Spotify brings podcast ads to Australia, kicking off a fresh round of measurement tensions

Former Editor & Content Director

Streaming giant Spotify has brought Spotify Podcast Ads to Australia, which it says creates a new way for advertisers to make the most of the exploding media channel.

It also claimed that while the platform will capitalise on the intimacy of traditional podcast ads, it will stand out due to the “precision and transparency of modern-day digital marketing”. It will use the metric of confirmed ad impressions, rather than downloads, as well as reach and frequency, Spotify said. This will, it said, enable advertisers to make even more data-driven decisions for their podcast campaigns.

Spotify kicked off a fresh round of digital measurement debate when it claimed in publicity around the platform’s launch that a lack of clear and equivalent measurement had historically prevented podcast advertising from “truly taking off” like its digital media counterparts.

“This is because podcast content is still largely downloaded via RSS feeds – which limits the advertiser’s visibility into whether their ad was actually heard,” it said.

“But the shift in consumption from downloads to streaming has opened the door for advances in data-driven podcast advertising.”

One competitor noted the switch to impressions rather than downloads was likely where the wider industry will move.

“Downloads is a confusing metric that the industry wants to use because it’s a bigger number,” they said.

It was also noted that download numbers can be easily hijacked, so aren’t necessarily an accurate metric.

Another competitor, however, said Spotify’s big splash about the news wasn’t as game-changing as the international giant would like locals to believe. Spotify needs to carve out a point of difference when pitching to media agencies and advertisers because, as yet, it doesn’t have much exclusive/ owned content to sell, they said.

It was noted that media agencies, however, subscribe to the IAB guidelines, which count both downloads and streams as an impression.

Spotify declined to comment further on the measurement discussion.

Pieter Manten, head of sales for AUNZ at Spotify, did note in a statement though that the company is really excited about the impact it can deliver for brands.

“The more digital audio continues to be a part of the daily lives of Australians, the greater the opportunity for brands to find and connect to their audience. With Spotify Podcast Ads we aim to take podcast advertising to the next level, offering brands unique insights into their audiences and creative solutions that can truly capture consumer attention,” he said.

The company also recently flagged its intention to invest in more original podcast content, as well as investigating new formats to increase engagement and interactivity.

Earlier this year, Spotify revealed its expanding local podcasting strategy, and Manten noted the multiple opportunities in the sector.

“If we can provide more content, if we can bring and add new listeners to the base, clearly there’s going to be some really fantastic advertising opportunities along the way,” he said.

“I think when you couple that with the depth and breath of insights and data that we have – there’s billions and billions of data points every second happening, so we can draw on those deep data insights, and then the in-customer consumer, knowing the true end users’ moods, moments and mindsets. When you couple those things together, I truly believe we have an unparalleled opportunity to do hyper-targeting in this space.

“And that’s really what advertisers are looking for – which is in-the-moment, contextually relevant, based on first-party on a platform that can actually deliver results.”

Spotify will use its Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI) technology to power Spotify Podcast Ads.

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