Spotify is today presentation a new ad format aimed at podcasters he calls “Call-to-Action Cards” – or CTA cards, for short. The feature, which is powered by Spotify’s streaming ad insertion technology, will display a visual ad in the Spotify app when the audio ad starts playing. Cards can be personalized by advertisers with their own images, text, and other clickable buttons that entice listeners to “buy now” or take some other action the advertiser hopes to encourage.
While ads are able to capture users’ attention while streaming, Spotify knows that listening to podcasts is often an activity where the app is running in the background while the user is doing other things. things like going for a walk, exercising at the gym, cleaning, driving and more. That’s why Spotify is also making the new CTA cards available on the show’s and podcast’s episode pages. This allows targeted listeners to interact with the ad at a later time when they browse the Spotify app, the company explains. These cards will remain available for up to seven days after the listener hears the announcement, or less if the campaign ends before that.
In the future, Spotify believes the format will evolve to do more than just direct users to some landing page of some sort.
“We see these cards as an important step towards modernizing the format – a format that will become more efficient over time as we add shopping, video and other interactive features to them,” said Jay Richman, Head of Ads Business & Platform at Spotify. , during the format’s introduction at a press briefing as part of the company’s virtual participation at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show.
Advertisers who adopt the format will also have access to reports and metrics based on confirmed ad impressions made possible through streaming ad insertion.
Spotify has invested heavily in streaming ad insertion technology, which has brought real-time targeting and reporting to podcasts. Previously, when podcasts were delivered via the more open RSS format, they were also hampered by technical limitations of downloadable-only content. Advertisements were embedded, not dynamically inserted, into broadcasts. And audio players couldn’t differentiate between which part of the program was show content and which part was commercial – it was all one file. With continuous audio insertion, the content itself is paused, the ad is inserted, and then the content resumes when the ad ends.
All of this takes place in real time, but that doesn’t stop the listener from skipping commercials like they did before, if they don’t like hearing the message.
In 2020, Spotify acquired advertising and podcast hosting company Megaphone for $ 235 million to help expand streaming ad insertion beyond its own shows to reach publisher partners through the Spotify Audience Network. , a network that now includes shows from independent creators using Spotify’s Anchor platform. And last month, Spotify acquired podcast tech company Whooshkaa to bring the technology to broadcasters who want to stream their audio content as a podcast after first airing it on the radio.
Since the streaming ad insertion already knows when the ad appears in the program, Spotify can also display the accompanying CTA card to display the advertiser’s creation. For listeners, the experience may be better to research the products and services that they heard the host promote during the program, as they will no longer have to try to remember a URL or coupon code. that the creator had spoken.
However, the addition also makes using Spotify to stream podcasts even more like an ad-supported experience than before, as even Premium (paid) subscribers will be subjected to the new distracting ads and see them appear at both on the podcast show and episode pages even after you finish listening.
Spotify tested the new CTA cards with selected advertisers, including Ulta Beauty, ahead of today’s launch. According to Christine White, head of content, social media and integrated marketing at Ulta, the company reached about 250,000 unique Spotify listeners with one of its campaigns and about half of them saw at least one. CTA card after hearing the audio message, including those who saw the card later while browsing the app.
Spotify sees CTA cards as another step in making podcast content more interactive. The company is already experimenting in this area with features like voice commands and podcast audience polls and Q&A, which engage listeners in real time, making them more likely to come back to the app. while playing the podcast as well. More recently, it has extended access to video podcasts, via Spotify’s Anchor platform. Podcast makers can add a video to their podcast to show off recording the show or they can use the feature to occasionally add a chart, chart, or slide. This feature is now rolling out to more creators and listeners, said Mike Mignano, Anchor’s co-founder and Spotify’s talk manager, at the same briefing.
Spotify notes that no additional work will be required by the creators to activate the new CTA Cards, which will initially be available on select Spotify Original & Exclusive podcasts in the US, starting today.