Brands Receive Rapid Feedback on Audio Ads with Pandora's "Test & Tune"

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Digital audio is booming, and savvy advertisers are drawn to the medium's advancements in personalized ad experiences and creative delivery mechanisms. And with that, brands also want an understanding of their ads' effectiveness and performance. While streaming audio allows us to gather data on ad campaigns — including listener demographics and device mix — rich data backed insights typically come post-campaign. As investment in streaming audio matures, marketers want to know if audio creative is breaking through with listeners as soon as possible. To meet that need, Pandora recently introduced a new capability set currently in beta, Test & Tune, that allows our brand partners to quickly glean intelligence on their campaigns and optimize their creative and audio strategies mid-campaign.

How does it work?

Created by Pandora and validated by Kantar, Test & Tune uses a randomized control group methodology with the help of ghost-ads, enabling brands to understand true causal effects of their ads on desired KPIs. Brands can choose to measure their campaigns using either sales lift data from a third-party data provider, or using Pandora Surveys, our proprietary survey-based measurement offering. Pandora has leaned in more than ever to the relationship between creative and its impact on effectiveness. And Test & Tune is designed to help our partners harness and power the potential of audio creative. We are determined to work with brands to help make their audio creative work harder. Here are some examples:

Is Your Brand Breaking Through?

Advertisers can use Test & Tune as a way to assess message association. A lack of lift can signal that the creative isn't effective in communicating a message or value proposition alongside its brand name. In a recent beta example, a large CPG company found that listeners were actually associating its value proposition with the wrong brand! After reviewing the creative, we found that the brand name wasn't mentioned until the last few seconds of the ad - and in recent studies we've seen that recall is highest in the first few seconds of the ad so this wasn't hugely surprising. After recommending that the brand tweak its creative so the name appeared in the first few seconds, a more immediate association was prompted.

Is Your Ad Generating the Intended Response?

As we see often in advertising, listeners can express strong recall after an ad exposure, but they don't take action. This creates a frustrating conundrum for brands. Using Pandora Surveys, marketers can dig into this disconnect and see how they can shift their messaging. For instance, an online services beta client found that users had strong ad recall of an ad with a promotional offer yet saw no lift in purchase intent. Upon further review, our team recommended the advertiser sweeten the offer and revamp the creative to spotlight the deal.

Do Your Spots Shine the Right Light on Your Brand?

Facing a competitive ad market, marketers are keen to break through the clutter. Test & Tune can help accomplish that by inquiring how a message is being received and if it reflects a brand's values, such as quality, reliability, and trust. If listeners don't respond positively, it could be an indication that either the creative or the messaging (or both) may need work. Recently, for a client going through a brand refresh, results from Pandora Surveys helped gauge brand perception and evaluate if their creative was effective in portraying their updated brand values. The brand gained valuable insights on how consumers portrayed their brand after being exposed to its updated messaging, enabling them to further optimize their audio creative to drive towards desired perceptions.

So, what's next?

At Pandora, we're committed to developing new tools to help our brand partners, and our new Test & Tune platform will help advertisers gain insights and optimize effectiveness. This is a living, breathing project, and we plan to add more innovative features, including creative split testing and other data sources to our capability set. With new capabilities like these, we encourage brands to continue the virtuous cycle of testing to gain insights to fuel a creative strategy, with the support of Studio Resonate.

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