Moving from big data to smart data

Posted by Lori Luechtefeld on December 10th, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Not many companies wrangle as much data as Pandora does. The company has a database of 200 million registered users, 70 million of whom log in every month. Combine that with the company's Music Genome Project, which has analyzed -- in painstaking detail -- the make-up of Pandora's vast song catalog. Then add the personalization decisions and engagement of each logged-in user, and throw on the fact that Pandora is available on more than 1,000 consumer devices.

That's a lot of data -- insights that essentially create a "day in the life" of a listener. Pandora's Heidi Browning took to the stage at the iMedia Agency Summit to tell attendees exactly how the company transforms this "big data" into "smart data." To do so, she presented a case study of a Pandora campaign for Gatorade that targeted 13- to 17-year-olds.

For the campaign, Pandora worked with Gatorade to create workout playlists that were a reflection of the various drinks in the brand's G Series of products, each of which is designed for a different phase of a workout. To create those playlists, the company looked at not only the makeup of individual songs and how they fit into a workout regimen, but also the specific songs that were currently popular among 13- to 17-year-olds. Targeted listeners saw ads that invited them to add the Gatorade stations to their playlists, and the brand owned the advertising experience within those stations.

The results? More than 700,000 13- to 17-year-olds added the Gatorade stations to their Pandora experiences. (That's 2.5 times bigger than Gatorade's entire Twitter following!) Collectively, these individuals spent more than 1.4 million hours with the Gatorade stations.

So how can other brands harness such power? Browning had four pieces of advice:

  • Harness music as the passion point that it is.
  • Integrate your campaign into your audience's lifestyle.
  • Make it a moment -- be relevant and memorable.
  • Fuel insight -- focus on how you can apply a campaign's learnings across all your marketing.

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