Audience targeting by mood developed by Horizon Media

moodsMedia services agency Horizon Media has announced that it is developing new ways of targeting listening audiences, based on listener mood. Horizon has collaborated with iHeartMedia to commission a study from London-based strategy consultant Sparkler. The mood-based audience segmenting is mainly for radio buying, but Horizon indicates that Internet radio could use the new technology too.

Precise audience segmentation is generally the purview of streaming services, which are digital technology platforms from the bottom up. Broadcast radio traditionally segments by station genre and daypart. Paul Cramer, EVP of Publisher Development at Triton Digital told RAIN News that he advocates for user registration on station websites, as the first step into data-informed audience targeting.

“We’ve turned the audio planning model on its head,” said Sheri Roder, Chief of the WHY Group at Horizon Media. “By identifying and detailing the underlying motivations that compel people to choose different platforms and content, we were able to construct a fresh approach that transcends the existing audio landscape.”

Audience intelligence is a data-driven, multi-dimensional challenge in audio advertising. Smart targeting and smart impressions are the keystones of programmatic advertising across all categories, from web display to video to audio. Attributes that go into “smart” can be widely divergent. Basic ZAG information (Zip Age Gender, based on user registration) or one cornerstone. Beyond that, Internet radio platforms like Pandora collect and analyze billions of data points based on user interactions, such as skipping songs and voting on them. In the past, Pandora has claimed that it can accurately infer attributes such as ethnicity and political preference by correlating the two data sets.

In June of last year, Nielsen Audio developed a unique set of audience identifiers, based on digital-music lifestyle — e.g. Musicing Loving Personalizers, Discriminating Audiophiles, Convenience Seeking Traditionalists, and three others.

A reverse path to audience segmenting holds sway in several Internet radio platforms which offer programming based on mood (combined in some cases with daypart and activity). Songza’s “Concierge” service was one early mover in this direction, inducing users to click on playlists based on how they were feeling and what they were doing. Other platforms (iHeartRadio, Rhapsody, Beats Music and others) picked up on this tactic, turning it into a programming meme.

Horizon Media’s new technology is motivated by an understanding that music and mood are closely connected, and that connection can better serve marketers. “There’s a missed opportunity for increased engagement when brand planning is primarily focused on day-parts,” said Lauren Russo, SVP, Managing Director of Audio & Promotions. “We’ve always known that audio provides a direct line to our emotions, moods and memories. Now, we have an actionable way to explore this untapped arena so that we can ensure brands connect with consumers through key ‘mood zones’ throughout the day.”



Brad Hill