Pandora Tests In-Stream Audio Ads
For the campaign, which ended Tuesday, Pandora.com ran brief sponsorship announcements while users changed their music station preferences. The spots said that McDonald's sponsored the station and highlighted the restaurant's dollar menu. The ads played once per day; during the course of the test, they were heard by around 100,000 listeners.
Many users were neutral to the ads, but some users saw them as annoying--and posted their thoughts Wednesday on Pandora's blog. "If you guys start doing audio commercials, you'll just become Yahoo Music. Differentiate yourselves," one user wrote. "We turn to internet radio for the ability to escape from audio commercials and enjoy the music."
Cheryl Lucanegro, vice president of advertising for Pandora, said the company was compiling the data and would be planning more tests of in-stream ads in the future. Meanwhile, Pandora is rolling out its on-site display ads, which include display ads targeted by musical genre or mood, and ad wraps around the Pandora player, to partner sites--including MSN Radio, which Pandora began powering in November.
Lucanegro added that placing audio ads in users' personalized radio stations could prove to be a sensitive issue. "People see the station as their own personal station," she said. "We're very, very conscious when we try to add advertising, or anything, that would involve interrupting the listening process."