Pandora’s intriguing radio concept is simple. Listeners create stations based on songs, artists, or genres they like. How does the platform make money? Users are either exposed to ads throughout their listening experience, or pay $4.99 a month to block ads altogether. The majority of Pandora users utilize the free ad-based model, however. Let’s learn how to advertise on Pandora by dissecting what Pandora advertising truly is, exploring which ads to craft on the platform, and reviewing the associated costs.
What is Pandora Advertising?
Online paid radio advertising in general has grown to a massive extent over the past ten years. Just from 2016 to 2017, audio ad revenue spiked from $425 million to $603 million. But what gives Pandora advertising an advantage over the dying traditional radio platform? Commuters switch radio stations an estimated 22 times on their daily commute to work; this is typically due to large “blocks” of advertisements chunked together. Pandora combats this by spreading out a few ads per hour, which sustains the attention of the listener. Listeners are also not allowed to change the station during the ad.
Pandora is most commonly used by older folks, (as compared to other radio platforms such as Spotify and SoundCloud) typically in the 35-45 age range. With nearly 80 million current users, there is a plethora of advertising options available to you that make targeting your intended audience a breeze. Download a Pandora “Media Kit” to help you get started, here: https://www.pandoraforbrands.com/media-kit
Choosing Pandora Ad Types
How do you actually advertise on Pandora? Your first step will be to choose an ad format. There are three main categories: visual, audio, and video.
- Display Ads-This is the least expensive advertising option offered by Pandora. You may choose between traditional banner and web-style ads with a CPM in the range of $5-$7. One concern is that listeners will not see your ad because they are merely listening to music; don’t worry however, as display ads are only delivered to users engaging with the Pandora display.
- Web Skins-one of the most seamless ad types on Pandora, web skins allow you to create or raise brand awareness.
- Basic-Your ad replaces the content usually displayed in the “album art box.”
- Enhanced-Your ad is placed along the side of the player interface on a much larger scale.
- Custom-You get full customization of both basic web skins and enhanced web skins.
- Mobile Ads-There are advertising options exclusively available to mobile device users.
- Non-responsive Ads-On a mobile device, the album art box is replaced with your ad. Interested listeners may tap on your ad to take them to your desired landing page. Users may dismiss the ad by swiping; this reduces mis-clicks and creates more accurate engagement statistics.
- Responsive Ads-These are similar to non-responsive ads, but they are more interactive. Unlike non-responsive ads, they can have multiple engagement points that can be touched to be sent to different landing pages.
Audio (Audio Everywhere)
This is the most popular ad type, as Pandora is an audio platform—people use it to listen, so why not target them through audio? This format essentially guarantees users will hear your message, unless they are proactive enough to mute the sound every time an ad plays. They are more expensive however, with CPMs at around $8-$12. The “Audio Everywhere” component of Pandora audio ads allow your message to be displayed visually,(as a concrete image) with audio playing in the background. You may choose between 15 seconds and 30 seconds of audio spots. The great thing about Audio Everywhere, is that it works on nearly everything—your visual ad can be displayed on most common devices, as well as car radio systems and smart TVs.
The most expensive Pandora ad option, video ad CPMs range between $15-$25. Video is commonly regarded as the most engaging ad format, and Pandora knows this. Pandora’s ad programming causes video ads to occur when users are at “high engagement points.” When a user is actively skipping a song or browsing different stations, they are likely to witness a video ad. You can customize your video ad so that a display ad is shown after the video concludes, allowing users to visit your landing page. You may also choose to have your video ads “muted,” which lets users listen to their music while watching your video. This option is not recommended though, as there is a definite drop in engagement.
Pandora Advertising Costs
Pandora’s basic advertising packages start at approximately $1,500 per month with an average CPM (cost per thousand impressions) of $5-$7 for visual ads, $8-$12 for audio ads, and $15-$25 for video ads.
Compared to Spotify’s ad platform, Pandora is much less expensive. Therefore, if you have a smaller budget, we recommend that you consider Pandora ads if you intend to use a radio ad platform.
In some cases—usually for attaching your brand to a specific station, sponsorship, or for larger deals—you will be able to negotiate with Pandora regarding pricing. A Digital Marketing Firm can help you get a better deal with advertising platforms such as Pandora.
An audio ad pilot program is currently in progress for Pandora. This will let advertisers bid on individual ad spaces that are currently open. Until this is open to the public, exact pricing specifications are only available through contacting Pandora directly.
Creating an Effective Pandora Ad Campaign isn’t Easy
SunCity Advising specializes in paid ads—including online radio formats such as Pandora. Our ads help our clients to expand upon their organic traffic through researched campaigns. To maximize results, we can help with your SEO strategy development and make sure every aspect of your marketing plan is working together. Our team can help you start campaigns, improve your current campaigns, or even set up affiliate marketing programs in your name.
Author: Daniel Barry
Daniel Barry is an Advisor at SunCity. His background is in digital marketing, SEO and operational management. His client portfolio includes successful partnerships with startups, small businesses, medium-sized firms & large corporations.
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