Next Gen Advertising: The Power of Spotify, Pandora & Digital Radio

Next Gen Advertising: The Power of Spotify, Pandora & Digital Radio

The world of advertising is constantly and rapidly evolving, but institutions have leveraged (and many still leverage) radio, television, print, billboard, transit and other “traditional” mediums. The reality of the situation is that most “traditional” media is now (or will soon be) digital. Television is now watched on Netflix and YouTube, and from mobile devices. Music is streamed on digital platforms like Spotify, YouTube and Pandora. Here at RNL + Converge, we pride ourselves on being a New & Next company. Call us bias, but today’s digital paradigm is a great thing for marketersit means your campaigns are trackable, snackable and measurable.

No longer are the days of “purchase a radio spotlight and hope they come to our info session”. With digital, we can see what works and what doesn’t, and make data-driven decisions that move the needle for your institution and programs. That doesn’t mean we don’t understand the value of a comprehensive media plan. We’re not proposing that you scrap it all. The goal of the Next Gen Advertising Series is to explore the shift to digital across media and educate our marketplace on New & Next possibilities worth exploring.

Today, I want to take a closer look at radio and, in particular, the power of digital radio. Spotify and Pandora are the two largest digital music streaming and internet radio services available. Let’s take a deep dive into the two platforms.

Spotify Advertising

Spotify has over 180 million global monthly users, 83 million of which are paying customers. Over forty percent of Spotify’s monthly active users are on the platform daily. Seventy-two percent of users are under the age of 34. Spotify users are also extremely engaged, listening to an average of more than three hours per day.

So what are the advertising opportunities and why are they effective for EDU advertisers? Audio or video ads on Spotify can be 15 or 30 seconds long, with an optional accompanying display ad. Every single ad gets 100% share of voice. Just like other digital platforms, you can target your audience using Spotify’s first-party demographic and behavioral segments. You can also re-engage your target audience through retargeting. According to Adweek and especially important for Higher Education, 72% of weekly streams in the US are by millennials.  Another really nice feature on Spotify is the ability to self-serve your advertisements.

Pandora Advertising

According to TechCrunch, Pandora has a slightly smaller audience with 66 million US listeners. Pandora gives advertisers access to over 1,400 audience segments to craft messages specific to your target audience. Pandora’s case to marketers is that, by using their proprietary Music Genome Project technology, you’re able to target specific audiences with much greater accuracy. You can target audiences by music taste, age, demographic or physical location.

From an advanced targeting perspective, Pandora may be the winner with their recent acquisition of Ad Wizz. Using this new technology, Pandora is giving advertisers the ability to buy audio ads across Pandora and other services. Ad Wizz will give Pandora advertisers access to Spotify, Deezer, iHeartradio and TuneIn.

The Power of Digital Radio for Higher Education

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts tested Spotify ads for their School of Music. UNCSA produced an audio ad with strong production quality, leveraging their target audience’s keen sense of hearing, to target geographically, by age and by gender, and then by either the genre of music the user listens to or specific playlists. A broad targeting approach captured potential students ranging in ages from 15 to 25 and users who listened to classical music or soundtracks. In only one week, and for a total ad spend of $250, the campaign generated three leads at a cost-per-lead of only $83.

Butler University has also tested Spotify to connect with their target audience. Through 1.6 million impressions, 700K audio plays and with an impressive audio completion rate of 92%, Butler generated 49 leads in the first month with a CPL of $95.

Is Digital Radio the New Traditional?

To summarize, digital audio advertisements are a cost effective alternative to “traditional” radio placements that give marketers the ability to reach a much younger, more targeted audience. Reaching actively listening users who are extremely engaged (like prospective music students for UNCSA or undergrad athletes interested in Butler’s game day playlists) with Pandora and Spotify is a great way to upgrade your traditional media placements to something trackable and measurable.

The increased targeting capabilities and measurement allow EDU brands to have more ownership, find more engaged listeners and ensure brand alignment. This all leads to positive outcomes on your campaign performance. Which begs the question of why are we not entirely on digital v. traditional radio?

With another fiscal year approaching, what channels are you exploring to connect with prospective students in the digital space? Are you adjusting your budget for traditional v. digital spend? In a digital world, what does “traditional” media mean to you? We would love to hear your thoughts on this piece and learn more about the ways you are taking your advertising to the next level. Tweet us @convergeorg to continue the conversation.

Kory Boebel
Kory Boebel
December 6, 2019