Everything you need to know about how Spotify Ad Studio Works

Sasha Hartley
Jul 24, 2018 · 8 min read

I’m extremely excited that Spotify has now launched it’s Ad Studio making audio advertising easily accessible to SMBs, startups and growth marketers.

Note: it’s still in beta, but I signed up and got access in 24 hours.

When working with companies that have small budgets — audio and video campaigns are often out of the question. They’re costly to produce and although video is now easy to distribute — audio is a lot harder and you generally have to go down the route of expensive radio campaigns. This means audio marketing is not an option for many startups and small businesses.

Spotify Ad Studio uses a similar interface to Facebook (but a lot less complicated for beginners) and will even create the ad voiceover for you in 24–48 hours (also allowing you to ask for revisions if you don’t like the recording). This makes it incredibly easy to test an audio campaign for a small business and measure the impact before you scale.

Now growth marketers and small businesses can easily tap into the power of audio without the expensive audio equipment.

So, why use audio marketing?

Besides for the sake of ‘just testing it’ to see if it works for your audience now that Spotify has made it so ridiculously easily. A study with Neilsen Media Lab has also found that audio ads are twice as likely to boost purchase intent than display ads and result in a 24% higher ad recall.

Plus, people listen to an average of 4 hours of audio content per day, this rivals the average of 2 hours per day spent on social media.

In a study Spotify did on millenials 46% browsed social media whilst streaming music. Maybe the perfect call to action for audio advertising is to follow your social accounts — just a thought.

Who’s it good for?

I’m a big fan of testing everything. Especially when you can run tests at the relatively low cost of $250. But it’s important to keep in mind a couple of things.

1. You can’t target ‘hyper-locally’ which means your audience should be broad

2. Ask is your audience likely to be listening to the ‘freemium’ version of Spotify (72% of millenials are on the freemium account)

3. Ask you advertising the type of content people want to hear when listening to music

However, especially with playlist targeting I see this being extremely useful for

Workout programs and apps — tap into those listening to the workout playlist

Foodie products — tap into those listening to the cooking playlist

Productivity apps — tap into those listening to the focus playlist

But I’d also love to see the results in marketing events, savings products (hey — they’re using the free version so they might like to save), travel products and a range of other consumer goods.

Just keep in mind people generally don’t like interruptions and that’s exactly what ads do.

So make it fun and engaging.

If you’re targeting people listening to the workout playlist say ‘ hey we hope we caught you in your rest period’ or if you’re targeting people listening to focus ‘hey sorry to interrupt, but we have something that might make you even more productive’ — tap into the mindset they are in when listening to each playlist.

The best ads I’ve heard on Spotify always apologise for the interruption and if you want some great ad inspiration listen to the Masters of Scale podcast by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman — those ads are the definition of engaging ads.

So, I’ve gushed quite a bit about this ad platform (and this is 1000% not sponsored — I wish) but to make it easy I’ve rounded up what I love AND what I don’t love so much about the platform before I dive into how to set up a campaign.

What I love:

Familiar interface: The interface is extremely easy to use and not too dissimilar from a scaled back Facebook boost interface — making it easy for anyone to create an ad.

Request voiceover: Spotify does the audio recording for you (you can also upload your own file) they allow you to upload the script, provide instructions to the voice artist, choose your language — currently English, Spanish or French, choose a voice profile e.g. male or female and their age group and select background music. Chill ambient groove is my favourite.

Targeting based on listening behavior: You can target based on the type of music your target audience is likely to listen to. Based on playlists such as cooking or working out or music genre. This is where it gets exciting — maybe targeting people listening to focus with productivity apps, workout with online programs or cooking with food related content. Spotify’s research shows that millennials are more likely than any other audience to listen to the chill playlist.

30 second spots: The ad spots are only 30 seconds but you wouldn’t want more than this. This is perfect for crafting a short, sharp and to the point message

Link to url: Each ad allows you to drive to a landing page for more information. This means the ads won’t only create awareness but could actually drive traffic and measurable conversions as well.

Ad creative: You can upload your own ad creative (640x640px) which allows for interaction using both audio and visual (remember that many users listen in their car and might not see this though)

Low CPL (cost per listen): At the moment, the ads platform is estimating around $0.027-$0.038 cost per listen. Similar to when other digital platforms such as Pinterest launched ads, the ad serving cost was quite low. This is partly because ads are auction based and you’re an early adopter to the platform. My recommendation start testing now and ride the wave while it’s here.

Quick turn around and revisions: Spotify has a 24–48 hour turn around time for creating your voiceovers and you can make revisions from your dashboard if you are unhappy with the recording.

Clear reporting metrics: Although not extremely sophisticated — the reporting dashboard is streamlined and conveys many clear stats included — times the ad was served, reach, frequency, clicks and click through rate (note — make sure you include utm tracking on the campaign url for easy tracking in Google Analytics).

What could improve:

City based targeting: Similar to LinkedIn, the targeting is city or country based. Which means it’s great for companies with a broader reach but it’s less useful for localised marketing. If you only want to reach people in a small area of a city — the targeting isn’t quite there for you yet.

Ad audience: You do have to remember that ads on Spotify only play to those who have a ‘free’ account. This means they are most likely to be occasional users — this isn’t so bad if your product isn’t directly related to the music industry. But, it is important to note that these people are using a ‘freemium’ model, so think about whether your core customers would be using freemium as well.

A/B testing: There doesn’t seem to be an obvious way to A/B test your ad without running a second advert. I’d love to see an option to easily test different ad creatives, different scripts and different voiceovers (and any other variable — I wonder whether chill ambient groove or Atmospheric guitars converts better.

Minimum budget: This is a negative and a positive. There is a minimum budget of $250, which means you have to dedicate a ‘bit’ of money to run a test. But, I was able to stretch this out over a month — making it a relatively low cost channel to try. What’s important to keep in mind is that Spotify are the experts in how many times someone should listen to an ad for it to resonate or convert. A quick and cheap $20 test probably won’t cut it with audio.

Pixel retargeting: There currently doesn’t seem to be an option for retargeting on the platform and I am unsure of the source that would appear from any traffic. So make sure you use UTM tracking on the campaign url to track these users on your website.

No reporting on audience: Currently Spotify doesn’t share the data on who is interacting with the ads or what placement is converting e.g. females listening to the workout playlist on iPhone have the highest click through rate. So there is some room for improvement with the reporting dashboard.

What it looks like:

Your ad will be a 30 second spot and include an ad visual (640px x 640px) and learn more call to action with a link to any url

Now how to set up a campaign….

  1. Choose your objective — for most businesses this will be awareness

2. Choose your audience

You can choose city/state/country, age range and gender

3. Choose your targeting

You can target based on genre or playlist category

4. Choose your platforms

Do you want iphone users only? If you’re targeting people listening in the car or at the gym — you might not need desktop

5. Set a budget and schedule

You can choose their recommended budgets or create a custom budget (with a minimum of $250).

Note: On the right you’ll see your audience with an estimated cost per listen and estimated listens

Now time to create your ad

6. Upload your ad creative

The dimensions are (640x640px)

7. Choose your ad headline

8. Choose where the ad is linking to

Note: you can view the ad you’re creating in the right hand panel

Now upload your audio or request voiceover

For request voiceover you must:

1. Select voiceover title

2. Upload a script (at or under 75 words)

3. Leave instructions for the voice actor

4. Choose a language (from English, Spanish or French)

5. Choose your voice profile (male or female and ‘age group’ e.g. child or senior)

6. Add a background track

From there your ad voiceover gets created by Spotify in 24–48 hours.

Once your ad is created you can reject or request revisions and get access to the results dashboard.

To see more about this Mike Russell has some great Youtube Tutorials.

Thanks for reading :) and i’d love to know how your campaigns go hit me up on LinkedIn.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade