Traditional advertising is all about getting your message in front of the right people; but what if musicians could get their message directly to the ears of their audience? Spotify ads do just that. Its new do-it-yourself advertising platform, Spotify Ads Studio, gives bands, labels, artists, concert promoters, brands, and more the tools to create and manage their own audio and video Spotify ads.
The benefits of Spotify advertisements
After launching in 2008, Spotify completely changed the way people listen and discover music. It is currently home to over 70 million tracks, 2.6 million podcasts, and 4 billion playlists. The key to its success: a simple, intuitive interface and global accessibility. As of March 21, 2021, Spotify has 158 million subscribers, 356 million monthly active users, and is available in 178 markets. It’s estimated that Spotify holds around 30% of the music subscription market: if you make it on Spotify, success on other platforms will follow.
356 million monthly active users equal 712 million ears waiting to hear your Spotify ad. So what is Spotify audio advertising? How can it help you? It’s an advertising platform that allows artists, brands, and businesses to create audio and video advertisements to help share their message with Spotify’s audience. Campaigns can be created at a very affordable price.
As a music-maker, you’ll probably want to focus on its Music Marketing features. These features are designed to make sure you’re getting heard by the right listeners. To help you find your people, you can choose between different demographics, locations, formats, listening behaviors, and interests, and you’ll find the listeners you want to reach where they’re already enjoying and discovering new music. Giving you a unique channel to communicate with your loyal fans and fans of artists you think will care about what you have to say. You can promote a track, release, concert, or merch.
Spotify ad pricing
The price depends on what you can afford – flexible advertising options are available for all budgets. All you need is around $250 to get started. The price varies depending on what services you buy from Spotify, whether that’s via Ad Studio or working with an advertising specialist. The price will also depend on location, formats used, demand from other advertisers, duration of the campaign, and targeted audiences. If you want to stick to a DIY approach, the website also offers free tips and tools to help you create a professional-standard audio ad.
What types of ads can you create?
Promotional ads fall under two categories: Non-music related and music-related. Non-music-related ads are designed to raise awareness for businesses, promoting new services, and showcasing products. Music-related ads allow artists or artist representatives to promote music on Spotify. Concerts and artist merch can be promoted via music-related ads. There are four main campaign ads that you can create to grab your audience’s attention: audio ads, video ads, podcast ads, and custom experiences. Each option offers something different, so let’s find out which one is the right choice for you.
Music fans who don’t subscribe to Spotify will hear audio ads. They’re played between every few songs, with no distractions. Your audio ad can be customized with a clickable link allowing listeners to tap through and hear your music, visit your website, download an app, and more. Audio ads are sent to listeners on any device, in many different environments, during all times of the day. Crafting your ad for the right moment can be crucial: according to Spotify’s research, 75% of people remember ads better when they were suited to a specific setting or moment. Spotify helps to deliver your message at the perfect time when your audience is primed to hear it.
On most platforms, video content is mostly watched whilst on mute due to people filling their time scrolling. As Spotify users are already listening, video ads offer a greater chance to be seen and heard. Video ads are only shown when the user is looking at their screen, so you can be sure that your message is getting across. Takeover ads and sponsored sessions offer impactful opportunities to communicate with your audience.
Have you set up a music podcast as a side hustle? The popularity of podcasts has sky-rocketed over the last few years and can be a great avenue to explore to help boost your profile. Spotify is home to 2.2 million podcasts and the platform is really pushing the podcast revolution forwards. If you decide to create a podcast ad, your message will be broadcast alongside popular podcast voices and personalities, reaching your audience as they listen to their favorite shows. Podcast ads are coming soon to Spotify’s self-serve ad platform. Sign up to the waiting list and you’ll be first in line when they arrive.
Big dreams need big ideas. If you want to go all out and create something special, designing a custom experience could be the way to go. Custom experiences are aimed at big marketing campaigns and brand partnerships, so they do cost more, but you get what you pay for. Ad overlays, homepage takeovers, and leaderboard displays are just some of the possibilities available via Spotify’s custom experiences. The in-house creative team can help set up sponsored sessions and custom microsites. If you have the budget, get your thinking cap on and imagine what you can create.
Spotify Ad Studio: Ad placements
Spotify Ad Studio lets you create audio and video ads of 30 seconds or less. Ads are served to Spotify Free users during the ad breaks between songs and podcasts when they are listening on mobile or desktop. You don’t have to be an audio production expert to set one up either. Spotify ads studio offers a range of free services to help you create an earworm ad in minutes. Voiceover actors, script guidance, strategists, and many more experts are on hand with advice and guidance.
Ad specifications for Spotify
Just like when you submit music to a distributor, creating an ad comes with certain specifications you have to follow. See below to find out the finer details:
- Length: 30 seconds or less
- Accepted file types: MOV, MP4
- Max file size: 500MB
- Aspect ratio: 9x16 (vertical) or 16x9 (horizontal)
- Quality: HD 720x1280 or similar — Volume: RMS normalized to -14 dBFS; Peak normalized to -0.2 dBFS
All files must include sound — silent videos will not be accepted
- Dimensions: Square image at least 640 x 640 pixels
- File type: JPEG or PNG
- Max file size: 200KB
Using audience insights
Once you’ve got your ad up and running, what’s the end goal? Like with any advertisement, the aim is conversions — getting users who hear or see your ad to take the action you desire, whether it’s streaming your latest track, buying a ticket to an upcoming show, or taking home an album bundle. Think about what you want to achieve with each ad and build your idea upon it. Make sure your ad is clear, concise, and to the point. The listener should know exactly what they’re going to get when they click on your ad placement.
One way to improve your conversions is by making sure you’re communicating with your target audience. To get your ad in front of the right people, you’re going to need to use targeting. As we mentioned earlier, knowing what you want from the beginning will maximize the potential of each ad you create. Come prepared!
Don’t just use Spotify analytics either. Using data from all the platforms you use will paint a better picture of your fanbase. Use your stats from YouTube, SoundCloud, Instagram, and combine them with your Spotify analytics to inform and improve your promotional strategy.
Understanding your target audience
In a similar way to Spotify for Artists, Spotify Ads Studio gives artists access to information and analytics that can help determine how listeners are responding to their adverts. Audience insights is a set of metrics that helps you understand how successful your ad is. You can find out which Spotify users are listening to your tracks, discovering your music for the first time, or even saving a track. Paying attention to the groups that your ads resonate with most is essential to creating successful campaigns. Audience stats such as gender, age, and platform can be used to adjust the targeting of your currently running ads in real-time or to focus future campaign ads on your most successful target audiences. Every ad helps you to learn something about your fans’ listening behavior. Using these insights will build a better connection with your current music listeners and encourage fanbase growth.
Connecting with your audience
Targeting will help you reach the listeners that matter most. Spotify’s targeting technology allows you to reach users across devices, formats, and time-specific moments as they enjoy their favorite music and podcasts. It goes much deeper than just age, gender, location. You can focus on the devices fans use, their listening behavior, things they might be into, and even their behavior when they’re not listening to music. Not only will you find the fans that matter, but you can manually adjust what outcome matters to you most, too. For example, if you want your ad to increase your listener numbers, use the ‘listeners’ tab within audience insights to adjust your campaign to target the specific age ranges where you’re seeing the most encouraging results.
How to make a Spotify ad
The first step to creating an ad is to sign up for your free account. Once signed up, you can assign additional users to your ad campaign if needed. If you are collaborating with your manager or label on an advert, you can easily add or remove them, giving them the relevant permission rights they need throughout the project.
How to create a Spotify Ad
Creating your campaign only takes 4 simple steps:
This is where you select the objective of your campaign: increase streams, sell merch, grow your fanbase, etc.
Here you can choose your ad format, the parameters or audience you want to target, set your budget, and schedule. Ads start and end at midnight on the dates you select. To start or end an ad at a specific time, use the time fields during the schedule and budget process.
Now it’s time to upload your audio or video. Don’t forget to add your image, click through URL, and preferred call-to-action. "Learn more" is the default call-to-action (CTA), but there are many others to choose from. The CTA will be localized in the language relevant to where your audience is listening.
Once you’ve uploaded all the details, it’s time to review the campaign and submit it for approval. You can add additional content once the ad is submitted.
Understanding your ads performance
Once your ad is live, it’s time to dive into the data to see how well it’s connecting with your audience. This is where measurements, analytics, and reporting are vital. Your Spotify dashboard gives you a clear breakdown of ad engagement and audience insights for every campaign. Ad Studio offers real-time reporting via your account. Your ad report includes a summary of the overall campaign along with vital statistics such as audience reach, CTR (clickthrough rate), and conversions.
Understanding these metrics will show you what’s working and how you can improve future campaigns. Spotify works with a 2-week conversion window. Once someone hears your ad, their behavior is tracked by Spotify for the next 14 days. You’ll start seeing results via your dashboard 48 hours after the campaign begins. Keep checking your stats 2 weeks after your campaign ends to see the final results.
Let’s look a little closer at what the metrics mean to you. For the following, we’re going to use an example: imagine you’re an artist who is using Spotify advertising to try and attract new listeners.
Listeners: these are the users that listened to the ad and went on to stream your music. You’ll also see a category called ‘listener conversion rate’. This is the percentage of people who streamed your music after hearing your ad. A high conversion rate means your ad is working.
This section shows you how many users listened to your music for the first time in at least a month after hearing your ad. This means your ad introduced (or reintroduced) listeners to your music. You’ll also be shown data for your ‘new listeners conversion rate’.
This data shows the Spotify users who are on their way to becoming fans. These are people that took actions that indicate they may stream your music again in the future. The measured actions are ‘liking’ a track (clicking the heart icon) and adding your track to a playlist.
Every campaign is a unique chance to learn something new about your listeners. Understanding these insights can guide and inform your decisions about targeting current or future ads. To get the most from your ads, test out different creative ideas and messaging. The data will show you the best route to take. Top tip: if you have the budget, set up two campaigns focusing on the same audience but with different creative approaches. Compare the data once you have all the results and use the most successful strategy in your next campaign.
There are many aspects that come together to create an effective ad: creativity, messaging, clarity, and targeting. Understanding the data and analytics behind each ad you create can also help you to improve your results over time.
Spotify now has its own DIY advertising platform called Ad Studio. It makes it easy to create ads for millions of listeners around the world. All you need is an account and a budget of around $250 to get a campaign started.
Audio ads are played around every 15 minutes to freemium users. They are played in between tracks and can be up to 30 seconds long.
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