Scion Music Measures


Scion has always been somewhat of an experimental brand, from marketing tactics to product design.  Music continues to play a lead role in Scion’s strategy: In July, Pandora and Scion announced that Pandora’s service would be offered in the Scion xB and tC.   And Scion recently announced it was going to effectively become an indie music label, with the Scion AV project (see scionav.com).

However, Jack Hollis, Scion senior vice president, noted a key challenge in a recent New York Times interview:  It’s hard to measure the effectiveness of Scion’s music marketing. “We have chosen to be supportive of the arts regardless of whether it comes back directly to us,” he said.

With that challenge, Compete investigated why Scion might continue to pursue music-centric prospects and what benchmarks Scion might use to evaluate success.  This analysis leverages Compete’s proprietary and patented ability to monitor and normalize consumer behavior across the internet.

I’ve Got the Music in Me

Compete first detailed the number of unique consumers interested in music based on traffic to our Music Enthusiast behavioral category [1].    Category growth has been substantial, with over 56 million unique visitors in March and August.

And much of that growth appears to have come from growth by music site Pandora.  Two years ago Pandora had 4.2M unique visitors and represented 10% of the Music Enthusiast traffic.  Today, it’s 23% on 12.8M unique visitors.

Pump Up the Volume

Compete next compared Scion.com traffic to the Music Enthusiast category overall.  While Scion traffic is up, its average of 185,000 visitors (right axis) pales by comparison to the category.  But that’s actually could be good news.

It’s good news because it means tremendous upside for driving traffic to scion.com from the category in general and from Pandora.  For example, if Scion drove just 0.1% of monthly Pandora visitors to its site as incremental traffic, it would represent a 6.3% lift and nearly 13,000 additional site visitors.  If it could do the same for the entire Music Enthusiast category, the lift would be over 25% with over 52,000 additional visitors.

Take It to the Bridge

The potential to drive traffic to Scion.com via music sites clearly exists.  We’d recommend the following to help answer Jack Hollis’ challenge on measuring the effectiveness of this type of marketing:

  • Ensure that new Scion traffic is originating on music sites.  Consumers already engaged with Scion and then visiting these sites won’t be incremental.
  • Understand the consumer digital pathway between engagement with music and engagement with Scion, keeping in mind that the connection between Scion and music may take time to gestate and may come out of sequence (i.e., something simple referrals assessments will miss).
  • Benchmark Scion’s incremental flow from music sites to its site to ensure that gains it is seeing are unique, and not part of an overall music-to-auto site trend.
  • Refine how it promotes and uses scionav.com to complement other music sites rather than confuse consumers.
  • Connect the dots between consumers originating on music sites, reaching the Scion site and/or research Scions on third-party sites, and most importantly exhibiting purchase intent.

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[1] Behavioral categories are Compete’s custom collections of sites with related content; see compete.com for more.

About Lincoln Merrihew:
Lincoln Merrihew is the Vice President of Transportation at Millward Brown Digital. At Millward Brown Digital, Lincoln is responsible for steering the Transportation Team, which encompasses the automotive and travel practices. Before Lincoln joined the Millward Brown Digital team, he worked at TNS Custom leading the Automotive team, and then continued on there to lead business development for 10 different industry verticals. Lincoln's career aspiration is to create game-changing solutions and insights. Connect with Lincoln on LinkedIn.

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  1. Jon

    While trying to make a legitimate tie between the arts that people enjoy (music) and the shopping for products that people want (cars) can be a very difficult task, you have to commend Scion for standing by their marketing efforts even without direct measurable results. As a music fanatic myself, I must admit that the Scion brand resonates more than any other car brand from their innovative and creative integration of music in their branding and marketing. Although I am a truck/suv kinda guy, I would definitely buy a Scion if I was to ever buy a car!

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