The New Pandora Ads

Pandora Logo Courtesy of Pandora Radio

Pandora Logo Courtesy of Pandora Radio

Pandora Radio is one of the most popular online music streaming services available. The platform has 78 million monthly listeners and surpasses other streaming services in popularity such as Spotify or Apple Music. One of the main differences between Pandora and it’s competitors is the on-demand streaming capabilities, which Pandora is expected to launch in the near future. What will continue to differentiate Pandora from it’s competitors is the web player. Apple Music requires iTunes to be downloaded to a desktop and it takes some clever Googling in order to download Spotify. Having web capability makes it popular among those who are unable to download additional software to work computers. That being said, even without the addition of on-demand streaming, it’s clear to see they have a captive audience.  

Pandora’s free-streaming service has largely been supported by the traditional, interruptive ad format which includes audio spots, display tiles, and video ads which play after a certain amount of songs or skips. However, these interruptive spots do not usually lead to a positive user experience. Pandora does offer a paid option for $4.99 for an ad-free listening experience, but with only approximately 5 million subscribers, it’s clear that the majority of Pandora’s users are using the ad-supported model.

In an attempt to keep users on Pandora, new ad formats have been rolled out and tested not only for a better user experience, but also to increase user engagement with the ads. One of the newer and less-intrusive formats that rolled out to all advertisers in January is muted video ads. When users take an action in the app, whether it’s giving a song a thumbs up or skipping to the next track, the video starts playing in place of the album artwork and then when the user's phone rotates to landscape, the video will take over the whole screen. Ads are then played with the soundtrack of the users station of choice, and beta testing showed that 86% of users stuck with a brand's message for at least 5- seconds in comparison to the 300x250 tiles.

In addition to the muted video ads, Pandora just announced a new partnership with A Million Ads, giving marketers the ability to reach unique listeners with customized ads. The new partnership allows marketers to delve deep into detailed targeting, even targeting ads based upon the weather in a particular area. In addition, the new ad format will allow sequential ads to be targeted to unique users in order to tell a brand’s story. This allows marketers to create campaigns around the wealth of customer data available at Pandora. Not to mention, the custom campaigns should improve the user experience with ads tailored to their specific interests.