Pandora, the music streaming platform, is refining its advertising offer by enabling brands to target particular types of device, such as smart speakers, games consoles or smart TVs.

The move opens up some new opportunities in voice: the Wall Street Journal highlighted how the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is using this option to promote Chuck, its voice app which answers questions about beef.

Such activity presents one possible answer to the question of discovery in this environment, where consumers are unlikely to ask for brands by name.

“The average person thinks you can do three things with voice: listen to music, set timers and ask the weather,” observed Gene Munster, managing partner with venture-capital firm Loup Ventures.

But a consumer could conceivably hear an ad for a CPG brand while listening to Pandora on a smart speaker and then instruct the speaker to order it.

The platform’s ambitions extend further than replicating screen-based banner ads in an audio environment, however.

Lizzie Widhelm, senior vice president of ad innovation at Pandora, is interested in how using just smart speakers can enable marketers to tailor ads to the listening context. “You’re not going to message like you would to an earbud,” she pointed out.

It is perhaps a small step forward, but one of many taking place across the audio landscape where brands are increasingly having to consider how they should address sound; Mastercard, for example, has spent the past two years developing a sonic brand identity.

“Every brand needs to consider sound as a key part of its initial strategy,” Pandora’s ECD Lauren Nagel told Digiday.

“That doesn’t go to every brand needs a jingle,” she added. “The manifestation of a sound strategy could be a voice activation, jingle or just how does the expression of our brand exists in the space.”

And with platforms such as Pandora able to offer the sort of metrics largely absent from traditional radio, brands are better able to understand how their audio strategies are working.

Sourced from Wall Street Journal, Digiday; additional content by WARC staff