Spotify Debuts First Vertical Video Ad In Branded Moments

What Happened
Spotify unveiled its first vertical video ad unit for mobile listeners to appeal to mobile advertisers. Brands advertisers can purchase the mobile-optimized unit in Branded Moments, an ad product Spotify recently introduced that lets brands target users based on the context and mood they are in. The idea is to infer the context a user is in based on the type of playlist they are listening to. Playlists are divided into categories such as workout, party, dinner, and sleep. Users who watch the vertical video ads will receive 30-minutes of audio ad-free listening, but they may still see additional display ads. Brands such as Bacardi, Gatorade, and Bose are among the first to try out this new ad unit.

Why Brands Should Care
This is not the first time Spotify has come out with a product that aims to sell brands on playlist-based targeting. In May the music streaming service launched “Sponsored Playlists” which allow brands to sponsor popular playlists to reach a bigger audience on its platform. The welcome addition of vertical video ads offers Spotify advertisers a way to deliver a more eye-catching experience to mobile consumers.

Spotify is facing increased competition lately, as Pandora and Amazon both launched their own music streaming subscription services this week. Nevertheless, with 70 million global listeners on its ad-supported free tier and a growing portfolio of ad products, Spotify remains in a relatively advantageous market position and is a valuable emerging marketing channel for brands to reach their target audiences.


Source: AdAge

Spotify Goes Programmatic, Allows Playlist-Based, Real-Time Targeting

What Happened
Spotify is stepping up its ad game as it announced the launch of programmatic audio ads earlier today. The popular streaming service is partnering with three programmatic platforms – AppNexus, Rubicon Project, and The Trade Desk – to give brands access to over 70 million global users on its ad-supported free tier via real-time bidding. Along with that launch, Spotify is also offering ad buyers access to its demographic data and playlist data, allowing for real-time targeting based on age, gender, location, and even the playlists people are listening to.

What Brands Need To Do
With the programmatic ad platform, Spotify rounds out its programmatic ad offerings across audio, video, display ads. Allowing brands to target based on demographics and listening habits also opens up new opportunities for tailoring ads that match the audience behaviors and interests their playlists suggest. For example, a fitness brand can surface ads for listeners who played “workout” playlists, whereas a mattress company may choose to target users who listened to “insomnia” playlists.


Source: AdWeek

Spotify Now Lets Brands Sponsor Its Popular Playlists

What Happened
Spotify has introduced another ad product for brands to connect with its over 100 million users worldwide. Brands can now sponsor some of the most popular playlists curated by the music streaming service, with a message that matches the playlist of their choice. Dubbed Sponsored Playlists, the new ad unit matches a marketer with a playlist that aligns with the target audience they have in mind. For example, an athletic wear brand would be a good fit to sponsor a workout playlist. Kia, McDonald’s, and Target are among the advertisers that have tried it out during beta testing. Spotify also says it will help drive users to a playlist during the sponsorship through native promotion and social media.

What Brands Need To Do
Playlists are one of Spotify’s most popular features, with its top playlists amassing millions of followers. For example, the Today’s Top Hits playlist currently has 8 million followers, and its personalized Discover Weekly playlist has reached 40 million users so far. For brands, this offers an interesting way to get their messages across in an organic way. And because those messages are embedded within playlists, they can even reach paid subscribers.

For more information on how brands can earn consumer attention with branded content or sponsorships, please check out the Ad Avoidance section of our Outlook 2016.


Source: AdWeek

Header image courtesy of Spotify’s Vimeo video

Why Spotify Is Making 12 Original Video Series

What Happened
Leading music streaming service Spotify is diving deeper into video content with the announcement of 12 music-centered shows coming to its platform. The slate of original content includes Spotify’s first scripted show “Ultimate/Ultimate,” a mockumentary series about the electronic dance music scene produced by Tim Robbins, as well as several reality series shows, live performance shows, and documentaries. The original programming will be available for all users in U.S., U.K., Sweden, and Germany at initial rollout.

Why Brands Should Care
Spotify first added video content to its service in January this year when it packaged short-form videos from media partners such as BBC, ABC, and ESPN into category-specific playlists. With the original video content, Spotify is making a stronger push. Out of the 100 million global users Spotify currently has, only 30 million are paid subscribers, meaning about 70 million Spotify users are on the ad-supported, free tier. Spotify already introduced video ads to its service in 2014, allowing non-paying users to watch a video spot in exchange for 30 minutes of uninterrupted listening. Although there is currently no detail on how Spotify plans to monetize the original video content, it is safe to assume that it would soon be open to ads.


Source: The Verge

Spotify Extends Full-Screen Display Ads To Mobile

What Happened
Spotify is bringing its full-screen desktop display ads to mobile in an attempt to grab more attention of mobile users. Starting today, the music streaming service is offering a new mobile ad unit dubbed Overlay Mobile, which allows advertisers to buy display ads for both iOS and Android mobile devices. Spotify says this new ad unit provides 100% viewability, as it serves as the “welcome back” ad and only appears when a user has the app open.

What Brands Need To Do
This new mobile ad product shows that Spotify is following its audience, as 65% of global streams are now on mobile devices. The streaming service shared earlier today that it now has 30 million paying subscribers out of a total of over 75 million active users, which leaves around 45 million Spotify users on the ad-supported free tier. If your brand wants to reach those Spotify listeners on mobile, this new ad unit should provide an effective way to do so.


Source: AdWeek

Header image courtesy of Spotify for Brands

Spotify Readies Video Streaming Product

What Happened
After a long period of speculation, Spotify is finally ready to add video content to its roster. The popular music streaming service has confirmed the plan to launch a video-streaming product later this week with content from media partners such as BBC, Comedy Central, ABC, and ESPN. The videos will be packaged into category-specific playlists, such as “News of the Week” or “Laughs at Lunch,” just as Spotify does with its music playlists. Contrary to most apps’ iOS-first strategy, Spotify will make this feature available on its Android app first later this week, with the iOS version arriving by the end of next week.

What Brands Need To Do
Spotify has already introduced video ads to its service in 2014, allowing users to watch a video spot in exchange for 30 minutes of uninterrupted listening. Expanding its content offerings can help Spotify better compete with rival streaming services such as Apple Music or YouTube’s Music Key. Although there is currently no detail on how Spotify plans to monetize the video content, it is safe to assume that it would soon be open to ads. For now, brands that are reaching consumers on Spotify should consider developing branded content or sponsorships with the aforementioned media partners to get in on Spotify’s video product.


Source: Engadget


New Chromecast To Support Spotify, Sling TV, And More

What Happened
Google announced yesterday that the new Chromecast 2 will have native support for a slew of popular streaming services including Showtime, Sling TV, NBA, and NHL. Google also introduced Chromecast Audio that connects speakers to Wi-Fi for wireless audio streaming from services like Spotify. The Chromecast Android app also received a major update that added features like content discovery, multiple device control, and a more comprehensive video search tool, vastly improving the user experience.

What Brands Need To Do
So far, Google has reportedly sold an impressive 20 million units of the original Chromecast, which helps users enjoy a living-room viewing experience powered by mobile devices and laptops. All brands that have video content should consider adding support for Chromecast in their branded apps. For media owners that have content apps that already support Chromecast, this upgrade brings some new opportunities in increased audience reach and improved content discovery, and content owners need to make efforts to ensure the consistency and quality of viewing experience as viewers consume content on bigger TV screens.


Source: TechCrunch

Event Recap: IAB MIXX Conference 2015, Day One

To kick off this year’s Advertising Week, the Lab attended the IAB MIXX conference held at Crowne Plaza Hotel in New York City. Here are some highlights from the first day of the event, which was focused on the importance of consumer experiences in digital advertising.

Context And Relevancy Influence Consumer Experience
Across panels and keynotes, speakers agreed that digital ads deliver the best consumer experience when they are served at the right moment. “People don’t hate advertising. They hate advertising that isn’t relevant to them in that moment,” Chairman and CEO of Interpublic Group Michael Roth remarked in the keynote. Spotify, a major sponsor of today’s event, also took the stage to demonstrate their capability in ad targeting based on listening behaviors, usually clued in by the name of the playlist. For example, users listening to a “Workout” playlist would be more susceptible to an ad for sports equipment. Touting over 2.5 hours of active engagement every day per user, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek also said that audio ads are vastly underutilized in the industry.

Unifying Ad Experience Across Screens And Platforms
As today’s audience becomes increasingly fragmented, It seems evident that the best way to capture consumer’s attention and leave a lasting impression is to deliver a unified ad experience across multiple devices and platforms. Clear Channel Outdoor also presented results of their #CokeMyName digital outdoor campaign from July in Times Square, which married traditional out-of-home ads with smartphones via Twitter as the mechanic for social lift. An identical experience was replicated on a corresponding mobile site for further interactions and social sharing. Combining OOH display and mobile engagement, the campaign proved to be a hit, logging over 350 million social impressions over 3 weeks. Similarly, Andy Markowitz, General Manager of the GE Performance Marketing Lab, also showcased how they are leveraging digital tools across touchpoints to create a holistic consumer experience, including mapped ROIs using Marketo‘s data inside LinkedIn’s lead generator.

Fighting Adblockers With Better Ad Experience
Now with 62% of digital time spent on mobile devices, user experience on mobile is paramount to the success of digital ads. With mainstream consumers quickly adopting ad blockers, it is important to develop high-quality, content-rich ads that consumers are willing to engage with. As Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer put it, ”if we want to combat ad blockers, we need to offer people transparency, choice, and control.” In a workshop session, digital ad firm Undertone presented results from joint research it conducted with Ipsos Connect on the effectiveness of high impact formats, i.e. full screen interactive ads such as interstitials. Monitoring results from 3,600 participants, their study found high impact ad formats outperform standard digital ad formats, doubling brand recall rates across desktop, tablets, and mobile devices. Native ads and in-app ads were also recommended by multiple speakers as ad formats that delivers superior consumer experience, something that we also suggested all brands look into in a recent Fast Forward analysis.  


Dating App Happn Integrates With Spotiify To Enable Virtual Serenading

Read original story on: The Verge

French dating app Happn has announced a new integration with popular music streaming service Spotify to enable users to virtually serenade each other by sending full-length Spotify songs, which can be streamed directly inside the app. User can also choose to display their favorite Spotify songs on their dating profiles.

As more and more people joins online dating, various dating apps continue to grow at a rapid pace. Our POV on dating apps (click here to read) explored the unique ecosystem they form and explained how brands are reaching mobile users on these new platforms. As mobile apps grow increasingly intertwined with integration, we expect the emerging platforms of dating apps continues to mature and expand.

LINE Tests Messaging Apps’ True Potential With Music Streaming Service

Read original story on: TechCrunch

LINE, the Japanese messaging app with 205 million active users, is continuing its platform expansion by launching its own in-app music streaming service. First tested in Thailand two months ago, the paid service is now officially rolling out in Japan, LINE’s main market.

According to the source, however, due to the stronghold of conservative record labels, Japan remains a rare instance in the global markets where music streaming has yet taken hold and sales of physical copies still dominates—even Spotify doesn’t have much presence in the country. Therefore, LINE will have to find a way to leverage its huge user base to jump-start the music streaming market.

This new service came as a natural step in LINE’s vigorous platform expansion. Within the past year alone, the popular messaging app has introduced its own mobile payment component, dipped into in-app ecommerce in Taiwan and SE Asian markets, launched LINE Taxi to compete with Uber in Japan, and even pilot-tested LINE TV, a YouTube-like video service in Thailand. This new branch-out into music stream will continue to diversify its services and revenues, showcasing the vast potential that messaging apps hold as full-fledged media platforms.