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Buying Pandora can Increase Your Radio Station’s Ratings


Yes, a radio station can buy time on Pandora with the intention of driving audience to the station either online or (less efficiently) on-air.

How do I know? Because some stations have done it – and done it successfully enough to be repeat customers.

Just one example:

A station in a top ten market wanted to communicate to listeners of Pandora’s Christmas music that this station was “All Christmas” during the holiday season when the campaign ran.

Makes sense, right? I’m listening to Christmas tunes on Pandora…Up pops an ad from a radio station promoting their own Christmas mix with click-thru link to the station’s holiday stream.

But it turns out that was only the beginning of the advertising relationship.

They continued to run more campaigns well into 2013. Specifically, they bought Pandora from February 1 to May 19, 2013. They targeted specific music genres among a particular demographic segment within the market’s DMA.

In a nutshell, here are the results:

More than 2.7 million impressions with a click-thru rate of more than 1% (well above industry average) for a total of more than 29,000 clicks.

They were further able to show the impact of the campaign on streaming metrics, which were up. On-air metrics, meanwhile, were as strong as ever (determining the precise causality of the Pandora piece is complicated since there were other marketing “irons in the fire” at that time).

29,000 introductions of listeners to a radio station they would not be otherwise listening to at that time sounds like a lot to me – especially given the paucity of such metrics which can be gathered by any other means. Consider this: How many new listeners did that recent billboard campaign produce for you, Mr. Broadcaster?

Clearly, there’s a cost-benefit analysis to be made here, and no doubt other stations will make it the same way this one did.

As time flies by and Pandora’s sway over the behavior of the “average listener” continues to grow, look for more radio brands to do what this one did:

To fish where the fish are.

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