Spotify launches Playlist Targeting for brand marketing

spotify logo square canvasOn-demand music service Spotify has announced a new audience segment for advertisers called Playlist Targeting. Brand marketers will be offered a premium opportunity to connect with behavioral audience segments in the desktop and mobile versions of Spotify, based on 1st-party data derived from user engagement with Spotify’s 1.5-billion playlists.

The targeting is derived from what Spotify knows about audience activity and mood, based on playlists that themselves target activities and moods. Brian Benedik, VP of North America Advertising, gave RAIN News an example. “We’ve got thousands of workout playlists. Some of them have been generated by users — they’ve built playlists on high-intensity and low-intensity workouts. We also have a workout section in the Browse feature, containing hundreds of Spotify-curated playlists for different types of workouts. If you’re a brand, like Nike or Adidas, interested in workout enthusiasts, there’s now an opportunity to message to them at these moments during the activities.”

brian benedikBenedik told us that marketers get 100% share of voice in any playlist stream. that means that, in the above example, if a Nike ad enters the stream, it will not compete with an ad from Adidas or any other advertiser.

Spotify’s ability to assemble 1st-party data into a user profile is key to this opportunity. “We are able to follow a user throughout the day, perhaps mobile in the morning and desktop in the afternoon, maybe mobile again in the evening,” Brian Benedik told us.  “We know what device they’re on and what they’re listening to, in addition to the user’s registration data. It makes it very interesting.”

Benedik noted that users are listening to Spotify now differently from in the past. “It used to be genre-based listening, which is germane to radio. People are now listening to music around certain activities, moments, and moods. We think that’s a big shift. We see mood-and activity-based playlists out-performing genre playlists.”

The Playlist Targeting product includes a feature called sequential messaging. Sequential messaging is similar to re-targeting, but with a narrative element. Brian Benedik explained: “The opportunity for a brand is to serve different creative and different messaging at different moments in the day. some brands are heavily invested in sequential messaging. We might tell a story to you in the morning, that’s different from what we’re telling you in the afternoon and evening. Until now, we haven’t had that ability. But there is demand from brands and agencies, to build on a morning creative with afternoon and evening messaging.”

Playlist Targeting was tested for several months,with Spotify’s Customer Development Group, which includes eight brands representing marketer categories that assist in testing. the new initiative is being brought to market today.

Brian Benedik expects quick uptake to start. “The low-hanging fruit will be brands that are invested in certain moods and activities,” he said.

Brad Hill