Insights On Voice From Pandora At Cannes Lions

Marketers at Pandora believe that as the popularity of smart speakers rises, voice will become an important part of search and discovery on the device.

Loup Ventures estimates that more than one-third of U.S. households will have a smart speaker by the end of 2019.

Alexa maintains the lead in market share, but Google continues to gain share. In the U.S., Amazon Alexa owns 58% of the market, with Google Home at 28%; Apple HomePod at 4%; and Other, 10%, according to Loup Ventures. The first estimates 2019 unit sales at 72 million, up from 52 million in 2018.

The biggest challenge is that not all smart speakers work as they should. It really depends on the performance of the internet connection.

With a strong internet connection, however, Pandora's voice feature enables listeners to control their experience through verbal commands.

What about the evolution of advertising and monetization for audio and how it will expand into other creative opportunities?



Lizzie Widhelm, SVP of ad innovation at Pandora shared her thoughts on trends and possibilities for voice at Cannes Lions with Search Marketing Daily.

Widhelm, who estimates that Pandora owns about four hours per day with listeners, is responsible for adapting the newest audio advertising technologies with the goal of connecting brands with difficult-to-reach consumers. Pandora collects about 1 billion data points daily, which helps the company serve ads and content.

What are you hearing at Cannes about digital audio, advertising and monetization?

There was a panel full of marketers and a question came up about what everyone is doing in voice.

It depends on the vertical, of course, but no one has figured it out. They all understand the value and effortlessness of how it works, such as when asking what time it is or to set a timer, but in terms of how to drive brand metrics that leverage consumer behavior, it was clear that most brands are still trying to figure it out.

What are they doing to figure it out?

We’re doing a couple of things, such as allowing people to use their voice to navigate through the service. We’ve also been testing a service since January listeners have been able to control their listening experience in the Pandora App using only their voice. We'll be guiding brands on how to navigate this space with Studio Resonate this summer. For example, brands can ask listeners questions through Pandora like "Hey Pandora listener, do you want to learn more about touring California?" and the tourism board would come back with some reason why the listener should tour California. 

What is Studio Resonate?

It’s an in-house consultancy for advertisers announced last week. It helps marketers approach audio in its own way - improving opportunities for ad effectiveness and resonance while increasing listener satisfaction. It allows us to talk with marketers about what we’ve learned without creating a huge cost for them through content. … The opportunity isn’t to pivot everything to voice. It’s really based on the listener.

How will audio change in the future?

The youngest consumers are comfortable with voice. I have three children, and they rarely tap for anything. They fully understand how to leverage their voice on a mobile device.

For marketers reaching the youngest consumers they might be a higher success rate to drive engagement. Whether or not a marketer leverages voice, and to what degree, is based on the audience that is important to their prominent behavior.

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