Spotify will display clickable podcast ads in its app

In 2020, Spotify revealed that it was testing an ad setup that would make promo codes and special URLs during podcast ads a thing of the past. Starting today, those in-app ads are starting to appear. The company says CTAs will start appearing on its original and exclusive shows when the corresponding ad or show is mentioned during an episode.

New CTAs will appear in the Spotify app as soon as the ad plays during the audio broadcast on the player interface as well as on show and episode pages. If you leave any of these places to do something else — like stream music, for example — ads will be shown when you return to that podcast in those three locations. Essentially, Spotify sees this as a way to not only relieve you of having to remember a specific promotional code or URL, but it also argues that you’ll be able to interact with ads or brands you’re interested in when you have the time to do so. There is no doubt that a simple click, if you are interested in what you just heard, is more convenient than typing the usual information manually. Of course, the downside is that you’ll now see in-app ads when listening to certain podcasts – even if you’re a paid subscriber.

Spotify doesn’t see this as a potential problem, because users who pay a fee hear ads on podcasts when listening to shows through its app. Advertising keeps podcasts afloat after all, and has turned the medium into a profitable tool for businesses to promote goods and services. However, some would argue seeing an ad in the app and hearing an ad during the show are two completely different things. Brands will likely be willing to join in quickly though Spotify says clickable ads generated twice as many site visits during the early adoption phase than “traditional” ad reads for companies like Ulta Beauty, Athletic Greens and Squarespace.

CTAs are powered by Spotify’s Streaming Ad Insertion, a powerful analytics platform for podcast ads that are automatically inserted into pre-recorded promotional reads in the perfect spot for every listener. This is how the app knows when to start showing the card corresponding to the ad when you hear it during the show. Of course, Spotify is promoting call-to-action as their first “interactive” podcast, and brands will no doubt be excited about having a more visible, and most importantly, clickable way to reach audiences. But it will be interesting to see how listeners respond to visual ads in their streaming app, especially those who pay a monthly premium so they don’t have to hear them on non-podcast content.

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