Pandora improves video ad delivery with 100% “in-view” to MRC standards

Pandora cube canvas 160wPandora has announced a technology solution to the problem of in-stream video and display ads being delivered to listeners who aren’t watching their screens. Through partnering with technology provider Moat, Pandora can assure advertisers of 100% in-view impressions in mobile and desktop listening, in accordance with MRC (Media Rating Council) standards.

To understand just what this means technically, and to Pandora advertisers, we spoke with Chris Record, Pandora’s VP of Revenue Operations. He explained that “in-view” refers to viewability standards as defined by the MRC and IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau). You might think that any video or display ad is inherently “viewable,” but from the user’s perspective that is not necessarily true. On a computer, if Pandora is playing on an inactive browser tab (hidden by the active tab), the ad is not viewable. Likewise on a phone, if the screen is turned off, or the Pandora app is backgrounded while the listener uses another app.

Viewability standards are lenient: a video must be at least 50% exposed for two seconds. Same for a display ad, but for just one second.

Pandora and Moat have combined resources into an integrated advertiser solution that suppresses most ad deliveries to screens where the viewability requirements are not met. This solution gives advertisers better bang for their buck, and ideally solves viewability worries in what is mainly an audio medium. (The audio soundtrack of video ads is separately tracked, Chris Record told us.)

Pandora offers an ad-free plan for $5/month, but most of the service’s 80-million monthly users opt for ad-supported listening. They hear audio-only ads, and are also served display-only creative nearly continuously, and “companion” display ads that come in with some audio commercials. Those, and video commercials with audio soundtracks, are inserted between songs. The new in-view assurance to advertisers optimizes how marketing messages reach consumers depending on where their eyes are while their ears are listening.

“Now, not only does Pandora offer a highly viewable environment, but brand messages can receive guaranteed attention,” Chris Record said about the program. You can read Pandora’s explanation here.

Brad Hill