The essential guide to audio creativity


We’re here to share just a handful of bespoke audio creative guidelines built using Spotify’s Streaming Intelligence, from the fun to the functional. These tips and tactics are here to help, whether you’re taking the first important steps into exploring the power of audio on Spotify, or you’re an audio denizen aiming to unlock next-level opportunities for you and your brand.
Now’s the time to act. We’re entering a second golden age of audio: the percentage of Americans who listen to streaming audio has doubled since 2012, 1 and each of our 124 million Spotify Free multi-platform users around the world are listening for 2.5 hours daily. 2 That’s a lot of eartime!
But it’s not just the audience size and engagement that’s on the rise. The creative potential of audio is greater than it’s ever been, and it’s only enhanced when tailored to surround our audience’s moments and mindsets. With 56% of Gen Zs telling us in a recent survey that screenless moments offer a nice escape from a world of visual overload, we know they’re open to receive your message. 3
Here, we’ll share some basic best practices for audio creative on Spotify, explore the massive potential of podcasts, and then spin it all into the future with our Next Practices, which we hope will inspire you to try some things that haven’t been done before. And those ideas are on the house.
On that note, let us kick things off in a way that makes the most sense, with an audio demonstration of what an audio ad is, from our Anatomy of Ads series.
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On Spotify, advertisers can surround specific moments, genres, and audiences with their messages — all of which amplify the power of audio to enthrall and delight listeners. Obviously, Spotify didn’t exist in 1998 when Luke Sullivan wrote his iconic guide to copywriting, Hey Whipple, Squeeze This, but we like to think that he’d happily apply this statement about radio to the world of streaming audio: “[I]n radio the canvas is large, stretching off in every direction. Radio lets you do impossible things — things way too expensive to make into TV commercials.” Consider spending that intellectual capital on ideas built specifically for audio.
Here are a few top tips about how advertisers are making those impossible things possible on our platform:

1. Take your time
On Spotify, our free users know that their music will continue after the ad break. Nielsen estimates that 79% of audio consumption takes place while consumers are engaged in activities where visual media can’t reach them. No one’s touching any dials, so honor that intimate, one-to-one connection. Tell a story. They’re listening. To date, we’ve found that listeners are less concerned by the length of a creative, and more about the message itself. 4

2. Context & content matter
Spotify listeners rank the quality of the ad content and its personal relevance to them, as the top two contributors to a satising ad experience. Our streaming intelligence allows us to develop rich targeting segments to foster that relevance. Spotify helps brands reach users in the right moment, And frankly, the results speak for themselves with 2.7x higher awareness and 5.3x higher intent than campaigns with basic demographic targeting. 5 Now, delivering quality creative is up to you!

3. Communicate benefits
Talk about exclusives, sales, or promotional codes in your audio ad. Time sensitive messaging, for example, instills a sense of urgency leading to greater purchase or footfall opportunities. When paired with listeners on the move your message can lead to 2x higher CPG return on your advertising spend. 6

4. Use your audio identity
If your brand has an audio signature or jingle that’s beloved, don’t be shy! That familiarity offers an impactful way to enhance the user’s sonic environment and effectively get their attention.

5. Include a call-to-action
CTAs are crucial for driving offline action. Creative that has a direct Call-to-action can see a 4.4x lift in footfall than those that don’t. 7

6. Be clear and stay on message
Focus on the most important point you want the listener to walk away with. Keep speaking voices conversational. There’s no need to scream! Remember that you’re most often speaking to just one person at a time.

7. Match the CTA how they listen
On Spotify, people spend the majority of their time doing something in addition to listening. When they can’t reach their mobile device from that yoga pose, consider another way to encourage a response that doesn’t require a click or tap.
1 Edison Research and Triton Digital, The Infinite Dial Study 2019
2 Spotify First Party Data, Global, 2018, based on daily content hours / daily active users, free users, multiplatform
3 Spotify Culture Next trend survey among 4,000 respondents 15-37 globally [U.S., MX, BR, FR, DE, U.K., PH, AU], February 2019)
4 Spotify user survey, 2018
5 Spotify Nielsen Brand Effect Studies, 2018
6 Spotify Nielsen Catalina Solutions Analysis 2018
7 Spotify Placed Studies 2018