Spotify Ads 101: How to Run Successful Audio and Video Ads

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Audio advertising is an excellent marketing strategy because it lets you reach prospects who are ready to listen. With Spotify, you can deliver your messages directly to your audience when they are already tuned in to their favorite songs or podcasts.

As an advertising platform, Spotify offers dual benefits: First, it enables you to reach a large audience base via different audio ads. Second, you can run video ads that play unmuted. Therefore, unlike other video advertising platforms such as YouTube, you can be sure that your ads will be heard by the user.

And Spotify advertising is not just for more prominent brands. Whether small or large, any business can get started with Spotify ads for as little as $250.

In this Spotify Ads 101 guide, I will outline why you should choose this platform for your digital marketing campaign, discuss the different types of audio and video ads that you can run on it, and share a step-by-step process of starting your first ad campaign on Spotify.

Let's start!

Book My Free Spotify Ads Consultation

 

What Is Spotify?

Spotify is a Swedish audio streaming company founded in Stockholm, Sweden that offers digital music, podcasts and videos. Spotify has:

  • 70 million tracks
  • 2.6 million podcast titles
  • 158 million subscribers 
  • 356 million monthly active users

Why Choose Spotify for Your Digital Ads Campaign?

When Jeff Rossi was global head of industry, CPG, at Spotify, he stated:

“For every thousand impressions we ran, we created 24 dollars of revenue. The Nielsen benchmark is $19.64.”

Spotify has the data you need to reach relevant prospects. For instance, depending on the songs people are listening to, Spotify knows how they are feeling. Moreover, they also have the location data, which is like a goldmine for an advertiser. You can easily select the mood of your audiences when you want them to listen to your ad.

Here are the top reasons to choose Spotify for your digital advertising campaigns:

  • According to Statista, the premium worldwide subscriber base of Spotify reached 208 million in Q1 of 2021.
  • People trust Spotify as a music streaming platform: It has 3X more positive buzz around social media than negative.
  • Spotify ads are 25% more effective than regular ads.
  • People worldwide spend between 99 minutes and 140 minutes daily listening to their favorite music on the audio streaming platform.
  • Spotify has the highest market share of around 34% among the leading music streaming platforms. The other top platforms like Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Tencent Apps have 21%, 15%, and 12% shares, respectively:

Spotify largest market share in music streaming

  • The music streaming platform already operates in 93 countries and is looking to expand to 85 more countries across Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Once these countries are added, the company's potential market will reach over 1 billion people.
  • Spotify has introduced new features like “Spotify Kids” and “Spotify Tastebuds” to cater to different users' tastes. These types of segmentation are excellent for advertising effectiveness.
  • Half of the user base of Spotify is under 35. Hence, Spotify is an excellent platform for brands that are looking to reach younger audiences.
  • You can easily measure the success of your ad campaigns in real-time.
  • You don't have to worry about having premium audio tools to create your music or podcast ads. Spotify's free voiceover tool records, mixes and produces exceptional ads for you.

What Type of Ads Does Spotify Offer?

With Spotify, you can create and run your ads in minutes. The campaign and ad creation interface is user-friendly and has all the information you need to start your Spotify advertising.

Spotify offers several ad formats to engage listeners rather than interrupt them. Spotify is based on a freemium model, meaning that all users have free access to the platform, which is supported by ads. Users can upgrade to a premium account for an ad-free listening experience, though you should keep in mind that the majority of Spotify’s listeners opt for the free ad-supported version.

Here are the different ad formats offered by Spotify:

1) Audio Ads

Audio ads are the USP of Spotify. This is the most popular ad format that lets you reach active listeners in any environment throughout the day. These ads are served between songs when there are no distractions. Hence, you can be assured that your ad will be listened to by users at a time when they are focused.

Spotify has all the data about its customers. Therefore, they deliver the ads at the right moment, when the audience is most receptive, in a no-swipe, no-scroll environment. This means that you also have the power to reach prospects at the right moment.

Since users listen to songs after adjusting their settings, Spotify knows their mood. Therefore, only relevant audio ads are played depending on the moment or setting. Spotify says that 75% of audiences remember ads that recognize their “moment.”

Where Can the Audio Ads Run?

All Spotify audio ads can run on mobile, tablet, desktop and web. Selected devices such as gaming consoles, connected TVs, connected cars, and connected speakers are available depending on the target market.

Audio File Requirements

For Direct IO:

  • WAV and Mp3 formats are supported
  • Maximum 30 seconds in length
  • Advertisers name and CTA are required
  • Maximum 1 MB file size
  • Advertiser name can be up to 45 characters

For Programmatic:

  • WAV, Mp3 and OGG formats are supported
  • Maximum 30 seconds in length.
  • All peaks should stay below -1 dB TP

For Spotify Ad Studio:

  • WAV, Mp3 and OGG formats are supported
  • Maximum 30 seconds in length
  • Maximum 1 MB file size
  • Advertiser name can be up to 25 characters

Companion Display Unit Requirements

For Direct IO:

  • Image dimensions should be 640×640
  • The file type should be JPG
  • Max 200 KB file size
  • For third-party ad tracking, URLs are accepted in HTTPS format
  • Only one destination URL (HTTPS) can be used

For Programmatic:

  • Image dimensions should be PMP: 300×250, PG DV360: 301×301 and PG TTD: 300X250
  • The file type should be JPG
  • Max 500 MB file size
  • Third-party tracking is not available
  • Only one destination URL (HTTPS) can be used

For Spotify Ad Studio:

  • Image dimensions should be square, at least 640 x 640 pixels
  • The file type should be JPG or PNG
  • Max 200 KB file size
  • Third-party tracking is not available
  • Only one destination URL (HTTPS) can be used, and it does not support URLs with special characters (if your destination URL has special characters, you can submit the shortened URL using bit.ly)

Related Content: Audio SEO: The Complete Guide to Ranking Your Podcast Successfully

2) Video Ads

Video ads on other platforms might be viewed muted, but users always listen with the sound on Spotify. Hence, Spotify video ads offer a valuable opportunity for your brand message to be heard by your target audience.

In addition, video ads are always served when users are looking at the screen. Therefore, you can be confident that your video messages are both viewed and listened to by your prospects. Such a level of confidence is not available on other video advertising platforms like YouTube, where people have the option to mute ads.

There are two types of video ads currently available on the Spotify platform. These are Video Takeover ads and Sponsored Sessions.

Video Takeover Ads

Video Takeover Ads run when users are browsing through music catalogues and viewing the screen. Hence, they are delivered only when the screen is in view.

Where Can the Voice Takeover Ads Run?

These ads can run on mobile, tablet, desktop and web.

Video File Requirements

FOR VIDEO (MOBILE)

Direct:

  • Maximum 30 seconds in length
  • An aspect ratio of 9:16 for portrait and 16:9 for landscape
  • Max file size 500 MB
  • File types should be MOV or MP4
  • HD 720×1280 or similar video quality for portrait and HD 1280×720 or similar video quality for landscape
  • Volume should be RMS normalized to -14 dBFS and peak normalized to -0.2 dBFS
  • For third-party ad tracking, URLs are accepted in HTTPS format
  • Only one destination URL (HTTPS) can be used
  • Silent videos are not accepted

Programmatic:

  • Maximum 30 seconds in length
  • An aspect ratio of 16:9
  • Max file size 500 MB
  • File types should be MOV, WebM or MP4
  • HD 1280×720 or similar video quality
  • Volume should be RMS normalized to -14 dBFS and peak normalized to -0.2 dBFS
  • For third-party ad tracking, URLs are accepted in HTTPS format
  • Only one destination URL (HTTPS) can be used
  • Silent videos are not accepted

Spotify Ad Studio:

  • Maximum 30 seconds in length
  • An aspect ratio of 9:16 for portrait and 16:9 for landscape
  • Max file size 500 MB
  • File types should be MOV or MP4
  • HD 720×1280 or similar video quality for portrait and HD 1280×720 or similar video quality for landscape
  • Volume should be RMS normalized to -14 dBFS and peak normalized to -0.2 dBFS
  • For third-party ad tracking, URLs are accepted in HTTPS format
  • Only one destination URL (HTTPS) can be used
  • Silent videos are not accepted

FOR VIDEO (DESKTOP)

Direct and Programmatic:

  • Maximum 30 seconds in length
  • An aspect ratio of 16:9
  • Max file size 500 MB
  • File types should be MOV or MP4
  • HD 1280×720 or similar video quality
  • Volume should be RMS normalized to -14 dBFS and peak normalized to -0.2 dBFS
  • For third-party ad tracking, URLs are accepted in HTTPS format
  • Only one destination URL (HTTPS) can be used
  • Silent videos are not accepted

Spotify Ad Studio:

  • Maximum 30 seconds in length
  • An aspect ratio of 16:9
  • Max file size 500 MB
  • File types should be MOV or MP4
  • HD 1280×720 or similar video quality
  • Volume should be RMS normalized to -14 dBFS and peak normalized to -0.2 dBFS
  • For third-party ad tracking, URLs are accepted in HTTPS format
  • Only one destination URL (HTTPS) can be used
  • Silent videos are not accepted

Related Content:
* How to Launch a TikTok Ads Campaign for E-commerce
* 9 Tips for Creating Instagram Video Ads that Actually Generate Sales
* 9 Tools for Creating Effective Facebook Video Ads that Convert

3) Companion Display Unit (Suitable for all Platforms)

Direct:

  • Image dimensions should be 640×640
  • Max file size 200 KB
  • File types should be JPG
  • For third-party ad tracking, URLs are accepted in HTTPS format
  • Only one destination URL (HTTPS) can be used

Programmatic:

  • Image dimensions should be 300×250
  • Max file size 500 MB
  • File types should be JPG
  • Third-party tracking is not available
  • Only one destination URL (HTTPS) can be used

Spotify Ads Studio:

  • Image dimensions should be 640×640
  • Max file size 200 KB
  • File types should be JPG or PNG
  • Third-party tracking is not available

Sponsored Sessions

Sponsored Sessions are video ads that allow users to unlock 30 minutes of uninterrupted listening in exchange for watching your video ad.

Where Can the Sponsored Sessions Video Ads Run?

These ads can run on mobile and tablet devices.

Video File Requirements

Spotify provides the watch video title card. Here is the requirement for video:

  • Maximum 30 seconds in length
  • An aspect ratio of 9:16 for portrait and 16:9 for landscape
  • Max file size 500 MB
  • File types should be MOV or MP4
  • HD 720×1280 or similar video quality for portrait and HD 1280×720 or similar video quality for landscape
  • Volume should be RMS normalized to -14 dBFS and peak normalized to -0.2 dBFS
  • For third-party ad tracking, URLs are accepted in HTTPS format
  • Only one destination URL (HTTPS) can be used
  • Silent videos are not accepted

Branded End Card Requirements

  • Image dimensions should be 640×640
  • Max file size 200 KB
  • File types should be JPG
  • For third-party ad tracking, URLs are accepted in HTTPS format
  • Only one destination URL (HTTPS) can be used

Book My Free Spotify Ads Consultation

 

4) Podcast Ads

Podcast ads are growing in popularity and set to reach $1.6 billion by 2022. Moreover, 41% of Spotify users trust podcast ads:

Spotify has a podcast content library of over 2.2 million podcasts, including 400+ originals and exclusives. Some of the famous studios that produce some of the world's best podcasts, such as The Riger, Gimlet, and Parcast, are present on Spotify.

Note: Currently, podcast ads are in beta. You will have to sign up for the waiting list.

Related Content:
* The Ultimate Guide to Podcast Advertising
* 9 Podcast Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2021
* Podcast Production 101: The Complete Guide to Starting Your Own Show

4) Custom Experiences

Custom Experiences are multiformat ads for brands that are looking for something extraordinary. Some of the different Custom Experiences ad options available on Spotify are:

Sponsored Playlists

You can maximize brand awareness by sponsoring Spotify's most popular playlists. These ads run on both mobile and desktop.

You can use your brand logo, a background image that depicts your brand, and a brand tagline underneath the logo:

Overlay

Overlay ads are displayed when the user returns to the Spotify app. The ad unit is clickable to drive traffic to your website. For ad specifications, you can visit the Overlay ad specifications page:

Homepage Takeover

Spotify also allows businesses to display their brand message on the front of Shopify's desktop page for 24 hours. It is clickable and supports interactive elements. However, this ad format runs on desktop only. For ad specifications, you can visit the Homepage Takeover ad specifications page:

Leaderboard

Leaderboard ads are special ad units that run your brand message for 30 seconds. Your ad is the only message shown during 30 seconds which ensures maximum brand visibility. For ad specifications, you can visit the Leaderboard ad specifications page:

Book My Free Spotify Ads Consultation

 

How to Run Ads Using Spotify Ad Studio

Ad Studio is a self-service ad platform that lets you reach millions of listeners around the world. The best part of the platform is that you can easily set up your account and start running your ads in minutes.

Here are the steps to follow to start your first ad campaign on Spotify:

Step 1: Sign In to Your Ad Studio Account

You can sign in with your Facebook, Apple or Google account if you already have a Spotify account connected to any of these. Otherwise, you can create a new Spotify account:

Note: Your Spotify account is different from your Ad Studio account. You will have to create an Ad Studio account using your Spotify account to start running ads.

After logging in to your Spotify account, you will be redirected to the Ad Studio account creation page where you will need to enter your business details, such as business name, business email, and business type:

After you enter the details, your Ad Studio account will be created. You can manage all your ad campaigns on Spotify using this single dashboard.

Every ad on Spotify is organized on three levels — campaigns, ad sets and ads:

Spotify ads - 3 levels

Step 2: Create a New Campaign

At the campaign level, you should choose your promotion type.

Since you are already logged into your Ad Studio account, you can click on “Create new campaign”:

Now you need to name your campaign. For instance, if I am promoting my potato chips company, I can call my campaign “My Potato Chips”:

Next, you have to select what you are promoting. In my case, I will choose “A brand, product, or organization”.

Step 3: Create New Ad Set

Every campaign can have one or more ad sets. You have to choose your ad format, budget, schedule and targeting parameters at the ad set level.

First, name your ad set. For example, I named it “My Potato Chips Promo”.

Now, choose an ad format and platform. I will select “Audio”:

You can also select the platforms where you want your ads to play. The different platform choices available are iPhone, Android, Desktop or all. I've chosen all of them:

Next, choose a start and end date for your campaign:

After that, choose a budget. You can select any one of the three choices: $1,000, $2,500 or $5,000. Or you can enter your own custom budget. I selected $2,500:

After that, you can choose the frequency cap, which limits the number of ad impressions per user. I will set this as 5 per day:

Now, add your target country or location where the ad will run. You can target the whole country to add bulk postal codes. Then choose your audience, age group and gender.

I selected the United States for my advertising goals since I want my product to reach the entire U.S.. And I set the age group between 13-30 since this age group loves to eat potato chips. Under gender, I selected both male and female:

Next, you can choose any additional targeting options like targeting the audience based on interests, real-time contexts and genres. If you don't require any additional targeting, select “No additional targeting”. In my case, I don't need any additional targeting:

Once you enter all the details, Spotify will let you know your cost per impression, the total number of estimated impressions, the total estimated reach and the estimated lifetime frequency:

Estimated reach is the total number of unique users your campaign will reach, and estimated lifetime frequency is the average number of times each user will be served your ad for the entire campaign lifetime.

Step 3: Create New Ad

Now it's time to get creative and start creating some ads.

I will name my ad “Potato Chips Branding”:

After you have named your campaign, it's time to add your creatives. The track consists of your ad script with a complete voiceover and a background track.

If you don't have a voiceover or a background track, don't worry because Spotify lets you choose from several voiceovers and background music.

All you need to do is select “Help me create one”:

Choose a background track from the library, paste the voiceover script, choose the voice artist language and voice profile:

Add any instructions for the voice actor to understand the emotion and tone required for your ad script:

Next, upload an image to go with your ad, add a call to action button, a click-through URL, an advertiser name, and a tagline to give listeners more context about your company or product:

I added all the required details and now my ad is now ready to run.

You can preview your ad, complete your payment, and start generating impressions for your Spotify advertising campaign:

Book My Free Spotify Ads Consultation

 

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Spotify Ads

For every ad campaign, Spotify offers audience insights. The ad report includes a summary of the ad campaign and the different metrics, like how they affect the performance of your campaign:

Spotify ads measurement

Here are the different features of the reporting on Ad Studio:

  • The dashboard view offers a holistic view of the performance of your campaigns, ad sets and ads.
  • You can filter the dates to compare the performance of your campaigns between different periods.
  • The ad report includes a summary of delivery metrics like impressions, frequency, reach and completion rate. It also presents an overview of performance metrics like clicks and CTR.
  • The audience metrics report consists of metrics such as age, genre, gender and platform.
  • You can easily download the ad insights report by clicking on the arrow next to “download data” within the ad set’s report tab. The CSV file consists of a breakdown of impressions, clicks and completion rate.

Ads that are not measured and optimized don’t generate the highest returns on investment. Therefore, it is crucial to measure the effectiveness of your Spotify ads campaigns by using Ad Studio reporting. Take every step to understand the different metrics presented in the report and how they affect your ad performance. Optimize your ad text, images, voiceover, and targeting options to make your ads relevant and user-friendly.

Spotify Advertising Tips

  • Combine the power of both audio and video ads because campaigns that use both formats perform exceptionally well. Multiformat ads result in better ad recall and improved brand awareness.
  • Design your video ads for mobile because 69% of Spotify's video ad inventory runs on mobile.
  • Mention the name of your brand audibly even when you are creating video ads because Spotify is a platform where people listen.
  • To make the most of your Spotify ads campaign, choose the right targeting option. Carefully consider the location, age, gender and musical preferences of the users before running ads.
  • Use ad images that show your brand at work. Images should be clear and the audiences should be able to immediately understand what your brand does.
  • Put your listeners first. For instance, if you are targeting a city like Los Angeles, start your audio script with “Hey Los Angeles”.
  • Keep the audio script between 55-70 words max and break it down into different components like segue (5 words), intro (10 words), benefits (30 words), wrap (10 words), and CTA (8 words).
  • Include a direct call to action in your ads because ads with a direct CTA have 3X higher click-through rates.
  • Talk about exclusive sales and mention promotional codes in your ad because a sense of urgency persuades people to take immediate action.
  • Avoid yelling and keep the voiceover text conversational.

Check out this two and a half minute video on getting started with Spotify Ads:

Best Spotify Ad Examples

Here are some top examples of Spotify advertising:

1) Streaming the Night with Adidas

Adidas wanted to promote their new range of shoes, Nite joggers. They teamed up with Spotify to create custom campaigns that reflected the night like their shoes did:

Based on their streaming habits, Spotify was able to discover that people take on different personas at night.

Armed with the insights, Adidas created custom digital experiences that introduced people to how cities worldwide soundtracked their nights. People were given scores based on their night streaming activity, and a custom “Nite score playlist” was created that was unique to each individual with Adidas branding.

The campaign saw massive success with 150K playlists created and 9M+ uniques.

2) Playing with Your Food at McDonald's

McDonald's combined the deliciousness of fries with the unforgettable experience of music. The McDonald's creative geniuses teamed up with Spotify experts to turn fries into music. This campaign was run in Brazil:

Users needed to put their fries on the tray liner and scan the code to unlock a delicious playlist. The campaign idea was creative, successful and it even earned international press coverage.

3) Calvin Klein's #ckone Campaign to Amplify Gen Z's Positive Outlook

Calvin Klein partnered with Spotify to reach Gen Z audiences and to foster a worldwide community. They were able to bring their message — championing a wide range of young perspectives across America — to the highly engaged Gen Z audiences of Spotify.

Digital audio ads were run to ask users the question “What do you hope for?”. Based on the answer, one song was added to the collaborative playlist for that specific hope:

Cedric Murac, Executive Vice President, Global Creative, Calvin Klein, said: “Through audio, we were able to directly tie our brand campaign to the songs and artists that inspire our audience and establish a new kind of connection.”

Overall, the campaign delivered over 25M impressions to global users.

4) If Dogs Could Talk Campaign by Frontline

Frontline provides flea and tick protection products for cats and dogs. They wanted to reach pet parents and share the message that Frontline cared for pets beyond just offering protection from fleas and ticks.

A Spotify survey revealed that 75% of pet owners agree that music helps to calm their dogs. Therefore, Frontline partnered with Spotify to create a stress-busting playlist for pets with a meditation narrative. The campaign also provided sponsorship of Spotify's original “My Dog's Favorite Podcast”:

The audio ads were run at a frequency heard only by pets.

Mike Cuthell, creative director of the Frontline “If Dogs Could Talk” ad campaign, said:

When the world began to process the impact of a pending global epidemic, we decided to push aside our own anxieties and focus on those who matter most. Much like humans, dogs are no strangers to stress, anxiety and loneliness and are all proven to reduce their wellbeing.

In order to demonstrate that Frontline put dogs first, we launched ‘If Dogs Could Talk.' Dog-focused ads within dog-themed playlists, simple, yet effective.” 

Final Thoughts

Spotify is an excellent platform to reach your target audience using both audio and video as mediums of advertising.

Businesses of all sizes can run ads on this popular audio and video streaming platform with a minimum budget of $250. It is the fastest-growing content platform that offers you the opportunity to share your brand message directly into the ears of your prospects.

In this Spotify advertising guide, I have shared all the steps you need to create and run audio and video ads. Make sure to select your audiences depending on your business needs and create advertisements that spark the prospects' curiosity. Study your competitors and choose an ad format that complements the products you are promoting. Lastly, don't forget to measure your ad engagement using the Spotify reporting dashboard. 

If you need help, Single Grain's Spotify Ads experts can deliver emotionally engaging, data-driven and ROI-focused premium ad experiences for you. Just click the orange button! 👇

Book My Free Spotify Ads Consultation

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