How Spotify turned up the volume for its UK advertisers

The Drum 29 Jul 2020 09:20

Spotify won the ‘Commercial Team of the Year’ category at The Drum Online Media Awards 2019 with its ‘Turning up the volume on better advertising’ campaign. Here, the agency reveals the challenges faced and the strategies used to deliver this successful strategy.

The challenge

Spotify is the world’s most popular music streaming service and the company uses its rich, first-party data and insights to connect the world’s largest brands and SMBs to the millions of people.

To deliver on this opportunity for UK advertisers, and reach revenue targets, over the last 12 months the UK ad sales team has been focused on developing the diverse skill sets of its team of salespeople, client service managers, strategists and planners.

The arrival of Marco Bertozzi (20 year agency veteran) and Rak Patel (20 year sales veteran) saw the beginning of a revolution in the team’s approach and growth.

Their goals were simple: drive positive growth, win share of digital marketing budgets and create an effective and inclusive culture among the ad sales team.

Spotify’s UK marketing team, harnessing product innovations from the world’s leading streaming music service, has utilised first-party data and insights, called Streaming Intelligence, to support the planning and activation of campaigns on the free tier platform.

Beyond audio, the team has established its video advertising products as best-in-class, outperforming industry benchmarks thanks to technology built for viewability and targeted based on an 100% logged-in audience rather than cookies. Spotify has focused on building trust in their ad products, bucking unfortunate industry trends towards data misuse and opaque media practices. This started with the deep and trusted relationship Spotify has with users.

The solution? Spotify Ad Studio, a self-serve audio advertising platform launched in the UK in March 2018. We’ve built the foundation of this platform over the past year, releasing new features and tools to help businesses throughout the campaign lifecycle and enabling advertisers to create an audio ad from scratch. Businesses have discovered how the power of audio helps them reach their audience in an uncluttered and engaging environment. Since launch, Ad Studio has become Spotify’s fastest growing advertising channel globally and thousands of advertisers - from education, to non-profits, to local events and entertainment - are using the tool.

One campaign for Snickers, The Hunger Spotter, for which we worked alongside MediaCom, has won no fewer than 10 industry awards, including Gold for Best Use of Data for Audience Buying at the Media Week awards. The campaign targeted those listening to different musical genres than usual, as a sign that they were hungry, echoing Snickers’ iconic “You’re not you when you’re hungry” message and playing them a Snickers audio ad in the style of their favourite music genre.

The Smirnoff Equaliser campaign gave Spotify users insight into their own listening behaviour. The tool analysed how many male and female artists users had listened too, as well as generating playlists so the user could choose what percentage of male and female artists featured, thus allowing Smirnoff to be part of an important cultural conversation about gender equality in music.

We have also convinced brands such as Adidas - that have never done any audio advertising before - that Spotify was the right platform to do it. In this case the result was a personalised running playlist for the 2.1 million monthly active UK users streaming running playlists every month, complete with tracks selected based on beats per minute, encouraging runners to go further and faster. Adidas saw a 19% increase in purchase consideration following the campaign.

The future

At a time when ad fraud, data misuse and high ad loads are creating cynicism and negativity around advertising, Spotify launched their previously internal #loveAds initiative externally. Done with purpose and authenticity, it has encouraged excitement and pride in the work done by the advertising industry and acted as a rallying cry to the industry to celebrate the impact of advertising on the world.

“Spotify felt like a really good fit for Samaritans; it felt like the perfect platform because listening is at the heart of what the user does.” - Katie Columbus, assistant director of brand and engagement, Samaritans.

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SpotifyUKMarco BertozziRak PatelStreaming Intelligence
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