Pandora’s New Campaign Responds to a Surge in Smart Home Device Listening

People are turning to connected speakers, gaming consoles and smart TVs

Pandora's new campaign focuses on how an audio experience can transform a space. Pandora
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Key insights:

Many people are turning to smart home devices for the first time as the coronavirus pandemic forces them inside, according to a new set of listening trends from Pandora.

The Sirius XM-owned digital audio company tracked a surge in Pandora listeners logging in from a connected home device for the first time in the weeks since quarantine measures started going into effect in the U.S. in early March.

The company has also seen general at-home listening—a category that encompasses smart speakers and TVs, gaming consoles and other internet-enabled home appliances—pick up by double digits some of the time they would otherwise spend plugged into a mobile device on a commute.

In light of that shift, Pandora is rolling out a new brand campaign this week called “Discover Your Great Indoors,” which will run across social, digital display, audio and email channels as well as on Pandora’s own platforms. The theme of the campaign is listeners transforming rooms of their homes with audio experiences on smart-home devices.

Streaming music and podcast services including Pandora have long been the most popular use for smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, even as device-makers have struggled to push people beyond such staple apps in an effort to kickstart an app ecosystem.

Lizzie Widhelm, svp of ad innovation at Pandora, said that usage trend could continue even as lockdown measures are eventually eased. “I do think that these new customers and their ability to see how we can strengthen the quality of our life in the home will stick,” Widhelm said.

That changing behavior has implications for how Pandora works with brands to shape ads and the metrics the company gives them. A 2019 report from Pandora and an outside research firm found that 37% of ad impressions went uncounted because of “co-listening”—situations in which more than one person is listening to a stream at a given time.

With the Covid-19 pandemic pushing more people onto smart devices, that number is likely much larger now. Widhelm said she has been advising advertisers to keep advertising more family-centric, or craft creative in a way that takes into account the fact that multiple members of a household may be listening.

The company has also noticed an adjustment period to life under quarantine similar to that noted by other ads metrics analysts. That is, namely, a short-lived spike in news and science or health content giving way to more escapist and entertaining topics as people are worn down by the daily news cycle. Fitness content is also seeing a surge in popularity.

@patrickkulp Patrick Kulp is an emerging tech reporter at Adweek.