“We expected to see some seasonality in June; it’s typical for us that we pick up more in September and that we see a relative slowdown in the summer when people go on vacation and leave school,” McAndrews said. “Over time, when people go on vacation, many of them drive, and as we become more prominent in cars that may temper that or lose some seasonality. But even with all that, we did grow seven and a half percent.”
McAndrews would not get specific about Pandora's future advertising investment, especially in potential efforts to re-engage Pandora’s 100 million latent accounts.
“We’re not talking about a massive budget, but historically we’ve done word-of-mouth and been successful with that. We are investing more in marketing in terms of international and brand marketing in the second half,” he said. “Once you hit a critical mass, the hours you have arguably have more upside over time.”
Pandora has also been investing in product development and its sales force, which increased by 15 to 343 people.
In response to a query about Pandora’s plans for using data to better target listeners – the company has already moved beyond ZIP code targeting to using more precise location data – McAndrews, who noted that Pandora has more than 100 segments to target listeners, said there’s room to improve. He also made reference to a cross-device “core identifier,” a kind of anti-cookie, seemingly similar to Verizon’s PrecisionID, that Pandora uses to track users and build segments.
“We’ve done a fair amount, but we still see a tremendous opportunity with our own data and working with third parties,” he said.
McAndrews also talked about the beta launch of “Promoted Stations,” an ad unit that integrates a brand’s custom content, think song mixes and curated lists, into Pandora’s station recommendations for listeners. In other words, native. Participating brands include Skechers, StubHub, Taco Bell and Toyota.