native advertising

Taco Bell and Samsung among first on new Songza "native advertising" platform

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 12:10pm

Webcaster Songza has launched a "native advertising" solution it says is already producing benefits for advertisers in engaging potential customers.

Songza is the webcaster known for its Music Concierge, which offers curated playlists suited to listeners' activities and moods (and has been replicated by services no less than iHeartRadio and Slacker). Native advertising means incorporating brands and ad messages into the actual content of a service -- in this case, Songza's musical experience.

Co-founder and CCO Eric Davich described the benefits of the platform, named "Sponsored Moments," to the SoundCTRL blog. According to Davich, the program is about tapping "into the personal, trusted connection we have with our users in order to provide contextually relevant experiences."

Songza has worked with brands like Taco Bell and Samsung and created song collections like "Getting Hyped" and "Going Back to College" that fit those brands.

"We work closely with brands to tell their story with the personality," Davich said. Brands "need to contextualize their message in a way that relates to the consumer's context," he continued, "not just who they are and where they're from, but also what they're actually doing at that very moment."

Songza recently completed it latest round of financing of $4.7 million (investors include Lady GaGa's and Justin Bieber's managers), and took home the FlashFWD award for "Best in Discovery."

Read more in SoundCTRL here.

Songza raises $4.7M to forge ahead with ad solution program

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 9:20am

Internet radio service Songza completed a $4.7M round of private equity funding yesterday, almost exactly two years after receiving $2M in venture funds (as reported in CrunchBase). Yesterday’s commitment will be invested in scaling Songza’s native sponsoring platform, in which advertising creative is integrated into Songza “life moments” streams. (See Billboard's reporting here.)

Internet radio advertising lags the sophisticated user targeting of the web at large. If demographic ID is a brass ring, personal targeting is a holy grail. The most rudimentary network advertising on the web can accomplish the former, while browser-cookie placement and personal profiling can deliver startlingly individualized results. Targeting technology is what makes a user’s eyes widen in astonishment (and often alarm) when an ad pops up on Facebook that reflects browsing activity on external sites just a few minutes before, refined by an understanding of the user’s personal Facebook profile.

Internet radio ads generally convey a better sense of protected privacy, but in advertising, privacy equals cluelessness and reduced value. For users who don’t have knee-jerk reactions against targeted ads, irrelevant sponsor messages that interrupt an audio stream can seem all the more intrusive and annoying for their blindness. Recent tests of iHeartRadio (video pre-roll) and Pandora mobile (display pop-ups) betray some network buying at a low value to both the user and the advertiser. (Songza runs irrelevant ads, too.)

Songza’s specialty programming offers curated music streams targeted to common life situations, day parts, environments, and moods. The categories are often smartly thought-out; one at-work channel eliminates all lyrics (good for writers). It makes sense, and might even be pioneering, to evolve ad solutions that match the “life moments” of each stream, where the curation of sponsor messaging is pertinent to the user’s real-world circumstance. And since Songza offers registration via Facebook and Google+ (standard for many sites, but not all internet listening services), and requires access to the user’s personal profile, the second crucial part of holy-grail targeting is in place.

Songza isn’t mentioned as often as Pandora, Apple, and Spotify in industry coverage. But this round of capital funding could result in distinct revenue rewards, while providing a more personalized (if snoopish) consumer experience.

More advertisers experiment with branded online radio stations

Monday, August 5, 2013 - 10:55am

Listened to Walmart's online radio? How about radio from Macy's, or Pepsi, Wendy's, Supercuts, or Toyota?

Inside Radio today reports that a growing number of large advertisers are partnering with radio broadcasters and launching "client-branded online radio stations."

It's a form of what's known as "native advertising" -- a way to include ads along with content that's perhaps less obstrusive and more acceptable to consumers than traditional "commercial breaks."

Inside Radio writes, "Buyers like the exclusivity and the flexibility to experiment with different message lengths, copy points and the content itself."

Read more from Inside Radio here.

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