Spotify Unveils Free Version of Its App: What This Means for Marketers

Spotify Finally Gives Fans (and Advertisers) What They’ve Been Looking For

When Spotify went public a few weeks ago, user anticipation for a new and improved app platform was high. The free version of the app hadn’t seen any significant updates since 2014 and fans and advertisers were getting restless.

Yesterday, the company finally proved to the world that they are ready to duke it out in the ultra competitive music streaming ring by unveiling an updated ‘freemium’ version of the app.

The company made the formal announcement at a press and advertiser-partner only event at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City. Essentially, the app’s old framework would be burnt down and rebuilt from the ashes. Fans were thrilled.

Spotify announced that the new and improved free version would include an intelligent onboarding process, innovative personalization and data saving features, fifteen curated on-demand playlists, and many more.

More Personalization = Better Ad Targeting

At the end of 2017, around 90 million users were listening to the free version of the app but up until now, their music listening options were limited. Users weren’t able to create their own playlists or listen to playlists on demand.

Now that Spotify is giving its fans more flexibility, personalization, and ‘Streaming Intelligence’, the number of users exchanging ads for music may increase; giving marketers a much larger audience to connect with.

According to a press release, Spotify states,

“With this enhanced personalization, we’ll have an even deeper understanding of our audience — the music they love and how they stream it. Ultimately, this dataset gives us a contextual understanding of our listeners, going beyond demographics and devices to reflect the real people behind the devices.

This Streaming Intelligence gives brands and marketers more chances to deliver relevant messaging in the right moment with our engaging ad experiences.”


Specifically, as part of the aforementioned new onboarding process, users can select at least five of their favorite artists and Spotify will tailor on-demand playlists based on their choices.

According to global head of partner solutions Danielle Lee, over time, advertisers will be able to use that data to deliver more relevant ads to users, based on their music tastes and moods.

Lee also affirmed that current video, display, and audio ads would look the same. The updated app will include a new Data Saver feature, which will save users 75 percent of mobile data, but advertisers won’t need to create low data ads specifically for it.

In the press release, Brian Benedik, Spotify’s Global Head of Ad Sales, states,

“Brands want to connect with this audience because we’ve built a trusted ecosystem that extends into the car, into the home and on the go. Now that Spotify’s ad-supported experience is more personalized and engaging for our fans, we’ll be able to serve them more relevant, targeted messages from brands.”

How to Advertise on Spotify

Spotify’s Audio Ad Studio is a simple self-serve advertising platform that enables marketers to create audio ad campaigns in less than 10 minutes. Content creators can use the Ad Studio to create a new ad from scratch or they can upload their own.

After inputting a script, advertisers can select a background track and voice profile using the voiceover feature. Once all the elements are selected, the studio takes over and records a voiceover, mixes the music, and distributes the ad.

After Spotify puts the finishing touches on the ad(s) and delivers it, marketers can track forecast impression estimates based on target audiences and all campaign reporting. According to the Ad Studio FAQ, “Each ad can be 15 or 30 seconds long. The ad will also need to contain a clickable image to be shown for the duration of the ad. The clickable image can link to a single URL of your choice.”

Advertisers can target ads on desktop, mobile, or both based on user age, gender, location, activity, and music taste.

Currently, the Ad Studio operates through a waitlist and only accepts marketers from the U.S., U.K., or Canada. Sign up for the studio is free but advertisers must create campaigns with a minimum $250 budget. The Ad Studio is not expected to change in the wake of the new app redesign.

Spotify’s revamped app is expected to roll out to iOS and Android and all global markets in the coming weeks. Spotify has stated that they are currently having conversations with advertising partners to discuss how to best deliver ad experiences on the new platform.

The Timelessness of Audio Marketing

Audio experiences are always relevant, powerful, and malleable. The way people listen may change over time but the impact of audio art is constant. This is common knowledge to most of us but the audio ads scattered in the silent spaces between track changes, podcast breaks, or at the end or beginning of audiobooks are underestimated canvases.

An engaging audio ad experience can make your brand as much a part of a user’s daily routine as their favorite song, book, or podcast. Creating and delivering these relevant branded messages in the right moments can strengthen your connection with existing consumers and attract new ones.

Creating and distributing branded audio content on platforms like Spotify, Pandora, or other music streaming apps is a worthwhile investment and can be the missing link in your content promotion strategy.

With an audience of 90 million on the ad-supported version of Spotify and over 81 million on Pandora, it’s clear that people are listening now more than ever. It’s your job as a content marketer, creator, and/or promoter to dive into audio, create new experiences, and connect with audiences who are willing to listen.


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