Spotify is a music streaming service with 433 million monthly active users who are all engaged in listening to audio tracks that eventually get interrupted by an advertisement. Traditionally, advertisers were limited to audio ads. However, in 2020 Spotify rolled out its video advertising service and marketers have been jumping on the bandwagon of enhanced UX.
Spotify Ads video format has a plethora of advantages, but the mere fact that you will be operating on a platform where users are engaged in listening has its own strategic implications. Keep reading to know more about the types of ads within the Spotify ads video format, as well as the 5 strategies that you need to get the most out of the platform.
Spotify Ads video format allows businesses to reach Spotify listeners with engaging visuals. The addition of video to the self-serve advertising platform enables companies to pack even more information into their 30 second window, and allow viewers a chance to see the product or service in action.
Currently, there are two ways that Spotify places your video advertisements in front of listeners, and it is important that you know the mechanisms of each before you get to your strategy.
Spotify allows you to engage with your audience via two routes:
Each of these have their own advantages, so it is important to know the dynamics of each of these ad placements before we get started.
If you know about Spotify's sponsored sessions, they also allow for a video format. If you don't know, sponsored sessions allow you to pay for your audiences' 30 minute, advertisement-free sessions in exchange for up to 30 seconds of their attention. These sessions are delivered in a fully viewable sound-on experience, making sure that 100% of the voice is heard by your target audience.
While this placement is only available on mobile and tablet, it can run in either portrait (9:16 | 720x1280) or landscape (16:9 | 1280x720), and allows you to feature an end card with your branding and clickable CTA.
The Sponsored Session videos are designed only to be prompted when the app is in view, and your listeners are more or less coerced into accepting the offer in order to get 30 minutes of peace, knowing that they aren't going to be interrupted.
Essentially, you can guarantee that your brand is going to be at least heard.
By that I mean that it is quite easy to just accept the advertisement and set your phone or tablet back down. In order to get the most out of this format, you need to ensure that your audio is on-point at communicating your message, and that your end card is eye-catching, for those users who rush back to their device to check or change the track queue for their 30 minute ad-free session.
Now these are where you really get your viewers' attention. Spotify Video Takeover ads allow you to place either a 15 second or 30 second video, with a display banner that offers an array of CTAs to choose from, in front of your viewers while they are actively engaged in browsing through either the mobile app or the desktop browser version of the service.
What this means is that your users are already engaged in browsing, and they have no choice but to sit through the short advertisement before they get back to it.
If you want to run your ad across both the mobile and desktop platforms, you are limited to a landscape aspect ratio (16:9), and these are called 'Video Takeover Everywhere campaigns.' I would have opted for something like 'Total Video Takeover campaigns.' Targeting just mobile users enables you to use a portrait (9:16) video, if necessary.
The main thing here is that your viewers are already actively engaged in browsing: they are still stuck in the mindset of staring at their phone and trying to make sense of what they are seeing. If your video is visually captivating, you dramatically enhance your chances of engaging the user throughout the entire video.
That being said, your audio track needs to be as top-notch as in your Sponsored Sessions, and there's a reason why the 15 second window is offered: these users were busy, are now impatient, and they aren't getting anything out of listening to the advertisement. If you must use a 30 second placement, be sure to cover the most important, captivating details in the first 15 seconds.
Because Spotify is such a specific platform, where video is not prevalent, there are some strategies that you will have to employ in order to see continued campaign success with this ad format.
Here, I have listed the 5 strategies that you need to master Spotify video ads, so let's jump right in.
This is really just the basics of marketing: you need to know which stage of the funnel your audience members are at within each campaign, and align your message to their level of information about your brand.
Unfortunately, Spotify doesn't allow retargeting, which means you aren't really able to set up a proper Spotify funnel. What you will have to do is gauge how well your brand is known by the listeners you are targeting, and begin testing different ad iterations, offering increasing detail over time, as you continue to hammer a specific segment with personalized ads.
Monitor your click through rates (CTR) for drastic fluctuations, which will point you in the right direction. Remember to test different iterations of creative at each stage as well, holding your customer journey assumptions constant.
As a music streaming service, Spotify users are tuned into listening. That means that they will naturally need to adapt to actually viewing your advertisement. You probably already got this point in the previous sections, but I have to reiterate: your audio track needs to be at the core of your strategy.
That isn't the only reason why you should build out your strategy around your audio track. In order to know if these video ads really are worth it for your brand, you will want to continually test the audio ads alongside your video ads.
Whether it be caused by increased awareness of your brand or the fact that what you sell comes with an intoxicating description, yet uneventful visuals, across your range of products or your stages of development, you might find that audio works well for your purpose.
Everything from your video, audio, and the clickable CTA button need to be aligned if these ads are going to work. You have but 15-30 seconds to get a viewer to click, and they need to know what they are getting out of it. Be very clear from start to end.
Depending on how much your audience knows about your brand, you need to have a strategy for how often you run an ad in each of your campaigns. Luckily, Spotify allows you to determine how often your advertisement runs, either by day, week, or month.
If you are just starting out, it might be better to run more than one advertisement per week and scale it back to about one a week: that seems to be the sweet spot for most businesses.
This has already been said, but the amount of time that your ad runs is pretty important.
If you are trying to drive more engagement and haven't really penetrated your Spotify audience much, you might be best off opting for a 30 second ad, wherein you include the most lucrative information in the first 15 seconds, as this allows you to communicate more information.
Once you have made some gains within your audiences, you can start sharing short updates on things that they are already somewhat familiar with: at this point they know your brand and they are aware of what you offer, and you can throw quick, specific offers at them with this placement.
Note that you will not be paying any less if you opt for a shorter placement.
Spotify Ads video format can be a great way to engage your audience with visually appealing information that pushes them closer to purchase. Because you are operating in a space where people are tuned into listening rather than viewing, your strategy really needs to emerge from your audio track strategy.
This is not to say that you shouldn't take advantage of rigorously testing different iterations of video creative. After all, that is the whole point of deciding to run video ads in the first place.
Stick to the five points and you are sure to make the most out of Spotify video ads.