Inside Spotify's move into video making audio more powerful

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 27 November 2023
Adrian Bingham

The rise in digital audio listening has seen Australia lead the world, with about 18 million , or 81% of the total population aged 12+, listening each month.

Adrian Bingham, Spotify’s head of sales for AUNZ, said digital audio has moved from a nice to have to a need to have; audio can't be ignored anymore. 

“Marketers are really leaning into it, because they see it as an opportunity,” he told AdNews.

“It's low cost to entry, high speed to market, it's addressable and you can actually target people in different needs states and moments, which is really huge as well. 

“It can go where video can’t go, which is an area that some of the really smart marketers are really leaning into and looking at ways that they can engage with their audience and consumers across the day throughout the day.”

However, Spotify is making a bigger play into video with a pre-roll and a mid-roll product already in market. As a result of the platform, Bingham said the product team are starting to look at how that overall visual element becomes more interactive.  

“We are seeing users are leaning into the app more, so we're having this opportunity where we can engage with users,” he said.

“We know from our internal and also external research as well that when you combine video and display and audio together, you're able to engage with the audience in different needs states, whether they have the screen opened and leaning in or the screens closed and it's in their pocket - they might be working out for example and we’d serve them an audio ad. 

“It drives stronger brand outcomes and stronger campaign results as well, so it's definitely an area that we're focused on how we can combine that mix of different formats to really target different audiences at different needs states and moments.”

As measurement continues to be a key challenge confronting advertisers, Spotify is trying to move the industry away from what Bingham calls analogue measures and vanity metrics.

“We generally look at that measurement suite in three buckets and we focus around reach, reaction and resonance,” he said.  

Bingham said Spotify is trying to go deeper than just standard reach and frequency impressions and "‘an ad was heard" and instead start asking questions such as "did it drive action?" and "was there an outcome that came off the back of it?".

“We've launched products like call to action cards and streaming ad insertion too, which will help address this, but even going more granular than that we’re looking at website visits, footfall, app downloads - all of those things that some of the larger global platforms are currently doing is an area that we're pushing into quite quickly too.”

He said that while Australia is a mature market, it's still a priority market for brands, especially where test and learn opportunities with new product launches are concerned. 

“We're actually starting to see that products that are taken to market are coming into Australia first and using it almost as a test market before taking it to the US or the UK as an example,” he said. 

“That’s been a big shift. I think probably seven years ago, we wouldn't have seen that - everything would go to the US or the UK first - whereas that has definitely shifted in the more recent years.”

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