- In September, Pandora launched new ad formats for its free version including sponsored listening, where users watch a video spot to completion in exchange for extra song replays and skips. Adweek reports it has now expanded the format to include sponsored skips and replays targeted around genres like Christmas music, Cinco de Mayo tunes or even workout playlists.
- EBay is buying replays and skips for traditional Christmas channels. The brand's "The Gift They've Been Waiting For" campaign begins Dec. 1 on the platform, and is scheduled to run for two weeks.
- Pandora has recently been building out its tools for marketers, including expanding its Artist Marketing Program in October and partnering with Moat to ensure accurate "audibility" metrics over the summer.
Music is proving to be a driver of emotional engagement for users, and brands are taking notice. WPP's Data Alliance partnered with Spotify just last week to access the tastes and listening habits of some 100 million users, arguing that elements as specific as song tempo can provide key consumer insights.
Pandora allowing brands to target based on genre follows this trend, and also opens up major real-time marketing opportunities for moments like the holidays, with Christmas music being particularly popular in part thanks to its sentimental connection with listeners.
"The amount of time that consumers spend with these [Christmas] stations is substantial — it's four to five hours," Alan Schanzer, SVP of agency and advertiser development at Pandora, told Adweek. "We've seen success with sponsored listening because advertisers are really trying to find ways to capture attention and these are engagement-based products."
New formats that give listeners more control in exchange for watching ads to completion fit into a strategy Pandora announced in June that puts a focus on native video rather than disruptive pop-ups or non-video display ads. The approach could be a win-win, as marketers have their content engaged more fully and listeners are granted more freedom over their Pandora experience.