After achieving massive popularity among Puerto Rico music lovers in recent years, Pandora Internet Radio has been quietly carving a niche for itself since late 2013 as a multi-faceted digital advertising vehicle capable of reaching audiences in a very targeted manner.
In an exclusive interview with this media outlet, social media expert Juan Carlos Pedreira confirmed that late last year his company, Social Business Hub, became Pandora’s authorized representative for the Puerto Rico market, which he said is ready to consume the digital platform’s varied product mix.
“This basically means that everything related to placing ads on Pandora has to come through us,” said Pedreira. “We’ve basically become Pandora for media buyers in Puerto Rico.”
The arrangement between the local firm and the 13-year-old Oakland, CA-based music streaming service was finalized in August 2013. Since then, Social Media Hub has signed on at least 30 advertisers, including major companies in most segments — from auto, to retail, to telecommunications providers, he said.
Those advertisers, he said, have the ability to get their message seen and heard by 1.77 million local Pandora account holders — based on their location, age and gender — who connect to the service at any given time of the day.
In December, Pandora registered 615,000 unique visitors from Puerto Rico, up 6 percent from the 579,000 that connected to the service the month before.
“We’ve had a significant spike in listenership, which we attribute to the promotion given to this music format in Puerto Rico and the fact that it happened during Christmas, when Pandora becomes the personal DJ for many parties and family gatherings,” he said.
Pandora has become “Puerto Rico’s largest radio station,” and as such has established a genre just for the island, through which Pedreira believes underserved artists will have a chance to put their music out there.
“The Puerto Rico genre opens the market to many musical segments that traditional radio stations are not serving, from independent rock, merengue, trio music to even ‘bomba y plena’,” he said.
So far, Puerto Rico’s Pandora listeners have created more than 1.5 million stations, which are done by entering the name of an artist, song or composer in the provider’s search box that Pandora uses to generate a playlist of that music and more like it.Pandora Internet Radio is based in Oakland, CA.
Online and on-the-go
Since its inception, Pandora has gained significant traction in the online segment — with users connecting to the music service through their computers. However, the provider has been evolving toward a more mobile service, streaming music via mobile devices — smartphones and tablets — through its app.
“Eighty percent of Puerto Rico users listen to their music through their smartphones,” Pedreira said, noting that the median age of island listeners is 31, of which 54 percent are female.
So, considering its online and mobile presence — as well as its incursion into in-vehicle radio services — Pandora is offering advertisers in Puerto Rico the chance to reach their target audiences very specifically, he said.
“We can segment an audience by geolocation, age and gender, so the advertising message can be targeted to specific groups in an uncluttered way,” he said.
Pandora will never run more than two ads per break, or more than four minutes per hour, vs. traditional radio, which runs blocks of between 10 and 18 minutes per hour, and television and cable, which will air between 18 and 22 minutes of ads per hour, Pedreira noted.
Aside from the audio element, Pandora adds a visual element to the mix by offering banner ads, which “can drive traffic to a web page and even an app,” he said.
So far, Pedreira said Pandora has exceeded its expectations in Puerto Rico, despite the fact that “we knew that we were entering into a really conservative market that’s in the very early stages of transitioning from traditional to digital.”
“One of our goals with Pandora is to go out there and educate the market, which is about five years behind the states in transitioning to digital platforms,” he said.
“Brands and advertisers know people are transitioning into digital platforms and they don’t want to be left out because they know that digital will be largest marketing platform out there,” Pedreira concluded.