Worth listening to: the case for Spotify Ads

Music and mood have always been closely related. Unlocking the link has made Spotify a powerful new advertising platform.

As an evolving platform, Spotify allows brands to not only tap into different music preferences but also capture them in different states of mind and experiment with the psychology of music to influence purchasing decisions. Spotify offers a giant pool of potential listeners with 232 million active monthly users across the globe by the end of June 2019, up by 29% YoY.

What You Need To Know About Spotify Ads

1. Format

Spotify advertisements exist in three general forms — as a snippet of audio (15 or 30 seconds long), a display banner, or a video. Audio snippets must be accompanied with a 640×640 image, a headline, and a destination URL.

2. Free Versus Paid Users

Ads are only shown to Spotify’s free trial users, they are not shown to paying premium users. As of June 2019, approximately 53.4% and 46.6% of all global users are free and paying respectively.

3. Targeting

Ads are targeted based on basic demographic first-party data selections such as gender and age. Brands can then specify the type of device, locations, and scheduled the time of when they would like the ad campaign to be shown. The ads can also be narrowed down by selecting and layering data like interests, real-time contexts and preferred genres.

Will Spotify work for my brand?

Spotify ad campaigns can reap success when the target customer types are identified, well understood, and matched with the targeting options. For example, you can target parenting podcast listeners with creative promoting baby strollers. For Spotify campaigns to be fruitful, consider the context that your advertisement will be playing within. For example, it might be jarring for someone listening to a standup comedy performance to hear a spot that is serious or technical. In some recent work with The Australian Ballet, we made the assumption that potential ballet viewers were less interested in modern music genres like hip hop, so we targeted people who listened to genres like classical, country and jazz. Surprisingly, our advertisements were served predominantly to country music listeners. The associated campaigns achieved an ad listen rate in excess of 85% with exposure to over 12,000 listeners on average. And we ran a Melbourne-based seasonal campaign which achieved a standout listen rate of 99%.

Spotify knows more than you think

Spotify’s algorithms automatically assess and profile music based on a range of qualities.

For instance, ‘Bass Heavy Hip Hop’ is profiled as music with high elements of dance, lyrical verses and happy beats. What sort of information does this give us? It means that we can start to ascertain the type of mood someone is in while listening to a particular playlist.

Looking forward, being able to categorise listeners with specific music mood profiles will allow us to make inferences around listeners’ personalities and target ads accordingly.

Small budgets can stretch a long way

$250 is all you need to set up and test the effectiveness of your first Spotify campaign. Spotify offers the option to have your 30-second audio advertisement recorded by a professional voice actor for free. (Yes, free!) Choose between female and male voice actors and choose their age category varying from children to seniors. There’s even the option to write a message to the voice actor summarising the emotion, tone and or speed of your desired audio recording.

Innovating with dynamic audio and branded playlists

Spotify offers innovative marketing options that enable dynamic audio advertising using data such as the listener’s current location and outdoor weather conditions. For example, in Sydney, listeners might hear, “Looking for something to do on this sunny Sydney weekend?” while the same campaign would serve a very different spot to Melbourne listeners :-)..

Brands also have the option to create a licensed sponsored playlist dedicated to different themes like ‘Music for running’ to promote sports watches or ‘Tunes of the 70s’ to promote vintage calculator watches.

Khemistry uses Spotify to enable clients to reach audiences contextually through different emotional states, interests and music genre preferences, and to increase brand visibility by reaching listeners at just the right beat or moment. GrowthOps also offers services in Search Engine Marketing (SEM), affiliate marketing, and social media marketing. If you are interested in learning more about Spotify as an advertising platform or engaging our marketing services please feel free to get in touch.

Some of our other work

Collaborate. Ideate. Activate.


(07) 3852 5642

23 Kyabra St, Newstead, Qld 4006, Brisbane Australia


(02) 6202 8200

16/9 Beaconsfield St, Fyshwick ACT 2609

Khemistry is part of Asia-Pacific-wide marketing and technology group, GrowthOps. Together, we can help your organisation build and launch transformational products, acquire and retain new customers, and boost capability and performance.