You’re Doing it Wrong: Audio’s Lasting Effects Creates Opportunities for Marketers

Megan McCoy

Audio’s impact on memory isn’t surprising: think back to the last time you heard your favorite song from your high school years. The lyrics likely hit your lips like it was only yesterday when you were studying for midterm exams. In a similar way, we find that ads served alongside personalized, emotive content has greater resonance with listeners. This leads to more memorable and engaging campaigns than what is typically found in other media formats.  


In a recent Neuroscience study, it was discovered that audio ads impacted participants’ long-term memory 49% better than terrestrial radio, 36% better than TV commercials, and 29% better than mobile video ads.


Considering this study, there is an opportunity for marketers to improve how they account for the long-term effects of audio in their measurement models. Without properly factoring in the unique attributes of audio, marketers could be mismanaging their media.


How your lookback window differs between audio advertising and other media formats


On the heels of the Neuroscience findings, our Data Science team partnered with an Education client to understand how audio’s “durability” continues to influence the listener long after an ad spot is heard. As part of the study, which was run over two campaigns, we divided the target audience into treatment and control groups in order to understand the impact of audio advertising on Pandora. We measured conversions by receiving client conversion files and matching them to our audio ad impression data on our logged-in listeners.


Insight #1

At least 18% of conversions (purchases) occurred 3-weeks after the campaign wrapped, and after the typical measurement window has closed.


The campaign under analysis spanned over 4-weeks, yet our Data Science team continued to observe positive conversion lift (those exposed to the campaign vs. those in the control group) during the three weeks following the end of the campaign flight. In fact, 18% of all conversions occurred during the three-week period following the campaign.



Insight #2

Pandora’s platform does not require a click to push listeners through the marketing funnel.


While audio advertising does influence listener actions and behavior, listeners may act on an audio message at a time convenient for them, which our experiment discovered, can occur later that day or up to three weeks later.


Insight #3

While conversions saw significant durability, brand recall effects were seen as much as 4-months later.


Just like the invention of Penicillin, the best things are discovered by accident! In the process of running a series of experiments with the same education brand, Pandora was also testing a proprietary survey capability. We asked listeners in both treatment and control groups a simple question: “Do you remember hearing an ad for [Education Brand] in the past week?”


In reviewing the responses, we observed a higher than expected percentage of listeners in the control group who responded with a “Yes” to the posed question. Since the listeners were not exposed to the ad in the recent campaign, this was an unexpected outcome. This discovery led to further exploration which concluded that the spike in recall rates among the control group was attributed to listeners who were exposed to the previous campaign by the brand - four months earlier!


In other words, we see a positive, statistically significant difference in the ad recall rate when comparing treatment to control for an experiment that took place four months previously. This is very interesting evidence on the persistent effects of having heard an ad on Pandora. This additionally provides a reason to refresh creative and messaging to keep messages fresh and engaging for listeners, all while going deeper with your brand.


Final Takeaways


For marketers advertising on Pandora and similar platforms, consider your measurement lookback window and how the durability of audio is accounted for in your measurement models. Similar to how you can recall songs from years ago, audio advertising resonates and influences listeners beyond the moment of an impression.



  • A recent experiment showed a positive conversion lift over the three-week period following a campaign. Validate the audio lookback window used in your measurement modeling. Does it consider audio’s long-lasting durability?

  • Audio has long-term persistent effects. We saw listeners recall a brand from an ad heard four months prior. With this finding yields creative opportunities. You have warmed up your audience; now, how can you strengthen top of mind awareness, favorability, and new product interest with this baseline you’ve established? How are you pushing your brand’s depth with an audience?





About Pandora’s Insights Lab: At Pandora, we are passionate and relentlessly curious about the evolving audio space. New technological innovation—such as connected devices, voice enablement, and spoken word—combined with a thirst for knowledge opens up an opportunity to explore the unknown. Pandora's Insights Lab seeks to bring together scale, data science, sonic expertise, and partnerships to drive discoveries that will power the next digital audio revolution.


To do this, we aim to provide proprietary and actionable insights from our listeners and advertisers to guide audio strategies, while making available tools and capabilities that foster experimentation, learning, and optimization in audio environments.