Spotify Has a Lot More Video Content Than You Think — Now They’re Selling Against It

Spotify video content ad sales
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Spotify video content ad sales
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Photo Credit: Dushawn Jovic

Spotify has been dipping its toe into the video space with music videos and clips, but now the music streaming giant is gearing up to attract advertisers to its burgeoning inventory of digital video.

The Stockholm-based music streaming company made its debut at NewFronts this week as part of a larger push into video advertising on the platform. Spotify remains primarily audio-focused, between its music, podcast, and now audiobook services — but the company has seen a stark increase in video inventory as it continues to broaden the scope of its reach.

According to Ann Piper, head of North American sales at Spotify, the company is “ready to play in the digital advertising pool,” and compete for more than just audio budgets. “Now that there is more video being created on the platform, we want to connect brands with users when they are looking at their screen.”

The crux of the transformation hinges on podcasts increasingly transitioning to a mixed media practice, with video elements more commonplace than ever in the once exclusively aural experience. Many podcasters now film their interviews and share clips on video platforms like YouTube or Instagram, enabling them to expand their reach and expose their content to new audiences.

Spotify seeks to capitalize on the new shape of the podcast ecosystem by bringing this video landscape to its ad buyers. This year, podcasters have already uploaded over 500,000 episodes of video podcasts to the platform; overall, Spotify hosts more than 2.5 million podcast episodes. Users are spending more time on Spotify consuming video content, with a 48% increase year-over-year in the second quarter, according to the company.

The company already serves “video takeover ads” to its 388 million free users during “moments when they are looking at their phones,” and thanks to partnerships with companies like Roku, listeners playing Spotify on their televisions can also be shown video ads.

According to Spotify, campaigns that run both audio and video components produce better results, with a 7% increase in brand awareness, a 7% increase in message association, and a 27% increase in purchase intent.

And the company isn’t stopping there: Spotify’s expansion into the short-form video space continues with expanded functionality for its “Clips” tool launched last year. Clips enable artists to add 30-second videos to their profiles and album pages, but now that functionality is being tested in Spotify’s playlists.

“We are focused on winning discovery and we’re going to add as many ways that we can to improve the discovery of Spotify,” said CEO Daniel Ek during the company’s recent earnings call. “You saw us in the quarter add music videos; you’re going to see music clips in a bigger way.”

“Short-form music content is a big focus of ours. You’re going to see more video on the music side make its way into the product in 2024,” he continued. “You’re also going to see music clips show up in a bigger way where artists are using ways of short-form storytelling on video, to tell a story around their album or tell fans about a new album drop that they should be pre-saving.”

Essentially, Spotify seems like it aspires to be all things to all users — an all-inclusive social platform for artists, with the short-form video capabilities that made TikTok famous, while also honing in on YouTube’s space with full-length music videos. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the audiobooks.