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Pandora: The New Era of Audio

Pandora: The New Era of Audio

Why Audio Matters Even More in a Connected World

When we think about the technology that pervades our lives, we realize that audio (in some form) is everywhere. You may think you already know this, because, of course, audio plays a role in obvious activities like listening to music or a podcast.

But audio also turns up in moments you may not have thought of before. When you use a navigation app for driving directions: it’s audio. When you ask Google Home to tell you today’s weather: it’s audio. And when you dictate a text rather than typing: it’s voice, but also audio.

With more and more connected devices in the mix, our need to accomplish tasks and consume content hands-free has increased dramatically–and that’s where audio comes in. From the incredible adoption of voice-activation, to the ubiquity of headphones and earbuds, it’s actually audio that connects us to our connected devices.

We first took note of the relationship between audio and tech in 2008, when Pandora’s listenership skyrocketed after the first iPhone launched. At the time, we had been streaming music to a sizable user base for about 3 years—but the prospect of listening on-the-go changed the game completely. For the first time ever, our users could take their personalized stations with them, and they loved it!

The Connected Consumer Pays Attention to Audio

It may be a little surprising that a 100-year-old medium is still relevant in this era of cutting-edge tech innovation. But the answer is in the innate storytelling power of audio.

Literally, since the days of campfires and loincloths, people have used audio to tell stories, convey histories and—or course—to entertain. Still today, audio has the unique ability to jump-start a listener’s imagination, creating an experience that is deeply personal and highly memorable. The advancement of technology means that audio can now reach more people, in more places and with more impactful messages.

For advertisers, audio makes it easy to capture the attention of consumers who are already consumed with so much—from multiple devices, competing content and bombarding brand messages. Audio’s ability to cut through the noise and deliver intensely personal messages even when the device is tucked away in a pocket, has proven invaluable to the marketing community.

That’s why we predict marketers and publishers alike will continue to reinvent the rules around audio in 2017.

What to Expect in 2017

It’s time to bring the biggest innovations in digital ads to the world of audio. These are some areas you can expect to see audio innovate over the next year:

  • Audibility: Industry concerns over viewability are beginning to trickle into audio. We expect to see more publishers respond with greater transparency and measurement for audio ads, as they have already done for display. Traditional audio spots—like those on AM/FM radio—will have an even harder time competing with these new advertiser demands.
  • Intelligent Ad Insertion: This was top-of-mind for Pandora last year when we launched our Intelligent Ad Insertion platform, which serves audio ads to listeners based on behavior. The intelligence we can collect from this technology lets us think about listeners and ads in a one-to-one capacity. You can imagine the possibilities.
  • Deeper Creative Experimentation: With more robust opportunities to serve and measure audio ads, the industry has more data to inform creative decisions—everything from spot length to sequencing, and more.

This year will be one of development, testing, optimization and creativity. What could be more exciting than that!

Interested in learning more about how to harness the storytelling power of audio? Pandora’s Definitive Guide to Audio has everything you need to understand the current landscape and advertiser opportunities.

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