Brands Can Now Target Spotify Playlist Ads Based on the Time of Day

Expansion of ‘branded moments’ program

There are four time windows per day for ad targeting within Spotify. YouTube: Spotify
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Spotify is letting more brands sponsor advertising-free music.

After slowly rolling out its “branded moments” ad unit over the past year, which allows marketers to run video ads within the music-streaming site’s most popular playlists to unlock 30 minutes of commercial-less listening, marketers are starting to fine-tune their campaigns and target them by time of day.

Spotify piloted three campaigns for Gatorade, Bacardi and Bose in the U.S. last December and started offering the ad unit globally to all marketers in January. Brands can now target the promos based on four three-hour blocks of time throughout the day: morning, afternoon, evening and late night. The full-screen, vertical promos run in six categories of playlists: sleep, workout, chill time, party, focus and dinner. Convenience-store chain 7-Eleven is the first advertiser to buy dayparted video ads for a morning commute-themed playlist that will run between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.

In theory, Spotify will be able to sell multiple sponsorships per day on individual playlists. While 7-Eleven sponsors early-morning listening, for instance, Bud Light could run late-night ads against the same content.

“It speaks to the fact that we understand the context and mindset of the user when you deliver a message that’s relevant in that moment. You can drive impact to your brand objective,” said Danielle Lee, Spotify’s vp and global head of partner solutions. “We’ve taken a very consultative approach in co-developing the creative with the brands and leveraging best practices that we’ve identified with audio, video and display.”

Spotify has more than 100 million monthly listeners globally. More than 50 million of those are free consumers who listen to commercials in exchange for streaming music. Competitor Pandora also offers a similar ad format called sponsored listening that lets people listen to either one hour or four hours of commercial-free music.

Lee backs up the new ad-buying option with data collected by research firm Interquest from the three pilot campaigns. Sixty-one percent of people polled said ads increased their purchase intent. That’s 54 percent higher than other Spotify campaigns. Another 76 percent of people said the ads were personally relevant to them, and 52 percent reported that they increased their interest in the brands.

Earlier this month, Spotify wrapped up a 13-city road show for agencies and brands—including Unilever, Omnicom, Dentsu Aegis and Mediavest—to explain how branded moments work for marketers.

“We’re really talking about understanding context and speaking to the consumer in that moment to drive affinity,” Lee said.

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.