An Agency Perspective: How Pandora Compares to Radio

This post is written by Julie Hober, Client Services Manager at Ryan Sawyer Marketing, and long-time client of Pandora. This blog post was originally published on the Ryan Sawyer Marketing blog in an effort to educate clients on the advantages of adding Pandora to their media mix. We thought our readers could get something out of it too and have decided to repost it here. Enjoy!

For years, buying TV and radio media meant relying on the demographic and other statistical information provided by the stations to place the buy, and spending hours going through station affidavits to verify the accuracy of the airing schedule. Ultimately, you never really knew who your spot was reaching. Was it your target audience of women 18-34? Or was it men 50+? If you were reaching people outside of your desired demographic, why were you paying money to reach them?

Our job as an agency is to be as objective and impartial as possible when it comes to placing media buys. We always look at what’s best for the client’s goals and budget. Radio is often a part of that plan, as are other traditional and non-traditional media options. Regardless of the medium, though, what we crave is quantifiable information. Actual, verifiable statistics about how people acted when interacting with your campaign in some way. Sometimes we can get it, other times we have much “squishier” data, such as when people say “I saw your TV spot and wanted to call.” We’re always looking for as much data as we can to better inform media decisions for our clients.

Enter Pandora.

Pandora offers a sort of hybrid approach of traditional radio + online metrics. It reinvented how we listen to music by creating what is known as the Music Genome Project. Logically, it also gave pause as to how we buy radio media. Because it’s an online music streaming service where you have to create an account to listen, they offer precise demographics to advertisers and specific, quantifiable metrics. You can choose as wide or as narrow a demographic as you’d like, among other options, and Pandora will give you a planned number of audio and banner impressions, and trackable stats post-campaign.

Having solid metrics on the front- and back-ends of a campaign leads to better-informed decision making about media plans.

Our top tips for a successful Pandora campaign:

  • Have a strong offer. You need to find a way to incentivize the audience enough to take action.
  • Carefully select your audience. If you’re trying to offer a product to the wrong audience, it simply won’t work. Pick your ideal client for the product you’re offering.
  • Understand seasonality. Have your campaign coincide with the seasonality you experience. Don’t try to force action in the off-season. If selling swimsuits is easier in spring, have your campaign run then instead of in the middle of winter.
  • Look at impressions, reach and frequency. That will help determine the best device for your campaign, whether it’s mobile, desktop or both.
  • Take time with creative execution. Have a solid script that clearly conveys the offer. Don’t pack it full of 3 other offers along with the main offer. One, singular, clear message is ideal. Same goes for the online ads. It’s even more important that they clearly show the offer.
  • Track results on your end. Ask people how they heard about you. Keep track of it somewhere, whether it’s your POS system, a spreadsheet or a piece of paper. The more you track, the better you can evaluate the success of the campaign.
  • Customer Service. This one seems like a no-brainer, but if you can provide great service to the client, they will be more willing to return and purchase more products or services. Don’t consider your Pandora offer to be like a coupon; consider it to be a first impression with a client.

Pandora isn’t the only fish in the sea when it comes to streaming audio but for our area and typical client budgets, other streaming audio services are either too expensive (think $10,000 minimums) or don’t have sufficient users in our geographic area to yield meaningful results.

Knowledge truly is power when it comes to deciding how best to spend your marketing budget. To learn more about our agency’s services,
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