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  • September 13, 2016
  • 3 minute read

5 Secrets to Creating Better Audio Ads

Audio is–and always has been–a powerful way to tell a story. History is chock-full of examples of audio being used to establish profound connections and commemorate important moments. Think about President Roosevelt’s “Fireside Chats” in the 1930s, or the “little” public radio podcast that piqued a nation’s interest in a Baltimore murder.

For advertisers, audio not only lends a personal touch to mass communication, it also has an extraordinary ability to cut through today’s media clutter. Audio can deliver a message directly into the earbuds of your target audience, with or without their eyes on the screen.

Creating the perfect audio spot isn’t easy but with the right direction and tools, any marketer can master the digital audio ad.

We asked Pandora’s award-winning audio team for their expert tips on creating effective digital audio ads that both capture attention and drive results…here’s what they said:

Secret #1: Use a Conversational Tone

Traditional radio ads are notorious for shouting voiceovers, overused sound effects and excessive repetition. This approach can be especially off-putting when delivered in a digital environment. Using a conversational tone creates an easier transition between entertainment content (like music) and advertising. It’s less jarring, so it feel like less of an interruption. The listener should feel like they’re being spoken by a friend, by someone they can trust.

Secret #2: Address the Individual

Digital offers marketers a number of ways to target an audience. Why not ensure your ad creative reflects the same level of personalization? We’ve mentioned that audio is often delivered directly to a listener’s earbuds, so the more you can address the individual, the better. For example, plenty of audio ads on Pandora begin with, “Hey Pandora listener…” and they always tend to be the most effective. Why? When someone speaks directly to you it resonates, it captures your attention.

Secret #3: Simplify Your Value Proposition

Less is more when it comes to communicating your brand’s value proposition. So get right to the point, and make it short. Don’t try to explain every benefit your product or service provides--stick to what’s most relevant for the targeted listener. In a typical audio spot, you only have 30 seconds to deliver your message anyways (or even less if you consider our shortening attention span). Mastering this tip will help you make a bigger impact.

Secret #4: State a Clear Call-to-Action

Make sure the listener knows what to do next. Do you want them to visit your website? Sign up for an appointment? Fill out a form? In the planning phase of your ad campaign, determine what your business goals and KPIs are for each ad. Then, tailor the creative accordingly. Every spot needs a prominent call-to-action to encourage the listener. But keep it conversational (See Tip #1), and please no unnecessary shouting.

Secret #5: Tap into the “Theater of the Mind”

While the first 4 secrets deal more with how to write an effective audio ad, this one is about how to strategically employ sound as a storytelling technique. By creating a landscape of sound (shall we say soundscape?), you encourage the listener to participate in your storytelling by filling in the “blanks” with their imagination. This dynamic tool, powerfully unique to audio, can include music and other recognizable sounds and noises. It not only engages the listener, but actually gifts them co-ownership of your brand message.


Digital audio is an opportunity for marketers to get “up close and personal” with their audience. The best ads will make an impression and deliver a message, while being easy on the ears. Now that you know Pandora’s top 5 expert tips for making effective digital audio ads, you’re ready to think about choosing the right platform for your campaign. Make sure you’re considering the size of a publisher’s addressable audience before you decide where to spend your money.

To learn more about how Pandora can help you with your audio strategy:

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