Amazing Audience Targeting and Response From Today’s Music Streaming Apps

Digital music service apps are quickly changing the advertising landscape—and we’ve been introducing new marketing opportunities to clients who want to reach a highly targeted and responsive audience. Here’s your chance to find out why. Just select some nice background music from your favorite streaming service and read on.

“Lean-forward,” Music Lovers!
We’ll start by saying that traditional broadcast radio—and traditional radio advertising—is by no means dead. But radio just can’t deliver the audience targeting and in-the-moment-of-intention timing of the on-demand music streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, and iHeartRadio. That’s because radio is a lean-back experience, in which listeners literally lean back, relax, and passively let the content flow.

Streaming services provide a lean-forward experience. People can control the content by interacting and engaging with the user interface on their connected device. For example, a Pandora listener—who’s actually more than a listener—can give a “thumbs-up” (or “thumbs-down”) to a song that plays, signaling to Pandora to play more (or less) tracks by that artist.

The result, for the listener, is a highly personalized, data-driven listening experience that they want to keep coming back to again and again. For the advertiser, the result is a set of data points to enter into the audience targeting equation, as well as a consumer who’s likely to be tuning in while the brand’s ad is presented.

Digital music streamers have been shown to respond favorably to the advertising they experience while streaming. Spotify’s Brand Impact Study found that compared to non-streamers, people who use a streaming music service at least monthly are:

  • Over 2x as likely to be willing to pay more for brands
  • 61% more likely to recommend brands to a friend
  • 74% more likely to describe a brand as “the only brand for me”

Very compelling, indeed. So let’s look at the key reasons we’ve been recommending streaming music service app advertising to some of our direct response clients:

It’s Part of a Strong Mobile Marketing Strategy
According to comScore, 2 out of 3 digital media minutes are spent on a mobile device. While today’s digital entertainment services make it easy for users to listen anywhere—yes, their desktops, laptops, and even automobiles!—mobile is really the “place to be.”

  • Pandora reaches 78 million people per month on over 1,800 connected devices, such as laptops and smartphones
  • iHeartRadio has over 100 million registered users and is available on 90 unique device platforms
  • Spotify has over 100 million active users and over half listen on smartphones and tablets

Attention, interrupted? A challenge facing marketers today is that people’s attention span is now only 8 seconds. Mobile advertising that reaches people while they’re on-the-go enjoying music, podcasts, or other streaming content is a great way “catch them” while they’re already “tuned in.”

It Reaches People in the Right Moment
The puts it this way: advertisers are “hoping that targeting people based on what they are doing on their mobile devices at a particular time might make them more receptive to the message.”

This is called moments-based marketing.

Today, advertising is more than reach and frequency—it’s also about usefulness, or reaching the right people with the right information at the right time. An advertiser has the ability to target specific messages to someone who, for example, accesses a workout music playlist and may therefore be interested in hearing a health-related ad. reports a GroupM estimate that targeting ads at people engaged in “particular moments” will account for $220 million in new ad revenue in the coming few years.

Does this really work? Pandora partnered with a neuroscience-based market research firm to find out if their personalized, emotive environment increases ad effectiveness. The short answer? Yes, it does. The audio ads in the study were:

  • 49% more memorable than a terrestrial radio spot
  • 36% more memorable than a TV commercial
  • 29% more memorable than a mobile video ad

Odds are good that a listener would be more likely to respond to an ad served up to them in the streaming music context.

Personalization = Amazing Audience Targeting
While each service offers a slightly different set of targeting capabilities based on their content and subscriber base, the fact that they’re digital platforms is what makes them audience targeting powerhouses.

They have ever-expanding data on their logged-in user base. And the more often people engage, the more data they generate beyond the normal demographics you would expect. Advertisers can use geo-targeting as well as data-enabled targeting, tapping into demographic information as well as data related to the content types, stations, playlists, and genres a user streams.

This ability to target specific audiences benefits brands of all sizes, not just companies with a national presence. Streaming music advertising packages can be easily customized for regional scale, down to the zip code level. This customization lends itself well to running test campaigns that help advertisers zero-in on the most responsive markets and determine if the medium is effective and should be expanded.

Marketers may also have the opportunity to layer third-party data that links behavioral, lifestyle, or even real-time geographic details. For instance, iHeartRadio’s SmartAudio product allow advertisers to serve audio ads dynamically based on third party triggers like weather, location, sports scores and time of day.

On the back-end, advertisers are given robust tools to track ad impressions, engagement, and response. Lean forward listeners can click or tap on a screen that takes them to a landing page where they can learn more with a video, get a store coupon, or place an order with a unique, easy-to-remember special offer code for tracking. With this high degree of flexibility, advertisers can test different offers and response options to discover what’s most profitable for them—and to help set ongoing advertising budgets over the channel.

Contact us to learn more about testing this exciting and responsive medium that can be perfect for many direct response marketers.