Pandora’s new interactive voice ads format is now live with limited test partners. Users can learn more by saying ‘yes’ after an advertisement.
The first round of advertisers on board for the new format include Doritos, Unilever, Wendy’s, Turner Broadcasting, Comcast, Nestle, and Ashley HomeStores.
Each ad begins with an explanation about what it is and how interactive ads work. The ad plays a short and simple message, followed by a question. Listeners can then respond yes for more info.
Pandora’s Voice Mode assistant powers the interactive voice ads. Voice Mode launched earlier this year and allows for hands-free control of the app. Pandora believes voice ads will be the future of advertising in a hands-free world. Voice ads are, by nature, more engaging than traditional radio ads.
Claire Fanning, Pandora Vice President of Ad Innovation, says early testing has been positive.
“Preliminary results from our alpha test show unprecedented engagement rates. My hypothesis is that this is partly due to the new and exciting environment, but also because the creative is incredibly powerful and driven by utility. Voice ad creative may set a new bar for ad effectiveness, although we have a lot more to test, and a lot remains to be seen.”
Pandora first announced its plans to test interactive voice ads in April. San Francisco-based Instreamatic is the start-up partner handling the implementation of the interactive ads.
With many users now familiar with giving commands to smart speakers, voice ads don’t feel out of place. Pandora correctly points out that tracking clicks leave out audiences who use their devices mostly hands-free. Voice ad engagement may help cover the gaps in those instances.
Amazon currently limits voice ads on its Echo devices for fear of customer alienation. Spotify has flirted with voice ads this year, but that was a limited test and not a widespread rollout.
Pandora’s voice ads don’t have to be interacted with, either. If the consumer doesn’t respond within a few seconds or says ‘no,’ music playback will begin again. For now, it appears as though this is a limited test among a subset of Pandora users.