POV: Spotify Branded Moments

Mindshare Point of View

Spotify is serving its first vertical video ads - a mobile-first video format named "Branded Moments" that offers its 70m ‘non-subscriber’ users thirty minutes of commercial-free music. Bacardi, Gatorade and Bose are among the first to try out the new ads.

Details and Implications:
‘Branded Moments’ is based on the same format as a “Sponsored Session”. The platform allows a brand to sponsor a thirty-minute ad-free session and in exchange the user views a video ad. The difference between ‘Branded Moments’ and ‘Sponsored Sessions’ is the ability for the advertiser using ‘Branded Moments’ to target users around specific categories: chill time, workout, party, dinner, focus and sleep.

When the ad finishes an end card (with image and audio) and a click through URL offers further engagement. The advertiser is only charged when users watch the full video. However, during the 30 minutes, more display ads will appear on the screen when the listener looks at the app. The additional display ads provide an opportunity to tell a story, therefore building on the original message.

Moments gives marketers a way to target the right audience in a different way, by contextualizing the brand’s story in order to optimize engagement and not just reach.  The prevalence of vertical video is also increasing rapidly, which isn’t surprising given industry research suggests that mobile phones are used in portrait mode 94% of the time. Snapchat was the first to take advantage of this fact and now Spotify is following suit.

Spotify certainly faces a different set of challenges compared to other social media sites. With users spending the majority of their time on Spotify listening to, but not actually viewing ads. It is therefore important that brands create content which is not only compelling, but versatile enough to be understood in a variety of formats.

Spotify has given brands the opportunity to be viewed as part of the experience, rather than an intrusion. In addition, the reliability of Spotify’s data is such that it truly captures a user’s fundamental intentions, enabling brands to target users when their product is of upmost relevance to their mood. Brands will also be permitted to continuously optimize their campaign based on Spotify’s real-time data. The service is reportedly set to launch fully in selected markets in early 2017 but the price of the Branded Moment ads is yet to be disclosed.