These days marketers seem to have an almost endless array of outlets to choose for their messaging. But amidst the explosion in channels, programs and options, it can be easy to lose sight of advertising’s most important metric: return on investment.

What value is there to an ad that is seen or heard but not acted on? A new study shows that radio advertisers don’t have this problem.

Conducted by the U.K.’s Radio Advertising Bureau in conjunction with Mindshare, Mediavest, Mediacom and Havas, the research shows that brands using radio get their money back nearly eight times over on average.

And in many sectors, notably automotive and retailer brands and impulse products, radio offers the best return of investment of any media.

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The study also found that the radio campaigns most likely to out-perform the average are those which “have standout, present their message clearly and are seen to fit well with the brand. In terms of media planning, it is coverage rather than frequency which boosts radio ROI — there is a strong statistical link between these.”

Currently radio carries about 6% of all advertising budgets, but the study’s authors found that if budgets were reallocated to give radio a 20% share of total spend — with no increase in overall expenditure — the total campaign return on investment would increase by over 8%.

All of which just reinforces something that we’ve been saying at the Altitude Group for years: if you’re looking for significant, measurable results from your marketing dollars, look to radio.