What Spotify’s audience network will offer ad buyers

The audio streaming company is beefing up the reach and optimization offered by its ad products.
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While many people were buzzing about a new Spotify podcast from Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen on Monday, the ad world was more interested in the announcement of several new advancements, including the launch of Spotify Audience Network.

Spotify Audience Network will be an audio advertising marketplace where advertisers can reach listeners across ad-supported music, Spotify’s original and exclusive licensed podcasts and podcasts hosted on and created with Spotify-owned technology companies Megaphone and Anchor. Megaphone is a podcast monetization and publishing platform the company acquired in November; Anchor is a podcast creation, distribution and sponsorship platform Spotify acquired in  2019.

The Spotify Audience Network is in the early stages of development and will begin in the U.S. with plans to extend to additional markets over time.

Alex Cloutier, digital performance director at Glassroom, says audio streaming has increasingly become a bigger part of communications plans, largely driven by progress being made towards deeper audience connectivity. He says this announcement will advance media buyers’ use of the platform by offering greater reach and scale, as well as enhanced audience performance optimization.

“It was always a bit of a challenge to verify audio programmatic as a performance driven tactic,” he adds. “Now that Spotify has expanded their reach to other platforms, they have definitely provided us with the ability to increase our overall ad performance opportunity substantially.”

Spotify also announced new ad features for its Streaming Ad Insertion product, first announced last year as a way to place ads into podcasts in real-time; audience-based buying, native ad placement and creative performance reporting will now be part of the Spotify Audience Network, and available to Megaphone podcast publishers and Anchor creators globally later this year.

The company has also begun beta testing ad buying with Spotify Ad Studio, a self-serve platform meant for SMBs.

Spotify plans to nearly double its market presence by launching in 85 new markets in the next few days, making the platform available to more than a billion people around the world. Spotify is currently available in 93 countries and has 345 million monthly active users (the company doesn’t regularly break out listener data by market).

Even the launch of Springsteen and Obama’s “Renegades: Born in the USA” has implications for Canadian advertisers. In the U.S., DTC shaving brand Dollar Shave Club and cable provider Comcast will be sponsoring the podcast, but in Canada, listeners will instead be hearing audio-based activations from Starbucks. Peter Furnish, the coffee chain’s VP of product and marketing in Canada, said in an announcement that sponsoring the podcast was a fit for the brand, as “conversations like these happen over coffee all of the time,” and anticipating that “millions” of Canadians will listen.