Everything you need to know about Spotify Ads

Spotify Ads blogpost header

Chances are you are listening to Spotify this very moment you are reading these words. With their 286 million monthly active users and 130 million premium subscribers, their competitors – Apple Music and Amazon Music can eat dust.

No wonder that with an influx of users, the platform becomes more and more interesting for businesses and advertisers. This article is a handy, brief summary of everything you need to know about Spotify Ads.

How does it work?  

There are four main ways of advertising: audio, video, display and sponsored playlists. Each of the categories offers a specific kind of ad.

Audio 

This may be a novelty for many, as audio ads seem to be difficult to create by yourself and difficult AND expensive if you want to outsource it. Spotify knows it and that’s why came up with Ad Studio – a semi-automatized ad generator.

First you need to choose the music you want as a background for your ad. You can either upload your own track or choose something from a music library. Next step is writing a script – the exact words a voice actor is supposed to read within 30 seconds or less. Then you need to choose the language and a voice actor profile (and this is where the automatization ends, there are real voice actors on the other side reading your ads). The next step is to provide the actor with directions on intonation, way of speaking, accent etc. Now you need to just add an image, a link and a call to action. The ad will be ready within 48 hours and you will have a chance to accept, revise or reject it before it’s published.

Video 

Video ads are simply videos with sound played in between songs. The video shouldn’t be longer than 30 seconds and the CTAs are predefined, there are 13 different options to choose from. Another option is a sponsored session. In this case Spotify plays your ad followed by an enhanced experience of 30 minutes ad-free listening.

It’s worth mentioning that Spotify uses its ads not only to advertise, but also to push free users towards buying Spotify Premium. Playing ads almost every second song in the free version is annoying enough to make many of them decide to pay.

We found a confidential footage from Spotify HQ showing their team working on this issue:

Display

Display has three options: overlay, homepage takeover and a leaderboard. The first one is  a simple big pop-up image that you can close with an X, the latter ones are banners. Nothing new here, and it’s not quite using Spotify Ads full potential.

Sponsored playlist

Playlists, like “Today’s Top Hits” or “Summer chill” or “Classical Moments in Movies” are the trademark of Spotify. Brands can now sponsor these playlists. A week-long sponsorship will display the brand’s banners, videos and logos across the channel. A sponsored playlists combines all aforementioned marketing activities and pins a brand to a playlist.

Is it really worth it? – Spotify Ads audience Insights

The burning question is: what does Spotify really know about its user? For the time being we know they don’t know much more than our age, gender, device, location and music-listening behaviour, which, let’s face it, is not that impressive compared to the data the good ol’ Facebook provides. (But it’s still more impressive than the data you get from a traditional radio advertising).

Does listening to Dolly Parton increase a propensity to buy a full-sized pickup and a pair of ropers? Will you show me an OK Cupid Ad after I play Gloria Gaynor’s “I will survive” 253 times one weekend?

This remains a mystery and honestly, using AI to prepare awesome playlists based on the songs you’ve listened to is one thing, but drawing ad targeting-related conclusions is another.

Dolly Parton in a convertible

Or will it be a convertible?

In the same time we saw claims, made by companies other than Spotify, that Spotify Ads can be up to 25% more effective than ads on other platforms. It’s probably safe to say that Spotify Ads make sense if you know your audience well enough to know what music they are listening to, or if there is a clear correlation between the product you sell and particular music, or if you simply work for a music label.

What will the future bring?

Perhaps this is a reason why Spotify became so focused on podcasts – they are easier to tag by interest and to understand their audience. Early last year the swedish music giant acquired two podcast networks, Gimlet Media and Parcast and a tool for podcasters called Anchor. Moreover, they started using Streaming Ads Insertion, that plays targeted ads in the middle of your favourite podcast.

Another experiment worth observing is how Spotify is playing with interactive audio ads. A little over a month ago they started testing their interactive ads for a beauty brand Nars, in cooperation with a sample-marketing company Send Me A Sample.

The tests have been conducted in the UK only, and the idea is that after listening to an ad, a user hears a suggestion to ask Google Assistant or Alexa to help get a product sample from Nars. The only thing they need to say is “Ask Send Me a Sample for Nars” and the assistant does the job with registration.

Spotify Ads are definitely different than what we are used to and better for some businesses more than others. It’s up to your talented marketer (that’s us) to use this tool wisely and decide whether it’s good for your business or not.