Pandora Radio has always been my go-to spot when I want to listen to streaming music at work or when I’m getting ready for a night out. When Spotify came into the mix last year, I briefly switched, but since I had perfected my personal Pandora station so well, Spotify just couldn’t compete. Sure it’s great for a song or two, but if I wanted all day music, Pandora was my jam…except for those damn ads.
Yes, I’m too cheap to pay for the premium version, so I put up with the ads and the snarky…”Are you still listening?” page.
One day, shortly after I moved from Columbus, Ohio, I was listening and an ad came on which began with “Hey Columbus…” Since I’m in California now, shouldn’t they know that I’ve moved based on something, like my IP address maybe? I gave them the benefit of the doubt, maybe it just takes some time, I thought.
Well, it’s been over a year now and I’m still getting ads that are geo-targeted to Columbus, Ohio. And having an Ohio zip code on Pandora during an election year was a nightmare!
To Pandora’s credit, they’re not taking a shot in the dark — when I signed up for Pandora, they asked for my zip code (which at the time was in Ohio). But according to the U.S Census Bureau, 40 million people in the U.S. moved between 2010 and 2011, alone. A majority of those being between 18-34, part of Pandora’s key demographic. That makes me wonder, how many other people are getting these mis-targeted ads.
Maybe as a user it’s nothing than a minor annoyance, but as an advertiser, I’d be a little upset.
Advertisers pay big bucks for these types of ads. Remember, these ads (along with premium account that I’m too cheap to buy) help keep Pandora profitable. If I were a local business, pumping $10,000 and up into Pandora Radio ads, I’d want to feel confident that my ads were geo-targeted based on something other than possibly outdated sign-up information.
From what I can gather, Pandora doesn’t offer a pay-per-click model, which would make the geo-targeting issue somewhat palatable since the advertiser wouldn’t have to pay for a possibly mis-targeted ad that a listener didn’t click on. Instead it appears as they run as a traditional media buy would, where the advertiser would pay a set fee for their ads to appear for a particular amount of time or number of times to their target demographic.
Information about your computer or device: We may also collect information about the computer, mobile or other devices you use to access and listen to the Service. For example, our servers receive and record information about your computer and browser, including potentially your IP address, browser type, and other software or hardware information. If you access the Service from a mobile or other device, we may collect a unique device identifier assigned to that device or other transactional information for that device.
So if Pandora can potentially receive and record your IP address (you know, the thing that can tell you the city and state where your computer is located), why can’t they use it for more accurate geo-targeting?
Maybe I’m oversimplifying this, and I welcome anyone to help me better understand, but until then, I’m sorry Pandora, you’re cheating your advertisers.