Top Three Takeaways from the 2019 Definitive Guide to Audio from Pandora

Ron Rodrigues, Sr. Audio Strategist

We’re in the midst of a sonic revolution


Each fall, as marketers plan their campaigns for the coming year, Pandora publishes its perspective of the diverse ad-supported audio landscape in the Definitive Guide to Audio including insights, data findings, and predictions about the medium that draws nearly four hours of daily time spent among Americans.


This year’s guide comes at a pivotal time; audio media is in peak disruption mode. Listeners have found music and other content that’s personalized to them. That personalization invites marketers to align their brands with lifestyles and moments, and not just ages and genders. We see that as more Americans acquire smartphones, smart speakers, connected cars and other digital media devices, the transformation from traditional to digital is accelerating.



Here are three important insights from the 2019 Definitive Guide to Audio:



It's a conversation

Sonic disruption goes beyond how people listen. With the help of Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, we humans get to use a skill that we acquired at birth: our voices. We can verbally express ourselves faster and more thoughtfully than by any other means.


Pandora Chief Product Officer Chris Phillips and his team envision an era when our voice interactions extend beyond a simple request, and people can just say whatever’s on their minds.


For marketers, the smart speaker is your “invitation to hang out at the house.” With 95% of smart speakers located in common locations within the home,[1] this shared listening offers intriguing creative opportunities, where instead of targeting a single listener, the creative can recognize “household moments,” contextually relevant to the family room, kitchen or bedroom.


Podcasts are the new 'Talk Radio'

These on-demand audio programs are surging in popularity, even in the face of a difficult user experience, hard-to-find content, and for the advertiser, thin measurement data.


The Podcast audience has doubled over the past four years, and listeners aged 18-49 now get more of their talk or personality content from podcasts than they do from the radio.[2] For people under the age of 50, podcasts are the new talk radio.


We believe that podcasts should find its listeners, instead of the other way around. Fans should be able to add podcasts to their playlists effortlessly, making audio personalization as easy as following their favorites on Instagram or YouTube. Advertisers should see the critical metrics that will help them land on the right content for their objectives. As Pandora launches podcasts with all of these highly desired benefits, 2019 will be remembered as the year that podcasts hit the mainstream.


Connected Cars in the fast lane

The auto business also faces disruption on many fronts, including the way people use media while behind the wheel. For nearly a century Americans have depended on the radio to be informed and entertained, but we see changes in the mix. Advanced media choices are a sought-after option by daily car commuters; 71% of them consider “in-dash systems” that receive information and entertainment over the internet” as important in their next vehicle.[3]


That thirst for digital technology helps to explain why drivers of late-model cars have shifted a third of their AM/FM listening time to satellite, streaming, podcasts and other digital audio, compared to drivers of the oldest cars.[4]


What should be concerning to both the broadcasters and advertisers is that a majority of AM/FM listeners only listen to the medium in their cars. Advertisers wishing to reach this group only have about an hour per day to reach them via the radio.[5] For the other 23 hours of the day, these people are listening to audio, but it’s not to broadcast radio.


There’s much more in Pandora’s 2019 Definitive Guide to Audio, including our Audio Playbook, an informative resource that will help advertisers build audio-first strategies. 


Definitive Guide to Audio Visual CTA

[1] Edison Research/Omnicom Media Group, Pandora Smart Speaker study, 2018.
[2] Edison Research Share of Ear study, Q2 2018.
[3] Edison Research/Omnicom Media Group/Pandora, Cracking the Commuter Code, 2018.
[4] Edison Research Share of Ear study, Q2 2018, share of in-car listening, MY 2017-2018 cars vs. 2002 or older cars.
[5] AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, American Driving Survey, 2015-2016, Average Daily Number of Minutes Spent Driving by U.S. Drivers.