News & Insights

Audio vs. video: how to pick the right ad format

Ad Studio offers both on one easy-to-use platform. Here, we break down each format's unique superpowers.

Earlier this year, we announced that video advertising is now available on our self-serve ad platform, Spotify Ad Studio. That means it’s never been easier to set up a video campaign on Spotify, and advertisers are already taking note. But now that both audio and video ads are available on the platform, you might be wondering which format is best for your objectives and message. To answer this question, let’s start with each format’s unique superpowers on Spotify.

  1. Audio’s superpowers

Immersing the listener

With audio, there’s no limit to storytelling — it can communicate emotions and capture moods in seconds, engaging listeners to fill in gaps with their imagination. Plus, you don’t need a huge budget or production crew to make it happen.

Audio storytelling in action

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Pop on your headphones and listen along to Alex’s Saturday to hear how simple, yet powerful audio storytelling can be.

Soundtracking “unreachable” moments

It’s no secret that people are on Spotify to listen — whether it’s for entertainment, motivation, or simply to enhance the moment. In our sound-on environment, audio ads fit seamlessly into listeners’ experience, letting advertisers connect with listeners in moments when visual media can’t.

Flexibility and efficiency

No need for a film crew with audio. With Ad Studio, all you need is a script. We can help you with the rest — for free. You can also record your own ad and simply upload it. Either way, you don’t need to limit yourself to one creative idea — you can efficiently create multiple versions of your message to address different audiences’ needs.

Video’s superpowers

Product visualization

If you’re introducing a new, tangible product, video can be a salient way to drive immediate product understanding while indulging multiple senses. The added visual component helps people see what you’re promoting and gives you the opportunity to show the context in which your product is used.

Cross-channel throughlines

If you’re running a big campaign across other visual channels like TV, social, or out-of-home, it can be helpful to tap into Spotify’s visual moments to quickly associate your Spotify ad with your overall campaign.

Visuals and sound

Video ads on other platforms are often played on mute, but not on Spotify. The sound-on environment means you can tell stories with both audio and visual elements — and feel confident they’re being seen and heard. Plus, this sensory combo extends your creative options, giving you the immersiveness of audio with the helpful visual cues of video.

The case for combining forces

Spotify’s ad technology is fuelled by user context, meaning we optimize when to serve a video ad and when to serve an audio ad based on how a listener is interacting with the app. We serve audio ads when listeners are streaming and not looking at their screens, and video ads when the Spotify app is in focus. To tap into both moments , it’s best to run audio and video together and let Ad Studio determine when the right message is likely to be received.

  • 90%

    increase in ad recall¹

    Combining audio and video ads results increases ad recall.
  • 2.2x

    increase in brand awareness¹

    Combining audio and video ads results increases brand awareness.

We’ve seen that running both video and audio increases ad recall 90% and results in a 2.2x increase in brand awareness.¹ So while each format has its superpowers, running both formats at once tells a holistic, impactful story to listeners.

1 Nielsen Brand Effect on Spotify, March 2020

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