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Pandora: Radio Advertising Gets Real

Scott Cooter
Scott Cooter Creative Director / Senior Copywriter

Real-Time targeting capabilities push Pandora to the top of the charts.
There’s a good reason traditional broadcast radio is a valued part of most media plans year after year. It offers high reach, good targetability, and extraordinarily low costs compared to TV.

Now imagine having the ability to target each and every one of your radio listeners by age, gender, geographic location and specific songs they like, add response tracking and socialsharing, then top it all off with a visual display that can run digital ads along with your radio spots, no matter what type of digital device they’re listening on — web, mobile, web-enabled TV, even car audio systems (targeted by automobile make and model).

Audio, Video and Display Everywhere
Enter Pandora Online Digital Radio and their cross-platform ad programs. Delivering all of the above and more with pin-point accuracy, including web and mobile couponing and other customizable features — which is why we, as an agency, have begun recommending Pandora ad placement to our clients in addition to broadcast radio placement.

Here’s why:
Online radio reaches 86 million Americans aged 12+ per week an average of nearly 12 hours each.1

13-35 year-olds (including the difficult-to-reach Gen Y) spend as much time listening to online/streaming radio as traditional AM/FM.2

Of the top 20 online radio sources, Pandora captures 75% of all listening sessions.3

Pandora’s popularity is reflected in mobile app downloads, where Pandora downloads lead Weather Channel downloads 2 to 1.4 Nearly half of all smartphone owners have downloaded Pandora:1 quite significant, as mobile use continues to grow across all age demographics and throughout all areas of life. “Being mobile and getting people while they’re on the go is a local advertiser’s holy grail,” says John Hilton, Pandora’s executive director of strategic partnerships. “Almost 70% of our users are listening through their mobile phones.”

With nationally or locally targeted radio bundles that include in-stream audio messages and optional Display Everywhere Banners that run on-web and on-touch via iPhone and Android, Pandora’s Audio Everywhere impacts customers from the moment they awaken (30% of U.S. populace use smart phones as alarm clocks, including 59% of 18-34 year olds).

A Targeted Approach
Pandora serves ads to targeted users efficiently from every access point, delivering commercials when they’re creating stations, using site functionality like checking the song playlist, or interacting via touch on mobile phones: no wasted views or disengaged listeners. Regardless of the device they’re tuning in on, Pandora allows just one ad per 20-minute break, keeping attention focused on your client’s message. And unlike traditional radio, Pandora listener response can be measured instantly, from website click-throughs to coupon offer downloads.

Pandora’s targeting methods are thorough, to say the least. Take the birth year, zip code and gender required to register, add in the personal bios, song selections and linked Facebook and Twitter profiles Pandora encourages users to share, topped with third party data from Acxiom, Targus and Nielson, and there’s a wealth of information available for fine-tuning the specific audience your ads will reach.

Agreements with major automotive brands and aftermarket audio manufacturers allow ad delivery during in-car commutes, once broadcast radio’s exclusive domain.

John Hilton, executive director of strategic partnerships at Pandora, says Pandora’s ability to target advertising on a more granular level than conventional radio is the core of its value proposition for advertisers.5

And we couldn’t agree more.

With its list of nearly two dozen specific audience segments and sub-segments for advertisers to select from, ranging from household income and auto preferences to ethnicity, education levels and home and small business ownership, and a total of 65.9 million monthly unique users, now may be the perfect time to add Pandora to your media playlist presets, next to your “traditional radio” button.

It’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it.

  1. 2013 Monthly Online Radio Audience Reaches Approximately 120 Million Americans
    Source: Arbitron Inc. and Edison Research: The Infinite Dial 2013, Navigating Digital Platforms
  3. Source: Triton Digital based on average active sessions among the top 20 stations and networks in the U.S., Mon-Sun 6AM-Mid, January 2013
  4. Source: Pandora Internal Metrics, 2013
  5. Source:

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