Back in the early days of radio advertising, a 30-second spot was a serious status symbol. Production required hiring a creative agency and using expensive equipment, meaning this type of ad was typically reserved for big brands with deep pockets.
But today, there's an alternative that delivers the benefits of radio advertising without all that complexity and expense. Self-serve digital audio ads on Spotify give brands of all sizes access to everything they need to create an effective campaign, from professional recording and mixing equipment to background music and voiceover actors. Now, audio advertising isn't just a big brand's game — even small businesses on a budget can manage audio campaigns in a bunch of engaging formats.
Here are four ways digital audio ads — and Spotify's self-serve ad manager, Spotify Ad Studio — can help your brand create a killer campaign from scratch.
1. Use podcast ads to reach engaged listeners
Does it seem like everyone from your next-door neighbor to your chatty coworker has a podcast these days? You're not imagining things. As a medium, podcasts are growing fast. In 2021, more than 117 million Americans listened to podcasts at least once a month.1
So, why the popularity? For one thing, podcasts feel like an intimate form of media in a world of detached, screen-based experiences. For some people, engaging with a podcast feels like a conversation — like a personal relationship between the listener and the host.
Since podcast ads are seamlessly woven into podcast content, brands can benefit from that sense of closeness, too. Not to mention, Spotify's podcast advertising network is extensive, with millions of monthly active listeners.
What's more, the right context fuels great ad experiences for listeners. You can make your audio ads even more memorable by designing them to enhance rather than interrupt the moment. According to our research, listeners have around 34% more engagement on Spotify compared to traditional radio,2 and 51% say they pay more attention to ads on Spotify specifically because they're more relevant and tailored.3
Americans...listened to podcasts at least once per month in 2021.1
More engagement...on Spotify compared to traditional radio.3
2. Zero in on a precise audience with self-serve audio ads
On the brand side of the experience, digital audio lets advertisers reach specific audience cohorts—a feature that goes above and beyond simple post code targeting and demographic-estimating that AM/FM radio advertising is limited to.
Case in point: Content publishing platform Issu wanted to target content creators and marketers with digital audio ads that surfaced in podcasts their audience might typically listen to. Using Ad Studio's turnkey services, the brand created a voiceover script which featured one of Issuu's core phrases, "Create Once, Share Everywhere,". And thanks to the targeting capabilities of SPAN—the Spotify Audience Network—the campaign reached more than 70,000 listeners on Spotify across its target audience.
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Hear the spot for yourself.
In addition to finding people in the right geographic locations, Ad Studio lets businesses of all sizes create, target, and measure their audio ad campaigns. The platform makes it simple to zero in on exactly the right demographic, audience behaviors, and audio environment for your brand's needs.
3. Boost brand recall
Naturally, small business advertising is about making sales—but a customer can't buy your product if they don't know it exists. That's where brand recall comes in. Familiarizing listeners with your company encourages potential customers to keep an eye out for your products and services, which in turn can boost revenue.
This can be particularly impactful for local brands offering specific products or services within their communities—especially in an era when nearly 70% of people say that supporting local businesses is a priority.4 In order for those customers to show that support, they first need to know what your company offers—and digital audio is a great way to explain. Then, when they walk by your business on Main Street or happen across your products online, your ad messaging is already in the back of their mind.
To boost brand recall, having strong creative is key. Our research shows that effective ad creative can increase recall by 17%.5 We've also found that multiform campaigns, like those featuring both audio and video ads, can increase ad recall by 90%.5
Effective ad creative...can increase recall by 17%.6
Multiform campaigns...like those featuring both audio and video ads, can increase ad recall by 90%.7
4. Deliver a timely message
Here's another perk of self-serve digital audio ads: expanding your reach for any limited-time offers you need to promote. With Ad Studio, you can create a campaign quickly and easily to get the word out, even if you need your ads to run only on certain days of the week.
Pizza Hut took this approach when it wanted to attract sports fans on game day. The goal was to reach hungry parents and kids when fast and easy food was top of mind. So, the brand created audio ads that replicated the roar of a stadium packed with football fans. Sportscaster-style messaging highlighted value deals and delivery options. The campaign scored with immersive audio storytelling and sound effects to capture sports fans' attention—all while putting Pizza Hut's products in the starting lineup. Listen to their audio spot below:
🎧 Grab headphones for the full effect.
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Pizza Hut took this approach when it wanted to attract sports fans on game day. The goal was to reach hungry parents and kids when fast and easy food was top of mind. So, the brand created audio ads that replicated the roar of a football crowd. Sportscaster-style messaging highlighted value deals and delivery options. The campaign scored by using immersive audio storytelling and sound effects to capture sports fans' attention—all while putting Pizza Hut's products in the starting lineup.
- "Global Podcast Listener Forecast 2021-2025," eMarketer. October 2021.
- Sonic Science research, Neuro-Insight and Spotify, June 2021.
- Spotify & Kantar: TNS Research, US Age=16-64, 2020.
- "Buying Local Statistics for 2021: Survey Finds 70% of Americans Shop Small," Intuit. January 2011.
- Nielsen Brand Effect on Spotify, March 2020.
This is an updated version of a story that was originally published in February 2022—we aim to keep our content as fresh as possible, to help advertisers make the most informed decisions about how they spend their ad budget.