Picking the Right Sponsored Content Product for You, Part 1

In the last couple of years, sponsored content hit its stride. Beginning with native search ads and expanding into high-touch brand journalism, today’s sponsored content includes many different iterations and have become a pillar of any media strategy.

Recent eMarketer research found that consumers spend over 50% of their day consuming content–the equivalent of 12 hours or more.[1] And the more informative, entertaining or personalized, the more time we spend consuming. As a brand, following that time spent is a powerful place to be, and one that is more likely to get your message heard.

What is Sponsored Content?

Today, there is an infinite number of ways to sponsor content. Even at Pandora, we have our own take on the term. With over 76 million monthly active listeners, each spending more than 20 hours a month engaging with music and podcast content, Pandora can offer sponsored content opportunities that seamlessly integrate into the listening experience and reach an audience that is already highly engaged and passionate.

But you likely already know this. We work with brands all the time who want to invest in sponsored content but aren’t sure of the best way to do so. If that describes you (even if you’re just getting started with sponsored content for the first time), we’ve laid out a highly strategic approach to investing in sponsored content on Pandora.

In Part 1 of this two-part blog series, we’re focusing on our most “rentable” sponsored content opportunities: Genre Sponsorships and Podcast Sponsorships. These are opportunities for brands to tap into an organic, built-in audience rather than building a custom audience of their own based on a target demographic. As you can see in the chart below, we organize our offerings on a scale of rentable to ownable and turnkey to tailored. The products we will explore represent the quickest way for brands to get started with a sponsored content strategy.

Genre Sponsorships

There are many ways brands can align with music on Pandora, but Genre Sponsorships are one of the easiest ways to do so. Specifically, Genre Stations are created by our in-house Curation Team to align with certain genres, seasons or activities. Some of our favorites include Today’s Country, Valentine’s Day and Pop & Hip Hop Power Workout. However, this is just a taste of the 60+ Genre Stations available to every listener on Pandora. For brands, this is our most turnkey opportunity to align with musical, seasonal or lifestyle content that already attracts an engaged audience. Other benefits include:

  • Organic Audience: “Rent” an established audience of engaged listeners that have opted into the listening experience, spending 2-4 hours with stations on average.
  • Turnkey Implementation: Easily integrate display, audio and video messaging into the environment of your chosen Genre Station.
  • Premium Brand Experience: Brands provide listeners with a limited interruption experience, creating a premium solution that increases favorability.

Podcast Sponsorships

If you’re looking for something more customizable but still easy to implement, Podcasts strike a nice balance. Still a “rentable” opportunity, these give brands the ability to align with existing long-form audio content, like Pandora’s syndication of This American Life and Serial, as well as our original show, Questlove Supreme. Podcast Sponsorships are best for brands that want to push beyond the boundaries of catalog tracks. Esurance, the insurance for the modern world, did this brilliantly when they became a launch partner for Serial, Season Two (see their results: here). Other benefits include:

  • Owned Audience: Brand has 100% share-of-voice in the station environment and is the exclusive program sponsor for spoken word content.
  • Talk Meets Digital: Leverage the engaging podcast storytelling and hosted shows on a digital platform for in-depth measurement and data.
  • Creative Consulting: Our in-house Creative Services team consults with brands on how to develop and produce audio ad creative that fits naturally within the spoken word environment.

Create Easy Connections with an Already-Engaged Audience

Once you’ve made the decision to go where your audience spends time–and indeed, Pandora owns approximately two of the 12 hours people spend consuming content a day–then it’s important to consider the best way to bring your message to life. Our suite of products and tools offer plenty of opportunities to align your brand with content that’s already attracting attention and engagement. If an easy implementation is your priority, then a Genre Sponsorship could be the way to go. This product offers the easiest way for brands to align their message with the passion point of music without the commitment of building a new audience. But if you want to still tap into a rentable audience but with a more tailored message, Podcast Sponsorships might be a better choice. This solution combines premium content with a highly engaged audience to drive results for your brand.

If an easy implementation is your priority, then a Genre Sponsorship could be the way to go. This product offers the easiest way for brands to align their message with the passion point of music without the commitment of building a new audience. But if you want to still tap into a rentable audience but with a more tailored message, Podcast Sponsorships might be a better choice. This solution combines premium content with a highly engaged audience to drive results for your brand.

The key thing to think about here is the level of investment you’re willing to make. Is this your company’s first time experimenting with sponsored content? Who is the audience you’re trying to reach? Are you looking to tap into an existing audience or build a new one? Do you want to grow the campaign over time? These are all important questions to help decide which sponsored content product is right for you.

Instead, if building your own audience on Pandora–one that allows for a conversation over time–sounds appealing, you’ll be interested to check out Part 2 of this blog series, focused on our “ownable” offerings. So, stay tuned! And if you’d like to learn more about how sponsored content can increase the impact of your marketing message on Pandora, get in touch with us here.



1 eMarketer, Average Time Spent per Day with Major Media by Adults, Sept 2017

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