Pandora launches mobile muted video, responsive display ads

Dive Brief:

  • Pandora is rolling out two new ad formats to all advertisers on Jan. 19: muted video and responsive display ads, per a company press release. Both formats had previously been in beta since last summer with several brands, including Denny's, Express, Ascent Protein and Google. 
  • During the beta test, responsive mobile display ads had a 50% increase in time spent over previous formats and 2x increases in brand favorability, awareness and message resonance. Muted video ads provided a 32% increase in listeners who spent at least 5 seconds with the ad.
  • The success of the new formats was based on mobile ads taking full advantage of screen real estate and being served only when listeners are looking at their phone, according to John Trimble, chief revenue officer at Pandora. He added that Pandora has one of the largest logged-in user bases making it “uniquely positioned to deliver listener attention to advertisers at scale.”

Dive Insight:

Pandora has been ramping up its advertising options over the past several years, notably with the Sponsored Listening format, which received a major upgrade last November, and now with the new native offerings. The internet radio platform's focus on video keeps in line with a growing trend in mobile marketing, and Spotify, an ostensible Pandora competitor, recently launched a similar product called Branded Moments.

Audio-focused brands like Spotify and Pandora doubling down on video shows how essential the format has become in 2017. Pandora is also smart in opting for responsive display offerings, as static advertising has proved to be largely uninspiring for digital consumers. The release cited a survey of Pandora listeners that found 75% already prefer the new ad formats and 74% are more likely to engage.

For brands and publishers, music has shown to be an important driver of emotional engagement — an area of marketing that's increasingly essential as cynicism toward traditional messaging grows. 

Some of the products being native also plays into a growing budget shift away from more traditional ad units. Some industry analysts, including the IAB, PwC and IHS, BI Intelligence, predicted last year that native will account for 74% of all advertising revenue by 2021. 

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Filed Under: Video Corporate News Mobile
Top image credit: Pandora