In a bid to strengthen its revenue, Pandora has launched promoted stations that partner with advertisers, in a native way.
The Internet radio service noted in a blog post that listeners will see stations where brands act as curators and producers to deliver content from an array of artists and genres.
Branded stations appear as recommendations within station lists, so users will see a brand’s content along with their existing stations. Once listeners click on a branded station, it will be added to their list so they can easily return again.
Lizzie Widhelm, vice president of digital at Pandora, says the company is recommending promoted stations next to the stations it recommends based on users’ behavior.
The offering is launching with “nearly” 10 advertisers in beta, including Taco Bell, Skechers, and Toyota, and reaches nearly 10 percent of its 76 million listeners. Pandora says it will grow this audience throughout the year.
According to Widhelm, Pandora works with marketers to build a sound for each brand.
Taco Bell’s station, for example, includes Leagues’ “Spotlight” and Tokyo Police Club’s “Hot Tonight”, while Toyota says its Toyota Sessions station provides “exclusive access and intimate performances featuring [singer-songwriter] ZZ Ward.”
During the beta period, Pandora is testing features like placements for promoted stations, Widhelm says.
Pandora says native, custom-built experiences like promoted stations work well on mobile – which is where 80 percent of Pandora listening happens – by giving advertisers an opportunity to communicate with listeners they want to target by tapping into music to convey the sound of their brand.
“We know that our listeners come to Pandora for discovery, which is just what these stations are,” Widhelm says. “That’s good for listeners and good for advertisers.”
GroupM predicts that global ad spend will top $547 billion next year, up from $524 billion this year. While television will still capture the biggest share of that 12-figure pie (41%), digital's share will grow from 31% to 33%.
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