Pandora Debuts Test & Tune Measurement Tools for Tracking Within Campaigns

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Audio-streaming platform Pandora has a new way for advertisers to track campaigns.

Test & Tune, a new suite of measurement tools, is the first product to debut from Pandora’s Insights Lab, which was created in September 2018, and rolls out today as an open beta.

“The audio space is exploding,” Pandora vice president of ad innovation strategy Claire Fanning told Adweek. “There has been a massive surge in audio usage, and new devices are springing up everywhere.”

She also addressed the challenges of advertising in the audio space, and measuring the effectiveness of those efforts.

“It’s been really noisy in terms of trying to help advertisers understand how to improve creative in the audio space, with no visual aids,” Fanning said. “A lot of brands are really enthusiastic, but it comes with a lot of questions. Robust reporting and analysis are available, but often, it’s post-campaign. There are not a lot of signals happening within the campaign to help optimize.”

Test & Tune works by carving out a randomized control group from the targeted audience for a brand’s campaign on Pandora, made up of listeners who were not exposed to that brand’s audio ads, and then comparing the causal effects of advertising between those who heard the ad and those who would have heard it. Pandora said this method was validated by Kantar as using industry best practices.

“We can understand from that what their attitudes and purchase behaviors look like,” Fanning said.

Fellow audio-streaming platform Spotify has been bolstering its measurement offerings as well, introducing its new Streaming Ad Insertion program at CES 2020 last week.

Spotify’s SAI enables advertisers to measure their podcasts’ ad impressions, frequency and reach, as well as mine insights such as age, gender and device being used to listen to those podcasts.

The two measurement options available within Test & Tune as it debuts are Pandora Surveys and Sales Lift.

Fanning said Pandora Surveys enable brands to offer 60 minutes of uninterrupted listening in exchange for answers to short, one- to three-question surveys related to recall, awareness, purchase intent and consideration.

“This is not intended to be 30 questions and tell you everything you need to know about your campaign,” Fanning said, adding that brands should run these surveys early in their campaigns so they can get feedback from listeners and improve their campaigns as they run.

Brands including StubHub and Procter & Gamble partnered with Pandora during the alpha phase of Pandora Surveys.

StubHub media strategy lead Leah Atkinson said in an email, “StubHub’s use of Pandora Surveys provided valuable insights on how the campaign resonated with our audience. Incrementality is at the center of everything we do with regard to measurement, so it will be interesting to see how the ability to read lift on business metrics (i.e., revenue) specifically associated with exposure to Pandora audio campaigns advances and progresses.”

Pandora teamed up with a credit card data provider on Sales Lift, which will attach back-end purchasing data to campaigns to demonstrate the actual return on investment.

The data is anonymized, with all results surfaced in aggregate. “We’re not looking at individual listeners,” Fanning said. “We’re looking for trends.”

Further down the road, Pandora will look to add elements to Test & Tune such as A/B testing, split testing and using client-side tags.

“A lot of brands are thinking about their sonic identities,” Fanning said. “Ads are taking a lot of shapes and sizes, and are not restricted to 30-second formats. We are very excited to continue the drumbeat of insights as we go into 2020.”

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