Spotify wants to turn podcast audio advertisements into banner ads
Podcasts usually pay the bills with audio advertisements, a premium subscription/Patreon, or a combination of the two. Audio ads have existed for decades, but they usually aren’t as profitable for podcasts and advertisers as web or video ads, because not everyone interested in the product or service will remember to check it out after a long podcast. Spotify thinks it has a solution for this: banner ads.
Spotify has been rapidly expanding its podcast features and exclusive shows, with premium podcast subscriptions rolling out worldwide back in November, and a new rating system arriving in December. Now the company is rolling out new functionality (via 9to5Google) where some podcasts with in-show advertisements will display a banner ad below the player, containing a link to whatever the advertisement was about. For example, if the show plays an ad for Squarespace, the signup link might appear below the player.
The new design doesn’t really add any new advertisements to a podcast — only easily-accessible links for whatever the show was already advertising. Still, listeners might not be too excited about the podcast experience on Spotify becoming more cluttered, especially when some of their favorite shows are only available through Spotify and can’t be used with alternative players.
Spotify wrote in a blog post, “what happens when you hear an ad letting you know about Ulta’s “Hello Holidays” sale or an offer from Athletic Greens giving you 25% off when you sign up for a monthly subscription? You’re often forced to remember a promo code or URL, or make a mental note to look up the offer when you return to your phone or laptop. This process is far from seamless. [Call-to-Action] cards will appear in the app as soon as a podcast ad begins playing, and will resurface later on while you’re exploring the Spotify app—making it easier to check out the brand, product, or service you heard about while listening.”
The new functionality is only live on some Spotify-exclusive podcasts in the United States starting today. It’s clear when (or if) Spotify will open this functionality up to other shows.