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Be heard in the moment: What’s next for audio from CES 2020

We’re back from CES 2020, the only thing that doesn’t stay in Vegas.

It's the world's preview into future technologies, and the launchpad for brand innovation in the coming months and years. For Spotify, CES was our moment to introduce what's next in audio storytelling and advertising.

The short answer? Podcasts. People tune into podcasts every day in record-breaking numbers (and that number is growing at an incredible pace), favoring the intimacy and depth of topics for every interest. Podcast listeners are hyper-engaged, and their emotional connection to the shows and hosts they subscribe to spells out major opportunities for creators and advertisers.

Enter Spotify Podcast Ads Powered by Streaming Ad Insertion, our big reveal at CES this year — and the very first ad product of its kind.

“Advertisers want to be in podcasts, but they haven’t had enough insights to really understand its value in a meaningful way,” Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s Chief Content Officer, said to the audience at the Variety CES Summit 2020. “We’re launching Streaming Ad Insertion to help bring better monetization to not just Spotify, but the industry overall for creators and advertisers.”

Director-producer Paul Feig and digital content creator Lele Pons joined the panel to offer a range of creative perspectives on storytelling, from a longtime Hollywood careerist adapting his ideas to a new medium to a young digital content creator breaking into audio to deepen her connection to her fans who can’t get enough of her and reach new ones.

“Podcasts are allowing creators like myself to become novelists, creating something entirely new that we wouldn’t be able to bring the TV and film in the same way,” Paul Feig said.

“Podcasts are behind the scenes of what people see on YouTube or Instagram,” Lele Pons said. “I love the process of developing the idea, and podcasts allow me to talk through the idea before it’s fully finished.”

The future of advertising: A first for the podcast industry

Until now, it’s been impossible for advertisers to get a truly accurate read on on the impact of their ads in podcasts. Spotify Podcast Ads, powered by our proprietary Streaming Ad Insertion technology, represents a long-awaited shift to data-driven marketing in the podcast industry. It’s a full suite of planning, reporting, and measurement tools that offer the intimacy and quality of traditional podcast ads with the precision and transparency of modern-day digital marketing.

We are launching Spotify Podcast Ads to meet the changing ways that millions of listeners tune into their favorite podcasts. The shift from static RSS feed downloads to streaming opens a whole new world for advertisers to understand listeners’ moods and moments. Those insights are key to creating highly effective, measurable campaigns.

“There’s no other medium like podcasts,” Lee Brown, Spotify’s VP, Global Head of Ad Sales, said at a fireside chat with WIRED. “They’re a uniquely intimate format that resonates with listeners, and our research proves it — 81% of users take action after they’ve heard a podcast ad.1

The future of storytelling: The Power of the Female Voice

Spotify had a strong presence at The Female Quotient’s Equality Lounge at CES this year with “The Power of the Female Voice,” a series of conversations on how diverse voices are finding a home in audio. Julie Clark, Spotify’s Global Head of Automation Revenue and Podcast Monetization, and Dustee Jenkins, our Global Head of Communications led talks with notable creators.

“Podcasting has been a male-dominated industry,” Julie Clark said in conversation with digital content creator Lele Pons. “There is a huge opportunity to have that female voice and move into different genres.”

Dustee Jenkins and actress, activist & entrepreneur Sophia Bush talked about storytelling through audio, and why industry-wide change is a group effort between men, women, and the advertisers who support female voices.

“It’s really important for me that advertisers I work with on the podcast, or brands that I work with in general, are willing to stand for something and recognize the world they operate in,” Sophia Bush, host of Work in Progress, said.

The day culminated with our signature event Spotify Supper, celebrating our pulse on culture through live music and eclectic cuisine. Industry leaders were treated to a full-sensory live music and culinary experience. Commanding the sights, sounds, and tastes this year were Grammy-winning actor, rapper, and philanthropist headliner Ludacris and James Beard Award-winning Chefs Tim Hollingsworth, Charleen Badman, and Kwame Onwuachi.

It’s an exciting time to embrace the gold rush of audio storytelling and advertising possibilities. As their growth accelerates thanks to technology, scale, and quality of content, podcasts are a sure bet for storytellers and marketers alike. And we’re just getting started.

1 Crowd DNA & Spotify, “We’re All Ears,” US, 2018

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