Understanding your brand’s audience through music

Spotify research outlines the best ways to advertise to millennials, fitness enthusiasts, and partiers, based on their habits


Spotify’s new “Understanding People Through Music” research has shown that a person’s music streaming habits can give insight into their personality, brand sentiments, and can ultimately help tailor bespoke advertising to suit their purchasing style.

Spotify analyzed the listening habits of over 100 million people, honing in on three particular subgroups: millennials, fitness enthusiasts, and partiers. This unique data creates value for listeners, artists, for Spotify itself, and for marketers, too.

“The fact that Spotify is a mobile-first product (60% of music streaming is mobile) means it’s with you in so many different contexts. When you combine the diversity of contexts, the richness of user engagement, the size of the audience, all the music in our catalog, and 10 years of data, then Spotify has the best data set to explore,” stated Spotify’s VP of Data, Adam Bly.

Spotting consumer trends in streaming habits

Using this rich data, each group was measured against three particular streaming habits: Discovery, Diversity, and Tilt.

Discovery focused on how people seek out new music, with listeners divided into reliables or explorers. Reliables seemed to stick with the artists they knew, while explorers often sought out new music. What does this mean for brands? Well, according to the research, reliables were more consistent. They were likely to recommend a brand to a friend, whereas explorers were more likely to try out new things — restaurants, for example.

Diversity measured the range of music people listen to. Listeners in this category were either eclectics or loyalists. Eclectics liked a range of music and were more likely to stream TV and movies regularly, whereas loyalists are prone to stick to one genre and were likely to purchase something directly linked to an ad.

Tilt measured how people tailor their listening experience, and was split into curators and easy-goers. Curators did just that: curate playlists. Easy-goers were more passive listeners. Spotify’s findings indicated that easy-goers were more likely to listen while at the gym, whereas curators were more inclined to buy more video games.

Using this information to create better ads

This information is detailed and unique, but what can brands do with it? According to Bly, “This data affords Spotify the opportunity to create a level of ad personalization that is unprecedented. Brands can craft the right strategy and creative, and present the right message to the right user at the right time.”

Spotify applied this data to each sub-group, with actionable results for advertisers. For example, millennials’ tended to stream as reliables, eclectics, and curators. They are often early adopters in entertainment, they seem to listen on the go, and they invest in brands they love, respectively. As millennials are constantly on their phones, creating a soundtrack for their daily lives, brands can attempt to target them with eye-catching video content that entertains and inspires.

Fitness enthusiasts skewed towards reliables, eclectics, and easy-goers. They are inclined to purchase energy drinks, impulse buy, and watch health and fitness videos online, respectively. Instead of interrupting these fitness buffs’ workouts, Spotify recommends that advertisers enhance it using Spotify’s Branded Moments native video solution, which rewards fitness enthusiasts with 30 minutes of non-stop listening.

And partiers? They had a propensity to be explorers, eclectics, and easy-goers. They are often more inclined to go to live shows, use music to improve their mood, and are disposed to online shopping, respectively. Brands should get on their level and deliver high-energy audio ads that match their real-time context. Prioritize pump-up genres, along with party playlist targeting, to reach your audience as they turn up.

These findings give a new level of streaming intelligence and audience understanding for brands looking to execute targeted, productive, and seamless advertising.

As Bly said, “Of course, as the product is more relevant to our users, it becomes ever more valuable to brands. They can use Spotify to interact with those users in moments that could be mutually beneficial to both the brand and the user. That’s sort of the Holy Grail of advertising.”