We talk a lot about data at Spotify and how it shows a lot about how you listen to music. We have a tool that I love, which allows us to add our account and get a pen portrait on our listening habits. Now outside of this we go to great lengths to add colour to this data but I could not resist checking myself out on this relatively simple analysis about my music listening. I was desperate to see if Spotify thought I was as uncool as most people say! Turns out, it’s not so bad. Perhaps the 152 plays of Waves was a bit much and the fact I generally like Pop, Deep House and House is not appropriate for a 45yr old, but hey – keeping it real..
‘Spotify says: Marco is in his forties and has recently been listening to music in United Kingdom, where he lives. During his 6 years on Spotify, he’s streamed 15,877 tracks, which is far more than the average user. Of those streams, 4,205 were unique songs; that’s also way more songs than average. Marco changes up when he listens based on the day of the week. He listens quite differently on weekdays and weekends. Marco doesn’t listen to Spotify on desktop, instead preferring to listen on his mobile device. Marco is a lean-back listener. He doesn’t engage much with the app when listening, often having Spotify in the background; he plays songs all the way through, often letting songs from radio stations play without interruption, and he rarely skips songs. Marco has recently been jamming to Rag’n’Bone Man and John Williams, though Sia and Calvin Harris are his favourites of all time. In the last few weeks, he’s had The Chainsmokers’s “Don’t Let Me Down” on repeat. And he has listened to “Waves – Robin Schulz Radio Edit” by Mr. Probz 152 times on Spotify – more than any other song. When you compare Marco with all active Spotify users, his listening is very diverse. He listens evenly across many genres, and these genres tend to be very different: Pop, House, and Deep house. He does, however, have a strong preference for listening at specific times of day to music of specific moods. For example, Marco chooses certain times of day that need more instrumental music. Marco tends to prefer listening to his favourite music, but lately, he has been listening to more new music than he normally does. Marco listens to some nostalgic music, but not particularly often. When in the mood, he listens to songs by Howard Jones, George Michael, and John Williams.’
Learn anything? Well you learned a lot about my moods, what platforms I am listening on, type of music and how it forms part of my day. This is just a snippet of how we can work with advertisers and power their moments marketing. Understanding People Through Music will give us all insights that cant be replicated anywhere. Spotify as the worlds largest music streaming service is in a unique position to help brands do this, its an exciting proposition!
NB: Some of the above tastes are swayed by my pandering to my son’s likes! Family account coming soon!
When it comes to viewability, what you see isn’t always what you get.
It seems that every day brings a negative report about unseen advertising, wasted investment or misrepresented metrics by large publishers. Concerns over fraudulent traffic and the re-emergence of silent, auto-play, small-player video are raising new questions about the definition of a video view—a concept that once seemed straightforward.
The industry is calling on its leaders to take action. Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard, gave a widely lauded speech at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting in January, announcing new requirements for the company’s media vendors to clean up the supply chain. He spoke on this subject again this week at 4A’s Transformation 2017. We’ve also seen brands and agencies recently remove their content from platforms in response to questionable user generated content. At Spotify, we’re thinking hard about product innovation and third-party measurement…
Some classic disco to jump-start the morning, a slice of soothing folk to assist concentration at work, a bit of roaring heavy metal in the car on the way home, and some easy-listening jazz to accompany dinner-time cooking – well, you get the idea.
Sound like your ideal day? Almost certainly not – everyone has their own music tastes. For many of Spotify’s 100 million-plus registered users, that playlist would include Ed Sheeran, who nearly ‘broke’ the platform with 273 million streams of his latest album within days of its release.
Either way, Spotify claims those listening habits are enabling it to help brands create more relevant advertising experiences.
“Our core audience is listening to Spotify two-and-a-half hours a day across all different devices. The one USP I hadn’t thought about when I came in is our ability to communicate with people right through the day,” says Bertozzi.
“Even if they have their phone in their pockets, or they are in the car where they won’t be watching video, we have the audio to be able to communicate. That helps us to talk to the consumer right through the day, and I don’t think anyone else can do it.”
‘STREAMING STATE OF MIND’
Bertozzi will be attending Festival of Media Global in part to discuss ‘The Streaming State of Mind’, a report published last year in partnership with WPP’s GroupM, exploring the growth in streaming of music, TV and movie content across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.
Thanks to the likes of Spotify and Netflix, streaming has become a prevalent form of digital content consumption, especially with younger Millennial and Gen Z users. The majority (60%) of this streaming is also being carried out using mobile devices throughout the day.
The report concludes that ads on streaming platforms targeting consumers during specific moments of the day – from commuting to working out at the gym – represents a $220m opportunity in the surveyed markets alone (the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Sweden and Australia). These numbers are music, quite literally, to Spotify’s ears.
To help advertisers reach the right users at optimal moments, Spotify has opted to turn its back on the co-called ‘walled garden’ ethos of Google and Facebook in favour of a more open and collaborative approach to data – within, of course, privacy parameters that listeners find acceptable.
“Our challenge is to make advertisers realise they can work with us in all these different ways”
Last month, Spotify partnered with Acxiom-owned ad tech company LiveRamp to allow brands to combine their first-party data with its own. Currently being tested in the US, with Europe and other regions to follow, Bertozzi claims this style of ‘people-based’ marketing will finally surpass the old cookie method, and help marketers to improve both targeting and their understanding of campaign performance.
“The sophistication around data-driven marketing is going to continue to grow. A couple of years ago, people would have described using third-party data as being ‘data-driven’. I think we have now moved to an era now where it is more focused on CRM, custom audiences and data matching,” he says.
“[The RampUp partnership] is going to be a really big deal for us, as – in terms of opportunities and capabilities – it puts us in the same league as the Facebooks and Googles of the world.
“It allows us to have much more in-depth conversations with our advertisers, in understanding their audiences better and being able to target and create audiences, [as well as] tracking sales, because you have matched the data. That is a huge play.”
For Bertozzi, Spotify’s core digital audio takes the “personal link” and “intimacy” consumers have long enjoyed with radio as a medium, and offers advertisers contextual benefits. “It’s the best of both worlds,” he insists.
As well as its bread-and-butter music industry campaigns, Spotify has been looking to dial up the creativity of its ad deals. In the UK, supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has used the platform’s Branded Moments format reach consumers in the kitchen while they are preparing meals – and working out plans for their next grocery shop. Disney, meanwhile, also selected Spotify for an elaborate music-themed campaign to promote its latest movie release, ‘Beauty and the Beast’.
A key challenge, however, remains, namely in the need to drive awareness among brands that Spotify – famous for its audio services – offers the full suite of video and display ad formats.
“Advertisers like the fact they can combine video, display and audio as a single campaign, connecting channels that used to be very siloed. That helps us to do more of that storytelling that brands talk about,” says Bertozzi.
“There is an opportunity for pretty much any advertiser to work with us. We talk about the power of audio as one of our key narratives, but we’re talking about it in the sense of people listening to music and podcasts. From an advertiser point of view we are a multi-channel experience, and our challenge is to make advertisers realise they can work with us in all these different ways.”
And to the big question – can anyone (or anything) top Ed Sheeran’s incredible strangle-hold on Spotify playlists in 2017?
“Very good question,” chuckles Bertozzi. “It’s hard to see anybody coming up behind Ed Sheeran any time soon. I guess it will be if someone, somewhere could persuade Taylor Swift to come back, but that is well above my pay-grade!”
So I thought for a change from talking about Spotify, I would give my humble views on the latest digital furore.
It is a well trodden path – Scandal first, debate and finger pointing and finally actions and solutions often leading to a better future state. We see it in everyday life with so many different topics. It is always a shame that it gets to that point but at the same time we should grab the opportunity that it presents us.
I know I sound like an old git and have said it before but I have seen so many stages of digital, starting with the concept of selling hits. Ironically we never knew less about what we were selling in 2000 but it was probably in front of humans back then, Ad fraud was not on the radar. We have seen the social media wave, video, programmatic, and on it goes.
However this latest scandal is not about impressions appearing against unfavourable content, and by all accounts a tiny amount, it’s about the fact that everyone just got a cold bucket of water thrown over them and screamed at to wake up. The bucket was thrown by The Times as it happens but this topic has been on every stage in programmatic for two plus years. It has been the sell of many companies talking about brand safety for years but the truth is, no one listened. In 2014 I was at a ANA conference with hundreds of buyers and I asked them if they cared about brand safety and unanimously they said they did. I then I asked them if they bought blind performance or blind inventory through any number of RTB networks and most did. I ended with the phrase. ‘Then you don’t care about brand safety’ this is not to have a dig at those companies, by the way, many still operating, but to make the point that the issue has been out there for some time.
My blog is littered with articles I have written on this topic and I was not the only one of course. Trouble was no one listened. Ask any agency that wanted to deliver more brand safe impressions, the toughest thing was applying quality inventory, whitelists, vetting etc and still hitting cpms demanded by auditors and pitches.
So now the scandal is passing and we have had much debate, now on to the solutions. Here is my take out on the topic. Here are the likely developments for the industry:
Advertisers are going to continue to take more ownership of their programmatic work in some way, hopefully finding a happy balance with agencies, combining best of both worlds
Quality media will see a resurgence – it will at least be given air to breathe. Quality sites will be seen for what they are, brand safe with quality audiences
Verification will be standard for Facebook and Google – at last advertisers will be able to see what their viewability scores are on puking rainbows
Standards are about to shoot up. At Spotify we sell all video with Moat HAVOC standards – Human, Audio, Video, on complete. Our ads deliver 100% SOV, 95+% viewability. See these as becoming standard.
We are entering a new dawn for digital advertising, the question is whether everyone goes back to sleep or decides to get up and out. Take the opportunity to make our industry a better place.
Today I just wrote a list. A list of observations from the sales side of the house from a recent ex agency person. Headline is ‘long time agency executive did not self combust when joining a sales organisation’ Here are some insights for those of you thinking about crossing the divide…
I really did not know where anyone’s offices were and Christ you do a lot of travelling around. Google saves hundreds of hours by getting everyone to come to them.
You get cancelled a lot. No biggie, shit happens, but you get cancelled a lot
What I assumed would be an awesome event to attend is actually just competing with loads of awesome events to attend
People cancel late – main thing is to cancel, even that day, but not so late you can’t find a home for the ticket, even if I bring my mum
Learning all about restaurants in a 5min circumference from each agency
I have competed with many, annoyed some, but overall everyone has been hugely welcoming of my new role.
Agencies are working their socks off on pitches. Every.Single.Day.
There is some cool shit going on in agencies, fascinating to see and hear it. One even came to tell us about it.
I am really enjoying getting to work with all the people I used to work with but are now scattered across the industry – chance to see everyone again
Agency chat involves a lot about offices. A lot. More even than Google and Facebook talk about theirs.
People talk about Google and Facebook a lot.
There are so many people I did not know but glad I am getting to know.