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Earlier this year, Spotify released Ad Studio, a user interface for its burgeoning podcast ad service. The shift to remote work has made podcast programming competitive against social media, digital communities, online platforms and traditional media as an advertising placement choice.
To add to its advertising choices for marketers, Spotify introduced self-serve video ads. Marketers can plan their video ads based on the format. The horizontal video format plays across desktop, iOS and Android. The vertical format is only optimized for iOS and Android.
Spotify has offered video ad options since 2014, but the company's focus remained on audio content. Since then, Spotify evolved its content to include more video streaming. Some of its recent high profile acquisitions, such as the Joe Rogan Experience, are being offered in video format. The video ad launch was a logical next step. The ads appear between songs and podcasts, with the audio on as a default to take advantage of customer playback behavior. This counters the audio-off setting many platforms have as a default.
The Spotify ad site contains video ad demos and specifications. For example, the maximum length for ad playback is 30 seconds, videos cannot include leaders or letterbox format and ads top out at 500MB files and must be in the .mp4 or .MOV formats.

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The ads require a link to pass the viewer to a website or landing page of the marketer’s choosing. Like audio ads, marketers can add UTM campaign tags to provide campaign information to analytics reports. Spotify also added real-time video ad reporting to Ad Studio. The metrics are similar to those for audio ads.  
Related Article: Spotify Ad Studio Gives Marketers an in With Work From Home Customers
Spotify ads address emerging user behavior among subscribers. Its audio ads are best selected for screenless user moments, such as when a listener is working out or relaxing on the couch.
But video ads are meant for in-focus activity. In-focus activity is user behavior that requires dedicated attention to a medium, such as watching a program. With the popularity of podcasts growing, Spotify offers marketers an ability to reach highly engaged audiences while they transition from one activity to another.
In its announcement, Spotify shared Nielsen data suggesting that running video and audio ads produces a higher ad recall among an audience, as much as “1.9 times higher than that for video ads alone.” Brand awareness also rises over twice as much. 
Related Article: How Marketers Can Recognize the Signs of Ad Fatigue
The video ads position Spotify for an expected increase in podcast ad spend. IAB predicts a 15% increase in ad spend this year. The report also noted the percentage of advertisers that have added podcasts to their annual media plans nearly doubled to 47%.
The high interest from marketers also gives Spotify an opportunity for further partnerships with advertisers on immersive media. Mobilemarketer reported that Spotify launched an experimental Canadian Michelob Ultra campaign. Listeners heard dynamic Michelob ads customized to their location, time of day and local weather as they play their playlist.  
Marketers should consider Spotify video ads as a way to pivot marketing campaigns for products and services impacted by the move to work from home. Spotify has aimed to be a full entertainment stream service, pitting it against Netflix as much as it does aginst Apple Plus, the next largest podcast platform. In doing so its ad choices provide an innovative complement to customer activities that have risen during this pandemic year.
Pierre DeBois is the founder of Zimana, a small business digital analytics consultancy. He reviews data from web analytics and social media dashboard solutions, then provides recommendations and web development action that improves marketing strategy and business profitability.


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