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ToneMedia Targets Customers Based on Music Tastes

Written on
Feb 1, 2012 
Author
Brian LaRue  |

ADOTAS – Today ToneMedia launched its new ad platform, which delivers targeted ads to consumers based on their music preferences. If this sounds familiar, that’s probably because the company’s been kicking around its ToneTargeting technology since last year, in what CEO/founder Val Katayev characterized as “stealth mode” and under the banner of leading ringtone marketing company ToneFuse. (In fact, ADOTAS wrote about the technology this past spring.) In spinning off from that parent company, ToneMedia’s now working with over 150 online publishers — music-related sites, like blogs and sites that host song lyrics — and a number of national brands to reach, according to a statement from the company, about 120 million consumers worldwide, including 55 million in the U.S.

The impetus behind ToneMedia came from Katayev’s discovery that “music and lyrics” has been Google’s top-ranked search category since 2004 (that’s overall, not every year). As such, Katayev explained over the phone, that creates a situation whereby “from publishers plugged into our platform… we process a lot of information about users,” via their specific interest in “lyrics, artist bios, et cetera.” Eventually, he explained, “we decided to bring in behavioral data — right now mainly from third parties,” but he pointed out that in the company’s future plans, “we’re not locked into third parties.” ToneMedia can also use its presence on music-related sites to collect valuable consumer insights directly. “We can survey our users and collect their own data,” Katayev pointed out. By cross-referencing consumer buying behavior and purchasing patterns from third parties, ToneMedia’s able to discern, without using cookies, the buying behavior of users associated with about 150,000 recording artists.

“It’s not going to be as accurate as behavioral data,” Katayev acknowledged of the process, “but it’s so scalable… and so much more effective.” ToneMedia not only sorts data into categories pertaining to each of the aforementioned 150,000 recording artists, but also into more than 900 audience segments, which Katayev can be as specific as “pet owners” or “AT&T Wireless users.” And while this all ends up leading to some amusing discoveries about the way fans of certain musicians might be expected to spend money (compared against everyone who searches for music online each month, Adele fans are 89 percent more likely to consider traveling to Australia, Lil Wayne fans are more than 400 percent more likely to buy a Blackberry, and Foster the People fans are 78 percent more likely to be the IT decision makers in their respective households), it also leads to, according to Kateyev, “3 to 15 percent engagement rates,” depending on the type of ads delivered to the user. He also credited the Flex ad units, which ToneMedia uses for its ads, in delivering higher performance. “The browser is our canvas,” he said of Flex’ capacities.





Adotas Senior Editor Brian LaRue has been working in journalism in some form or another for slightly longer than his entire adult life, having won his first SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) Award while he was still in high school. Prior to joining Adotas, he served as a reporter, editor, columnist, critic and blogger, mostly for a number of daily and weekly newspapers scattered around his native Connecticut. In his off hours, Brian maintains an active parallel life as a musician and music blogger.

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