Spotify expands its Programmatic Guaranteed offering with audio ads
Success Story

Spotify expands its Programmatic Guaranteed offering with audio ads


One of the world’s most popular audio streaming companies, Spotify has run many successful ad campaigns. But one campaign stands out for Greta Lawn, Spotify’s Head of Global Automation Sales. She calls it one of her favorites.

The client was a beauty brand with an audio message to deliver at scale. The solution was to use Spotify’s Audio offering through Programmatic Guaranteed, the Google ad-automation solution that lets advertisers execute direct buys with publishers with tagless trafficking, consolidated reporting and billing, and advanced audience capabilities that help narrow who your ad is shown to — all without manual processes like exchanging tags, troubleshooting discrepancies, and handling multiple invoices.

Streamlined operations leads to revenue growth

The beauty brand isn’t alone. Ever since Spotify integrated Programmatic Guaranteed into its advertising strategy in 2016, the program has benefited the company and its advertisers.

For advertisers, Programmatic Guaranteed means increased flexibility and inventory. And for Spotify, parity between reservations and programmatic buying has meant a streamlined workflow and dramatic revenue growth. Now a Programmatic Guaranteed-first publisher, Spotify saw a 135% increase in the number of Programmatic Guaranteed transactions from 2018 to 2019. “Programmatic continues to be a fast-growing lever for Spotify,” says Lawn, “and Programmatic Guaranteed deals are a big part of it.”

An innovative approach to audio buying

For years Spotify has been using Programmatic Guaranteed Deals for display, video, and premium formats like takeovers and rewarded video ads called Sponsored Sessions. More recently, they were the first partner to work with Google Ad Manager on the development and testing of Programmatic Guaranteed for Audio, which offers advertisers programmatic access to custom audio formats, such as cost-per-day sponsorships and custom creatives. “Working with Google to develop Programmatic Guaranteed for Audio allowed us to ensure that the guaranteed audio buying experience is as smooth and efficient as buying formats like video or display,” says Lawn. They were also one of the first non-gaming companies to launch a rewarded ad format through Programmatic Guaranteed, Sponsored Sessions, which lets advertisers invite consumers to watch one video in exchange for 30 minutes of ad-free listening.

“At Spotify, we are always looking to expand the boundaries of audio advertising with unique offerings and enhanced formats."

Greta Lawn, Head of Global Automation Sales, Spotify

To add additional performance to their high-impact creative, Spotify is also investing heavily in their first-party data strategies. Using Ad Manager’s Audience Solutions, Spotify packages and activates interest- and demographic-based first-party data segments built from the streaming habits and music preferences they see on their apps. By building trust in their product amongst users and offering a personalized logged-in experience, Spotify is able to offer advertiser clients the ability to reach a wide-array of audiences whose interests are aligned with their products.

Investing for the future

Spotify has made significant investments to make its direct ad products available through Programmatic Guaranteed. The company’s entire sales team supports both direct reservations and programmatic buying, and team members are trained to identify clients who are more likely to benefit from Programmatic Guaranteed campaigns. And designated programmatic specialists focus exclusively on Spotify’s Programmatic Guaranteed and Private Marketplace offerings to ensure that teams have the resources they need to provide ideal solutions for each client.

“It’s always been our top priority to give our clients the flexibility to transact in the way that makes the most sense for their goals and objectives,” says Lawn. “Programmatic Guaranteed lets our clients buy direct reservations with the simplicity and ease of programmatic.”

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