Using Pandora Ads For Your Audio Advertising Strategy

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Tons of brands are extending their reach through audio advertising recently, particularly through Pandora ads. 

The extremely popular audio streaming platform is first overall in terms of the amount of time that users are spending listening to ad-supported digital audio, according to Edison Research’s Share of the Ear Study. In regards to market share, it has 36.8 million monthly users, making it the third most popular audio streaming platform behind Apple Music and Spotify.

But where should you start with creating a Pandora ad? 

In this piece, we’ll unpack why you would choose Pandora vs Spotify, your options for advertising on Pandora, the future of Pandora ads and finally why you need the right voice for your Pandora ad campaign.

Hold on tight as we dive into all your options using Pandora ads. 

Pandora vs Spotify

So, now you have a good understanding of all your options with Pandora ads but maybe you’re still on the fence about why to choose Pandora vs Spotify. We’ll break down the four best reasons to choose Pandora below:

  1. The biggest reason, as we mentioned at the beginning of this piece, is the amount of time Pandora users are spending listening to ad-supported digital audio. Pandora ranks ahead of Spotify and every other audio streaming platform in this category. If you’re looking to run an effective audio ad campaign, Pandora is the place for you.
  1. Pandora is the number one used audio streaming platform in 87 major US markets, and has a larger reach than all other traditional radio broadcast formats, according to Simmons Research
  1. Pandora has an incredibly low non-human traffic percentage, in contrast to other popular streaming platforms. Less than two percent of all their traffic is detected bots, meaning they provide the best opportunity for your audio campaign to be heard by real people and not robots. 
  1. Knowing your demographic and target audience will really help to decide if you want to use Pandora. Over 15 million moms, 33 million millennials and 15 million connected-device users make up a large chunk of the 120 million active monthly logged-in users. If those numbers don’t impress you, then maybe their more than 2,000 unique audience segmentations, available for targeted ad campaigns, will. 

Clearly, there’s a huge opportunity for brands to use Pandora ads. Read here to learn how to create the most effective online audio ads for Pandora, Spotify and other online platforms.

How to advertise on Pandora?

Pandora Content Ads

There are four different ways your ad can appear on Pandora content:

  1. Sponsored Stations
  2. Brand Stations
  3. Artist Programs
  4. Branded Podcasts

Sponsored Stations

Pandora’s Sponsored Stations allow brands to choose specific stations to target certain demographics, known to frequent those Pandora stations and music genres. These stations give advertisers half of all ad breaks in between music. 

Brand Stations

Brands can build a 80-100 song playlist to encapsulate a custom ad campaign. Pandora can provide their Curation Team for song suggestions or advertisers can handpick the station playlist themselves. Advertisers get full control over the station through audio, video and display ads to really engage your audience. 

Artist Programs 

Advertisers can attach their brand by directly advertising on specific artist’s playlists and stations. Brands can identify their customers’ favorite artists, with help from Pandora, to target what artists they should align with.

Branded Podcasts

Brands can identify the favorite podcasts of their target demographics and take advantage of Pandora’s full podcast experience. Advertisers can study in-depth data to figure out who’s listening to the podcast and how long for. 

Pandora Audio Ads

There are four different kinds of audio advertising on Pandora:

  1. Platform-Specific Audio
  2. Audio Everywhere 
  3. Sequential Audio
  4. Dynamic Audio

Platform-Specific Audio

Platform-Specific Audio allows advertisers to speak to their audience with 10, 15 or 30-second audio spots in between songs on the Pandora platform. These audio ads will also be accompanied by a constant visual presence across the web, mobile and tablet version of the platform.

Audio Everywhere

Audio Everywhere on Pandora allows an advertiser to reach their audience beyond the Pandora platform on mobile, tablet and web, and expands your reach to the connected car and connected smart speakers in the home as well.

The Audio Everywhere product allows advertisers to use a 10, 15 or 30-second audio spot and is accompanied with a visual ad presence.

Sequential Audio

Sequential Audio on Pandora allows advertisers to drive their listeners further down the path to purchasing with ‘intelligent ad technology.’ Sequential Audio transforms a traditional ad experience on Pandora into an in-depth brand story that is revealed bit-by-bit. The advertiser can serve up a sequence of ads to the listeners in real-time based on audience exposure and their click behavior. 

Dynamic Audio

Dynamic Audio is certainly the most captivating audio ad format available to advertisers on Pandora. You can hyper-personalize your audio ads by leveraging rich listener data, provided by Pandora in real-time. Pandora’s intelligent ad technology optimizes using factors like weather, time of day and location to tailor a specific message to the right listener at the ideal time. The best part of all is this custom audio ad technology can be scaled to millions of different variations for your audience, so the audio ads never get old.

How Long Does it Take to Produce a Pandora Ad?

It typically takes 12 days (eight for ad design and four for production and trafficking) to create your Pandora ad or ad campaign. 

What is Pandora’s audio format?

All Pandora ads, whether they be 10, 15 or 30-second, are in MP3 format. They have a bit rate of 320 kbps and a sample rate of 44.1 kHz. 

Pandora Video Ads

Pandora doesn’t just exclusively offer audio ads. There are five different options for your brand to use Pandora video ads:

  1. Video Everywhere
  2. Platform-specific Video
  3. Mobile Muted Video
  4. Sponsored Listening
  5. Video Plus

Video Everywhere

These simple video ads can run across web, mobile and tablet for Pandora and bundles your video ad and a standard 300×250 banner, whenever the platform has available ad inventory.

Video Everywhere Requirements

Aspect ratios: 16:9 (854×480) and 4:3 (640×480)

Max video length: 30 seconds

Platform-specific Video

Platform-specific video allows for actively engaged users to receive your tailored ad during a natural break in their listening experience. This fullscreen, branded video will only appear when a listener is engaging with the platform, ensuring for maximum viewability. 

Platform-specific Video Requirements

Aspect ratios: 16:9 (854×480) and 4:3 (640×480)

Max video length: 30 seconds

Mobile Muted Video

This mobile-only option will let your video ad be played in a responsive display unit. The listener has the option to unmute, pause and open the ad in fullscreen. 

The muted video starts automatically and the listener can unmute the video, pause their music and watch the video in fullscreen. The listener can then flip their device sideways and watch the ad in landscape. If the listener taps the Call-to-Action (CTA) button, it opens to the advertiser’s landing page in fullscreen on their phone.

Mobile Muted Video Requirements

Aspect ratios: 1:1 (480×480), 16:9 (480×270) and 4:3 (480×360)

Max video length: 30 seconds

Sponsored Listening

Sponsored Listening offers listeners one hour of uninterrupted music, in exchange for 15 seconds of engaging and ‘active attention’ with a brand’s video advertisement. Advertisers have 100% share-of-voice or the platform’s full ad space with Pandora’s unique reward-based ad solution.

Sponsored Listening Video Requirements

Aspect ratios: Horizontal – 16:9 and 4:3, Vertical – 9:16 and 2:3

In-Reward Responsive Banner: 300×250 or 1×1

Post-Reward Audio Spot: 15 or 30 seconds

Video Plus

Listeners have the chance to unlock features like skipping more songs, replaying songs and Pandora Premium access, in exchange for watching your video advertisement. Video Plus is a user-opt-in feature on Pandora that’s a cost-per-completed view ad cost model. This format means your video advertising budget is going further on Pandora. It’s a great option for running a cost-effective ad campaign.

Video Plus Requirements

Flexible formats: Vertical or Horizontal

Aspect ratios: Horizontal – 16:9, 4:3 and 9:16, Vertical – 2:3, Companion Banner – 300×250

What is Pandora’s video format?

Pandora’s video dimensions are: 

  • 16:9 – 854×480
  • 4:3 – 640×480
  • 9:16 – 480×854
  • 2:3 – 480×720

Pandora’s source video format is uncompressed .mov, .avi, MPEG-1 and MPEG-4. The max source video file size is 50mb. 

Pandora Display Ads

There are eight different kinds of Pandora display ads:

  1. Display Everywhere
  2. Platform-specific Display
  3. Sponsored Listening [Rich Media]
  4. Responsive Mobile Display
  5. Web Billboard
  6. Mobile Interstitial
  7. Dynamic Display
  8. Amplified Display

Display Everywhere

Display Everywhere allows you to reach all audiences across all possible touchpoints on Pandora. Display Everywhere is Pandora’s most cost-effective display ad bundle and includes a single, standard 300×250 banner that goes across web, mobile and tablet on the platform.  

Display Everywhere Requirements

Display Banner: 300×250

Platform-specific Display

Platform-specific display ads allow for advertisers to showcase their brand on their platform with display banners across web, mobile and tablet. Pandora offers these display ads to active users, so you’ll be sure the ad reaches an engaged listener.

Platform-specific Display Requirements

Display Banner: 300×250

Sponsored Listening

Pandora’s Sponsored Listening offers one hour of uninterrupted listening in exchange for 15 seconds of ‘active attention’ and engagement with a brand’s display ad. Some examples of what advertisers have done with Sponsored Listening include having listeners watch a video ad, swiping through a slide gallery or interacting with an interactive 360-degree product spotlight. 

Pandora also offers creative services for custom ad executions like when Hewlett Packard (HP) let listeners custom design a guitar by drawing with their fingers on the screen. 

Sponsored Listening Requirements

A fullscreen rich media view

In-Reward Responsive Banner: 300×250 or 1×1

Post-Reward Audio Spot: 15 or 30 seconds

Responsive Mobile Display

Pandora’s Responsive Mobile Display integrates your advertisement by natively placing it in the same section that typically houses album cover art of the current song that is playing on the audio player. This is a mobile ad display that drives some serious quality engagement. 

Responsive Mobile Display Requirements

Aspect ratio: 600×600 through 1080×1080 (has to be a 1:1 aspect ratio)

Web Billboard 

Pandora’s Web Billboard allows a one-day takeover pop up directly above their media player for major product launches, company announcements or key events. The banner will own the background skin and full real estate around the platform’s tuner. 

Web Billboard Requirements

Aspect ratio: 970×250 

Mobile Interstitial

The Mobile Interstitial surprises listeners as soon as they open the Pandora app on iPhone and Android. The mobile interstitial takes over the full screen instantly after the app loading screen. 

Mobile Interstitial Requirements

Aspect ratio: 750×1100

Max File Size: 200kb

Format: HTML 

Dynamic Display

Pandora’s Dynamic Display ads offer three unique capabilities:

  1. Sequential Messaging: Dynamic Display ads appear to the listener in sequence in real-time based on the user’s previous ad exposure and click behaviors.
  2. CTR Optimization: Advertisers can test out multiple banners in real-time and instantly give more weight to the banner ad with the best click-through-rate (CTR) for each age group and gender type. 
  3. Creative Targeting: You can offer unique landing pages that are tailored to listeners of different genders, age and location, with the same advertising tag.
Dynamic Display Requirements

Aspect ratio: 300×250 (served through AdXcel)

Amplified Display

By far, one of Pandora’s coolest ad features, Amplified Display, allows for a captivating and tailored experience, depending on the goal of the ad campaign. Advertisers can use an ad carousel, store locator, shake-to-reveal, weather feed, add to calendar and countdown clock to create a truly unique interaction with your brand. Pandora offers its creative services team for custom executions of specific campaigns. 

Amplified Display Requirements

Aspect ratio: 300×250, a responsive 1×1 banner (600×600 through to 1080×1080) depending on the campaign

What’s next for Pandora ads?

While it may seem like Pandora offers every possible ad type imaginable, there’s still one more new ad type they’re going to start testing later in 2019. 

Voice dialogue ads

Pandora has partnered with San Francisco-based tech company Instreamatic to launch a groundbreaking voice dialogue ad beta sometime in the later half of 2019. 

Voice dialogue ads on Pandora will allow listeners to respond to the advertisement on the platform by speaking out loud and asking for more information about the product being advertised or asking to skip the ad if they’re not interested. 

For the longest time, a traditional audio ad wasn’t ‘clickable.’ So, there wasn’t any way for advertisers to know with certainty, how many people who heard the ad actually went to find more out more product information or better yet, made a purchase. 

Some advertisers overcome this barrier by creating special URLs or discount codes that can then be used to correlate traffic or purchases to audio ads, however, Instreamatic is now offering a new option.

Instreamatic says their voice dialogue ad platform is powered by artificial intelligence that lets customers say much more than just ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when they’re interacting with Pandora ads. 

According to TechCrunch, brands looking to build a voice dialogue ad will need to provide their own voice solution or rely on Instreamatic if they want to participate in this burgeoning space.


[Looking for a signature voice for your first Pandora audio ad or interactive voice ad campaign? Explore the world’s largest selection of professional voice actors for free today!]


Spotify is also trying out interactive voice ads in a much more limited test. Spotify’s mobile voice-enabled ads will encourage the user to say a verbal command to interact and explore other internal Spotify playlists, podcasts and content. 

Spotify is only testing out content promotion with their interactive voice ads and, at this point in time, is not allowing brands to utilize voice-enabled ads.

How to Start Creating Your First Pandora Ad

All Pandora ads need an incredible voice to bring your audio or video advertisements to life. Before you select the type of ad campaign you want to run on the audio streaming platform, you’ll need to select the right voice to anchor the ad. Once you have your voice actor locked down, you can then properly strategize with how you want to go about communicating your core message.

Is that voice so iconic and strong that it can capture the listener’s attention with audio and an image? Or is the voice better complemented with a strong video playing over top of it? There’s no ‘right or wrong’ approach, as you need to pick the ad type on Pandora that best suits how your target demographic wants to be engaged with. 

Get started with your Pandora ad campaign today and sign up at Voices.com.

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