Is that an ad in your pocket? Pandora’s Melanie Reece on the potential of personalised media

One of the key themes at last week’s Ad:Tech conference was that mobile is the new digital and New Zealand is behind the rest of the world in following consumers there.

I sat on the advisory board for the conference and saw close up how hard the content producers worked in getting the right messages in front of the attendees. We know New Zealand is a nascent mobile advertising market but we needed to understand why and give marketers the tools and the confidence to close the gap.

From where I sit at Pandora it certainly looks to me like marketers are frozen with fear over the move to mobile. Years ago when our consumers began the migration to digital, it seemed like digital planning was the dark arts. But digital is moving out of the shadows and into the mainstream. As an example, Pandora Internet Radio is now in more than 1000 connected devices and over 130 car models. Internet-enabled cars, essentially iPads on wheels, will launch this year in the States. So the Internet of Everything is here.

Mobile media consumption is also on the rise. In October ComScore reported Pandora moved into the number one position in time spent on mobile in the US, with the average minutes per listener of 1271 minutes a month (21 hours). This puts it ahead of Facebook and Google. And the reason for this is that consumers are listening to music on Pandora for over two hours each session.

Pandora’s own New Zealand data shows local users are listening for an average of 20 hours per month, with 86 percent of our traffic coming through the app. Personalised media at this scale on mobile not only changes how advertisers should communicate brand messages directly to their target market, it means the click through is no longer just to owned brand channels. It is directly through to consumers in real time. And these Pandora thumb moments illustrate the power of personalised media best.

Marketers need to prepare for this shift to mobile now to harness the direct pathway to their consumers. Stalling is like the boy who gets a date with the girl of his dreams only to lose the ability to speak when he arrives to pick her up. There is an enormous opportunity right now to grasp the competitive advantage from the clutches of your competitors in this market.

Tom Eslinger, Saatchi & Saatchi’s global head of digital and social​, said it best when he Skyped in to show the group what he deemed best in class case studies for mobile. Amongst his advice:

1. Make someone in your organisation the God or Goddess of mobile. They need to spend their time downloading apps, searching articles and sharing their experiences.

2. Download your competitors’ apps on your phone. Use them and become a trusted advisor on what is happening in that space.

3. Prioritise mobile budgets in your marketing spends.

4. Start now.

Ad:Tech was a great step in the right direction. Well done to the team. It was a brilliant start and one that I feel really hopeful we can build on. But given only one digital director I talked to brought his clients, that needs to change next year. 

  • ​Melanie Reece is commercial director of Pandora Internet Radio. 

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