Pandora’s Interactive Voice Ads: A New Way to Engage

Voice is the new touch. This is a tagline Pandora has been exploring for the past several years, and today, we are able to introduce a small subset of listeners to an ad experience where voice has replaced the need to touch. Why are we doing this? With voice-enabled devices proliferating as we speak, it is our duty to meet consumers where they are.

Earlier this year Pandora launched Voice Mode, our native voice assistant on mobile, which has been adopted by millions, indicating that our listeners are ready for a new type of engagement.

Pandora is now testing Interactive Voice Ad functionality with some of today’s most innovative audio brands: Doritos, Ashley HomeStores, Unilever, Wendy’s, Turner Broadcasting, Comcast, and Nestle. This execution represents a first-of-its-kind approach to voice-enabled audio within a music streaming service.1

“Doritos looks for ways to connect with those who are hyper-engaged with digital and are looking to build their lives online. We also seek to challenge advertising norms. Voice ads allow us to do both: engage our tech-forward audience with a message that disrupts. We took a playful approach by translating Doritos visual “Anti-Ad” creative concept to an audio environment to excite and intrigue listeners to say ‘yes’ to Doritos.” - Leslie Vesper, Senior Director of Marketing, Doritos

Earning Voice Engagement

A series of voice-based tests within focus groups and internal betas allowed us to collect key learnings to not only refine the format, but to also start to understand best practices for advertiser creative:

  • Marketers are on the hook to capture attention with clever, useful content so listeners perk up, pay attention, and engage. In fact, 71% of Pandora listeners say they are more likely to remember ads that are engaging and funny.2

  • Keep it simple. Voice ads reduce friction within audio ad experiences. Consumers saw the benefit of being able to interact hands-free when content was relevant and useful, and creative allowed for a simple “yes.”

  • We have to educate consumers. Explicitly informing listeners that this is a new kind of ad within the invitation audio spot has helped to capture attention and drive higher verbal engagement.

Reasons To Say “Yes”

Pandora’s Studio Resonate team worked closely with each partner to script and produce voice ads. We’ve recapped their reasons to say “yes” and what they did especially well. Have a look and listen:

Ashley HomeStore Simple, clear, and straightforward, Ashley HomeStore’s voice ad entices the listener to engage to hear helpful tips for getting a better night’s sleep and drives them to shop with a savings message.

Hellmann's / Best Foods Mayonnaise Hellmann’s / Best Foods Mayonnaise piques the listener’s curiosity and appetite by asking: is it really possible to make a grilled cheese even more delicious? Spoiler alert: it is. Crispy crunch sound effect added to heighten appetite appeal.

Comcast Xfinity An audience who talks to an ad will probably also be into talking to their TV remote, if it makes life easier. This makes the Xfinity Voice Remote the perfect benefit to tease out and feature for Comcast.

DiGiorno's A classic joke set up can be a fun way to entice the listener to hear more from you. Closes with a call-to-action to grab a pizza for dinner tonight.

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee A celebrity voice like Samantha Bee is a great way to grab attention, especially when she’s coercing the listener into talking to the ad in a hilarious way that is true to her personality. A joke payoff plus reminder to tune in wraps this one up.

Wendy’s Explains the fact that this is a new kind of ad in a playful way that fits their brand tone. Highlights their featured products, Spicy Nuggets and a Frosty. Music tie-ins connect to the Pandora listening experience in a humorous, sarcastic way.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Pandora is excited to continue to test what voice really means for audio and where voice ads should fit within an advertisers media strategy. We’re excited to fold these opportunities into our evolving listener platform and surface insights to the industry along the way.

As we approach 2020, think about your brand’s audio strategy and identity. As voice becomes more prevalent in advertising, it can be a powerful and innovative piece of your overall campaign. And as always, Pandora is here to help.

Want to learn more about the future of audio? Check out Pandora’s 2020 Definitive Guide to Audio.

  1. The participating brands were selected to join this test phase and agreed to provide statements regarding the feature.
  2. Pandora User Study, 2019-2020