Pandora Radio, Facebook Reaching Out to SMBs for Ad Sales

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    In its recent push to become a top player against local radio stations, Pandora announced that it is adding local sales offices to further its sales reach to SMBs. Although Pandora represents 8 percent of the total listening audience in the U.S., it has seen major gains with nation-wide advertisers, and thinks it can really boost small business marketing.

    Pandora’s Chief Revenue Officer John Trimble says that his company “can offer small businesses a better return on investment in terms of foot traffic, brand awareness or consumer call outs.” Speaking with NetNewsCheck, Trimble said:

    The value of driving the local business is it gives us exposure at the national level, it creates opportunity at the regional offerings and it allows us to drive into the hyperlocal offerings, everything from the local car dealer to the mattress folks to the local supermarket. It really has opened up the gamut from the small business owner to the largest national accounts.

    Trimble believes that no business is too small for Pandora advertising. Even local shops and restaurants should look into ads on Pandora. Trimble added:

    We are certainly interested in having conversations at that level, at that granularity. What we’re learning is everyone’s marketing dollars from the local pizza parlor up to the national chain are extremely valuable. Every brand, either national or down to the local mom and pop has to create ROI for their advertising investment, and they need to be able to see that ROI in real time, whether that’s foot traffic, brand awareness or consumer call out. What we’re finding, and the reason that we’re going so deep and broad against local, is that based on our scale, we have the opportunity and ability to drive all of those metrics.

    Pandora claims that it is ranked number one in 28 U.S. markets, which has apparently caused a stir among terrestrial radio station managers. The company’s plan to increase its sales among local businesses will also surely cause those same managers to feel uneasy. Local radio ad space may not sound as enticing to SMBs when a technology-based, Internet pure play station comes calling.

    Mobile and online marketing is the future, but studies have shown that SMBs have been slow on the uptake of this modern marketing movement. Although more SMBs have taken to social media and email marketing, making the move to Internet radio advertising can’t be all that different from what they are used to.

    And soon enough, Facebook and possibly other big-time social media sites could come knocking for their share of SMB ad dollars. A recent CNBC interview with Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, revealed that the company “is looking to get small and mid-sized businesses to buy more ads on its platform.” Sandberg said that Facebook has shifted its revenue model, which includes drawing in new advertising clients:

    We now have over a million advertisers. And having both the big brands and the long tail of the SMBs, small- to medium-sized businesses, makes a huge difference.

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