Connected TV

Spotify Presses Play on CTV Advertising

What will CTV ads look like on an audio-first channel?

Spotify Presses Play on CTV Advertising

4 Min Read

If you haven’t noticed by now, programmatic advertising — and Connected TV specifically — has been a big deal in advertising. In fact, it’s so big that in the last year we’ve seen even movie theater chains (!) take inspiration, while every major streaming service has gone all-in on advertising. Now that the last holdout, Prime Video, is adopting ads, the latest channel to jump into the fray isn’t even a video streaming service at all — it’s Spotify. 

This week the music streaming juggernaut announced its intentions to snag some of the OTT ad dollars by deploying ads on CTV apps — but how will advertisers react? Will they need to set aside a budget to create specific ads for this unique platform? And how will their messaging perform on an audio-centric channel that’s often put on for background for listening but never actively watched?

The answer, as always, lies in one simple solution: creative that converts.

CTV Ads: Music to Spotify’s Ears

Spotify’s introduction into CTV ads will start small, but the company hopes to quickly scale it into grander ambitions. Beginning with Roku as its first partner, the music streamer will build a larger group — the Spotify CTV Partner Network – to deliver its video ads across a variety of streaming services. 

Initially, Spotify plans to offer advertisers its “Video Takeover” offering, which lets brands reach audiences during traditional ad breaks as they scroll through Spotify’s catalog. If this format sounds familiar, it’s because that’s what Spotify currently uses on mobile, desktop, and tablet devices. Alpha testing on CTV video ads begins in the U.S. next month. Spotify hopes that it will provide more value to advertisers, giving them one more channel to reach and retarget audiences on; and of course, the streamer sees lucrative advertising opportunities for themselves as well. 

The Challenge For Marketers 

If you’re a current CTV advertiser, at this point you’re probably thinking: isn’t Spotify an audio-centric channel? Don’t most users put it on for background music, rather than sitting around and watching cover art? How is this going to engage and convert? 

It’s a fair question and one that Spotify has even acknowledged. In an interview with Ad Age, Spotify’s Emma Vaughn described the service as “both a foreground and background experience” that challenges advertisers to have powerful audio that engages on its own without the additive appeal of video. This means that brands are going to have to be strategic with their creative, crafting something that can grab attention on its own through audio — but can then use video to engage further and convert. 

Best Practices, Better Outcomes

So how can advertisers make the most of their creative for a new channel like Spotify? Thankfully, you might not have to do anything already — as long as you’ve been following creative best practices on CTV

Creating a compelling CTA: As mentioned earlier, Spotify users are likely to listen to ads first — so you need a compelling reason to get them to turn their heads and look at the TV. Calls to action that include a message of urgency or direction (e.g., “don’t miss out”) help to grab that attention — and give viewers the next steps to take action. 

Keeping your logo visible — and name heard: Some of the most iconic ads have creative that’s easy to remember — but not the brand. It’s crucial to display your logo prominently throughout — and have it said out loud to drive viewer/listener retention.

Maximize the format: CTV ads use both visuals and sound, so it’s important to use voiceover work to make the ads engaging. This is especially important when trying to capture a viewer looking away from the screen. 

Refresh creative: No one likes hearing the same ad over and over again. Creative fatigue is a real threat for advertisers — and it produces diminishing returns. Aim to update your creative at least once a quarter. 

Utilize existing assets: The best thing about Spotify’s new ad format is that it’s familiar to anyone who has already run CTV ads. By using premium CTV platforms like MNTN Performance TV or services like Creative-as-a-Subscription, brands can get high-impact creative, test and iterate across multiple channels to optimize their ads, then redeploy them on other channels. 

What’s Next in the Queue?

Whether Spotify’s CTV advertising becomes the next hot thing or not, there’s at least one certainty: we will see a lot more untraditional performance marketing opportunities in the future. As more audiences continue to stream content, from video to music to video games, advertisers are going to have to be nimble enough to embrace the new platforms and strategic enough to maximize their opportunities. If you’re already following best practices for your MNTN CTV ads, then you should be in good shape for Spotify, movie theaters — or whatever comes next.

Other CTV News You Need to Know: