2019 was a huge year for the audio industry with Spotify leading a wave of investment and innovation that’s accelerating the growth of podcasting. Time spent listening to online audio reached a record high, while in the US, the number of people who are monthly podcast listeners is expected to climb to 106 million by 2023. Simultaneously, ad revenue for podcasts is projected to skyrocket to more than $1 billion in 2021. Clearly these numbers point to an incredibly bright future for podcast fans, creators and brands alike.
Today, Spotify is announcing the launch of Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI), our new proprietary podcast ad technology that powers Spotify Podcast Ads. As audio and podcast consumption increases at staggering rates — on Spotify — podcast consumption increased 39% from Q2 to Q3 last year. And ad dollars follow — Spotify is leading the charge to unlock the potential of this uniquely powerful and intimate advertising medium.
Here’s how it works: SAI technology leverages streaming to deliver Spotify’s full digital suite of planning, reporting, and measurement capabilities for Spotify original and exclusive podcasts. This includes data such as actual ad impression, frequency (number of times a listener heard the ad), reach and anonymized audience insights (age, gender, device type). This is the first time this type of data is available for advertisers and podcast creators.
Today, despite being a digital medium, the podcast industry measures audience, reach, and impact much like you would a full-page ad in a magazine. Advertisers generally have a sense for who they’re reaching, based on survey data and the magazine’s target audience. Total circulation measures the number of doorsteps that the issue hits, but there’s no precise data on how many readers actually opened the magazine, let alone reached or acted on the ad.
Until now, 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 for advances in data-driven podcast advertising, and here at Spotify, we’re moving beyond these constraints to reimagine what’s possible for this uniquely powerful and intimate medium.
With this technology, Spotify are offering the intimacy, quality and efficacy of traditional podcast ads with the precision and transparency of modern-day digital marketing. In short, we’re keeping what podcast listeners, creators, and advertisers love about podcast ads and making the medium addressable for digital advertisers.
Iconic footwear brand Puma was among the first partners to test SAI and the results were major. They ran host-read ads during Spotify Original podcast, Jemele Hill Is Unbothered,