Hear This: Pandora Debuts Programmatic Solution For Mobile

pandaAs of Tuesday, Pandora has made all its smartphone and tablet display inventory available for programmatic buying.

The announcement expands on its programmatic display business, which has been generally available since January, and formally takes Pandora’s mobile programmatic solution out of beta. The solution first surfaced in March and has since been trialed by a handful of brands like Ford and agencies like Essence.

“In the mobile space, there’s very little retargeting information, said Pandora’s VP of ad product management, Jack Krawczyk. “We’re able to take advantage of the fact that we have a high-fidelity data asset.”

He referred to Pandora’s first-party data assets, which can be used for audience segmentation or building advertiser IDs and includes registration data like age, gender and location. But the more valuable data, according to Krawczyk, is that which Pandora offers around multicultural, political and other demographics. Marketers also have the option to layer third-party data sets on top of Pandora’s proprietary data.

Though Krawczyk declined to share the volume of mobile inventory being transacted programmatically, he said Pandora has a large enough mobile audience – 80% of its 80 million monthly active listeners – to ensure there’s no shortage of available inventory.

By contrast, Spotify, Pandora’s biggest competitor, hosts 75 million monthly active users, though more than 20% of those listeners are paid subscribers and don’t hear ads.

But according to comScore data shared with Marketing Land in March, Pandora is the No. 1 app in terms of time spent per mobile user per month.

Pandora also boasts cross-device targeting.

“Because we have a persistently logged-in user, if we see someone on web and mobile, we’re able to target against them,” he said.

“The challenge of cross-device attribution of audiences is important when you’re doing retargeting,” he added. “If we’re working to deliver an audience of, say, adults 25 to 34, we have declared data in that space and can deliver on that.”

And as products like comScore’s vCE start to become popular in mobile, the importance of third-party verification will become increasingly important as the industry moves to a cross-device programmatic space.

But in addition to verifying the demographics of audiences, advertisers will want confirmation that their ads are reaching actual humans. According to Krawczyk, in working with WhiteOps and Moat, Pandora’s non-bot traffic scores in the “extremely high 90s.”

Moving forward, Krawczyk said Pandora’s aim is to continue to respond to its clients buying preferences.

“This has been an effort to increase our capabilities in terms of frictionless buying,” he said, in order to cater to those clients that want to buy programmatically.

Pandora’s mobile inventory will be sold through private marketplace and preferred deals powered by Google’s DoubleClick.

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1 Comment

  1. Pandora’s debut of programmatic on mobile, which is where 80% of its 80 million monthly active listeners are reached, is the bell whether for programmatic’s prolific growth to take majority share of digital ad budgets. The pack of 1000s of premium publishers akin to Pandora will follow, each with proprietary data power, that increases relevance. It’s a virtuous circle.