Tips & Tricks

Integrating Short-Form Audio Ads Into Your Strategy

Feb 12, 2019

Attention is scarce these days. With just a few taps, we can turn on a favorite station, hail a ride to work, order a morning coffee, and sign up for an exercise class—all on our mobile phones. Accessibility is at an all-time high, which makes consumers’ time more precious and valuable than ever before.

This got us thinking: How can short-form audio ads enable meaningful connections in a consumer’s busy day versus standing in the way of it—and potentially getting tuned out?

The Shift to Shorter Ad Formats

We hypothesized that short-form audio ads would benefit both listeners and advertisers, and so we embarked on a yearlong test plan to find out. Pandora partnered with 16 strategic partners and designed an A/B test structure to see how a brand’s :10s audio ad compared to their :30s version. Our focus was in understanding ad effectiveness and insights, including:

  • Are short-form audio ads effective?
  • Do younger listeners prefer short-form audio ads?
  • When should advertisers use :10s audio ads vs. :30s audio ads?

Short-Form Audio Test Results & Insights

By the end of our test period, we analyzed over 300M impressions and leveraged several third-party ad effectiveness vendors to measure campaigns: brand lift, sales lift, on-platform conversions, and foot traffic. Here’s what we learned:

  • Short-form audio ads drive KPIs, such as brand lift, foot traffic, sales lift, and conversions.
    • For Tony Chachere’s, short form was more effective at driving brand metrics than standard length, although both ad lengths saw significant increase over the control group.1
    • Kayak created three different length audio assets: :10s, :15s, and :30s. While the :15s and :30s spots were more effective at driving overall conversions, the :10s spot was more effective at getting new people to convert, compared to listeners who had already been exposed to Kayak.
  • Short-form audio ads worked across demos: While we expected age to be a contributing factor in effectiveness, it didn’t play a significant role. Rather, effectiveness was highly dependent on the campaign, product offer, and vertical. For Frito-Lay, the :10s audio spot drove 56% higher ROAS than the :30s audio spot,2 with ROAS highest among the 35-49 demo. However, the :10s audio spot drove significant awareness lifts for 18-34 year olds,1 illustrating that shorter length can drive KPIs across demos.
  • Short-form audio ads are enjoyed by Pandora listeners: All of the ads in this study were submitted through Veritonic, a third-party provider focused on audio creative measurement. Overall, :10s audio ads scored higher in Emotions and Attributes, specifically, “Likeable,” “Excited,” “Makes Me Feel Good,” and “Authentic.” The :30s audio ads, on average, scored higher in aided recall. This data supports our hypothesis that :10s audio ads are “Likeable” assets among our listeners.
  • Standard-length audio ads (:30s) continue to be a vital asset length for many campaigns. In situations where brands need to communicate more than a simple message, :30s audio ads will continue to hold their value in audio strategies. Esurance saw that their :10s audio ad drove higher quote initiations than the :30s, however, the :30s audio spot drove more completed conversions.

Integrating Short-Form Audio Ads Into Your Marketing Strategy

Across all of our testing, we’ve seen instances where short-form audio is effective as well as instances where standard length works better. In A/B test environments, we’ve seen short-form audio ads drive sales, foot traffic, brand lift, and conversions.

Think about your audio creative from previous campaigns: Were there moments that didn’t add to the branding, message, or overall value proposition? Could the message have been said in a more succinct way versus filling time? If so, consider testing and learning by using short-form audio with your next campaign. Consider leveraging short-form audio ads in your audio strategy through day-parting, storytelling, reinforcing a message, and retargeting.

We believe that short-form audio has a ton of punch, especially when leveraged in a diversified way. If you’ve never questioned audio ad length before, now is the time to think about your current strategy, as you could be missing out on a new and effective way to capture the attention of your audience.


  1. Millward Brown
  2. Nielsen Catalina Solutions
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