The future of digital audio is interactive
An audience of listeners is a powerful thing. Our research shows that people are more engaged and attentive when listening on Spotify compared to other forms of media, both for the music and podcasts they stream, as well as the commercials they hear. . A recent survey found that consumer receptivity to ads on music streaming services and podcasts increased over the past year.1
For years, we’ve known that attention and engagement on Spotify is great for advertisers, especially when it comes to goals like awareness, consideration, and purchase intent. But what about conversion? The barrier, of course, is that audio is usually one-sided: creators create and listeners listen. And these listeners connect through a variety of moments, many of which are screenless. Let’s say a listener hears a compelling podcast announcement while running on the treadmill or making lunch, for example. It isn’t necessarily easy to remember which promo code or URL you just heard, and it’s probably not practical to stop whatever you’re doing to grab it all into your device.
That is to say until now. At Spotify, we believe the future of digital audio, including advertising, is interactive. That’s why we introduced CTA cards: clickable visual companions for audio ads on Spotify. Here’s what that means for advertisers.
Podcast advertising 101
What is driving this new era of digital audio? The podcast revolution.
Over the past few years, the podcast media has exploded with an increasing share of public attention. In the United States, people now spend more than 45 years on average per day listening to podcasts.2 This increase in consumption has been fueled by an increase in podcast creation: in 2021, more than one million new podcasts were added to Spotify, representing almost a third of our global podcast catalog (3.2 million podcasts).3 With this consumer boom, we’ve doubled the support and the means for creators to connect with listeners. From video podcasts to Q&A and polls, Spotify is constantly working on new features to make podcasts more interactive and fun. And now we’re excited to bring that same innovation to the audio advertising experience through podcasts. The future of digital audio is interactive and starts with an important first step: making podcast ads clickable.
But first, a little history. Podcasts entered the scene almost two decades ago. At first, podcasters started monetizing their content by simply recording their ad reads directly to the audio file of a specific podcast episode. The deployment of dynamic ad insertion (DAI) in 2013 was a big step forward for podcast advertising technology: advertisers could now target and serve different ad creatives to different listeners, and tailor their ads to multiple episodes. or podcasts. Still, DAI had its drawbacks, namely that the measure is limited to downloads. Additionally, marketers were looking for more opportunities to reach and influence listeners. However, whether an ad is embedded or served through DAI, it doesn’t look any different to the consumer. There is no visual clue that an ad is serving, and there is no practical way for listeners to take action.