The New Value Exchange

The holiday season is in full swing, which means it’s now a race to the finish to get all gift shopping done. And even though we know this all-important season comes every year, a whopping 76% of us will still be shopping until the very last minute -- most of which is now done online thanks to the convenience of 2-day shipping from many retailers. In fact, the ease of being able to get what we want when we want it with just a simple click of a button means that procrastinating on shopping is no longer the anxiety inducer it used to be. While the “we want it and we wanted it yesterday” mentality is not new, it’s never been more apparent than in today’s world. As more and more consumers are expecting instant gratification from brands, brands in turn are looking to find more ways to fulfill these demands and create new and unique experiences for consumers that they’ve come to expect, but don’t necessarily want to pay more for.

It should come as no surprise that consumers like having the choice of paying with their wallet or with their time and attention. In fact, research from Nielsen Media Labs tells us that 54% of U.S. internet users actually prefer value exchange offers over both ad-supported and subscription content. In other words, consumers would choose to view a brand’s ad if they received something in return that made their experience better. Even compared with native and pre-roll ads, consumers believe value exchange ads provide a more enjoyable and engaging experience overall.

As an advocate for quality advertising experiences, we realized that we have a job to do. At Pandora, we constantly strive to empower our users with flexibility and access to the best Pandora experience possible. And we want to continue evolving our ad solutions to meet those consumer needs, so brands can thereby align with those needs in the most authentic way possible.

Today, we’re excited to announce a big leap in fulfilling that goal.

Premium Access for Users

Starting today, ad-supported Pandora users will be able to unlock Pandora Premium by viewing a video ad for 15 seconds, giving them immediate access to the song, album, or playlist of their choice within our mobile platform. So now, if you want to hear Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” to get you in the holiday spirit, you can listen to that exact song at that very moment you need a holiday boost. This new experience gives our listeners the choice - you can either pay for one of our affordable subscription offerings, or, you can opt into quality ad experiences to unlock the features you want when you want them.

We’re also seeing the demand for these flexible value exchange experiences steadily increase. Users between the ages of 20-49 are up to 67% more likely to prefer mobile reward video ads than other types of ads, such as unskippable pre-roll. The difference is even more pronounced among Generation Z (16-19) audiences, who are 3X as likely to prefer mobile rewarded videos. This isn’t surprising to us. Value exchange ad products on Pandora, such as Sponsored Listening, have been consistently effective brand lift drivers for our partners. In one study with a Quick Service Restaurant brand, Sponsored Listening drove an impressive 69% lift in store visits among adults 18-24. We’re now seeing indicators of similar behavior during early testing for our new feature, indicating that 18-24 year olds are 13% more likely to unlock access to Pandora Premium by viewing a video ad.

Pandora is incredibly excited to be the first to offer access to on-demand music content in a mobile environment at this scale – a benefit for both our listeners, and our advertisers.

Advertiser Benefit

So what does this mean for marketers? This feature will enhance our current cost-per-completed-view Video Plus product (which we launched in September), allowing brands to build trust and create value for users by giving them more of the quality, brand-safe content they want.

We’ve already seen strong results from our test period. Our early tests indicate that the new experience is resonating with our users, with up to 2 out of 3 accepting the reward offer. And, about 90% of those who choose to opt-in are watching at least 15 seconds of a video ad. These numbers are incredibly promising and we’re excited to be providing a feature that allows advertisers to align their brand messages with consumers in the moments they choose.

What Now?

We intend to continue meeting the demand of today’s users, while also servicing the needs of our advertising partners. With Pandora’s 100% registered user-base and a platform that collects over 1 billion data points a day to validate users and their behavior, this new features is a perfect starting point to help brands reach the right audience in a high quality, brand safe environment.

Want to learn more about how your brand can unlock value for your consumers on Pandora? Get in touch here.