Agencies are paying attention to internet radio services, thanks to the move to mobile and the demand for consumer choice. Research firm eMarketer estimates there will be 159.8 million digital radio listeners in 2014, and that figure will grow to 183.4 million in 2018. That doesn’t mean, however, that they’ll grab ad dollars away from terrestrial radio. Rather, digital listening in all its permutations will become part of the multi-channel and multi-media marketing mix. How to do a multiplatform (Hispanic Audio Buy).

Digital RadioInternet radio, aka streaming audio aka digital radio, comprises digital-native services, as opposed to the digital offerings of terrestrial radio stations. As such, they’re true hybrids, marrying audio with the tools for delivering, tracking and analyzing consumption.

Putting together an audio campaign is a collaboration between digital and audio planning teams.

Most have similar ad models: audio pre-rolls, display ads on the interface, branded custom stations and playlists. And they’re eager to work with agencies to develop custom programs, according to Mina Kamarasheva, associate managing director, audio and promotions, for Horizon Media.

“They understand this is the future and are now beginning to offer custom promotion opportunities. For Pandora, that’s limited to national campaigns versus local. But this is an area they see tremendous growth to come,” Kamarasheva says.

Stacking up the stations

radioNielsen’s purchase of Arbitron last year is expected to lead to industry-standard audience measurement of audio content, letting internet radio stack up, apples-to-apples, against terrestrial radio. Until that day comes, media buyers must rely on the services’ own audience reports delivered via press release or SEC filing. Pandora is the top service, in terms of audience and brand — and the only one that responded to requests for comment.

  • Pandora: 73.4 million active users
  • iHeartRadio: 40+ million registered users
  • TuneIn Radio: 40+ million active users
  • Spotify: 6+ million paying users; 24 million active users

Getting the Hispanic ear

Reaching Hispanic consumers means being as device-agnostic as possible, and this is an area where Kamarasheva gives Pandora high marks. “Pandora has invested in proprietary cross-platform targeting using psychographics and behavioral attributes, in addition to registration data. That means we are following our target demographic online regardless of what they are listening to,” she says.

Pandora likes to start an advertiser relationship by identifying the target audience. “From there, we can provide counsel on both their media buy and the creative solutions that will reach their target audiences,” says Mike Reid, executive director of multicultural sales at Pandora.

In fact, according to Reid, Pandora now offers more than 100 targeting points. “In the case of Hispanic targeting, we have been able to build even more robust models, based on registration information and public sources, which also help us tie music preferences to our Hispanic audience.” This also lets the service reach Hispanics regardless of their musical taste. Pandora estimates that one out of four Hispanics in the United States listens to it.

“Looking back on my previous experience in the Hispanic media business, advertisers traditionally had to go to Spanish radio to reach Hispanics or try radio stations with a Hispanic leaning. With Pandora, advertisers can reach Hispanics more directly through our targeting capabilities,” Reid says.

One campaign for T-Mobile used Pandora Premieres, which provides an exclusive pre-release of a new album every week. In June 2013, the sixth Premieres featured “Vives En Mi,” by La Maquinaria Nortena, an emerging banda/chichuaha group from Mexico. Mexican electronics manufacturer Famsa recently joined the roster of national and local brands working with Pandora to target Hispanics.

Horizon’s Kamarasheva says the ability to create custom stations or sponsor categories or genres is important. “It presents a unique opportunity to customize an audio campaign. You can’t do that with terrestrial radio.”

Complex buy

Buying streaming audio is a bit more complex than buying digital or radio, simply because it’s a bit of both, and also because of the ability to add display or branding to the interfaces. Horizon has merged the buying of every kind of audio ad, including terrestrial and internet radio. Says Kamarasheva, “We believe the way consumers consume audio these days is across multiple platforms. Therefore, putting together our campaigns is collaboration between digital and audio planning teams.”

“We purchase these platforms similar to the way we evaluate other digital properties, but there are some differences,” says Jamie Snider, associate director of digital media at Lowe Campbell Ewald. “Of course, we want to make certain that they deliver the audiences most important to us, both in total and within key geographic markets, and we must make certain that consumers are engaging with the brand.”

Lowe Campbell Ewald has run a number of successful Hispanic campaigns on internet radio, including work for Kaiser Permanente. The agency likes to incorporate video as well as audio advertising, either as pre-rolls or combined with custom stations. Video ads usually run automatically when a listener changes stations — and all creative is optimized for both Android and iOS devices.

Agencies can take advantage of robust tracking and analytics provided by each station. Again, they need to take a hybrid approach, says Snider, looking not only at clicks but also the number of station downloads and the number of minutes listened.

Future of radio

Alain Levine - CC
Alain Levine – CC

Late last year, Clear Channel bought iHeartRadio, which lets people listen to live radio or custom stations, or create their own, offers pre-roll ads, as well as the ability to create branded custom stations. Horizon recently inked a partnership deal with Clear Channel that includes some customized shows at iHeartRadio Theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The national media owner and the agency also plan to fuse their research: The two companies believe that Horizon’s proprietary audience research and analytics tools combined with Clear Channel Media’s music and consumer research can help them develop new models for media.

This kind of consolidation could be in the future for most or all internet radio stations. Having an owner with deep pockets, wide audiences and integrated advertising capabilities could let streaming music services thrive, while traditional media companies expanded their reach even more. There’d be a bit of irony to the digital natives being gobbled up by old-timers but also a lot of sense — and possibly a lot of cents.

radioFindings from a top ten market study reveal that 32.7% of all Hispanics have logged on in the past month to an Internet radio website such as Pandora Radio, iHeartRadio, Radio.com or Slacker.com. Internet radio is headed in a positive direction. With 91% of Hispanic monthly visitors listening on a weekly basis, the preliminary data suggests that many Hispanics are becoming loyal to Internet radio listening.

The 32.7% represents 4.2 million Hispanic Internet radio listeners in the top ten markets.

Additionally, 29.8% of Hispanics listened to Internet radio in the past week, suggesting nearly the same amount are logging on weekly as they are in a typical 30 day period.

It is estimated that by 2050, the number of Hispanics in the U.S. will grow to 132.8 million, thus strengthening the group’s collective purchasing power, which is estimated to reach $1.4 trillion in 2013.


Mobile phones

More than half of Hispanic consumers are now accessing web content via a smart phone or a connected device such as an IPad, the findings suggest a narrowing digital divide between Hispanics and Caucasian consumers, thus making them more attractive to mobile and digital marketers. According to Pandora Radio, more than 75 percent of Pandora’s listening occurs on a mobile or other connected device.

Top Internet Radio Stations

Among Hispanics in the top ten markets, 28.7% reported having logged on in the past month to Pandora Radio, while 8.4% logged on to iHeartRadio.com, and 1.9% logged on to Radio.com.

The preliminary findings reflect the growing importance of this segment, as Hispanics now total 50.5 million or 16% of the total U.S. population who are of Hispanic or Latino descent, according to the most recent 2010 Census data.

The data from The Media Audit’s top ten markets is significant because Hispanic Internet radio listeners in those markets represent slightly more than half of the estimated 8.2 million total Hispanic Internet radio listeners across the 69 markets in which Internet radio data has been measured and reported.

Year-Over-Year Growth in Internet Radio

The figures represent a dramatic change in Hispanic Internet radio listening behavior from a year ago, when only 13.5% of Hispanics listened to Pandora Radio. As a result, the year over year growth rate is 142% for Hispanics accessing Pandora Radio. Furthermore, only 3.9% of Hispanics accessed iHeartRadio in 2011, resulting in a 182% increase in monthly visits year-over-year, while access to Radio.com increased 52% during the same period.

Top Hispanic Markets

The study further found that among top Hispanic radio markets, Pandora and iHeartRadio remain competitive when compared to Hispanic-programmed local radio stations that heavily focus on the Hispanic market.

Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, 25.9% of the metro area’s 3.9 million Hispanics reported having listened to Pandora Radio within the past week, a figure that represents more than 1 million weekly listeners and topping weekly listening of all Hispanic-programmed stations or radio clusters.

New York

In the New York City metro area, Pandora Radio reaches 34% of the metro area’s 3.2 million Hispanics weekly, followed by 17.1% who listened to iHeartRadio within the past week. The weekly figures represent more than 1.1 million weekly listeners for Pandora, and 560,000 weekly listeners for iHeartRadio.


Among Miami’s 1.7 million Hispanics, nearly one in four listened to Pandora Radio within the past week, again ranking the popular Internet radio service number one among all Hispanic-programmed stations or radio clusters.

Source: Media Audit  – The Media Audit is a syndicated multi-media research company surveying 100+ US markets. Its Annual Consumer Buying Power service is targeted to provide radio with research about 100’s of direct businesses in the local market. Results are based on a national sample of more than 104,000 respondents. More than 1,000 media sell and profit with The Media Audit.

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