Pandora Gets Jump on iAd With iPad Platform


pandoraADOTAS – Ahead of Apple’s iAd debut in July, Starbucks, Lexus and Budweiser are the first to take advantage of Pandora’s iPad platform, which will allow users to toy around with interactive rich media features while still enjoying their tunes — just like with iAds, users will never have to leave the app to engage in the full ad experience.

Starbucks will encourage iPad users to design their own Frappuccinos and then develops a musical playlist based on the order. It’s amazing how your taste for melancholy singer-songwriters can be determined via how much caramel you pour into your frozen coffee treat. As the sponsor of Pandora’s festival page, Budweiser will offer in-app links to engage users with the largest music festivals of the summer.

Once just a cool toy to discover new music, Pandora’s personalized radio, powered by the Music Genome Project, has turned into something like a phenomenon with 54 million registered users in the U.S. — and more than 30 million on mobile devices. Pandora suggests that 70% of mobile users downloading apps have scooped up the app; according to Nielsen it’s one the five most popular apps on all smartphones (no. 5 on the iPhone OS, no. 4 on Android).

More than 100,000 mobile users are joining the Pandora’s highly attractive user base daily, said founder Tim Westergren. CRO John Trimble claims that the average user engages with the application eight times an hour, usually through tweaking their personal radio station preferences or interacting with the ads. The company currently boasts a click-through rate of 3.4%.

Westergren told that the company recorded $50 million in revenue in 2009, up from $20 million in 2008. However, the company did send a $28 million check to nonprofit label royalty collector SoundExchange in 2009.

There’s a helluva lot of user data stored within the system for targeting, and Pandora’s ad platform goes beyond the basics — gender, age and music taste — to fulfill mobile’s promise of controlling time and space. Both location-based and time-based targeting can be utilized by advertisers.

In addition, advertisers can also shoot any type of creative (video, audio, direct response) to a targeted audience on multiple platforms: desktops, laptops, smartphones and the iPad. However, the ability to interact with ads without leaving the platform is currently only available on the iPad.

Not impressed? I have to admit to being stunned by all the iPads I saw during Internet Week NY. Apple reported at the top of the month that 2 million had been sold in less than 60 days. It appears the device may be far more popular than imagined.



    The headline is silly. Pandora is fabulous, but Internet radio accounts for only a little over 2 percent of all time spent with radio, and Pandora gets about 25 percent of that time. So it does very, very well compared to other streamers, but doesn’t touch over-the-air radio.

    Indeed, RADAR surveys show that the number of people who hear broadcast radio every week is at an all-time high, though the time they spend with radio is dropping off somewhat.

    Nothing wrong with Pandora — it’s great, and it will grow. But it is not hurting radio at all, much less mortally wounding it. Not yet, anyway.


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