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Types of advertising and how to use them

Just getting to grips with digital marketing? Don't feel so daunted—in this guide we'll walk you through the different types of digital advertising and help you determine the right path for marketing your business. We'll also take a look at the types of advertisements available to you on Spotify.

Trying to find the best advertising strategy can feel like a wild goose chase. What works for one brand may not work for another, which means you can’t rely solely on what others tell you. What you can do, though, is study the different types of advertising and get to know the unique pros and cons associated with each.

A little education goes a long way. You’ll feel better prepared to make informed choices about which advertising methods best fit your business. You know your customers best, and you are the best person to make the final call on what types of ads your brand should invest in.

Let’s take a closer look at your options and the benefits they offer.

The 3 core types of advertising

There are three high-level advertising types that serve as the pillars of promotional marketing. Each of these is far-reaching, with several sub-categories.

Print advertising

The oldest advertising method which anyone reading this will be familiar with—but by no means the least profitable. Print advertising encompasses all printed materials that are created and distributed for the purposes of connecting with a target audience, and can attract lots of new customers. A few of the most popular forms of print advertising include magazine ads, billboards, direct mail (including flyers, catalogs, and postcards).

Broadcast advertising

Broadcast advertising refers to ads delivered during television and radio broadcasts. The most common broadcast ads include:

Radio ads

Radio ads are audio-only adverts that are aired during or in-between scheduled radio broadcasts. They’re great for building brand awareness and more cost-effective than other forms of advertising—but they often lack personalization since listeners don’t share personal information with radio stations, and engagement metrics are very difficult to measure.

TV ads

TV ads air on broadcast, satellite, or closed-circuit television channels, and are ideal for brands looking to raise awareness with a wide audience. The widely known downside, however, is that they carry a high price tag if you want your ad to air during prime-time slots or on national television.

Pre-movie ads

Pre-movie ads are shown in movie theaters prior to a film being shown. These ads aren’t shown in just one theater, but in multiple theaters across a particular franchise. They allow advertisers to connect with an audience that’s already captivated in an environment where there are few distractions, but pre-movie ads can be costly to run.

Digital advertising

Digital advertising is an umbrella term for any form of paid marketing that occurs via online channels like social media, websites, search engines, streaming services, and so on. Popular types of digital ads include:

Pay-per-click ads

Pay-per-click ads, or PPC ads, are displayed in search engine results pages like Google and Bing. A business pays each time a user clicks on its ad—and the cost depends on the competitiveness of the keyword the ad is targeting. For businesses who want to advertise niche products that don’t get high search volumes, the cost might be quite low. However, for businesses competing in crowded markets the cost may be quite high. Either way, PPC ads are highly trackable and—if you don’t want to play the long game—a shortcut to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).

Social media ads

Any paid advertisement that’s displayed on a social media platform like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, or LinkedIn falls into this category. A social media ad is an excellent option in terms of being able to target your desired audience based on their interests and other key demographics such as age and location, but it’s often hard to calculate ROI as conversion rates can be impacted by a long list of factors not known by the platform.

Video & audio ads

Digital audio is the fastest growing form of advertising1 and—as of 2022—87% of marketers claim videos have a positive ROI2. Audio ads combine the wide reach and scalability of traditional radio with the fine-tuned targeting abilities of digital media. With Spotify, digital audio ads are served during podcasts, and music playlists.

The power of Spotify ads

Sure, we’re known for our extensive library of music and podcasts, but that’s not what defines us at Spotify. What truly sets us apart and gives us our competitive edge is the trust placed in us by more than 450 million global users who actively consume content on our platform each month.

It’s because of our listeners that our app is available in 183 different markets. It’s also because of them we’ve earned the title of the top global audio streaming service3. As much as we work to offer an audio experience our users will love, it’s their commitment to our platform that fuels our progress, and it’s what makes Spotify such a force to be reckoned with when it comes to advertising for small businesses.

To be exact, 59% of our users say they pay more attention to ads on Spotify than on traditional radio, and Spotify ads have been proven to drive higher engagement levels than all other forms of media.

Here are the different types of advertising formats available to you through Spotify:

1. Audio ads

Of all the types of advertisement formats we provide, audio ads continue to be the most popular, and for good reason. Our advanced audience targeting capabilities enable advertisers to reach the right people, in the right place, at the right moment. Plus, audio ads can’t be closed or swiped past, ensuring your message is heard and your campaign is given the greatest chance of success. You can choose between a 15-second or 30-second ad slot, and we provide a full range of self-serve tools and services to help you create audio ads that your audience will love.

2. Display ads

Display ads are a great way to make a visual impact fast. Our overlay experience features an immersive and clickable ad designed for viewability. Every time ad-supported users open the Spotify app, overlay ads will appear and drive traffic to the advertised brand if clicked or tapped. Want to make a lasting first impression? Go for a high-impact experience with a Homepage Takeover. Dominate Spotify’s desktop homepage for 24 hours, featuring interactive media for more clicks and higher conversions. Read more about responsive display ads to make sure you're up to date on display advertising best practices.

3. Video ads

One of the most trusted types of advertisement, video ads combine audio and visual cues to great effect, stimulating both senses to make your message all the more memorable. Spotify video ads are only delivered when a user is actively using the app with the volume up, ensuring ads receive both exposure and engagement. Again, video ads are offered in 15-second or 30-second time increments.

4. Podcast ads

Roughly one in four Americans (80 million)4 are weekly podcast listeners, making the medium an incredibly valuable digital marketing space. Unlike other media formats, podcasts can reach listeners in moments where they are emotionally invested and immersed in a topic that’s important to them. Get the voice, tone, message and CTA right and your ad could drive huge results. Build and run your own podcast ads with our self-serve advertising platform, launch campaigns that engage listeners worldwide or locally, and scale your reach with the Spotify Audience Network.

5. Sponsored playlist

If you’re looking to maximize exposure on Spotify, sponsoring a playlist is a good option. Your branding will appear in a large header image above a particular playlist that aligns with the specific music tastes of your chosen target demographic. This ensures your message is heard by your target audience when they are streaming the music they love—and our research shows that 93% of the brain’s engagement with content on Spotify transfers directly into ad engagement.

Spotify audio and video: make the best of both worlds

Not sure how to pick the right ad format? With Spotify, you don’t have to. Leveraging multiple categories of advertising within Spotify is the most effective way to achieve your goals. Combining two ad formats—like audio and video—helps users become familiar with your brand far more quickly than if you were to use a single ad type.

Regardless of the different types of advertising methods available on Spotify, there are best practices you can follow to enhance the performance of your ads and achieve your ideal outcome. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Make use of our in-depth audience targeting features to ensure your ads are seen only by those who are most likely to convert.
  • Use strong call-to-action statements that encourage your target audience to take action immediately.
  • Remember the importance of context and only show your ads to audiences with interests that align with your product or service.
  • Utilize our geo-targeting feature to ensure your ads surface for users within a specific city, state, or country.
  • Harness the power of storytelling by giving your ad an introduction, primary selling point, and conclusion.
  • Use language that appeals to human emotions and create an engaging narrative your audience will engage with.

It often takes a few tries to get your campaign just right. You may want to experiment with different content types, advertising formats, and brand messaging to determine which combination resonates best with your audience.

Start connecting with your audience when it really counts. Plan your first advertising campaign with Spotify today.


  1. “Digital Advertising Soared 35% to $189 Billion in 2021 According to the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report,” iab. Aprill 2022
  2. “Video Marketing Statistics 2022”, wyzowl. January 2022
  3. “Spotify comfortably remains the biggest streaming service…” Forbes. January 2022
  4. “The infinite dial 2021,” Edison Research. March 2021

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