OAKLAND, CA: Audio advertising could be set to follow the path of video advertising and shift away from the standard 30-second format to shorter ad lengths, ongoing research from Pandora suggests.

The internet radio station’s attention was drawn to ad length when separate research into the difference in ad effectiveness between broadcast radio and digital radio indicated that shorter audio ads of eight seconds appeared to prompt higher recall among 13-24 year olds.

A subsequent series of tests, involving collaboration with a number of advertisers, including pest control firm Orkin, recruitment firm ZipRecruiter and sandwich chain Subway, sought to establish whether there was value in utilizing a shorter length audio ad as a part of a media mix of varying ad lengths.

Three weeks into its tests, it reported that while both ten-second and 30-second audio ads successfully drove ad recall, the lift was higher for the longer format, although the shorter format was still producing “double digit lifts”.

“These shorter form ads do drive impact and we recommend using them as part of a broader media mix,” Pandora said.

The research also appeared to confirm that shorter ad formats resonate better amongst younger consumers, with ad recall rates highest amongst 25-34 year olds.

Shorter formats do not necessarily equal less time spent with the brand, it added. “In one test, we found that the shorter ad format actually drove higher time spent on the landing page versus those who were exposed to the 30-second ad.”

Marketers ought to think about more than simply buying time, Pandora advised, and look at buying effectiveness. “If a message can be communicated in a shorter time period, you may want to consider that option,” it said.

Lizzie Widhelm, Pandora’s SVP/ ad product strategy, posited that a blend of shorter and longer length audio ads could “help with message breakthrough and alleviate potential creative fatigue”.

So, for example, a brand could deploy “a punchy, ten-second message to capture attention” before following up in the next ad break with a 30-second ad to convey the full message or to articulate a call-to-action.

The next stage in Pandora’s research will be to test this approach.

Data sourced from Pandora, Adweek; additional content by WARC staff