Targetspot has updated its yearly study of Internet radio listeners. The newly released information was first presented at RAIN Summit West by Targetspot CEO Eyal Goldwerger. Today, the company made the whitepaper more widely available on its website.
The benchmark study, done by Parks Associates and with the support of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, was first released at last year’s RAIN Summit West. Results of this year’s update show increased listening, particularly to mobile devices, along with increased social activity and response to audio ads.
The findings are all good – the audience is growing, taking Internet radio with them on mobile devices and sharing it with friends on social platforms. Listeners are interacting with their stations, and that’s having a very positive impact on advertising as well. Ad recall and response rates increased 11% since last year, with 58% recalling having seen or heard an Internet Radio ad within the last 30 days compared to 52% in 2011. Of those listeners, 44% responded to an Internet Radio ad in one way or another compared to 40% in 2011, a 10% increase versus last year.
Targetspot has released a new whitepaper that examines the behavior of digital audio listeners with regard to discovering new music, giving and receiving musical recommendations, and music purchasing.
The paper points out that Internet radio listeners are an engaged bunch, 80% listen 1-3 hours a day. What’s more, 73% listen to more than one station a day and 46% often check out the name of the song or artist playing.
Other indicators of the level of engagement with new music that Internet radio listeners have include:
- 69% of Internet radio listeners have decided to purchase a song as a result of hearing it on an Internet radio station.
- 42% rate songs on Internet radio stations
- 38% recommend songs, artists or stations
- 32% check out what others are listening to online
- 57% search for new music
- 28% click on ads
- 32% buy songs online
- 22% buy albums online
Triton Digital has reported, via Inside Radio, that on average about half (51%) of a streaming broadcast station’s audience is outside its Designated Market Area (DMA). In fact, according to Triton COO Mike Agovino, quoted in the article, the larger the market, the higher the percentage of out of market listening. He says a lot of the out of DMA listening is from nearby markets, such as listening in Connecticut to New York stations’ streams.
The problem is, few stations are separating their in-market versus out-market audiences when they are selling to advertisers or when they are counting up delivered impressions. In fact, most national streaming ad campaigns are targeted geographically based on choosing call letters in the markets that the advertiser wants to target, according to the article in Inside Radio, which checked in with Eyal Goldwerger, CEO of Targetspot and Brian Benedik, president of Katz360. If national advertisers are buying streaming ads on broadcast stations and believe they’re geotargeting by doing so, that’s a problem, since this new info from Triton reports that only half the people who hear the ads are in that market.
Since online stations like Pandora and Slacker are registering their listeners, they have actual impression by impression geotargetability. Advertisers that are measuring the results of their campaigns are going to see an improved return by those stations and that will drive the price up for them. Broadcasters that stream and fail to improve their targeting capabilities will see the opposite.
The reality is that targeted ads are good for the station, the listener and the advertiser. Listener registration lies at the center of ad targeting capabilities. Pandora, Slacker, CBSRADIO, iHeartRadio, and others have been registering their listeners for a long time because they understand that the game has changed and targetability is essential to an ad based streaming audio ad model.
A new company with some not so new faces has launched a platform designed to enable advertisers and stations to easily buy and sell on-air and online ad inventory. Called The Media Dash™ Local (www.themediadashlocal.com), the digital platform provides an easy way for small- and mid-sized businesses to buy advertising on local radio stations.
Rob Williams and Drew Hilles launched The Media Dash, which is designed to help broadcasters sell premium on-air and streaming commercials to both new and repeat advertisers. It’s not their first adventure together, the two paired up as the team that launched Goom Radio in the US, but left not too long after that. Williams comes from a Clear Channel based background in broadcast management, while Hilles was with dMarc, a broadcast traffic platform company that was acquired by Google, where Hilles then spent a few years.
This project resembles attempts Google has made to make radio ad inventory buying and selling more digital. Google’s goal was to make it easy for local and smaller advertisers who were already spending ad dollars with Google on things like search and adwords to add audio to that mix. The plan failed when many broadcasters, wary of Google’s intrusion into their territory, refused to participate. Since then, a few other companies have tried it – Bid4spots is an auction based online marketplace for radio inventory. Targetspot offers a similar “self service advertising platform” that enables local advertisers to get an audio ad made and select a target area and budget.
“Due to limited resources, local radio stations typically focus their sales efforts on their largest customers, failing to address a broad market opportunity of under-served local advertisers,” said Drew Hilles, CEO of The Media Dash. “Our goal is to make it as easy to buy local radio as it is to place Internet advertising. The Media Dash Local is designed to bring new advertisers to radio and generate incremental revenues for stations.”
Targetability is the other key feature to being able to compete for digital dollars, and this system enables advertisers to select local markets where they want their ads to run. Available markets are limited, but will presumably increase. Ultimately, as Google learned, the service will have to be able to offer lots of inventory from lots of markets in order to succeed.
The platform also allows you to decide whether you want to run creative that you may have, or offers to produce audio ads for free, something that will no doubt add to the success of the plan as it tries to bring new digital advertisers into the radio marketplace. Watch the video below for more info.
Streaming music platforms are getting a lot of attention lately. Pandora’s been growing its audience at an impressive rate, MOG, rdio and others are getting funding, former radio personalities are showing up on Internet radio, and lots of folks are talking about it.
It’s a groundswell that started, like many do, as a teeny tiny trend that many folks said would never take off. Back in 2003 when I started Net Radio Sales (now Katz360), the other guys were starting RL Radio (now Targetspot). Arbitron was shutting down its streaming measurement platform (called Measurecast). And revenue was tough to come by.
That’s not the case anymore. Investment money is flowing into online music platforms, and Pandora recently announced a plan for an IPO to raise $100 million. Audiences are growing fast. Targetspot recently told Inside Radio that their revenues were up 75% over last year. The future looks bright and getting brighter.
But all of this seems to have thrown radio broadcasters off of their game. Instead of focusing on their core competencies, they can’t take their eyes off of Pandora or Slacker, or another streaming music platform. Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots to like about those platforms. They can deliver unique personalized streams and targeted ads to registered listeners, and that’s a great thing.
But they aren’t a replacement for broadcast radio. They’re not local and their not personable. They’re not…human.
In developing their online streaming presence, Radio broadcasters should focus on the human aspects of their programming. Concentrate on talent, news, and excellent programming. Not programming for the highest cume, but for the happiest and most engaged listeners. Interact with those listeners in meaningful ways, and give them ways to interact with the station and each other. Create fun and interesting blogs, side channels, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages that listeners can love. And please, register those users.
Stop thinking about what Pandora is and trying to be that, instead think about what they aren’t and play that card…
Fred Wilson apparently thinks it’s a good year to invest in streaming audio and has announced investments in two companies this week as an indication of this. His company Union Square Ventures just is heading up an $8 million funding round for digital audio advertising company TargetSpot. Other investors in that group include CBSRadio, Bain Capital Ventures and Milestone Venture Partners. It’s not Union Square‘s first money in Targetspot, nor for CBSRadio or Bain.
Wilson’s Union Square Ventures also announced an investment in Berlin based Soundcloud, which bills itself as the YouTube for audio. According to Soundcloud founder Alexander Lyung, the site had a million registered users last spring and 2.6 million by the end of the year, so it’s growing pretty fast.
“There has not been a wildly popular open audio sharing platform with simple APIs like YouTube and Vimeo in video, Facebook and Flickr in photos, Blogger and WordPress in long form text, and Twitter in short form text/link sharing.” says Wilson in his blog. “We think SoundCloud is on its way to becoming that wildly popular open platform for audio expression and sharing on the web and mobile devices. A few months ago, Union Square Ventures… invested in SoundCloud and I have joined the Board.”
Wilson is a guy that likes his music. He puts songs he likes on his daily blog, along with quotes and pictures. He also has a radio station you can stream, fredwilson.fm . Mostly, I think he’s a guy that thinks a lot about music and the Internet, and right now he’s thinking it’s a good investment…
Live365 has launched a new Internet radio service and website for women. Athena365 features a wide variety of female-friendly music including popular AC, Top40, and Pop/Rock Hits; New Age, Classical, and Jazz stations; and talk shows covering a variety of topics.
“The Athena365 Beta site brings together the best of Live365 stations, plus new targeted content packaged to address the needs and preferences of a very specific audience — digital moms,” says Heidi Elgaard, Marketing Director for Live365 and Athena365. “By narrowing our audience focus with this initiative, we have a unique opportunity to provide a richer and more personal online radio experience.”
Featured stations on the website’s homepage include Jill92.7, an AC station based in Los Angeles, B98 Country out of Missouri, and Harpo Radio, a talk radio platform owned by Oprah.
“Live365 has always catered to niche audiences, and Athena365 is an extension of that strategy.” says Elgaard. It’s a move that is bound to benefit ad revenues as well – Elgaard says Targetspot, who sells inventory on Live365, will sell the inventory on Athena365 as well. She says they’ll continue to work with banner networks also, along with plans to increase direct sales efforts for both Live365 and Athena365. The website also offers a premium subscription with fewer ads for $3.95 a month.
It’s a great idea to build out a branded Internet radio platform targeting women, and one that is perfectly suited to Live365. They’re already a site that aggregates stations, grouping them by demographics and rebranding them should benefit both audience and make it easier to attract ad dollars.
While broadcasters gathered in DC last week, digital folks were in NYC at the Interactive Advertising Bureau‘s annual MIXX Conference, part of Ad Week in that city. (It’s a shame that the two events are at the same time.) During their event, the IAB released its “Digital Audio Advertising Overview” Platform Status Report, a first ever effort by that organization to define the digital audio space and make it easier for digital advertisers to understand it.
The document “defines the digital audio category and provides a snapshot of the marketplace audience size and demographics as well as outlining the players in the market, the vehicles currently used to deliver content and advertising formats, and some of the most important metrics for measuring success.” It’s a white paper that provides a nice overview of Internet radio in terms of audience and measurement, ad opportunities and standards. While the report calls itself an overview of the digital audio space, in fact it concentrates solely on Internet radio – I saw no references to podcasting, on demand streaming, HD, or any other types of what I consider to be audio of the digital variety.
The paper provides research from Nielsen, Bridge Ratings, AndoMedia as well as Edison Research/Arbitron’s comprehensive annual Infinite Dial Study to define the market size, provide listening data and identify the ad units typically available. It also lists major advertisers such as Chevrolet, Ford, McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, American Express and Home Depot (the list is longer), and includes a case study of OnStar on the Katz Online Network as well as Pandora.
With this white paper the IAB, the main ad association for the digital market, is finally acknowledging digital audio as a digital ad option for advertisers, so it’s a great thing. With all due respect to those involved, it’s long overdue. While there is little that’s new in the report, it’s all pulled together very succinctly into a credible presentation that sellers can use to educate advertisers. It should be particularly useful with digital ad agencies who have been slow to spend on Internet radio. Having the IAB stamp of approval means a lot.
Congrats to Brian Benedik of Katz360 and Andy Lipset of TargetSpot, co-chairs of the IAB’s digital audio committee, and the companies that are on the committee: AndoMedia, Google, Clear Channel Radio, Comcast, comScore, Cox Cross Media, ESPN, Pandora Media, and others. Hats off for a job well done.
You can download the report here.
Streaming music service Slacker is readying an on-demand streaming service for launch, according to a report by Wired. Slacker’s current offerings include interactive streams as well as pre-formatted channels. The service launched in 2007 with a dedicated portable device that could have, would have been a unique selling tool for the platform if streaming apps on smartphones hadn’t started to soar. Instead, Slacker abandoned the dedicated mobile device strategy and turned its attention to mobile apps. It’s available on iPhone, Android, Blackberry and other popular off-the-pc devices.
The new service will reportedly allow for an even greater degree of listener interactivity. The station already allows more interactivity than Pandora – listeners can add specific songs to their stations or playlists, while Pandora only permits adding artists. For five bucks a month, listeners can also nix audio ads, add unlimited song skips and requests.
Slacker intends to use the service to upsell its audience to a more premium offering that gives them greater control over their music. There’s no word on how much the service will cost.
During a panel that I hosted in Toronto at RAIN Summit North on March 12th, Slacker VP Jim Rondinelli indicated that ad sales have been healthy for Slacker. He noted that over the past year, they have sold almost all of their audio inventory through audio sales firm Targetspot as well as through Google’s Audio/Adsense platform.
No doubt, the launch of a highly interactive service is a move to position themselves against Pandora, the most popular streaming radio platform, as well as a few new services. MOG is an on-demand streaming service that costs $5 a month for unlimited streaming of whatever you want to hear. Last week they announced new mobile apps for iPhone and Android, upping the ante for the service that had previously been tethered to pc’s. Spotify is another on-demand streaming service that – although they have yet to launch here in the states – Slacker no doubt has on its radar…