Pandora For Brands: The Top Advertising Trends Of 2017

This year saw an 'audio renaissance' and a whole new approach to social media influencers. Here's what that means for marketers.

With voice searches and commands on the rise, 2017 saw something of a “renaissance” for audio, too: After all, talking and listening is inherently easier and more intuitive than text or swipe.

But how did consumers respond to audio advertising — and to digital in general? Below, Pandora for Brands’ top 2017 advertising trends  — and what they mean for marketers.

2017 saw a renewed interest in audio overall

“Now with the widespread popularity of voice-activated devices (such as smart speakers), marketers are making the pivot to audio branding because soon consumers won’t be looking at brands’ logos but rather hearing them instead,” Pandora said in a blog post. “Rafi Mamalian, Global Director of Content & Influencer Marketing at Undertone summed it up nicely: ‘In the next couple of years, we’ll trust voice systems more than influencers and celebrities.'”

So, what opportunities does this open up for marketers? During Advertising Week, Joel Evans, co-founder and VP at Mobiquity, gave a compelling example of how brands can take advantage of this natural marriage between audio and voice-activated assistants: “If you’re in the kitchen, your hands are busy, and maybe you’re pressed for time. [Building an Alexa skill that can talk to users] gives us the ability to guide them through all the different steps of a recipe; You can ask, ‘Okay. What are my ingredients? What’s next?’

“We ended up creating a visual that aired with it [as well.] So you’ve got two different tracks. When [a user] enables the skill, they put their name and their email address in, and we could send a link — which, when opened on any web browser, becomes a companion digital experience. And the audio track itself actually changes because now it knows that you’ve got a visual guide going along with it. That’s something that’s been very successful for us.”

In other words, audio can be a key to engaging customers as they go about their daily lives in their homes. And what’s more, it can be an even stronger experience when paired with corresponding visuals.

This year, digital overtook TV

Marketers are well aware of the importance of digital advertising. But in 2017, digital spending finally eclipsed TV: According to Magna, digital ad spending reached $209 billion worldwide, while TV brought in $178 billion.

As digital continues to reign supreme in 2018, the key for marketers will be to not only build compelling digital ad experiences, but to improve the way they blend the online and the offline worlds. After all, as we wrote recently, the majority of millennials believe it’s important for brands to have physical stores. As such, the challenge for marketers going forward will be to not only create ads that lead to clicks or retail visits, but to think about initiatives — like in-store pick-up, smart displays, and more — that engage shoppers once they’re actually in stores.

Influencer marketing took a leap — via audio, video, and all social media

It’s no longer all about celebrity endorsements. Today, “with some influencers making tens of millions of dollars every year, more and more brands are ditching celebrity influencers, who tend to come with steep price tags,” Pandora said in its blog post. “Instead, brands are now placing their advertising bets on micro influencers.”

It may also surprise marketers how successful this tactic is in audio and video advertising aimed at Gen-Z teens: A recent report from Awesomeness found that these younger consumers watch an average of 68 videos per day — but they are less likely to respond to a overt video ad than to a favorite content creator making a funny video that includes a brand or product. In 2018, it will be even more important to provide a platform that empowers existing influencers to authentically use their voice to build a connection between a brand and Gen-Z.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.