A lot of people assume that the paid advertising ecosystem consists of just two main platforms: Google and Facebook. And to be fair, the large majority of online advertising revenue is generated by these two major players.
But there are literally hundreds of other online platforms that offer their own self-serving advertising networks for brands. From Amazon to Reddit, it seems that the next logical step after hitting a userbase of 100 million+ is to create an ad platform that brands can use to serve content to your users. One of the most notable platforms to recently launch its own self-serving ad network is Spotify.
What Is Spotify For Brands?
The global music streaming service first launched its Ad Studio in the US towards the end of 2017. Its key USP was the launch of a digital ad format that had never really been seen before – audio ads. Reportedly offering a 24% boost in ad recall when compared with traditional display advertising, this new format gives brands a whole new way to target consumers in the places they can’t reach with other digital formats. And with UK workers spending an average of 58 minutes commuting every day, that gives brands an awful lot of opportunity!
Since its successful launch in the US, Spotify has successfully rolled out its Ad Studio to users in the UK. It has also launched several new advertising formats with ‘Video’, ‘Display’ and ‘Sponsorship’.
What Are Spotify’s Advertising Formats?
Spotify’s Audio Ads consist of one overarching format – ‘Audio Everywhere’. The ads are served between songs, along with a visual companion which can be seen in the cover art area of a users’ screen to help drive conversions. It’s available across pretty much all devices including mobile, desktop, Playstation 4, Chromecasts and select connected TVs.
There are several ways to create your Audio Ads for Spotify; the most common of these would be to record your advert in-house. If you choose to do this then you need to ensure your audio is in WAV or MP3 format, no more than 30 seconds long and no more than 1MB in size. You’ll also need a 640 by 640px image to accompany your audio, in a JPG format and a file size of no more than 200KB.
If you don’t have the capabilities to create a high-quality audio advert in-house, then Spotify’s second option for creating audio ads may be more suited to you. It works the same way as the standard Audio format, but instead of recording the advert yourself you can simply put together a script and Spotify will record the advert for you! You can customise your voiceover based on language, age and gender to ensure the voice actor is relevant to your brand and target audience. There is also a ‘Pace Chart’ which allows you to determine how many words to include in your script depending on how fast you want your actor to speak; remember that all Audio ads are 30 seconds long.
Spotify’s Video Ads are made up of two main formats – ‘Sponsored Session’ and ‘Video Takeover’. In brief, ‘Sponsored Session’ allows you to offer a user 30 minutes of ad-free listening in exchange for watching your brand’s video. It’s a great way to target Spotify’s reported 99 million users on its free, ad-supported subscription and encourage a positive association with your brand.
The other Video Ad format, ‘Video Takeover’, simply serves your video to users between songs during commercial ad breaks. On its ‘Ad Experiences’ landing page, Spotify claims that its video ads have “leading viewability scores compared to industry benchmarks”.
Spotify also offers several Display ad formats including ‘Overlay’, ‘Homepage Takeover’ and ‘Leaderboard’. The first of these, ‘Overlay’, targets users when they first open the Spotify app, displaying your message in an engaging format with a customisable CTA.
The second format, ‘Homepage Takeover’, does exactly what the label says. It allows you to showcase your brand’s message on the Spotify homepage for 24 hours, targeting the millions of users that visit Spotify every day. This format also supports rich media, allowing brands to experiment with creative formats to truly catch the attention of users.
The final format, ‘Leaderboard’, allows you to reach users in what Spotify describes as a “brand safe environment”. This simply means that your advert appears as a traditional display ad would, but as the only ad shown for the next 30 seconds.
Finally, brands with larger budgets can make the most of Spotify’s enormous userbase by exclusively sponsoring individual playlists. With over 2 billion playlists, some attracting millions of subscribers, this is one of the platform’s most popular features. According to Spotify, their in-house team will work alongside your marketing team to choose a playlist that best aligns with your target audience. For example, say you own a gym franchise with numerous locations around the UK, sponsoring Spotify’s ‘Power Workout’ playlist could be a good move.
Why Spotify For Brands?
So, now for the big question. Why should advertisers care about Spotify’s ad platform?
For me, the platform’s main USP is the fact that it supports a very unique ad format. You may think there’s more than enough advertising formats to get the coverage you need, but audio can reach people when they’re doing things that other ad formats simply cannot. The main use case for this is when people are driving, but just think about all the times you listen to Spotify whilst cooking, cleaning, in the shower, working and so on. Research suggests that 79% of audio consumption takes place while people are engaged in activities where visual media cannot reach them.
Ad blockers are also far more ineffective on Spotify, mainly because a large percentage of these ads are audio-based. Even so, research from Spotify suggests that 75% of digital audio listeners think adverts are totally fine on a free streaming service; that’s a pretty compelling figure!
It’s also important to note that there is a $250 minimum budget per campaign. Whilst this may seem like a lot of money to spend on one campaign for smaller advertisers, it suggests that Spotify only works with brands that are serious about investing in paid advertising. This is something that should be quite reassuring for advertisers questioning the quality of Spotify’s ad service.
On the whole, Spotify’s advertising platform looks very promising, even at such an early stage. Whilst platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn have spent years trying to perfect their advertising service (arguably still yet to hit the nail on the head), Spotify seem to have found a gap in the market and made an immediate impact.
I’m very excited to see how Spotify’s ad network will grow over the next few years. To me, ‘Audio Everywhere’ seems like just the very start of the platform’s dive into improving the audio advertising experience. I’m looking forward to seeing what other ad formats Spotify launches in the near future.
What do you expect to see next from Spotify’s advertising platform? Why not drop a comment below or send us a message on Twitter or Instagram?
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