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 to $9.99 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 the ad process, and understanding the costs.
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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. Now in 2021, ad revenue is still going strong. 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. The platform is far less saturated with ads as compared to social networks such as Facebook, which means advertising costs can be less expensive if campaigns are properly managed. Download a Pandora “Media Kit” to help you get started.
Step 1: 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.
Visual Pandora 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-$40. 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.
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.
There are advertising options exclusively available to mobile device users as well:
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 Pandora Ads (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.
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.
Video Pandora Ads.
The most expensive Pandora ad option, video ad CPMs are for very large budgets. 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.
Step 2: Determine Pandora Advertising Costs
How much does it truly cost to advertise on Pandora?
Pandora’s basic advertising packages used to start at approximately $1,500 per month with an average CPM (cost per thousand impressions) of $5-$25. However, it now depends drastically on how you plan to target your audience and the timing of when your advertising will go live. We run ads for our clients for a minimum price of only $500 and go up to recurring ad spends of as much as $10,000/mo. So, Pandora is VERY flexible for radio ad agencies!
Compared to Spotify’s ad platform, Pandora is much less expensive. Therefore, if you have a small to medium-sized budget, we still 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—we can negotiate with Pandora regarding pricing. A Digital Marketing Firm can help you get a better deal with advertising platforms such as Pandora, whereas they can seem virtually impossible to navigate on your own.
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.
Step 3: Create an Effective Pandora Ads Strategy and Launch
SunCity Advising specializes in many channels for paid advertising—including online radio formats such as Pandora advertising services. If you manage a group of marketers without experience in monitoring all of the current paid digital advertising trends, it can be incredibly difficult to choose the right platform, budget, and messaging.
Our ads frequently include helping our clients to expand upon their organic traffic through sophisticated, well-researched campaigns. To maximize overall brand results, we can enhance your “air cover” for relevant keyterms in local, organic and paid search to offer 3 pieces of real estate on the front page for specific queries.
Our ability to couple paid advertising tactics with SEO strategy development allows our clients to cover every aspect of their marketing plan and get them all working together. Our team can help you start Pandora ad campaigns, improve your current campaigns, and split-test ads to determine which campaign will bring you the highest marketing ROI.
Take advantage of Pandora Ads before they become saturated!