Spotify for Podcasters, a discovery and analytics dashboard, has come out of beta, the music streaming service announced Tuesday. The platform allows podcast creators to submit their shows and view listener demographic and engagement data, such as where people start and stop playback as well as average listening time.
Building out a comprehensive platform. Earlier this year, Spotify spent $400 million to acquire podcast companies Gimlet, Anchor and Parcast. The music streaming service also inked deals for exclusive podcast content with high-profile figures such as the Obamas and comedian Amy Schumer. It was only a matter of time before the company announced strategies to monetize its podcast content, and it did so in June by allowing advertisers to target podcast listeners specifically.
Now, Spotify’s analytics dashboard enables podcast creators — and the advertisers that work with them — to access more data, such as age, gender and location of listeners, the types of music they tune into, how long they listen to particular podcast episodes and where they start and stop playback.
One of podcast advertising’s biggest criticisms — solved? “In my experience, while podcast ads can result in direct conversions, more often than not, it’s a top-of-funnel broad awareness thing,” Rebekah Bek, marketing manager at Ahrefs, told Marketing Land in our quick-start guide to podcast advertising. A lack of data, difficulties in tracking conversions and attribution have prevented podcast ads from being more widely adopted.
Some podcast networks, ad agencies and other third parties, such as Nielsen, offer listener data sourced through surveys, but that information is self-reported and not available in real time. Spotify, on the other hand, requires users to sign up for an account and can provide data on demographics and listening habits for potentially all of its users, which may yield more reliable information.
Why we should care. For marketers and advertisers, having access to a podcast audience’s demographic data may enable more precise targeting, which may make for more successful ad campaigns. Knowing an audience’s listening habits, such as average listening time, may also give advertisers a better idea of whether their ads are actually getting listened to or if they should adjust their ad placements to make the most of their budgets.
For podcast creators and brands looking into podcasts as a content marketing initiative, this audience data can offer an idea of who is listening so that they can develop content for that audience. And, because Spotify is available on iOS, Android, as a desktop app, through a browser and built into many smart speakers, there is potential for Spotify to provide even more audience segmentation data or allow advertisers to dynamically insert ads for listeners tuning in at home or on the go.
For the time being, attribution and tracking conversions for podcast ad campaigns still presents significant challenges — more audience demographics and listening data should not drown out those concerns, but they do represent a big step forward for the industry, which is forecasted to exceed $1 billion in domestic revenue in 2021.