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Here's why Pandora is killing it in mobile

Here's why Pandora is killing it in mobile Scott Swanson
Pandora made more than $229 million from mobile display ads in 2012, according to an IDC study that came out last week — on par with Facebook ($234M), and double that of Twitter, which netted $117 million.

That's a pretty penny from a medium that until late last year, marketers will still unsure about.

Let's timehop back to August 2012. In an article entitled, "Why is Pandora not making more money in mobile?" Mobile Marketer cites several reasons why the music-streaming service was struggling, including smaller screens that don't allow for large-format, high-impact ad formats.

At that point, most ads were in the form of small banners, and video hadn't really come onto the scene yet. "The mobile advertising market is still in the early stages," they wrote, and is not keeping up with Pandora's mobile use.

Fast forward to today. Mobile traffic in the Music, Video and Media category (Pandora among others) continues to soar, and has consistently been #1 in terms of impression volume on our Opera Mediaworks mobile advertising platform.

However, as you can see here in the Q1 2013 State of Mobile Advertising reportrevenue has definitely caught up with impressions.

About 18% of all revenue is generated by mobile sites and apps that serve music, video and media content. Compare this to the more traditional "money-makers" in the mobile, like Sports (11.5%), News & Information (9.5%) and Business & Finance (8%) and you'll see why Pandora is killing it.

The entire category is killing it. Massive numbers of users are using mobile devices to consume music content —and this audience and engagement is very appealing to advertisers. Pandora stands out as the shining star because they understand how to optimize advertising within their user experience in a way that is minimally disruptive, yet highly engaging.

And Pandora is killing it because the mobile advertising market has grown up. With high-impact rich media and video ad formats, and key targeting capabilities using the valuable registration and profile data typically available from music services, the revenue per mobile-user or listening-hour has increased.

Now, whether their revenue will climb at a fast enough rate to exceed their content costs...this is no doubt heavily debated in the music industry today, because companies like Pandora generate huge exposure for their content and actually contribute much-needed revenue. The music industry needs them in order to be successful.

Scott Swanson is CEO and co-founder of Aki Technologies (www.a.ki), the first ad platform built for mobile moment targeting and insights. A pioneer in mobile advertising, Scott previously founded Mobile Theory, one of the industry’s most...

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