How Songza Gets Heard: Getting Digital Right

Songza PFE

Image from: Songza / Ad:60

The search for the perfect (online) DJ is on. This week, I’m investigating how Songza, a carefully curated online music streaming site, gets digital right.

Songza consistently takes in a bit above 300k unique visitors/month. Some of its competitors take in over 20m, but not to worry! I’ll explain why that’s not so bad. Behavioral data is important to look beyond unique visitor count — you’ll find that other metrics can tell a different story!

Songza’s a quite powerful contender in these metrics, because it sticks to one principle: KISS.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

The KISS concept stands for “Keep ISimple, Stupid,” which explains itself quite well. It’s a design principle often used in software development to keep script from becoming overly and/or unnecessarily complex — but it’s true for myriad activities (like marketing). The point is to make the consumer experience clean and easy.

So, how’s Songza’s KISSing? I’ll show you by focusing on content, the delivery of, and access to.


Content is king in the marketing sphere – but how does a content distributor add their own voice to the mix? For Songza, that’s through carefully curated playlists that go beyond a series of semi-related songs. No, Songza’s selling point is in the creative titles and one-liners that define their various streaming selections! They provide recommendations for users by means of a mood quiz (the Concierge), or by selecting from a variety of activities, moods, and genres. There’s something for everyone, and the witty curators and copywriters make finding music fun and easy. (For example, playlists range from “At a ‘90s Frat BBQ” or “Code your Face Off” to “It’s Your Wedding Day!”).


Similar music sites rely primarily on searches using basic keywords (which Songza also has), but few create a deeper connection through creative content. With music sites, it’s easy to let the content (the music) speak for itself, but sometimes a little extra fun goes a long way. This is especially true in terms of pageviews, one of the engagement metrics we measure in our Compete PRO tool.

Songza PPVThis metric looks at the number of pages, on average, that a visitor to hits. In using the Music Concierge, users choose from suggested activities or criteria. (Each decision leads to another page with more defining criteria).

As it takes about three clicks to select a playlist from the Concierge, it seems that visitors are responding as intended, if not better!


Songza’s always had a simple website: see the legacy version of the site here. In early March, their site switched to a simple flat design, as is reflective of successful web design trends. Songza also keeps ads minimal, with most visible page space being dedicated to their music curation. They focus on the beauty of music, and that’s clear in their graphics and overall approach.

New Songza Website

When you make navigation easier, more of your content will keep your customers’ interest (especially in length of stay on the site – more on that below)!


Subscribing, registered accounts are the lifeblood of any strong online business — but on the consumer side of things, they have the potential to get old, fast.  Songza knows this, and instead opens their curated library to everyone, from the get-go! No sign-in process is required to start listening to any of Songza’s content. A registration option is offered at the far left, but it doesn’t distract from the listening experience.

The question is, then: how does Songza thrive as a public, open service without demanding consumer information? The answer is in their monthly average stay (average time spent on, per visitor) for the past year.

MAS Songza

Songza is a strong contender in retaining minute-by-minute interest, with the past few months seeing rising trends and higher results than some competitors! Upon closer look, we also see that their annual record-breaking month is March 2014 (when their website redesign launched. Coincidence? I think not).

When you make the holistic customer experience fuss-free, you’re #GettingDigitalRight.

Join our webinar on Wednesday, June 4 at 2pm! Follow this link for more information and registration.

All of the awesome data in this article comes from Compete PRO, which provides behavioral data from an online consumer panel of ~2 million. See the metrics we measure and understand how you — and your competitors — are doing digitally!

About Johanna Gunawan:
A Political Science/International Affairs sophomore at Northeastern University, Johanna joins Millward Brown Digital as the spring '14 Digital Marketing Co-op. Apart from her interest in digital infrastructure and her majors; Johanna enjoys absurd quantities of imported coffee, haggling for cheap flights, and constantly editing her website. Find her on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.