Pandora Forgoes iAd, Builds Its Own iPad Ad-Platform For New App

In addition to its brand new app for the iPad, Pandora is debuting a brand new way to capitalize on the popularity of its service through its very own mobile ad-platform.

Similar in nature to iAd, Pandora’s new foray into mobile advertising features capability for video, audio and a host of interactive elements, all without leaving the app itself.  Though iAd is set to debut on July 1st, Pandora either simply couldn’t wait, or thought it could be better to go it alone.  The latter seems to be working out, as the company has already signed big-name advertisers to its roster- including Starbucks, Lexus and Budweiser.

Pandora likely saw itself in a unique position to offer laser-targeted advertising on mobile given its “personalized radio service” ecosystem- one the company says it can use to “hyper-target its listeners by gender, age, location, the type of music they like, and time of day.”

Pandora already knows what it’s doing in the advertising game, as more than 70% of the top-spending brands in the U.S. have advertised on the service since Jan. ’09.  Since Pandora makes a large majority of its revenue from advertising, the company has to know exactly what it’s doing, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that they do.

It’s still unclear exactly what Pandora has planned for its new iPad-based — and likely soon to be iPhone-based as well — ad platform, but it will likely come up with highly unique campaigns to offer premium advertisers.  In the case of the iPad, for example, Pandora is trying to find ways of matching its customizable playlists to advertisers.  Its new Starbucks ad lets users build a “however-you-want-it Frappuccino,” which then generates a branded radio station playlist that reflects users’ “beverage taste.”