Spotify launches Streaming Ad Insertion, offering precise measurement for podcast ads

David Murphy

Spotify has launched Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI), a proprietary podcast ad technology that will power Spotify Podcast Ads. The launch comes off the back of increased podcast activity, with podcast consumption on Spotify increasing by 39 per cent between Q2 and Q3 last year.

In launching SAI, Spotify notes that today, despite being a digital medium, the podcast industry measures audience, reach, and impact much like the impact of an ad in a magazine would be measured – there’s no precise data on how many readers actually opened the magazine, let alone reached or acted on the ad.

Until now, says Spotify, podcast advertising has experienced many of these same challenges because the medium is still largely downloaded via static RSS feeds. But the shift in consumption from downloads to streaming has opened the door to advances in data-driven podcast advertising.

SAI will deliver Spotify’s full digital suite of planning, reporting and measurement capabilities for Spotify podcasts. This includes data such as actual ad impression; frequency (the number of times a listener heard the ad); reach and anonymized audience insights around data points such as age, gender and device type. Spotify said this is the first time this type of data has been made available to advertisers and podcast creators.

"In the past five years, podcasts have become a staple of pop culture,” said Joel Withrow, senior product manager of podcast monetization at Spotify. “In that time, I've spoken to a lot of sceptical brands, and the conversation consistently begins and ends with measurement. I’m excited to continue evolving the medium at Spotify. With our trusted, logged in audience, we can finally prove out the effectiveness of podcasts with the data and insights that digital advertisers expect."

Footwear brand Puma was among the first advertisers to test SAI. It ran host-read ads during a Spotify Original podcast, Jemele Hill Is Unbothered, and according to Spotify, the ads delivered an ad recall lift of 180 per cent, though it does not specify what this relates to, in terms of a previous podcast ad, or a comparison of brand recall among people who had heard the ad and people who had not.