Digital Audio

Pandora Takes Voice Ads to the Next Level with Robust Beta

Jul 23, 2020

Today, Pandora is launching interactive voice ads in beta with industry-leading audio advertisers as well as introducing new search features on our native voice assistant, Voice Mode.

2020 has seen the definition of “connectivity” take on new urgency. Social distancing has put more emphasis on technology that allows us to have the human-like interactions that we crave and helps us navigate a virtual world more easily. Consumers are adopting technology like voice AI or using it more frequently to help foster connections. Advertisers are seeing a correlating need to rapidly address how they message and where they show up to reach and engage their audience in the most relevant ways.

Voice Ads: Redefining Audio Engagement for Advertisers

This beta test represents the next step in scaling Pandora's interactive voice ads product, which began alpha testing in late 2019. The offering allows listeners to say "yes" if they want to learn more about a brand's product or service. Advertisers such as Acura, Anheuser-Busch, Doritos, The Home Depot, KFC, Lane Bryant, Purex Laundry Detergent, Purple, Unilever, T-Mobile, Volvo, and Xfinity, among others, are signed up to test the product.

During beta, Pandora will focus on a series of creative and ad effectiveness tests so marketers can better understand how to approach and leverage this new ad format within a holistic media strategy. We aim to answer questions like:
  • Are voice ads better suited for driving conversation at the upper funnel, or are listeners ready to take action through more promotional messaging?
  • How do we optimize creative signals to maximize engagement? Do listeners understand they can talk to ads, and what action they need to take?
  • What are the benchmarks for voice ad engagement, and how might that vary by industry?

Interactive voice ads have inherent value to advertisers as they enable them to engage during hands-free moments and provide direct signals of intent from consumers about their interest in a brand or product. During alpha testing, we found that 72% of listeners found voice ads easy to engage with and many enjoyed using their voice to interact with ads.1 The challenge will be on brands to create content that is entertaining, useful and authentic enough to earn a “yes.”

Voice Now Triggers Video Ad Experiences

Millions of listeners have already adopted Voice Mode to enable personalized search and play experiences on Pandora by using their voice. We are now enabling the ability for users to request a specific track or album through Voice Mode. These queries will give listeners the option to watch a brand video in exchange for on-demand playback via Premium Access.

Pandora considers listener and advertiser features holistically to provide experiences that are true to our platform. By marrying voice search features to ad experiences like Premium Access, advertisers can quickly and seamlessly benefit from new listener behaviors.

A New Chapter in Voice

Voice experiences today are often thought of within the confines of user-initiated, assistant-based functionality. Voice Mode gave listeners the power to talk to Pandora, and now Pandora is giving brands the tools to start the conversation, flipping this user-initiated dynamic around and bringing a fresh perspective to opportunities of voice within media.

Pandora will continue to explore new voice features to bring to market to benefit both listeners and advertisers and looks forward to analyzing voice ad beta results later in the fall. For more information about voice innovation at Pandora, reach out to your sales rep today.

  1. Source: Pandora Internal Metrics, December 2019
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