Digital Audio

Streaming Audio Ads Are Better for Pharma Brands—Here's Why

Lee Ann Longinotti, Sales VP, Healthcare and PharmaApr 4, 2024

Have you seen our recent Digital Audio vs. report? In it, we go head-to-head with linear TV, AM/FM radio, CTV, and social media to prove out the effectiveness of digital audio. Spoiler alert: We come out on top, and advertisers come out victorious. 

But what does that mean for pharmaceutical brands? And how can digital media, like streaming audio, help pharma DTC advertisers reach their ideal audiences? Let’s get into it.

Streaming Audio Reaches 75% of Americans 

You read that right: Three in four Americans ages 12 and up are listening to streaming audio. And there are 120M monthly podcast listeners. So, the opportunity for pharma brands to reach audiences while they’re listening to digital audio for almost five hours each day is massive.

But media budgets aren’t adding up—pharmaceutical advertisers dedicate less than 1% of their budgets to audio, meaning they’re missing out on consumers who spend 31% of their media time with audio. When you bridge the gap across media budgets and allocate more to digital audio, you can connect with consumers when they’re tuning in to music, podcasts, and live audio content throughout the day.

More Effective than TV Ads

It's time to turn down the visual campaigns and turn up with audio. Screen time is dropping, with 79% of audio consumption taking place when visual media is not available. For the first time in a decade, linear TV viewership fell below 50% last year. And while time spent with digital audio increased by 183% in the last decade, consumers spent 43% less time watching TV.  

Pharma brands gearing up to launch their digital audio campaigns can connect with a hard-to-reach audience via SiriusXM Media’s platforms, including 64% of our adult listeners 18+ who are cord-cutters or cord-nevers. And the audio opportunity isn’t just with audiences who are abandoning cable and broadcast TV. Consumers of all ages are trading in CTV for something they can tune into anytime, anywhere. In fact, 48% of our platform’s adult listeners say they have a hard time keeping up with all the new video streaming services that are launching, and they’re flocking to the oasis of digital audio. Ask Millennials and they’ll tell you they spend 66% more time with audio than with streaming TV.  

The big news for pharmaceutical advertisers is that streaming audio ads outperform TV ads, working harder for brands and providing brand recall and brand choice lifts.  

Here’s our prescription: Less visual, more audio. Pharma advertisers can expect further reach, higher brand recall, and greater targeting capabilities when they invest in digital audio. 

Higher Share of Voice than AM/FM Ads

The AM/FM-style disruption of long breaks with too many back-to-back brand messages is a thing of the past—and it’s definitely not what listeners want to hear when they’re feeling anxious or ill. Digital audio offers shorter ad breaks, so your messages stand out. And with higher SOV, ads make a bigger impression, with a 49% better impact on lasting memory than AM/FM ads. So when listeners tune in to feel better mentally, emotionally, or physically, on their sick days, pharma brands can be in their ears right when they need them. 

Digital audio unlocks a world of audio creative for pharma ads. And advertisers can lean into the strengths of digital audio, where people come to be entertained, enjoy the laid-back, intimate vibe of the platform, and hear personal, relevant brand messaging.

Better Environment for Brand Messages than Social Media

Over five in 10 of our listeners are replacing time they used to spend with social media with digital audio. And our listeners find it 8X better for their mental health and wellbeing. When it comes to their health, the filters, staged content, and trending edits that litter the social media landscape leave consumers craving a more authentic connection. They want to hear from pharmaceutical brands they can trust with ads that educate and inform to build a genuine connection. 

When listeners feel ill, they’re not straining their eyes to focus on a screen; 82% of them use music to feel better. They’re plugging into a medium that offers connection, comfort, feel-good moments, and an escape to another worldmeaning the personalized audio experience that streaming delivers is the Rx they turn to when they need a pick-me-up.  

Case in Point

We have the tools to craft compelling creative with impactful brand messaging and relatable scenarios that resonate. When you partner with us, we drive results, so your brand messages can play in the right place at the right time.    

We teamed up with a pharmaceutical advertiser and put their ads to the test, measuring awareness, brand preference, consideration, and favorability. By utilizing our various platforms, creating impactful messaging, and using Crossix targeting across core audiences, we saw lifts in key brand metrics among audio listeners.

Take a Dose of Digital Audio 

TV, terrestrial radio, and social media platforms are oversaturated with ads, making it difficult for pharma advertisers to genuinely connect with consumers. With digital audio and platforms like Pandora, SoundCloud, and the SiriusXM Podcasting Network, pharma brands meet audiences looking for authentic, relatable content and leave them with lasting impressions. 

It’s time to bridge the gap in your digital audio campaigns and get your pharma ads in the lead. Let’s chat.


  • 1.

    Edison Research, The Infinite Dial 2023

  • 2.

    Edison Research; Pandora Pharma Branded Ad Test Research Study

  • 3.

    Digital Audio Vs. Report, SiriusXM Media

  • 4.

    Pandora Neuro-Insights Study

  • 5.

    SiriusXM Media, Edison Research customer Audio Study Q1 2023

  • 6.

    Pandora Soundboard, 2022, Healthcare Study, A18+ (N=2,110), October 2022

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