Pandora launches “Sponsored Listening” for mobile app users to unlock an hour’s free radio

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Pandora has announced that its “Sponsored Listening” for mobile app users and advertisers alike has come out of beta and is now available for all marketers. This allows mobile app users to opt-in to watch a sponsored ad or other rich media campaign in exchange for an hour’s worth of free radio listening.

Pandora launches Sponsored Listening

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According to Pandora, previously tested adverts generated a rise in purchase intent of 30% and increased brand awareness by 12%. Four million of its users opted in to try the feature, though the company did not comment on how many returned. Videos can run from between 15 seconds to 2.5 minutes. In addition to video, advertisers can launch slide gallery content or 360-degree product spotlights. Jonathan Eccles, Product Manager, Pandora, explains: 


“The real biggest thing we wanted to test for ourselves was, ‘Is this something that really changes how consumers perceive advertisers? Is this something that makes people really happy to encounter an ad? What the beta proved out is that, yes, it is.”

Among top brands which have participated during the company’s beta testing are Gatorade, Corona Extra and Yuengling.

With 80% of its listeners using the mobile app, the company recently reported ad revenues of $230.9m, a 30% increase year-on-year. In addition, total listening hours were up 5% to 5.3bn. Eccles adds:

“We want to put a lot of deep focus on where the majority of our listeners and our engagement is. When it comes to the value that advertisers are really looking for now, mobile really is the heart of it.”

Pandora isn’t the only music service making use of sponsored content. Competitors such as iHeartRadio as well as Spotify have launched similar ad campaign strategies to reward users for engaging with advertisers.

How Pandora Sponsored Listening works