Spotify now allows advertisers to specifically target podcast listeners

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Spotify announced today that advertisers can now target ads based on the podcasts that people listen to. This means that unlike before, where advertisers could mainly target Spotify’s free-tier listeners by the music they enjoy — by genre or playlist — they can now target based on the category of podcast they consume, which is likely going to be much more specific and fruitful for the advertisers. Today’s news is likely only the start of how Spotify plans to eventually leverage its growing podcast features to make its ads more valuable and generate more revenue.

In a statement to The Verge, a Spotify spokeswoman explained that the company wants to keep building out advertising around podcasts. She said, “We aspire to develop a more robust advertising solution for podcasts that will allow us to layer in the kind of targeting, measurement, and reporting capabilities we have for ads that run alongside other content experiences like music and video.”

The company initially partnered with Samsung and 3M to test podcast-based ad targeting, but the capability is rolling out widely to 10 markets today, including the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Australia. These ads will be the same as any other on Spotify — inserted between songs for people who don’t pay for the service — the only difference is how they’re targeted. The ads in the podcasts themselves won’t be touched.

Taking Samsung, for example, it’s easy to see why podcast targeting is more lucrative than music targeting. Up until now, Samsung could target ads based on users’ age, gender, geolocation, listening platform (iOS, Android, desktop), genre, or playlists. None of these selections really gives a good idea of someone who might be interested in a Samsung product, apart from maybe targeting Android users. With podcast targeting, however, Samsung can specifically target people who listen to tech and business shows. This is likely a valuable audience for the company.

All of this is to say, podcast listening habits are far more revealing than music taste. With niche podcast topics, advertisers might find Spotify to be a powerful tool for finding customers, which is great for Spotify, but maybe not fantastic for privacy-conscious listeners.

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