Noel D'souza
Jan 10, 2022

Our advertising revenues are almost 3x of our closest competitors: Shashwat Goswami, Gaana

The head of marketing speaks with Campaign India about the marketing insights for its latest auto queue feature, contextual content, podcast listenership and more...

Shashwat Goswami
Shashwat Goswami

Gaana launched a brand innovative feature known as 'auto queue' on 3 January. It uses AI and ML to provide listeners with a personally curated playlist based on their choice of genres and songs. In addition, conceptualised by River Advertising, Gaana rolled out a film to communicate the launch of the product innovation.


In conversation with Campaign India, Shashwat Goswami, head of marketing, Gaana, states that with the feature, they have been able to garner a spike of 30% time-spent on their app, more than the normal rate, through solving the pain points of listeners and curating an automated playlist.  


Edited excerpts: 


To highlight the brand innovation, what were the marketing strategies employed for the campaign? Could you give us a breakup of each media investment?


The campaign was born from the product feature our tech team has introduced in the app, an AI/ML algorithm that matches and queues up songs that are similar to the mood played by the listener, playing songs they are likely to enjoy based on the genre they played previously. 


Our task was to communicate the ease and joy the feature brings to music listening.


It is a 360-degree campaign where 60% of the spends will be on television. The remaining 40% split is between digital, social, print and radio. 


What key takeaways do you want the audience to garner from the 'auto queue' campaign? 


The brief for the ad film was to bring alive the ease of listening to songs through the auto queue feature. We hope that consumers will see the messaging of a short drive turning into an unplanned long drive like the ad film portrays. 


The aim is to generate enough intrigue about experiencing auto queue so that consumers come to the app and try the feature for themselves. Once they try it out, they are more than likely to spend more time and listen to more songs than they had planned. 


The auto queue feature is one that competitors like YT Music have been using for a while. Do you think this will help you eat into their consumers?


User experience is everything. That is essentially why people either like a platform or dislike a platform. It is about the ease of consuming great content on that platform through video or audio. 


The auto queue levels up the recommendation engine feature other platforms have. We aim to enrich our listening experience by recommending songs based on the beats per minute (BPM), tempo and genre the user has played previously. 


With this feature, the user experience goes up, and that is why more people are likely to come to Gaana, try auto queue and stay on the platform. 


The music streaming space is crowded with international players like Spotify, YT Music, Amazon, etc. What is Gaana's USP here? 


Gaana has a loyal and diverse user base, as it is a homegrown app born, built and grown in India. Over the years, users have become comfortable with the way they discover relevant music on the app which is our USP. 


We aim to understand the Indian audiences, their regional nuances, languages and genres people consume. The knowledge of how local music consumption is in India leads us to achieve numbers that are almost double of other music streaming apps with similar user bases. 


Our year-ender report also displayed that artists Tanishk Bagchi, Neha Kakkar, Badshah, B Praak had garnered 2x streams compared to other platforms the artists were listed on. The data shows that we understand who the music artists consumers are and can show their songs to a loyal consumer more effectively. 


Gaana is appreciated not just by listeners but also advertisers. 


Our advertising revenues are almost 3x of our closest competitors. Ad revenues follow where the consumers and engagement is, and that number is another proof point that differentiates us from the rest. 


Another factor is the vast catalogue. The sheer amount of music we have on Gaana caters to all Indian regions and languages. Hindi is at 40% consumption, Punjabi at 10% content consumption and the south languages (Tamil and Telugu) are close to 20% of our listenership. 


The podcast space is gaining momentum, how much podcast consumption does Gaana see in % to date, and how will that accelerate going forward? 


Podcast is an interesting space for the industry in general and also for Gaana. We have been seeing a lot of traction for it in the year or so which is about 40% growth of podcast listening. It is still niche and not as big as music listening right now but is only going to get bigger in the coming years. 


Are there any marketing opportunities brands can cash in on from the music streaming platform? 


Advertisers look at music streaming numbers because it targets consumers in many languages, consumer cohorts like rock listeners, cities and demographics. 


The power of Gaana as an advertising medium is that it is contextual. For example, when a consumer is doing their pooja (prayers) and listens to aarti (prayer through song) on Gaana, an agarbatti (incense) brand can reach out to them, and the impact is bound to be higher. When a consumer listens to an exercise playlist, a shoe brand or a protein powder brand will be able to gain more attention towards their brand message. 


A marketing trend you see taking centre stage this year for music streaming apps? 


Shorter ad formats are going to continue and will keep getting shorter. In the next couple of year's, it will be brought down to five seconds. We are seeing a lot of third-party research suggesting that the attention span among millennials has dropped to about seven seconds when they are consuming any content. Marketers will be driven to tell the message in that period. 


The second trend is multi-screen ads. Most of us are on multiple screens at the same time. Consumers have a phone while watching a match or show. Data and support of that are that 90% of the ad spends are on video, television or streaming apps, or things that have a visual aspect to it. It is a cluttered space, and advertisers are buying space for that 70% of the day where consumers are open to visual stimulus. 30% of the day, they have no access to the screen, and the industry needs to wake up to reach those consumers. 


More brand managers will need to reach out to consumers on a jog or those driving a car. In these contextualised touchpoints, music and audio streaming apps like Gaana and others will play a vital role. 


Campaign India

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