Good Internet Marketers are always looking for new opportunities to get the word out about their brand. As the online and mobile market grows, so do avenues for advertising. One of those options is Pandora. More than a handful of our clients advertise on Pandora and we have seen excellent results, but only if you do it right!
In this guide, I will give you a brief overview of Pandora and then explain why it’s attractive to digital marketers. Finally, I will offer some helpful pointers and best-practices about advertising on Pandora. Also, I pulled in an expert from LMA Marketing and Advertising to give us even more insight
What is Pandora?
Pandora is a music streaming service that allows people who are online to listen to their favorite songs. As of this writing, the service is only available in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
The service plays music for the user based on his or her preferences in musical artists. For example, if the user likes Def Leppard, the service will conclude that the user is a heavy metal music fan and play that type of music.
The playlist is further enhanced by a feature that allows the user to provide positive or negative feedback about each song that the service selects. The system’s algorithm will take that feedback into account when selecting future songs.
Beyond that, Pandora uses 2,000 so-called focus traits (attributes about music) to further fine-tune each user’s playlist. That enables the service to provide what effectively becomes the user’s perfect radio station.
Members are also given the opportunity to buy songs or albums at various online retailers as they’re being played. That’s a benefit to both sides: the user gets to own the music that he or she likes and the artist gets another sale.
The company must be doing something right. As of June of this year, there were almost 80 million Pandora users.
Pandora monetizes its service in two ways. One way is with a subscription model that allows users to listen to music without advertising. The other is a free service that includes ads. However, ads are limited to just four minutes per hour.
Of course, it’s the second option that concerns us here.
Excellent Targeting Abilities for Online Radio
If you’re a savvy marketer and noticed how Pandora customizes its playlist to each user’s taste, then there’s one word that must have popped into your head: “targeted.”
That’s the beautiful thing about advertising with Pandora. It allows you to market your brand to a highly targeted group of people, whether they’re moms who like classical music or fitness enthusiasts who live in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Simply put, Pandora is an excellent option, comparatively speaking when looking at other radio and TV outlets, in delivering ads to a very specific, highly targeted market.
Types of Ads
You might be surprised to learn that you aren’t limited to audio ads on Pandora. You can run banner or even video ads on the company’s service.
At face value, that might make no sense. After all, Pandora is a music streaming service that doesn’t require users to be glued to the screen like Netflix or Hulu.
Fortunately, the engineers at Pandora saw an opportunity and seized it. The software can actually determine when the user is interacting with the screen. This isn’t a difficult feat of engineering in and of itself, but the fact that the company leaders thought it important to determine when users are looking at the screen is a testament to Pandora’s efforts to monetize every aspect of its service.
So, whether you’re interested in reaching your target market with audio, banner, or video ads, you can do so using Pandora advertising.
- Audio – Audio ads are attractive because they expose the listener to your brand during the listening experience. The user can’t skip them and, because he or she knows that the service is free, accepts them as part of the routine. Plus, as noted above, ads don’t consume more than four minutes per hour on Pandora. As a result, listeners find them far less intrusive than their counterparts on terrestrial radio.
- Banners – You can run banner ads to your target market while people are engaged with the app online. We have seen a lot of success here with creative promos and coupons, which I will discuss a little more later.
- Video – Remember, people are using Pandora for entertainment purposes. That’s why your video ads should be brief (15 seconds is a great length) and to the point. More importantly, they should be somewhat entertaining. Take, for example, GEICO, the company that’s mastered YouTube advertising just as well as it’s mastered all other types of advertising. The insurance company runs funny 15-second ads on YouTube with a narrator who says: “You can’t skip this ad because it’s already over.” It’s a very refreshing play on traditional YouTube advertising.
Reaching Your Target Market
Because Pandora has been personalizing the listening experience of its users for a decade, the company knows a thing or two about analytics. That works to your advantage when you’re interested in reaching a very specific market.
The software uses one billion daily data points. Those are pieces of information that are available to you as an advertiser to take your marketing message to exactly the right people.
The service also has 300 audience segments, giving you the opportunity to tailor-fit your ad copy in a way that’s relevant to various demographics. For example, you might want a different ad copy for women living in <insert location here> than you do for men <insert location here>. Pandora gives you that flexibility.
As Pandora says: with its advertising, you get “more of who you want.”
If you own a mom and pop sandwich shop in rural West Virginia, there’s really no need for you to advertise your business nationwide. Fortunately, Pandora has an option for you.
You can advertise only to your local market using Pandora. It’s a great way to let local listeners know about your specials, what you’re offering, and, most importantly, that you actually exist.
The fact of the matter is that local Pandora advertising might be one of the most overlooked advertising mediums of this era. Local advertising is always a great way to build brand name recognition within a given community and marketing with Pandora is no exception to that rule. With so much inventory and limited adoption, ads can be pretty inexpensive as well.
Remember, you can also combine local advertising with other targeting characteristics and reach a very specific local audience.
As a digital marketer, you already know about the importance of mobile marketing. People who ignore it are destined to lose market share. Those people who ignored mobilegeddon lost almost all their mobile traffic. The reason Google did that, was that they wanted to make it clear everything is going mobile and you need to get on board.
Pandora is yet another way that you can market to a mobile audience. If you’re interested in gaining an advantage over peers in your industry, look to Pandora mobile marketing to reach people that competitors are leaving behind.
Tips for Pandora Advertising
As with any other advertising platform, there are best-practices when it comes to advertising on Pandora. Most of them are based on tried-and-true practices that you’re already using.
For starters, you should use a landing page so that you can track your traffic and click-throughs from the ads. That way, you’ll know how many people are responding to your Pandora ads and how many of them are becoming paying customers. Use standard Google Analytics URL tagging on that page make sure you associate it with a Pandora campaign. Use this tagged URL for your ads.
Also, take advantage of Pandora’s data mining to hyper-target. There’s no reason for you to leave anything to chance when the service gives you so much info about its listeners.Rita Roberts is an account executive with LMA Worldwide, a marketing and advertising company. She says that it’s important to know age, gender, and the zip codes you want to target. Roberts also says to target based on genre. As an example, she says that advertisers who want to reach parents of young children should run ads on Pandora’s “Family” genre, which includes music stations like Disney, Toddler, and Lullaby. Roberts also advises marketers to do something that should already be familiar to them: have a clear call to action. Since Pandora ads typically run 15 or 30 seconds, messages should be short and simple and let the listener/viewer know quickly what you want them do: click the banner, go to a website, call a phone number, etc. Special offers also work very well on Pandora, according to Roberts. Coupons give advertisers an opportunity to capture the customer’s email address for retargeting purposes or to track the campaign.
Looking at Pandora’s Market Position Now
In the next few years I expect to see more marketing dollars migrating away from traditional TV and radio and making it’s way over to Pandora. While the online music service has been around for some time, it has continued to grow.
When we look at Google Trends below, we can see the interest over time. While it does seem like there was a small dip following the boom in 2011 and and 2012, we know that their user base has continued to grow. Now, keep in mind there are a couple other things at play here. Grooveshark has recently gone under, so many of those users are going back to Pandora. On the other hand, we have Spotify which has more upward momentum than ever.
Here we see that Pandora has the most interest in the US, Puerto Rico and the UK.
Now, we can see that Spotify does have more upward momentum than Pandora… This makes it another great option for online music ad dollars.
Wrapping Up Pandora Advertising
There are a lot of ways to spend your marketing dollars. Pandora currently has over 76 million users. Spotify, has over 25. This is based on data towards the end of 2013. Both mediums are growing and both are excellent options for online branding campaigns. In addition, due to the high level of inventory, targeting and ad capabilities they can also be uses for direct return. If you can set a clear target, develop a good promotion and target locally, both of these mediums are worth testing budget-wise in 2016.