Streaming music service Pandora on Tuesday announced the integration of AdsWizz into its platform, giving advertisers the ability to purchase its audio ad inventory programmatically.
Pandora’s acquisition of AdsWizz -- which the company acquired in March for $66.3 million in cash and 9.9 million shares of Pandora common stock -- powers the programmatic marketplace, Eric Picard, vice president of product management at Pandora, told MediaPost.
The idea is to give advertisers reach into a large set of ad-supported listeners. There are 72 million actively monthly listeners in the U.S.
AdsWizz is one in several programmatic platforms that can deliver audio ads. Google also earlier this year announced the availability of audio ads.
Pandora’s audio programmatic feature initially was released in beta this past February. More than 20 brands participated during the test period. Some of those — P&G, Gatorade and Sony Pictures — saw a significant return on ad spend and increases to in-store traffic.
Gina Hardy, head of consumer and athlete engagement at Gatorade, did not cite any specific improvements in her release statement, but mentioned the emotional connection gained through sound and programmatic ads.
“Based on the music, we can pretty much tell if you’re working out, or in a sad or happy mood,” Picard said, referring to targeting options.
Craig Stimmel, who leads digital partnerships at P&G, believes programmatic is key to bringing digital audio into multichannel marketing. It also helps to remove friction from the system that enables real-time optimization for brands to easily find their consumers.
The real issue that moved audio advertising toward programmatic is scale. The scale of Pandora’s audience is not always apparent, he said.
Overall, users logged approximately 5 billion listening hours on Pandora in the first quarter of 2018 across 2,000 consumer electronics devices, with the average listener tuning in approximately 24 hours per month.
Listeners tuning into Pandora on voice-activated devices rose nearly 110% year-over-year, and about 90% of Pandora's total listening hours occur via mobile and other connected devices.
“The amount of data available in this space will continue to grow,” he said. “There’s a lot of commodity data, but the logged-in data from listeners has much more value.”