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7 self-serve advertising tips for small businesses

Advertising can be a tricky business. From words and pictures, to scripts, video and voiceovers, there’s a lot to get right—and leaving it in someone else’s hands comes with an inherent risk. So how can you take charge of your advertising, while keeping cost and time spent down?

Spotify’s self-serve advertising platform empowers small businesses to create professional ads on their terms, because advertising on Spotify isn’t just for large enterprise brands with deep pockets. Ad Studio provides access to immersed listeners streaming the music and podcasts they love—and they're open to hearing from advertisers. In fact, our Sonic Science research revealed that one in five study participants had looked up a brand or product online after hearing about it in a Spotify ad.1

Rather than handing over the reins to an advertising agency, small business owners can use our self-serve advertising platform to quickly and easily set a budget, determine targeting parameters, and launch creative assets—selecting exactly what works best for their brand.

That's why Spotify Ad Studio exists: to help businesses share their message with engaged listeners via simple-to-use, self-serve tools.

Here are seven self-serve advertising tips for small businesses—so you can make the most of your digital audio campaigns and grab your audience's attention when and where it matters most.

1. Set your budget

Self-serve advertising platforms like Ad Studio have flexible pricing options, so you can bring your small business advertising ideas to life with any budget, starting at just $250.

First off, decide on a budget that best suits your advertising goals, whether you’re focused on building brand awareness through upper-funnel objectives, or increasing consideration through lower-funnel objectives.

With Ad Studio, you can select a lifetime budget amount to spend through the entire length of your campaign, or opt for a daily budget with open ad set dates to get increased transparency and predictability—and more room to experiment between ad sets. You may want to shift budgets, test different audiences and creatives, or take action based on past learnings. With Daily Budgets, you can set a target daily spend amount, which Spotify uses to determine your monthly spending limit. That means you can capture daily fluctuations in demand while at the same time staying within your monthly budget.

Either way, you’ll have complete control over how your budget is spent based on your campaign goals, and decide the maximum price you pay with a bid cap. You can also adjust your budget as needed based on customer demand and audience targeting criteria.

2. Choose the right ad format

Digital audio ads come in a range of engaging formats designed to keep customers listening wherever they are. Within Ad Studio, small businesses can choose from formats including:

Audio ads

Audio ads serve between songs on music playlists, as well as during podcast series and episodes. They can be heard across a range of devices, helping your message land with your audience at precisely the right moment.

Podcast ads are available to advertisers in the US, Canada, and the UK (at the time of writing), and can only be selected alongside music ads.

“We've run campaigns with Spotify Ad Studio, and learned that there are a few key aspects to creating compelling audio ads. Keep the ad short, straightforward, and memorable. You only have 30 seconds to capture the listener's attention and convey your message, so you want to make sure you can do it clearly and concisely."

Bailey Garrison, Advertising Manager, Articulate

Writing an audio ad script that will get people’s attention starts with context. Keep your audio ad script casual and conversational with a slow cadence and well-timed pauses so it fits seamlessly into the listener's experience.

Bonus small business advertising tip:

The future of digital audio advertising is interactive. To engage audiences further, ask listeners to perform an action like "tap now to learn more." Including exclusives or promotional codes in your audio ads can also drive engagement.

Video ads

Video ads are served to users during ad breaks when we know the app is in-focus. Unlike on other platforms, Spotify audiences view your video ads with the sound on, as long as the Spotify app is in focus and the listener is interacting with their device.

No need to rely on subtitles and overly flashy visuals.

Unlike on other platforms, Spotify audiences view your video ads with the sound on, as long the Spotify app is in focus and the listener is interacting with their device.

3. Leverage machine learning

With Ad Studio, you can use automatic placement to leverage machine learning that determines where your audio or video ads will appear across music and podcasts—to help you achieve your advertising objectives.

4. Optimize your campaign to align with your advertising goals

By leveraging objectives and automatic placement in Ad Studio, you’ll get your message heard by the right audience—whether they’re listening to music, or podcasts.

There are three different objectives to choose from when creating a campaign in Ad Studio. Each one helps you reach a different outcome based on the goal you want to achieve.

Build awareness

  • “Reach” helps your ad to be seen or heard by as many people as possible.
  • “Impressions” aims to deliver your message as many times as possible, even if to the same person more than once.

Increase consideration

  • Clicks” increases the chances of listeners visiting your website (or any other URL you’ve specified) after they’ve heard or seen your ad.
  • You can optimize your ad for clicks with CTA cards, and drive listeners to take action. Our Optimization tool, when combined with the Click objective, will help your CTA cards reach listeners who are more likely to click on your ad.

5. Consider brand safety

Brand safety is a top trust-related issue among advertisers, according to the 2021 Advertiser Perceptions Trust Report.2 That's why it's important to choose a self-serve ad platform that takes brand safety seriously—and gives you control over how and where your ads are served.

On Ad Studio, advertisers can choose the types of ads they run and the formats which they're delivered in. With built-in content controls, you can also exclude certain topics and content categories from your audience targeting, keeping Spotify a safe space for your brand and audiences.

6. Measure your results

A key advertising tip for small business owners: Measure campaign performance and gather actionable insights to make sure you're staying on track toward your advertising goals.

Ad Studio's suite of measurement solutions offers real-time reporting, campaign summaries, and budget tracking. You can also keep an eye on metrics like:

  • Ads served
  • Reach
  • Frequency
  • Completion rate
  • Clicks
  • Demographics
  • Conversions

With this data at your fingertips, you can better understand what your listeners are responding to, who's tuning into your ads, and how you can adjust your self-serve campaign strategies to increase awareness and consideration.

7. Test and optimize for future success

Advertising solutions for small businesses need to go beyond a single campaign. That’s why Spotify gives the advertiser total control. Since you call the shots, you have the freedom and flexibility to tweak campaigns, apply real-time insights, and experiment with new ideas as you wish.

Not sure which audiences to target? Test a few different options and see which delivers the best results. Can’t decide which ad format to use? Dedicate a small budget to both audio and video ads and let the data steer you in the right direction.

Ad Studio makes it simple to manage multiple campaigns and budgets so you can optimize for future success and hit just the right note with your targeted online advertising.

Explore more small business advertising advice in our article Small Business Marketing Ideas, or—if you’re ready to build your own campaigns and put these small business advertising tips into practice—get started with Spotify Ad Studio today.


  1. Sonic Science Volume 2, Spotify x MindProber, February 2023
  2. "2021 Advertiser Perceptions Trust Report," as reported by Marketing Drive. August 2021.

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