In 2020, Spotify revealed that it was testing an ad setup that would make promo codes and special URLs during podcast ads a thing of the past. Starting today, those in-app advertisements are starting to roll out. The company says its call-to-action (CTA) cards will begin showing up on its original and exclusive shows when the corresponding ad or offer is mentioned during an episode.
The new CTA cards will show up in the Spotify app as soon as the ad plays during a podcast on the player interface as well as on the show and episode pages. If you leave any of those places to do something else — like stream music, for example — the ads will display when you return back to that podcast in those three locations. Essentially, Spotify sees this as a way to not only relieve you have having to remember a promo code or specific URL, but it also argues you'll be able to interact with ads or brands you're interested in when you have the time to do so. There's no doubt a simple tap, if you're interested in what you've just heard, is much more convenient than manually typing in the usual info. Of course, the downside is you'll now see ads in the app when listening to certain podcasts — even if you're a paid subscriber.
Spotify doesn't see this as a potential issue, since even paid users hear ads on podcasts when listening to shows through its app. The advertisements keep podcasts afloat after all, and have turned the medium into a lucrative tool for businesses to promote goods and services. However, some might argue seeing an ad in the app and listening to one during a show are two very different things. Brands will probably be willing to jump on board quickly though since Spotify says the clickable ads have generated twice as many site visits during the early adoption phase than the "traditional" ad reads for companies like Ulta Beauty, Athletic Greens and Squarespace.
The CTA cards are powered by Spotify's Streaming Ad Insertion, a powerful analytics platform for podcast ads that automatically slots in pre-recorded promotional reads in the ideal spot for each listener. This is how the app knows when to begin showing the corresponding card for the ad when you hear it during a show. Of course, Spotify is promoting the CTA method as the first "interactive" podcast ads, and there's no doubt brands will be excited to have a more visible and, most importantly, clickable way to reach audiences. But it will be interesting to see how listeners respond to visual ads in their streaming app, especially those who pay a monthly premium so they don't have to hear them on non-podcast content.
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