• Audience
  • August 10, 2018
  • 3 minute read

Total Audience vs. Addressable Audience: Which Should Marketers Pay Attention To?

The foundation of all marketing success starts with having a good grasp on who you want to target your marketing and advertising to. Bonus points if you can identify not only who they are using traditional demographic information, but also what their interests are, where they spend their time, and ultimately what your brand can offer them that others can’t.

Audience size is a major consideration when evaluating where to place media buys. Yet, interpreting audience metrics can be tricky. Without the right context, numbers can easily be misinterpreted or appear inflated.

That’s why it’s essential for marketers to understand the difference between addressable and non-addressable audiences, as well as how to differentiate between the two when looking at industry reports.

What’s the Difference?

The total audience number is exactly what it sounds like: the number of users or subscribers that a company has regardless of if they pay for a subscription or not. For example, Pandora has 94 million total monthly unique visitors across our free (ad-supported), Plus and Premium tiers.[1]

An addressable audience, however, is a subset of the number of total users that advertisers can reach with their marketing campaigns. To continue with our own audience example, 92% of our audience is “addressable”[2] as that is the percentage of listeners that use our free, ad-supported version of Pandora. Listeners who pay for Pandora Plus or Pandora Premium subscriptions would not qualify as “addressable” because they are not exposed to brand messages.

In Spotify’s latest Financial Disclosures, they revealed they have 180 million monthly active users globally,[3] but that number includes both addressable and non-addressable listeners, inside and outside of the United States.

The difference between 180 million total global users and 31 million addressable users in North America is significant to any advertiser. So it’s no wonder that there's confusion. This is why it’s well worth it for marketers to do the extra research, and ask for the breakout of addressable vs. non-addressable audience data before committing to any media buys.

Using 3rd-Party Research to Compare Addressable Audience Size

Third-party research is particularly helpful in demonstrating not only the overall audience numbers for publishers, but also the amount of time users spend with any particular publisher.

For example, Triton Digital provides a listing of the top performing digital audio publishers and networks measured by the MRC Accredited Webcast Metrics® platform. At first glance, Spotify’s numbers are impressive. What’s important to know, however, is this report doesn’t separate out total audience numbers from addressable audience numbers (remember, the addressable audience is the actual audience that is able to receive advertising).

According to recent comScore reporting, Pandora reaches 47% more total Mobile App visitors.[4] Pandora also reaches 25% more adults aged 25-54 than Spotify.[1] Neither of these cases even take addressability into account. Imagine the scale difference in these scenarios if 8% pay for Pandora while 45% pay for Spotify.

Another important factor to consider whenever looking at where to place your media buys is the amount of time spent with that publisher. For example, Edison Research’s latest Share of Ear study reveals that Pandora’s ad-supported daily time spent is more than double the size of Spotify’s.[5]



3 Steps to Connect with the Right Audience

The more you know about a publisher’s addressable audience, the smarter decisions you can make about where to spend your media dollars.
  1. Examine ALL the numbers: The headline doesn’t always tell the whole story. Dig into the numbers so you can intelligently compare your investment options side-by-side.

  2. Ask for addressable audience metrics in your RFPs: Request that your campaign reach and frequency goals measure against accurate U.S. addressable numbers - not total audience size.

  3. Get data from multiple sources: Cross-reference third party data sources around addressable audience numbers and pair that with time spent metrics in order to get a full view of who you will actually be able to target and what their overall behaviors are. Your Pandora sales representative can provide you with additional addressable data from Edison based on age, gender and ethnicity. Just ask!

Another great source of comparable local audience metrics for streaming audio publishers is Triton Webcast Metrics Local (WCML), which measures all listening across all devices in every location and is MRC accredited in all markets. This is another great resource when looking for addressable audiences for local audio buys.

To understand how your brand can get in front of Pandora’s robust addressable audience, get in touch with us here.

1 comScore Media Metrix, June 2018 P13+ (comScore reports total audience only)
2 Pandora Internal Metrics, Q2-18 8% paid audience
3 Spotify Internal Metrics, Q2-18 45% Premium Subscribers in North America
4 comScore Mobile Metrix June 2018 P13+
5 Edison Research Share of Ear study, Q2 2018

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