Spotify Introduces Ad Insertion Program for Podcasts

LAS VEGAS—Spotify has never been shy about sharing insights from its music streaming platform. Now, for what Spotify says is a first for the platform, it’s giving advertisers the ability to get their own insights with a new ad insertion program for podcasts.

Announced this morning at CES 2020, the new program called SAI (Streaming Ad Insertion) will leverage the same technology the streaming service had already been using for its free, ad-supported music service to “unlock the potential” of a medium still relatively new to advertisers.

Advertisers using the toolkit can now measure a podcast’s ad impressions, frequency and reach, as well as glean insights like age, gender and the device a listener is using. It’ll all be possible because Spotify predominantly streams its podcasts instead of having users download them.

“It’s a shift for the industry, changing it from a download business with very little transparency, very little measurement and very little interactivity,” Lee Brown, Spotify’s vice president of global advertising, told Adweek. “We’ve been doing this with music for years in the digital space; we’re bringing the podcast space up to parity.”

As of now, the SAI program will only be available for Spotify’s original and exclusive podcasts. And because the podcasts are streamed, a campaign can be changed in real time without latency.

It’ll also be a two-way street between Spotify’s music streaming and the podcasting business, as information generated from podcasting can be used for its free, ad-supported music service.

“We know you like hip-hop, we know you listen to music in the morning and something different when you work out. Now we can layer on a personal finance podcast, a true-crime podcast. Bringing that into our music business is extremely valuable as well,” Brown said.

Still, subscribers to Spotify Premium will still have to sit through ads.

According to a survey by Edison Research, 51% of podcast listeners are more likely to consider brands that advertise on podcasts. And that audience is growing. Spotify said it saw podcast consumption rise 39% on its platform between Q2 and Q3 last year.

One of the first brands to test SAI, footwear company Puma, said that an ad on the Spotify Original podcast Jemele Hill Is Unbothered resulted in an ad recall lift of 180%.

“Advertisers have been dying for this and honestly expecting it, and now we’re bringing it to them,” Brown said.

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