Pandora introduces capabilities for shorter, more personalized ads

Pandora announced three new capabilities for advertisers today — the ability to dynamically assemble different audio ads for different listeners, the ability to sequentially target ads so that they fit together into a larger strategy and shorter ad formats that range from four to 10 seconds in length.

Claire Fanning, Pandora’s vice president of ad strategy, told me via email that the company is announcing these capabilities at the same time because “they work together in really powerful ways.”

For example, she also sent along campaign mock-ups that showed how ads could be tailored to include both the day of the week and a call-to-action tied to the listener’s location, and how the ads could be also specifically sequenced so that listeners start with the longer message, then hear shorter and shorter spots.

“We believe that an advertiser’s personalized audio strategy will not only be unique to that advertiser, but also unique to each campaign,” Fanning said. “In some cases, leveraging one capability may be best (short form, dynamic, sequential) — and in other cases, leveraging 2 or 3 may be most powerful. It’s really dependent on the advertiser’s creative strategy and which solution, or solutions, will support that strategy best.”

Pandora dynamic audio

While Pandora launched its own on-demand music service last year, advertising remains the main way the company monetizes its 72.3 million active listeners. It says it’s the first company to make these features available in a large-scale way, and it’s already been testing them with 20 advertisers, enlisting Veritonic to measure the results. For one thing, it says that Lay’s found short-form audio had a 56 percent higher return on ad spend.

As the company looks to deliver more personalized advertising, it may face more questions about privacy, but Fanning said Pandora doesn’t collect any personally identifiable information about users except for their email addresses.

“We use industry-standard security practices to protect our data and have developed internal tools and processes to ensure compliance with our privacy commitment,” Fanning added. “We’ll continue to fortify this by tightening certain contractual language, auditing existing 3rd-party data partners, and evaluating future partnerships with enhanced rigor.”