Pandora Tunes Local Businesses Into Geotargeted Mobile Ads

With more than half of its 65 million users listening from portable devices, Internet streaming leader Pandora sees massive opportunity in mobile. In its latest move to tap that potential, the company is partnering with AdReady to introduce geo- and demo-targeted audio and display ad opportunities for local businesses.

VP of Sales Brian Mikalis told BIA/Kelsey that Pandora receives frequent outreach from local and regional merchants that are active users of its customized streaming services on their own mobile devices and wonder “how do I get my ad there?” AdReady’s tools will be used to “more efficiently get campaigns running,” primarily through building out display banners.

Local buyers can purchase audio, display, or bundle them. Mikalis underscored the value of having these dual formats complement and cross promote each other. As an example, an audio spot can encourage users to “tap on the banner ad” to engage in certain activities or enjoy exclusive rewards. Also, the ads couple registration-based geotargeting with basic demographic targeting (age, gender).

Mikalis said that Pandora is working on new solutions for geotargeting based on the real-time location of the phone rather than the registration ZIP code.

Advertiser demand for Pandora’s online and mobile platforms has mushroomed to the point that the company has doubled its SMB inside sales team, which is based in its Oakland, California, headquarters. Early adopters among local advertising categories include universities and cultural/entertainment centers (Mikalis cited a local aquarium and a performing arts center as relevant examples).

Pandora has made recent efforts to extend its service beyond the PC. Beyond mobile, it is pursuing several auto installation deals and is offering its advertising network across connected TVs and Blu-ray players through set-top box and middleware providers such as Roku and Google TV.

Mikalis and Cheryl Lucanegro (Senior VP of Advertising Sales), will cover this and other developments during a keynote address at BIA/Kelsey’s ILM ’10 conference Dec. 7-9 in Santa Clara, CA.

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