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9 Video Ad Best Practice Tips for Spotify

These creative best practices for DIY video ads will help you learn how to format, design, and activate video ads on Ad Studio—no matter the size of your budget.

Video advertising on Spotify Ad Studio lets businesses of all sizes extend their digital audio strategy and tell their story across multiple formats and moments—all on one platform. Now that you know that sound-on video ads are part of the Spotify ad experience, you might be wondering what makes a strong video creative.

Good creative is critical to the success of any campaign. In fact, creative accounts for more than half (56%) of a campaign’s contribution towards sales.1

Here are 9 tips to help you get your video creative on track to achieving campaign goals. Let’s get started!

1. Understand the creative advantages of each video format.

Whether you run horizontal or vertical video ads (or both) will depend on your audience and your product. At Spotify, we offer creative flexibility with video ad formats. No matter the orientation you choose, our video ads are optimized to only be served "in focus," when the screen is on and users are engaging with the app. Below are quick tips to keep in mind when designing your video format:

  • Think product first. Consider what shots will show off your product. Choose vertical video for your ad if you’re showcasing a single person or product that requires a full-length frame. If you’re showing many people or products at once in a single frame, horizontal video might be the better choice for you.
  • Design for mobile. Our listeners take Spotify with them wherever they go. This means your message can be mobile, too. 69% of Spotify’s video ad inventory is run on mobile and tablet devices.2 Vertical video fills more of the user’s screen on these devices and, as a result, tends to see slightly higher engagement.3
  • Optimize for your viewer. 90% of smartphone users view videos in portrait mode and are unlikely to turn their phones for ads.4 But desktop and tablet users often watch videos in landscape mode.5 To create a frictionless experience for your viewer, run a mix of vertical and horizontal assets and let Spotify determine when the right format should be delivered.

2. Choose the right ad length for your message.

Spotify will accept video ads of any length under :30 seconds, with no change in cost. So whether you’re introducing your brand for the first time or announcing a new offer, choose the ad length that best tells your story.

  • :30s ads are great for emerging brands, new campaigns, or technical ads. They allow more space for storytelling, communicating benefits, and education.

  • You’ll have less time to establish who you are with ads :15s or less. Choose this length if you are a well-known brand, have a quick reminder to share, or run always-on campaigns.

3. Video production doesn’t have to break the bank.

High-performing video ads on Spotify are possible at any budget level. Video ads can take many shapes—from photo slideshows to marketers speaking directly to the camera. In fact, low-cost, low-fidelity (LoFi) ads perform just as well as big budget productions.6 Creating personal connections with your target audience or fans with a clear call to action can drive big results, even on a small budget.

4. Plan for sound on.

Video ads on Spotify are served with sound on. Make your ads fit right into the Spotify experience by using sounds that enhance your message. Your sound should aim to match your audience’s mood or moment, not disrupt their listening. We’ve found that ads with background music resonate with our users and drive 4.3x higher intent than ads without music.7

5. Tailor your message and level of branding.

The message of your video ad should hit different notes depending on whether you’re an emerging or an established brand.

  • If you’re an emerging brand, keep your branding front and center. It can be a challenge to educate the viewer on who you are, what makes you different from the competition, and what benefit you offer—all in under :30s. Brand your ad right away visually (with a logo) or audibly (say your name) within the first few seconds of your ad so it's clear to the viewer who you are and what you’re offering them.

  • If you’re an established brand, remind your viewer what makes you different. Established brands are more recognizable through a familiar logo, design style, or jingle. You have more visual freedom with your creative—using product images can work just as well as a logo. But it’s still important to remind viewers what makes your brand different and reinforce how you want them to perceive you.

6. Drive engagement with a clear call-to-action.

CTAs that encourage users to take a specific action tend to see the best performance. Be sure that your ad has a clear CTA and matches the written CTA button in your companion display ad. Need some inspiration? Check out our list of sample CTAs.

7. Remember to verbally mention your brand.

91% of campaigns on Spotify mention their brand name audibly in their video ads.8 No matter the size of your business or how well known you are, verbally mentioning brand name in your ad is a sure-fire way to generate stronger results.

8. Set the right frequency cap.

Introducing your audience to a new product or need to build brand awareness? You can customize daily, weekly, and monthly frequency caps on your Ad Studio campaigns. But don’t set your frequency cap too low—people need to hear or see a message multiple times before they might be ready to take action. We see that campaigns perform better in brand lift and ad recall with a frequency of 3-5 per week.9

Reminder: the barometer in your dashboard only shows the campaign total so be sure to factor in weeks when planning.

9. Pair video and audio ads together.

Standalone format campaigns perform well, but campaigns that combine video with audio see supercharged results. We’ve found that multiformat campaigns result in a 90% increase in ad recall and 2.2x in brand awareness.10 Combine the unique superpowers of audio and video formats, based on your campaign objectives and messaging:

  • Drive user engagement with video ads. Video ads on Spotify are served during in-focus moments, which means this is the ideal ad environment to achieve immediate actions, like clicks.
  • Flex your creative muscles through audio storytelling. Audio offers a uniquely imaginative environment—it's best at painting a picture for users and letting their imagination fill in the gaps for a rich brand experience.
  • Connect in context with a combination of audio and video. In our sound-on environment, audio and video ads fit seamlessly into the Spotify experience, letting advertisers connect with users—whether they're actively looking at their screens or setting the mood for screenless activities.

That’s a wrap.

Video advertising can play a key role in your digital audio strategy and help to build your business. When developing video ads for Spotify, remember to create ads that will showcase your brand and your products, have a clear call to action, be designed for sound on, and fit seamlessly into the Spotify listener experience.

Whether you’re already using Ad Studio or this is your first campaign, creating a video ad campaign for Spotify couldn’t be easier.

Ready to get started? Check out our video ad specs.

Love these best practice tips? Download our guide for video ads on Spotify.

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  1. Nielsen Catalina Solutions, 2019
  2. Spotify First Party Data, US, December 2020
  3. Spotify First Party Data, December 2020
  4., Vertical Video Best Practices, December 2020
  5., Vertical Video Best Practices, December 2020
  6. Spotify First Party Data, August 2020
  7. Nielsen Brand Effect on Spotify, October 2019
  8. Nielsen Brand Effect on Spotify, October 2019
  9. Spotify First Party Data, Free Users, November 2020
  10. Nielsen Brand Effect on Spotify, March 2020

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