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Spotify launches audience network for audio ads

Podcast monetization is a priority at Spotify.

On Monday, the audio streaming platform introduced the Spotify Audience Network, an audio advertising marketplace where advertisers can reach listeners through ad-supported music, Spotify’s original and exclusive licensed podcasts and podcasts. hosted on Megaphone and Anchor owned by Spotify.

Megaphone is the podcast monetization and publishing platform Spotify acquired in November of last year for $235 million. It works with over 20,000 podcast publishers, including Slate, Vox Media, ESPN, and How Stuff Works. And Anchor is the platform for creating, distributing and sponsoring podcasts Spotify acquired in February 2019.

The Audience Network “will give advertisers the ability to reach and target large-scale audiences on and off Spotify,” said Dawn Ostroff, chief content and advertising officer at Spotify.

Podcast creators and advertisers need more tools to attract ad dollars to podcasts.

Although U.S. consumers spend about the same amount of time listening to audio content as watching digital video – more than nine hours a week – “we haven’t seen the same growth in digital audio advertising,” Ostroff said.

Radio and satellite alone represent a $30 billion advertising market, despite “missing a fraction of the signals” available through digital audio ads, she said.

The fact that podcast consumption has always been counted based on downloads rather than streams hasn’t helped. Advertisers were “flying blind” with no clear knowledge of whether — or how many times — their ads were being heard, Ostroff said.

Early 2020 at CES, Spotify Launches Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI) Technology to enable real-time targeting and more granular audience measurement for its original and exclusive podcasts.

Soon, Spotify will extend this capability to monetized podcasts through Megaphone and creators on Anchor.

Third-party publishers will have the ability to leverage dynamic ad insertion through Spotify for the first time, said Ostroff, who noted that since its launch, SAI has become one of Spotify’s most widely used advertising tools.

And in keeping with the theme of podcast monetization, Spotify also announced that it is expanding Spotify Ad Studio, its self-service advertising platform for audio and video ads, to include podcasts. As with its other monetization tools, Spotify will start with original, exclusive podcasts and add third-party podcast content down the line.

Beta testing for buying podcast ads through Spotify Ad Studio is now live in the US.