise ROI on your Radio Campaign

Having worked at the leading radio stations in the UAE for almost a decade, I’ve seen & heard thousands of campaigns come and go. There are a few stand out campaigns, a majority of average or passable that deliver enough results to keep everyone happy, and then many that are quickly forgotten. The UAE is built for cars with an exceptional road network, plenty of daily commutes between Dubai, Abu Dhabi & Sharjah and generally lots of time in car both day and night. This gives plenty of opportunity for the population to tune into their favourite station and a great opportunity for businesses to build brands & promote their products and services to the listeners of these stations.

Here are some key observations that will help you benefit more from your marketing spend in your next radio campaign.

Station Selection

Far too often businesses fall into the trap of trying to do too much with too little when it comes to finalising on their mix of stations for their advertising campaign. They hope that a sprinkling of messages on a 4 or 5 targeted stations will be enough to get their message across, but this results in the campaign being spread too thinly or too diluted to cut through. Alternatively, they hope that by selecting one popular station with a ‘all things to all people’ message to the masses will deliver all of their campaign objectives to a narrow segment. Whilst it is not a perfect science, we have come a long way in the last year or so with the introduction of Radio Audience Measurement (RAM) that provides a cross section of radio listenership habits of the UAE. For the first time in the region we have radio surveys with a robust methodology and backed up with an audit from one of the ‘big 4’ international accounting firms. Armed with some real data, we can now dissect stations under a huge amount of variables, that will help make an informed decision into which station/s are best suited to your target customer.


Why do so many people invest so little time and effort into producing a good commercial? Often they consume up weeks on the radio plan – mix of stations, campaign duration & budgets but then rush the scripting, voice over and post production to finalise on something that is deemed to be acceptable, but is in fact cringeworthy. This is without any real thought into the audience that will be receiving the message & how they consume their favourite station. Through refining the brief and having a clear objective of the campaign, you will start the process correctly which will result into better scripts. Having the confidence in your brand or product’s ability to solve the pain points of your consumers and then building a message around that is a key place to start. Can we just put an end to fake conversational ads right now, or those that insist on telling you their phone number & website numerous times! A properly produced radio commercial will attract attention, engage minds, evoke emotion, and change what people think.


Another key mistake often made is when people misunderstand how radio is consumed by its audience. Radio is a frequency medium, meaning that a series of ads are required to cut through to the audience and deliver the repetition required for the message to sink in. Of course it depends if you have a short tactical objective or a longer brand building campaign but running one spot per day or 4 hour show is downright wasting your money. Condense your campaign and run it at a higher frequency to ensure those that hear it, hear it often enough for it to register and act upon it.


Who wants to hear a pizza ad at 7AM & better still who is going to remember it by the time lunch or even dinner rolls around? What has emerged from the RAM results is that the people of the UAE consume radio most strongly on their way home and into the evenings. Don’t get me wrong, breakfast listening 6-10AM is and always will be a key listening slot but there is a real opportunity to tap into consumers in the evenings and weekends when they are in purchase mode.

Ad Placement

Finally, many people are unaware that the option exists for you to have your commercial played first or last in ad break or even narrowed down to a specific hour or break. By applying a small loading fee to have it guaranteed it will ensure your ad is played on either side of a programming (content) break which is when listeners ears are pricked up, therefore maximising the cut through of your message.

With a little expertise and knowhow, you can really tap into the power of radio and ensure your radio campaigns give optimal returns.