Leave it to College Humor to take the E*Trade Baby to a whole new level. Fitting when you consider yesterday’s precipitous drop in the Market (Dow down 512). Wonder how long this one will stay online.
I have a lot of respect for the tenacity and vision of Tim Westergren and the gang over at Pandora. If you’re a fan, there is a great interview with Tim available on press:here (I’ve embedded the first section below but you can get all three sections through the previous link). In addition, TechCrunch ran a story on Friday, detailing how they were on the verge of shuttering their doors only to break through and expecting to be cash positive by the end of 2009.
According to Tim, Americans spend 20 hours a week listening to music, 17 of which is not self selected (meaning, they are not grabbing a CD and popping it into their player – rather they are streaming music: Radio, Internet, etc). This equals a significant opportunity to advertise to an attractive audience set. Pandora has capitalized on this by creating a service where the the user is very interactive with the website – up to 7 times per hour rating songs or bookmarking songs. Each of these user activities provide the opportunity to present an advertisement through a ‘skin’ on the site or a video interstitial between songs (Intel has used both in our advertising efforts with Pandora). That, coupled with the 10-15 second audio spots sprinkled within your stream, ensures a significant interaction between brand advertiser and consumer on Pandora each hour.
From his discussion with Sarah Lacy of TechCrunch post-interview with press:here regarding the success of advertising on Pandora:
“I think it’s because the interaction doesn’t feel like work. It’s a natural instinct tied to the ability to affect the listening, and it’s rewarding.” (credit TechCrunch)
That reward translates into a significantly higher interaction rate (up to 10x) with ads served on Pandora when compared to industry average – which will make advertisers very happy. Count me as one of them. Keep up the great work Tim and Team Pandora.
I’m in the digital media business and there are many days where I am exposed to innovative digital opportunities. When I think of display advertising, more often than not, innovation does not come to mind. Today, that changed with the introduction of FM Ad STAMP (well – I actually saw this last week but I was sworn to secrecy by the smart account types over @ Federated Media). My description won’t do it justice so I encourage you to check out their overview page, blog post, and screencast.
My quick take? This is going to change display advertising for the better. I think FM did a great job taking into account ‘how’ people are using the web, social networks, and reacting to ads put in front of them by giving marketers a product that provides an ‘engagement’ opportunity with valued customers. I think the Conversationalist “a 600×250 social ad unit that allows brand advertisers to engage their readers in conversation directly within the ad unit via social media tools like corporate and product blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook fan pages, RSS feeds, syndicated content and more…” is brilliant – hat tip to FM for recognizing the need for display advertising innovation and delivering an exceptional product.
Music and running – it just goes together. Now you can ‘mix’ your own workout playlist with the new Nike Treadmill on Pandora. Feeling sluggish? Want the tempo of your music to reflect your pedestrian pace – dial back the Speed Slider to 1, but make sure you push your Endurance Slider to 10 to get burn those calories. Pandora is just now starting to do some different forms of advertising within their digital experience…the key for me – they are innovative and relevant. Now strap your iPod to your arm and hit that treadmill!
Recession. Wikipedia defines it as “…a general slowdown in economic activity in a country over a sustained period of time, or a business cycle contraction.“ Yes – we’re definitely smack in the middle of a recession.
In the profession that I am in – marketing and media – we see the effects squarely hitting the budgets we use to promote and market our products. Personally, my media budget of 2009 looks vastly different than it did just one year ago. That’s not to say we are de-emphasizing the importance of advertising within our marketing mix, but we are definitely looking to make every dollar we spend work harder for us during this time. In addition we are looking at ways we can integrate ‘human’ capitol into our plan to augment the $$ we are actually spending.
What’s interesting about this is that we are not alone in continuing to maintain, if not increase, our focus on Social Media during this downturn. According to Forrester Research through findings in a recent survey, it was determined that “the use of social media as a marketing tool is on the rise” (from ReadWriteWeb). In fact the report continues to say that over 50% of the marketers surveyed indicated that they will actually be increasing the spend on social media and social tools in the coming months (diagram below from ReadWriteWeb).
For those companies that can afford to ‘spend their way through the recession’ the opportunities that come with it are interesting. How you ask? With so many companies reacting to the downturn by sharply reducing money spent on advertising from their marketing budgets, rates will become cheaper as a result of the decreased demand. For those willing to continue to spend in this environment, they will be able to advertise without having their message diluted by competitors – for a significantly lower cost. The moral I pull from these reports is to be smart where you cut your budgets, because the opportunity to break through the clutter and advertise your product may not be as costly as you think.
As Advertising Age states: “A mere mouse move can’t measure influence“.
That’s a smart statement, but one that many advertisers are not listening to.
The article goes on to state “….ComScore research, which studied 139 online ad campaigns by marrying data from its panel of U.S. internet users with shopper data, found online ads, even when they didn’t result in a click, increased a consumer’s likelihood of making a purchase at an advertiser’s retail store by 17% and increased visits to a marketer’s website by an average of 40%.“
Net net? Just because they didn’t click doesn’t mean they aren’t engaged. As a person responsible for media myself, I sometimes forget that.
It’s long been the practice of advertisers to simply slap their TV commercials online as video advertising units. I’ve long thought it doesn’t work – rather, that you need to tailor the spot specifically for the medium. This Adotas article supports that and points to 3 basic tenants for success:
- Tell a story
- Make it interactive
- Finish with a strong call to action.
I agree. Michael Radigan’s last line in the article sums it up best for Digital Video Advertisers: “Let’s stop being lazy and get some practice making online videos for the active viewer“