This is an article from Music Ally’s Sandbox digital marketing report, which is part of our subscription service. Try it for free? Click here.
As advertising budgets continue to lean further towards digital, it can be difficult to know which of the multitude of advertising platforms to focus on. RadiumOne, a global programmatic ad-buying company, allows advertisers to focus on tracking and targeting the right fans across platforms and devices – and all in real time, with a message that makes sense for their level of engagement. Sandbox spoke to Charlie Baillie, head of commercial at the company, to understand how it all works.
RadiumOne is headquartered in San Francisco, but has had offices in the UK for the past four years and currently has offices across North America, Europe and Asia. It specialises in giving advertisers a holistic view of fans that allows them to segment and reach them in real time. Currently RadiumOne tracks 48m unique users across the UK and 900m globally for its clients by using several tools it has built.
Tracking in this case means dropping a cookie in a user’s browser in a variety of ways. These cookies can then be used to track a user until they delete their cookies. Advertisers should be aware that, although this works well on desktop and on Android phones, inserting cookies is not possible on iOS devices (as Apple does not allow this). To get around this, RadiumOne can build pixels into a software development kit so that, if an advertiser has access to an app (either an artist app or promoter app), they can cookie them through this method on iOS and track their interaction within the app.
The first tool to tag a user with a cookie is the po.st URL shortener. It works like your usual shortener (bit.ly, goo.gl, tinyURL etc.) but has a built-in cookie that is triggered when anyone clicks on a link. This is a huge advantage versus only placing cookies on the devices of the people who visit your website, especially for music where most of the action happens on social media. And for this reason 500 artists already use this globally for things such as sharing their new music video.
The second tool is a set of share-style buttons that users can click to push content out across social media or email. The buttons look atheistically the same as normal share buttons but have a pixel embedded so that you can both track people visiting the site as well as any share action that ensues. It helps to understand the flow of activity when things go viral.
The third tool was just recently created to address a very interesting finding from a whitepaper that RadiumOne published. From digging into the 900m users it tracks, the paper found that dark social sharing – that is sharing via email, Facebook messenger or other messaging apps – made up 69% of all sharing on the web worldwide (74% in the UK). This type of activity, until now, has not been traceable by normal analytics platforms.
To address this, two new po.st tools were created. First, if anyone copies any part of text from an artist website and pastes it into an email, it will automatically add a referral URL (i.e. some text saying “For more info, click here”).
This makes that dark post traceable. Similarly, if anyone copies a URL with po.st on it and shares it via a messenger, the URL will automatically add a hashtag and a series of numbers so that too can be tracked. Because of this new ability to track dark social sharing, it is worth leaving po.st URLs in a Facebook post (rather than deleting them once the preview loads) if you have no control over the third-party destination to influence that URL being shared.
RadiumOne is also utilising dynamic pixels for email marketing. Dynamic pixels have the ability to be embedded in an email to track users who open emails and click through; but they can also be enriched with any variable or parameter that is provided by the CRM platform. In other words, if a CRM system had the ability to segment their userbase into frequent buyers of different categories; this type of information could be embedded into the dynamic pixel and could be overlaid onto the information about CTR and so on.
These four tools give advertisers, labels, managers and artist access to real in-depth data to understand the frequency, the recentness and the type of content that is being shared or being interacted with so they can understand their fans and their social connection. They can use this data to segment fans who interact with their content into casual fans (up to three interactions) and superfans (+10 interactions) and thus create different marketing messages that are more suited to each unique group.
RadiumOne is also looking into working more with D2C platforms and ticket websites where conversion tracking is immediate (as conversion pixels can be placed on checkout pages) to show immediate ROI on marketing campaigns. Affiliate codes can also be used to calculate ROI on campaigns with the likes of iTunes, but they tend to be less granular and take longer to attain.
All of this information can be used to provide analytics that help create transparency both around ROI and what users do across the web – what they are likely to share, which type of sites they tend to visit and so on. Plus, of course, the usual demographic, locations and device data you would expect.
It is also important to note that, unlike the majority of link shortener providers, RadiumOne does not sell or utilise advertisers’ user data with any of its other advertiser clients.
RadiumOne is also working on two new initiatives: 1) a self-serve platform (out later this Q) for people who want to create their own segment and drill into what their super fans are doing in real time; 2) a platform to help artists and labels work better with brands. The aim is to bring incremental value by using the information provided about your fanbase to create richer brand activation and content.
It is also working with a streaming service on two fronts. Firstly, to help them grow their audience and convert their customers into premium users; but also to use the data created around the platforms users to make marketing campaigns more relevant for artists and labels.
Lastly, where is the price? All of RadiumOne’s targeting tools, insights and analytics are free. They charge if an advertiser wants to use this data to activate it with a paid campaign. The advertiser can agree on a budget for a desired outcome and RadiumOne would then provide them with a CPM for their specific KPI. They then run the campaign for the artist or label to optimise their spend.