News & Insights

How Spotify is raising the bar on brand safety

At Spotify, brand safety is central to our product offering—because we know how important it is to brands and agencies who have a carefully constructed brand image to protect.

Our goal is to raise the bar on audio brand safety; by delivering increased transparency and easy-to-use controls in order to connect millions of advertisers and creators with billions of fans, in a trusted environment.

To help us reach this goal, we’ve increased our investment in the brand safety and suitability of our platform, as well as the monetized content available for advertisement delivery. Right now, we use a combination of people, policies and technology to support this ambition, and in this article we break down how those elements come together to create a brand-safe platform, and result in engaging ads that align with advertisers’ unique brand message.

Our people

While artificial intelligence plays a crucial role in ensuring brand safety, it’s not possible to tackle the complexity and challenges of a constantly evolving brand safety space without critical input from human experts. Our Brand Safety team is continuously working to ensure Spotify remains a trusted platform for our advertisers. Our people establish partnerships, review content, and build solutions for safer, more transparent advertiser experiences. We focus on finding industry experts that can lend real-world insights and experience into our roadmap and brand safety approach. And we also lean on key third-party partnerships to validate our internal operations and outputs—as per the recent announcement of our partnership with Integral Ad Science (IAS).

This continued expansion of our efforts—combined with our growing partnerships with industry experts and advisors—demonstrates the proactive approach we’re taking to brand safety.

Our policies

At Spotify, we leverage industry-standard principles to inform our policies on content and brand safety. While our Platform Rules address content that could be considered harmful to our users, advertisers, and creators, our monetized content policies prevent the monetization of any content that wouldn’t be appropriate for our advertisers and brands. This is a stricter set of restrictions consistent with those set out by the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), a cross-industry initiative established by the World Federation of Advertisers to address the challenge of harmful content on digital media platforms and its monetization via advertising.

Our technology

Spotify gives advertisers 100% share-of-voice during screenless moments—there’s nothing else competing for a listener’s attention unless a screen is in focus. We also offer a range of advertiser controls so you can customize your campaign to meet your individual needs. For example, the Spotify Audience Network (SPAN) now offers an added layer of control (on top of the GARM brand safety floor) over Sensitive Topics, enabling brands to exclude podcast content that doesn’t align with their values.

In addition, advertisers can easily target or avoid specific topics using our Contextual Topics and Sensitive Topics. These topics leverage technology to transcribe and analyze podcast episodes; going beyond simple identification of keywords to understand language, sentiment, and context—so that we can best align your brand with the most suitable content on Spotify.

While no platform can guarantee 100% brand safety, Spotify is committed to raising the bar on audio brand safety by:

  • Creating a safe, trusted environment for brands
  • Being transparent on how effective we are in creating a brand-safe environment
  • Offering more customization and controls to advertisers

We take brand safety seriously and will continue to partner with experts and invest heavily in our platform functionality and product capabilities for the benefit of advertisers, creators and listeners alike. That doesn’t mean that we always get it right, but we’re committed to learning, growing, and evolving.

If you’d like to learn more about Spotify’s commitment to Brand Safety or discuss a campaign, get in touch with your Spotify POC. You can also keep up to date with new product features and insight-rich stories by signing up to the Spotify Advertising newsletter.

Looking for something a little more custom? Let's talk.