Take a minute and think about your most recent ride in the car. What’d you listen to? Did you tune in to the radio? Or stream your favorite song?
As technology changes, so do our preferences and behaviors. As a marketer, you need to make sure you’re tuned in to these behavioral changes in order to build a powerful audio strategy and effectively reach today’s in-car audience.
There will be an estimated 80M new cars on the road by 2023, and a whopping 98% of them will have Advanced Infotainment systems.1 This means drivers and their passengers will have access to a plethora of listening options. In fact, we’re already seeing a major shift in preference: drivers of new cars are listening to three times more digital audio than those in older models.2
While connected cars are making it easier and easier to tune in, drivers are choosing to tune out from AM/FM radio. Listeners are now accustomed to personalized listening, and as a result, have become impatient with long, irrelevant commercial breaks. Drivers are three times more likely to switch audio when listening to AM/FM than when listening to other sources.3
Why is it important to reach an in-car audience? Not only is nearly a third of all audio consumed in the car,4 but these consumers are on-the-go and primed to buy. Think—commuters hungry for breakfast, or families on their way to the grocery store. To illustrate this point, we found that 57% of Pandora users listen in the car on route to a QSR.5 Catch them in this key decision making time, and your message can influence them to add you to their shopping list or pull over into the drive-through.
When thinking about an in-car audio ad, your approach should be slightly different than other environments.
1. Keep Driver Safety as a Priority
The use of jarring sounds such as loud sirens, crashes, etc. could frighten or distract the driver, potentially compromising their safety. Remember that the car is a rather small and closed space, meaning you don’t need to be loud to capture listeners’ attention.
Notice how Nestle keeps the ad conserversational and at an ‘inside’ volume, like they’re talking 1:1 with the passengers.
2. Add Contextual Cues
Include subtle cues and sounds that will resonate with listeners on-the-go. Personalize the message to the situation by incorporating engine revs or pointing out likely roadside objects.
When you play the above example, it opens with the familiar sounds of traffic and car engines. By acknowledging that the listener is in the car and tapping into the frustrations of traffic, Paradise Vacations immediately makes a connection with the driver and offers an escape.
3. Communicate a Clear, Non-click CTA
Because drivers don’t have immediate access to a device or screen, you have to rethink your call-to-action. Remove the mention of ‘tap’ or ‘click’ and replace with an action more relevant such as: “turn into” or “come visit us in-store.”
In this example, Pine-Sol uniquely positions their message for a consumer on-the-go by encouraging them to “step on the gas to pick up Pine-Sol while you’re out.”
Connected Cars are taking over the road, and as a result, drivers of these cars are listening to digital audio more than ever. The key to building a powerful strategy is understand these listening trends and reaching listeners where they are. Pandora has seen nearly 6x platform growth in the past 5 years6 and is integrated into over 200+ car models. We have premium inventory that is uncluttered and cannot be skipped. Our ability to target your ideal consumer while they’re in the car with a personalized, relevant message results in meaningful connections that drives results.
Ready to hit the road with your message? Contact us today to get started.
 Accenture. Connected cars as a share of total vehicles 2015-2025
 Edison Research Share of Ear Study, Q2 2018. Daily time spent to audio type. AM/FM listening online was credited to AM/FM category
 Source: Edison Research Hacking the Commuter Code study, 2016
 “Cracking the Commuter Code.” Edison Research, Omnicom Media and Pandora. October 2018.
 QSR Pandora Soundboard Study, March 2017
 Internal Pandora metrics, October 2018