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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, 61% of Spotify listeners say that digital audio ads help them discover new brands.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

First off, decide on a budget that best suits your advertising goals, whether they're focused on building brand awareness, driving traffic, or increasing conversions.

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. To serve audio and video ads in music playlists you’ll need to place bids in an auction, whereas podcast ads are priced on fixed rates.

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

Music ads serve between songs on playlists listened to across a range of devices, helping your message to be heard at precisely the right moment.

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 surface when we believe people are focused on their screen, browsing and discovering new music and podcasts.

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.

Podcast ads

Podcast ads serve during podcast series and episodes, reaching listeners when they're already engaging with entertaining or educational audio content.

“In the last year that we've run campaigns with Spotify Ad Studio, we learned that there are a few key aspects to creating compelling audio ads," Bailey Garrison, Advertising Manager at Articulate, said.
"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."

Writing an audio ad script starts with context.

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.

3. Target engaged audiences

The most effective advertising strategies for small businesses prioritize reaching the right audiences. Audience targeting tools can help you connect with people who are most likely to be interested in your messaging.

"Our best-performing audio ad to date focused on the broad Spotify audience and aligned with our branding goals," Alejandro Medina, Senior Performance Analyst, Grupo Bursátil Mexicano, said.
"To make our ad super relevant to listeners, we purposely designed our message to match the medium that brought it to our target audience."

Using Ad Studio, small businesses can connect with listeners according to:
Demographic: age, gender, and location
Behavior: interests, fan base, and context
Environment: platforms, devices, and genres

If you know who you're reaching — and where and why you're reaching them — you can build more customized ad experiences that speak to people's unique interests and values.

4. Consider brand safety

Brand safety is now advertisers' top trust-related issue,2 beating out data security and privacy, according to the 2021 Advertiser Perceptions Trust Report. 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 within which they're delivered. 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.

5. Try ad rotation

Ad rotation lets you customize how multiple ads are served to your audience, optimizing performance across platforms.

Different types of ad rotation include:
Even rotation, where all creative assets are delivered randomly and evenly. Tip: Test new messaging ideas to see which ones perform best.
Weighted rotation, which lets you prioritize certain ads over others for increased visibility. Tip: Weigh timely promotions more heavily than evergreen ads to get the word out about seasonal sales and time-sensitive deals.
Sequential rotation, where you can choose the order in which people hear or see your ads. Tip: Serve up episodic ads that tell a story or guide users through specific stages of your marketing funnel.

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 reach and revenue.

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 on how to test and learn with Spotify Ad Studio’s campaign structure, 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.

Sources: 1. Spotify/Qualtrics Entertainment Study, poll of U.S. users ages 13+. August 2020. 2. "2021 Advertiser Perceptions Trust Report," as reported by Marketing Drive. August 2021.

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