In their typically savvy way, Pandora has implemented a strategy for taking political ad dollars. Taking the listener registration information that they already have on every listener, they have created a turnkey way for political candidates’ campaigns to deliver their messages to custom voter zones. The service also offers rich media attributes, enabling campaigns to utilize display and video components in addition to audio.
Once again, Pandora is aggressively going after broadcast radio dollars with this strategy. Chief Revenue Officer John Trimble said, “With the 2012 political campaign season in full swing, advertisers realize that personalized, internet radio is a powerful platform to reach a desired set of voters. Pandora’s new targeting features maximize effectiveness of ad spend that has historically been wasted reaching voters outside of election districts. Political, national and local advertisers all benefit from our scale, precision targeting and personalization to reach a passionate and engaged audience on Pandora.”
Pandora gathers zip code data at account registration and a back-end system maps that information into specific regions, making it easier for a campaign to maximize effectiveness. These new features add on to the previously available targeting parameters of age, gender, zip code, time of day, music genre, seeded artist, interaction, mobile and first impression.
Political ad spending has been climbing for years and – thanks to the elimination of campaign spending caps – will be higher than ever for 2012. In 2008, the last presidential election year, political ad spending was $2 billion, last year, without a presidential election it reached $2.3 billion.
While Pandora can offer a nicely targeted ad campaign within precise voter zones, one thing candidates will not get from Pandora is the FCC mandated political rate card. Radio broadcasters are required under FCC regulations to provide all political candidates with a fixed rate at the lowest available rate on their stations. Pandora and other Internet radio stations are not beholden to such rules.