Sometimes its okay to build an entire company around a feature, as media ID service Shazam is demonstrating.
Today, the company revealed it’s seeing 100 million monthly active users tagging songs and video from mobile devices, a 34 percent increase compared to the same period last year. This is significant because brands are increasingly favoring mobile ad campaigns to promote their messaging, and Shazam has spent the last few years positioning itself as an attractive platform for the most lucrative section of the ad industry, television and music.
Initially, Shazam was used to identify songs currently playing in the background via a mobile device’s microphone. Yet over the last year, the company has expanded that functionality to video. You’ve probably noticed the Shazam logo popping up during commercial breaks, too. The company is getting advertisers to run Shazam campaigns that offer more information about whatever brand, product, or service is being plugged in a commercial. (For example, tagging a Ford Truck commercial might pull up a demo video on your mobile phone as well as a list of specs about its line of vehicles.)
Shazam claims that 30 percent of its users have tagged a TV program or commercial and that the number of times people tag TV content has doubled since last year. However, Shazam didn’t list an actual figure for the total number of tags, so it’s hard to tell if its ambitions for TV are gaining traction. What it did reveal is that the company has made over 500 commercials “Shazamable,” which presumably means advertisers like it.
Part of Shazam’s mobile usage growth could be attributed to its relatively new “auto-tagging” feature, which identifies songs, TV shows, commercials, and more while you consume media. More recently Shazam launched a desktop version of its media tagging service for Macs.
But getting traction on TV isn’t the only way Shazam is pulling in revenue. The company said its music ID feature drives 400,000 digital download sales every day to music stores like iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play. Shazam is also forging deals with foreign wireless carriers to have its app pre-installed on new mobile devices and making sure its business isn’t driven entirely from the U.S. and Europe.
Founded in 2002, the London-based startup has raised $92 million to make sure it builds a legitimate business from all the attention it’s getting from its media ID tagging service. And based on today’s stats, it looks like Shazam is heading in the right direction.