Online Radio: It Could be the Best Way to Get Into the Heads of Your Prospects

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How many times a day do you find yourself talking to someone who doesn’t seem to hear you, only to find out they’re listening to something through ear buds? It’s happening a lot more often, and what they’re listening to is online radio.

Online streaming radio is quickly becoming the most ubiquitous form of media ever, more a part of everyday life than television, newspapers and books.

Unlike these other types of media, listening to music online can happen almost any place and at any time, even while doing other tasks. People listen to streaming music and other content while at work, the gym, running, doing chores around the house, walking the dog, driving and more.

Today, more than a third of people in the U.S. use their smartphones to stream content. People under age 24 listen to internet radio more than traditional radio services. Two of the five most popular apps in the United States, Pandora and Youtube, stream music. Other options include Iheartradio, Bloomberg, Apple Music and Spotify.

In 2015, Pandora had 250 million registered users, with just over 80 million being active, regular ones. It’s the dominant service in the streaming space. Users have the option of choosing a paid subscription service, which has no advertising, or a free version which has advertising integrated into the content. Less than a third of Pandora users opt for the paid service. That means more than 50 million of Pandora’s active users have agreed to be marketed to.

If that’s the case, why aren’t more financial and professional services firms using this popular and growing medium to literally get into the heads of their prospects?

The cost of advertising on Pandora is relatively inexpensive. It varies depending on the type of advertising:

  • Visual ads (which most users see approximately seven times per hour) have an approximate $5-7 CPM (cost per thousand)
  • Audio ads average $8-12 CPM
  • Video ads are the most expensive, with an average $15-25 CPM.

Once you choose an ad type, there are ten different ways to execute ads and sponsorships on Pandora. Here are some ideas on how they could be leveraged for financial and professional services marketing campaigns.

1. Custom station

Your firm creates its own Pandora station, which can include any type of content you choose, including music, spoken word, educational material, podcasts — virtually anything you need to get your company’s message out to your target audience.


  • A station featuring the latest hits along with information about saving for college.
  • One offering investment tips for day traders.
  • A specialized channel for pre-retirees that includes features on retirement lifestyles.

2. Station sponsorship

Your company completely takes over a station, which means that people who tune into it will see a banner ad for your firm. This type of sponsorship includes audio ads, as well.

If your company has a defined consumer base, it’s likely it can find a station to sponsor that fits their demographic profile.

3. Overlay

An ad for your company (possibly animated) takes over the Pandora screen.

This is an inexpensive advertising option for businesses that want to build brand awareness.

4. Video autoplay

A video about your company and its products or services automatically plays when users switch stations or skip songs.

Nothing will distract users when the video is played. This is a good opportunity for firms that want to break through the clutter and make sure listeners hear what they have to say.

5. Billboards and skins

Images and messages about your business appear when listening to Pandora. Including a call-to-action button is possible with this option.

This is a cost-effective way to stay top-of-mind with consumers and give them an easy way to learn about and contact your firm.

6. Mix tape

This isn’t the mix tape you remember from back in the ’80s and 90s. Instead, it’s a series of songs your business sponsors. Or Pandora users can submit songs for your firm’s mix tape. The tunes reflect your brand and your firm’s name or logo appear as part of the mix.

A mix tape is a great brand-building or consumer engagement opportunity.

7. Welcome message

Your firm buys a full-screen ad that appears when users launch the Pandora app.

A welcome message is a cost-effective way for banks, credit card or insurance companies that require frequent exposure to stay top-of-mind with consumers.

8. Trial sponsorship

With this option, your firm sponsors a one-week free trial of Pandora One, the app’s enhanced consumer offering.

This type of sponsorship is a good marketing option for prestige, high-end firms to reach consumers that are willing to pay a little extra for a higher level of service.

9. Sponsored listening

Your business sponsors an hour of advertising-free listening. In exchange, users watch a video or listen to an ad about your firm, its products or services.

This is a good option if your firm’s message requires focused listening or viewing. This is an effective educational opportunity.

10. Complete advertising campaign

A campaign allows your company to select all the Pandora features needed to get your message out to your target audience effectively.

Pandora is a relatively inexpensive marketing channel. It could be worthwhile to spend a little extra to take advantage of multiple features to develop a campaign.

Interested in developing a streaming radio campaign for your financial or professional services or Fintech firm? Carpenter Group can help you develop the creative, select the right placements and monitor your campaign to ensure you get the results you expect. What are you waiting for? Contact us today.