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What do SEO platforms do and how do they help marketers get found on search engines?

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What do SEO platforms do and how do they help marketers get found on search engines?

Search Engine Optimization remains the stalwart mainstay of digital marketing, with search driving around 50% of website traffic on average, according to an analysis of SimilarWeb data by Growth Badger. But the practice of SEO has become more complex and it involves more considerations than SEOs enjoyed in the “ten blue links” era.

Today, SEO includes everything from content marketing and distribution to user experience, and even the core job of gathering and interpreting search intelligence has become more challenging as the search engines continually change their display of results and port them over to other media like voice assistants. This doesn’t mean that the well-established SEO best practices should be cast aside, however. Keyword research, page-level analysis, backlink tracking and acquisition, and rank tracking are still of critical importance, even as the environment continues to change.

SEO platforms offer numerous capabilities that range from keyword research and rank-checking to backlink analysis and acquisition, as well as competitive intelligence, social signal integration, and workflow rights and roles.

Enterprise-level platforms may also provide more extensive link and site audits or analytics that include predictive scoring systems to identify potential opportunities to improve page performance or link authority. Vendors differentiate by offering more frequent or detailed data updates or content marketing features that sometimes require additional investment.

The following section discusses some of these capabilities and the key considerations involved in choosing an enterprise SEO platform.

Link analysis and acquisition

Links continue to be one of the most important external or “off-the-page” signals that can help a website rise in search engine rankings. Most enterprise SEO platforms provide link analysis (i.e., what sites are linking to yours), link building or removal recommendations via competitive analysis, and other reports that reveal opportunities for obtaining links (i.e., what sites should you solicit links from) as part of their base platforms.

Keyword research/rank analysis

Keyword research – knowing what terms people use to find your website, how your pages rank for various queries, and how you should use those terms in your copy – has been a pillar of effective SEO. Virtually all enterprise SEO platforms provide keyword research tools that allow marketers to discover the ways that consumers search for content, and what keywords are driving traffic for competitors.

Vendors source this data differently, however. Some vendors license data from point solutions or ISPs, due to Google’s restrictions on scraped data in its terms of use and the percentage of search results that are “keyword (not provided).” Other vendors develop and manage a proprietary database of keyword terms. As a result, reliable keyword data has become less of a commodity and more expensive.

It’s also important to note that rank analysis has grown increasingly complex as Google has upped its use of more dynamic and visual SERPs. Marketers are no longer satisfied with simple numeric designation of how their page ranks for a particular query; they want to know if it’s displayed in a Carousel, in a Knowledge panel, with Sitelinks — or any of the other ways in which crawled content is being displayed on the SERPs. One of the newest entrants to this category, Visably, offers a very different look at ranking, going so far as to look at all of the content on pages that rank for a particular keyword and then categorizing those pages.

With all of this data, it seeks to give brands a sense of how they’re coming across in search generally, even if the brand-related activity is happening on third-party sites.

Search intent-based analysis

Google’s search algorithms are focusing less on keyword matches and more on search intent. Recent algorithm updates, including the addition of BERT, have reduced the value of keywords in SEO. To counter the lack of keyword data, SEO platform vendors are developing more “search intent”-based tools that analyze search intent and predict or recommend the most relevant content that would meet the searcher’s needs.

Custom site crawls/audits

With content quality becoming the lynchpin for many marketers’ SEO strategies, site crawls or audits are important tools offered by enterprise SEO platform vendors. Some platforms offer optimization recommendations for keywords, page structures, and crawlability; prioritizing and assigning scores for such factors as HTML title tags, body tags, and meta-tags.

Most SEO platforms provide daily site crawls; others offer a weekly frequency. Ideally, the tool should be able to crawl the entire site, not just random pages, and should support the analysis of mobile-optimized and AMP pages as well. However, some enterprise sites are so large it’s unrealistic to expect a tool to crawl it in its entirety.

Social signal tracking and integration

Social media activity isn’t directly included in search engine ranking algorithms, but pages that are highly shared benefit from higher traffic, and watching social activity can help inform content creation and distribution strategies. Most enterprise SEO platforms track, measure, and integrate social signals into their analytics and dashboard reports.

Sites that experience strong social sharing typically perform better in organic search results. Capabilities range from social signal tracking and correlations to site traffic and conversions, as well as social profile monitoring and sentiment analysis, and contact-relationship management.

While most vendors do well at tracking organic traffic, few currently track paid social activity.


Explore platform capabilities from vendors like Semrush, Ahrefs, Brightedge, Conductor and more in the full MarTech Intelligence Report on enterprise SEO platforms.

Click here to download!


Content marketing and analysis

SEO and content marketing have become closely aligned, as Google has raised the content quality bar through developments like BERT and RankBrain (Hummingbird), and its regular algorithm updates. As a result, relevant, up-to-date content has become integral to SEO success.

Many vendors have upgraded the content optimization and content marketing capabilities of their enterprise SEO platforms and expanded the tools’ content marketing features. These include page management tools or APIs to monitor on-page content and errors, reports on content performance and traffic trends, influencer identification and campaign management, and real-time content recommendations.

More advanced platforms perform analysis to help improve the depth and quality of content by performing topical analysis of content and comparing it against competition to identify potentially important gaps and make recommendations for improvement.

One emerging area in which vendors are investing is the ability to automatically and proactively suggest topics that marketers should create content about — eliminating the need to spend lots of time on analysis. Some even provide assistance with developing the type of content that will show up in queries for target keywords.

International search tracking

International search coverage has become a critical capability, as the global economy leads more U.S.-based enterprises to conduct business online and offline in multiple countries and languages. Most enterprise SEO platforms offer some level of international search coverage that crosses borders, languages, and alphabets. The capabilities include international keyword research, integrating global market and search volume data into the platform, as well as integrating global CPC currency data.

Mobile/local analytics

Google’s search engine updates are increasingly focused on improving the mobile/local search user experience. As mobile-friendly sites rise to the top of the SERPs, marketers are demanding more and better mobile and local data and analytics to help them optimize their sites for mobile users and improve search engine rankings. Many vendors offer features such as mobile audits, rankings, and metrics by device (i.e., desktop, tablet, iPhone, and Android) as well as by location.

Technical SEO crawling

The increasing importance of mobile traffic is also driving the development of tools to identify problems that may be slowing page load or affecting mobile-friendliness. This includes providing information about a site’s ranking for Core Web Vitals.

Additionally, technical implementation of schema markup is necessary if a page is to be used in one of the featured snippets or other advanced displays. Many of today’s tools can identify schema errors and advise on correcting them.

Cross-device attribution

Recognizing that SEO is just one aspect of a brand’s marketing efforts, and also that search traffic (especially on brand keywords) is influenced by paid media, some vendors are developing capabilities that help marketers determine what marketing initiative is driving site visits or sales. This is becoming increasingly difficult, however, as third-party cookies are no longer being supported by many companies.

The benefits of using SEO platforms

With hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, and even millions of pages, sites, social conversations, images, and keywords to manage and optimize, enterprise SEO has become increasingly complicated and time-consuming.

Using an SEO platform can increase efficiency and productivity while reducing the time and errors involved in managing organic search campaigns. More specifically, managing SEO through an enterprise toolset can provide the following benefits:

  • Many tools, one interface. SEO platforms perform many tasks in one system. A comprehensive dashboard can help your organization monitor SERP rankings and trends, how you measure up to competitors and your share of voice. The integration and prioritization of tasks, reporting, and user permissions can offer substantial benefits to enterprise-level SEO operations.
  • Intent insights. Because of the search engines’ increased focus on user intent, enterprise-level SEO tool vendors are developing machine learning models that analyze user behavior and site content to help marketers answer searchers’ questions.
  • More efficient management of global operations. Enterprise SEO tools have built-in diagnostics that can be invaluable on a global scale to identify site-wide issues across languages, countries or regions. These tools uncover macro and micro issues with pages, templates and infrastructure.
  • Keeping pace with the search engines. SEO software vendors have dedicated teams and engineers to follow frequent search engine algorithm changes and their impact on the SEO reporting required by enterprises.
  • Automated reporting to provide data in near real-time. Many brands end up trying to put a lot of data in spreadsheets and manually update them. But that doesn’t provide a complete view of the data. Most enterprise SEO platforms offer highly customized reporting capabilities that are widget- and wizard-driven to make reporting faster and easier. Many also allow for the export of data to business intelligence tools or other analytics software.

SEO platforms: A snapshot

What is SEO? Search engine optimization encompasses a wide range of marketing activities, including content marketing, user experience strategy, technical analysis, and more, all with the goal of increasing the traffic websites receive from search engines.

What do the tools do? SEO platforms help marketers draw more insights from their work. They offer capabilities such as rank-checking, advanced keyword research, competitive intelligence, and backlink analysis. What’s more, enterprise-level platforms take these functions to new heights with extensive auditing and analysis of page performance, making it easier to find key areas needing improvement.

Why we care. SEO has remained one of the key foundations of digital marketing for years. Search drives roughly 50% of website traffic on average, according to a study on SimilarWeb data by Growth Badger. And while marketers have developed strategies to keep up, SEO’s growing complexity has made this a more complicated marketing discipline that companies cannot afford to ignore.

Read next: What do SEO platforms do and how do they help marketers get found on search engines?


About The Author

20 questions to ask digital asset management platform vendors during

Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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MARKETING

How to Run Spotify Ads: Costs & Key Considerations

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How to Run Spotify Ads: Costs & Key Considerations

Spotify went public in 2008 in a market crowded with rival music services. The music streaming app has shattered expectations by reaching over 602 million users, including 236 million subscribers, across 180 markets. It is now the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service.  

Spotify Ads is also the largest digital audio advertising platform — giving marketers and brands a direct line into the ears of millions of ad-supported listeners.

The breakneck velocity of Spotify’s rise is incredibly impressive. The platform’s active users spend on average 148 minutes a day listening to their favorite music app — and most of these users are enjoying Spotify’s free, ad-supported version.

It’s clear Spotify is seeing vast success, but let’s dive a bit deeper into the world of advertising within the increasingly popular platform. Here’s a quick look at what digital audio advertising is, what Spotify Ads can offer brands and advertisers, and how you can get started. It’s easier than you might think.

The Advantages of Spotify Ads

With a valuation of over $72 billion, strong year-over-year growth in active users, with no signs of slowing down — Spotify has a bright future ahead.

Some marketers have been slow to leverage this new medium of advertising, but maybe now it’s time to pay attention as time spent in these ad units is increasing. Spotify offers marketers many unique advantages that can be leveraged to reach millions of tuned-in listeners across the globe. Let’s cover a few of the highlights:

Expansive and Diverse Audience Reach

Spotify is consistently expanding its reach and has an extremely diverse audience which is a huge benefit for potential advertisers. When advertising on the platform, you’ll have access to:

  • 300 million+ ad-supported listeners
  • Users who spend 2+ hours listening daily 
  • A 24% lift increase in ad recall for audio ads (according to Spotify)

As an added bonus, Spotify reports that “when compared to multi-format campaigns, audio-only campaigns tend to drive more foot traffic to stores at a more efficient cost per visit.”

In addition to effectively reaching an incredibly wide audience, Spotify also collects first-party data from its users that marketers can leverage to inform their targeting decisions.

Consumers Spend A lot of Time on the Platform

Consumers are increasingly investing significant time on the Spotify platform, drawn in by its vast array of content. With almost every song imaginable available for streaming and a steadily expanding library of podcasts, there’s no shortage of entertainment options. 

With their “Broadcast to Podcast” program, your favorite radio shows are finding a new home, seamlessly transitioning from airwaves to headphones. The numbers speak for themselves: 32% of Americans now listen to podcasts regularly, and that number is only growing.

A Ripe Opportunity for Engagement and Revenue Generation

With a commanding presence in the audio advertising arena, Spotify boasts a substantial market share, leveraging its vast user base comprising predominantly Millennials and Gen Z, but also attracting a significant number of older users. Currently, over 317 million users are engaged with the ad-supported tier of the platform, presenting a big opportunity for advertisers. Spotify’s approach to engaging users is multifaceted, employing a combination of audio, video, and display ads to effectively reach and resonate with audiences. 

By utilizing audio when users are most receptive, complemented by engaging video content to enhance messaging, and reinforced through strategic display ad placements, Spotify maximizes ad impact. The platform’s commitment to innovation is evident through its continual enhancement of ad offerings, introducing new functionalities to ensure advertisers can optimize their campaigns and connect with audiences in meaningful ways.

Spotify Provides a First-party Data Advantage

Whenever a user listens to a song, queues a playlist, or creates their own playlist — they are telegraphing something about themselves:

  • How they feel
  • Where they are
  • What they’re doing

This is the power of first-party data, and it’s a golden commodity for marketers and brands when it comes to reaching a targeted audience at the right time.

Consider Spotify’s running playlists for example. Spotify collects data that pinpoints when and how often users listen to running playlists. Brands like Nike put ad dollars to insert themselves into the headphones of users who are fired up and exercising. To put it simply – the ad resonates on an even deeper level.

Brands can use Spotify’s first-party data to reach listeners during very specific moods or activities — all based on the music that they’re engaging with.

Josh Brisco believes that Spotify’s advertising platform will only become more powerful in the future.

“With millions of ad-supported listeners world-wide and robust targeting capabilities, it is a fantastic way to get in front of a desired audience. Its continued user growth and investment in its ad units, capabilities, and overall product make it one to watch.”

How Spotify’s Ad Types Work

Spotify is based on a freemium model — where all users can have unlimited, free access supported by 15 and 30-second ad breaks. However, users can opt to pay for a premium account for an ad-free listening experience (besides certain ad units like homepage takeovers, sponsored playlists, and podcast ads). The great majority of Spotify’s listeners opt for the ad-supported version.

These ad units can play pre-roll and post-roll when users are listening to their favorite songs. Spotify also gives advertisers the option to incorporate video and display options into their strategy. 

Spotify Ads has expanded into a variety of different ad units:

Audio Ads 

Spotify’s audio ads are concise yet impactful, strategically placed between songs with clickable display content to engage listeners. With a maximum length of 30 seconds, these ads efficiently deliver messages to the target audience, spanning both mobile and desktop devices. Beyond direct targeting, these ads have the potential to reach additional demographics as they may play in various public spaces like stores and restaurants where Spotify is used.

With this ad type, you can combine audio messaging with customizable images (i.e: brand names, slogans, and calls-to-action) to drive traffic to designated websites. These ads offer highly targeted options, including geographic targeting, to ensure relevance and maximize impact.

These ads are extremely successful for brands. In fact, a study by Nielsen found that Spotify audio ads led to a 24% increase in ad recall and a 17% increase in purchase intent among listeners. 

 

example of a Spotify audio ad with a companion image, advertiser name, logo, tagline, and CTA

Source: Spotify

Video Ad Takeover (Mobile) 

Designed exclusively for mobile and tablet viewing, Spotify’s Video Ad Takeover offers advertisers a dynamic platform to showcase their brand message. With a strict limit of 30 seconds and a maximum file size of 500 MB, these videos are optimized for seamless integration into the user experience. Displayed in either portrait or landscape orientation with a 16:9 ratio, the ads are strategically placed between songs or during commercial breaks, ensuring maximum visibility when the screen is in view. 

Each video ad is accompanied by a companion banner featuring a customizable CTAs, enhancing user engagement. Advertisers also have the option to include a Branded End Card at the end of the video, providing an active link to their website for further interaction.

example of a Spotify video takeover ad on mobile device

Source: Spotify

Overlay Ads

Spotify’s Overlay Ads (compatible with both desktop and mobile devices), are a straightforward yet effective advertising solution. These simple, clickable display ads are strategically served to users upon their return to the Spotify app, ensuring maximum visibility and engagement. Occupying the full screen, these ads provide a prominent presence, capturing the user’s attention from the moment they re-enter the app. 

Users have the option to close the overlay either by clicking on the designated ‘X’ or allowing it to automatically close after 30 seconds. With a clickthrough URL included, these ads provide a seamless pathway for users to explore further content or interact with the advertised brand. As the first thing users see upon returning to the app, Overlay Ads offer advertisers a prime opportunity to make a lasting impression and drive desired actions.

example of a Spotify overlay ad for Kia Sportage shown on a desktop and mobile device

Source: Spotify

Homepage Takeover (Desktop)

With Spotify’s Homepage Takeover (desktop), advertisers can prominently feature their brand message on the front page of Spotify’s Desktop Homepage for a full 24 hours. This prime real estate allows for maximum exposure and engagement with users. While the ad links directly to the advertiser’s site, it’s important to note that audio is not supported in this format, although videos can be included to enhance the visual impact. 

Spotify offers resources and guidance to assist advertisers in crafting the perfect homepage ad, ensuring it aligns with platform guidelines while reflecting the advertiser’s vision. Additionally, third-party integration enables support for rich media, allowing for even more interactive and engaging advertising experiences. 

example of a Spotify homepage takeover ad for Fate of the Furious on a desktop

Source: Spotify

Leaderboard 

Leaderboard ads on Spotify are clickable ads that appear for 30 seconds, exclusively during a listening session when Spotify is in view. These ads are accessible via desktop player or web app, offering advertisers a direct channel to engage with users during their music or podcast streaming experience. With support for images or short animations lasting up to 15 seconds, advertisers have the flexibility to convey their message effectively within the specified timeframe. 

These ads are clickable, allowing users to interact with the ad content and be redirected to the advertiser’s desired destination. Leaderboard ads support rich media, enabling the incorporation of interactive elements to further enhance user engagement, whether implemented by Spotify or a third-party provider. 

example of a Spotify Leaderboard ad for Kia Sportage under a Discover Weekly playlist

Source: Spotify

Sponsored Playlist 

Distinguish your brand on Spotify with a tailored playlist sponsorship, featuring a clickable display ad and in-playlist media placements. With this feature, you can collaborate with Spotify to select the most relevant playlist for your target audience, leveraging the platform’s extensive user data and insights. For example, Kia recently sponsored Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist, a weekly favorite among millions of listeners worldwide. 

This ad type ensures visibility across both mobile and desktop platforms, reaching audiences wherever they engage with Spotify. Your brand’s logo or ad assets will be prominently featured within the playlist interface, guaranteeing consistent exposure in the playlist queue. 

While anyone can create a playlist for free, opting for the sponsored option provides a strategic shortcut to reaching a large audience without the need to organically build a playlist from scratch. 

example of a Spotify Sponsored Playlist ad on desktop and mobile device

Source: Spotify

Sponsored Session Video

Tailored for mobile listeners, Sponsored Session Video ads on Spotify offer an opportunity to engage users with a brief interruption that presents an offer: 30 minutes of ad-free listening in exchange for watching a video ad on their phone. Similar to typical audio ads, these video interruptions prompt users to opt into an uninterrupted listening experience by engaging with the full video ad. The video ad must adhere to a duration of 30 seconds or less and can include a URL directing users to the advertiser’s webpage for further interaction. 

While specific pricing details for Sponsored Session Video ads may vary based on factors such as targeting options and campaign duration, they are generally considered to be more expensive than audio ads due to their enhanced engagement potential and the value of providing ad-free listening time to users. Engagement rates with Sponsored Session Video ads can vary depending on factors such as the relevance of the ad content and the appeal of the offer presented. Engagement rates for Sponsored Session Video ads tend to be relatively high, with a significant portion of users opting to engage with the ad in exchange for ad-free listening time. 

example of a Spotify Sponsored Session video ad on mobile devices

Source: Spotify

Banner Display Ads

Featured at the top of a Spotify user’s homepage, Banner Display Ads provide immediate visibility upon opening the app. As users navigate within the app, the banner seamlessly transitions to the bottom of the screen, ensuring continued exposure while minimizing disruption to the user experience. 

This strategic placement enables advertisers to capture the attention of users as they engage with Spotify’s platform, maximizing the impact of their advertising campaigns. With Banner Display Ads, advertisers can effectively reach and engage their target audience, driving brand awareness and fostering meaningful interactions within the Spotify community.

Podcast

Spotify offers a unique opportunity for advertisers to reach specific and well-defined audiences through podcast advertising. Pre-recorded ads, typically short audio clips ranging from 15 to 60 seconds, are strategically inserted within episodes. Host-read ads offer a more personalized touch, as hosts deliver the message in their own voice and style, which can enhance trust and authenticity. Another option is branded podcasts, where sponsors have the opportunity to immerse listeners in their brand story by sponsoring entire episodes or series. When it comes to reaching the right audience, platforms like Spotify Ad Studio allow for targeting specific podcasts, demographics, interests, and behaviors. Dynamic Ad Insertion enables ads to be automatically placed in relevant podcasts based on specified criteria. Additionally, direct deals offer the chance to negotiate exclusive placements with high-impact podcasts or networks, further enhancing the reach and impact of the advertising campaign.

example of a Spotify Podcast ad on a mobile device

Source: Spotify

The Cost of Advertising on Spotify

When considering advertising on Spotify, pricing varies depending on several factors, including the chosen ad type, target audience, location, and campaign duration. The minimum investment required for a campaign is $250, with a daily rate of $15. Additionally, ad impressions typically cost between 1 to 3 cents per impression. 

Both audio and video ads utilize a basic auction system familiar to digital advertisers, offering bid caps and the flexibility to adjust bids during the campaign. Targeting options include Cost per Impression or maximum CPM bid, with higher costs expected for targeting popular audience segments. 

To better estimate ad costs, Spotify Ad Studio provides a cost estimator tool. There are three main methods to purchase Spotify ads… 

  • Self-serve through Ad Studio – Which allows advertisers to create and submit ads independently
  • Automated – Where agencies or DSPs manage media buys using dynamic bidding
  • Direct – Involving collaboration with the Spotify team to customize ad experiences or secure guaranteed inventory, although this option may not be suitable for all advertisers due to associated costs.

 

How You Can Advertise on Spotify

These days, almost anyone with any budget can advertise on Spotify. Here’s how to get started.

1. Set Up an Account

First things first, you’ll need to set up your Spotify Ad Studio account to get started. Within this platform, you’ll be able to:

  • Build out audio campaigns
  • Create audio ads using your script and a selection of background tracks and voice profiles
  • Gauge impressions based on your targeting and spend
  • Measure campaign performance within the dashboard

2. Add Basic Campaign Details

When you start creating an ad, the first question that Spotify Ad Studio will ask is if you are promoting something music-related, or representing a brand. Music-related ads are for artists or those in periphery of the music business, like sellers of concert tickets and merchandise. Non-music ads are for every other type of brand that advertises on Spotify.

Once you’ve made that selection, give your ad a name. Since this name will be for internal use only, choose a name that’s both descriptive and easily recognizable to streamline your internal discussions and analytics.

Next, select your ad category. Spotify simplifies this process by offering categories that span across various interests and behaviors. This categorization helps ensure your ad reaches listeners most likely to be interested in what you’re offering, whether it’s lifestyle, technology, entertainment, or any other sector relevant to your brand.

3. Define and Target Your Audience

Targeting is one of the most important steps when creating an ad. If you’re targeting the wrong people, your brand’s message is unlikely to resonate. Ad Studio allows you to target audiences based on:

  • Who they are (age & demographics)
  • Where they are (city and geography)
  • How they listen (devices & connectivity)
  • What they listen to (genre, playlists, podcasts)
  • Predicted interests (lookalike targeting)
  • Off-platform behaviors (custom audience match & 3rd party interest targeting)
  • Past interactions (brand exposure, sequential messaging, real-time retargeting)

As mentioned above, one of Spotify’s key targeting features is the ability to target by listener behavior – we highly encourage you to check out this feature. When targeting through Spotify, you can also use first party data like your own customer lists and demographic information to create custom audiences (country, location(s), age group, gender, platform, language). Keep in mind that these are seen as the building blocks to creating a custom audience. You can also target by interests and behaviors but this is optional. For example, target based on podcast or playlists they listen to, favored genres, or for certain contexts (like a workout playlist).

If your objectives change at all throughout your campaign – no worries – you can make changes to your target audience at any time.

4. Set Your Budget, Objectives, and Schedules

Now we’re ready to start building out the finer details of the campaign. Start by selecting your ad format—be it audio, horizontal video, or vertical video. Then, choose if you want to place these ads across music and podcasts or limit them to music only. As we previously covered, there are a variety of ad formats to explore within Spotify’s Ad Studio.

You also have the option to exclude your ads from appearing during podcasts labeled as “sensitive.” This is an important consideration if you’re concerned with brand safety, or just wouldn’t want to appear during an ad break for a gritty true crime episode. On the complete other side of the coin, you can choose to target your ads to appear during episodes focusing on specific topics that resonate with your target audience, such as business, fashion, or technology.

Next, you’ll be able to schedule your campaign and set a budget. Spotify gives marketers precise control over the start and end dates for the campaign, right down to the minute. 

Then it’s time to set your budgets. Spotify lets you approach this in two ways: Daily budgets and lifetime budgets. It’s worth noting that daily budgets are not strict caps but guidelines, as Spotify may adjust spending based on demand to maximize your ad’s impact. However, setting a bid cap is still crucial for controlling expenditure, preventing overbidding, and ensuring your campaign remains cost-effective.

While you’re building the ad, take note of Spotify’s deliverability gauge on the right side of the page. This helps you estimate how much you’ll need to budget to reach your intended audience and the likelihood of fully utilizing your budget each day. 

Finally, you’ll be able to set your objective – this is how Spotify determines appropriate placements for your ad. You can choose between three options:

  • Impressions – Spotify will show your ad more often. Unlike reach, this is based on how many times the ad is served, rather than how many people it reaches. Note that 
  • Reach – Spotify will show your ad to more people. For example, you could show your ad to 1,000 people one time using this objective.
  • Clicks – With this objective, you’ll only pay if someone clicks on your ad. Clicks are almost always the most expensive option, but it’s perfect for brands seeking to increase conversions.

Spotify also allows for setting frequency caps to manage how often your ad is served to individual users, ensuring your message remains fresh without overwhelming your audience. You can set frequency caps on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This is especially important for advertisers who want to use the Impressions objective.

The last item on this page allows you to set bid caps. Unlike your budget, this is a hard cap on how much you’ll spend to place a single ad. Strategically setting bid caps is crucial for controlling expenditure, preventing overbidding, and ensuring your campaign remains cost-effective. If you’re not sure what a good bid cap is, Spotify provides a recommendation to get you started – you can always run the campaign and fine-tune the bid cap later.

5. Create Your Ad and Upload Your Audio

At this point, it’s time to put the final touches on your campaign. Add a unique name to the ad – this is for internal purposes only, so choose something that will help your team stay organized. Then, enter your brand’s name complemented by a compelling tagline and indicate the language that your ad is in.

After that, you’ll upload your ad’s image, ensuring it meets the minimum resolution requirement. Under the image upload field, you’ll be able to include a direct click-through URL, which is where you’ll send listeners if they choose to engage with your ad. To help them engage, you’ll also be able to select a Call-to-Action from a dropdown list of options, such as “Listen Now.”

If your campaign leverages audio, you’re presented with two paths: upload a pre-existing audio file or use Spotify’s in house creative team to produce your ad, including background tunes and even script writing. Simply provide a creative brief, and their team will try to produce your ad to the best of their ability.

For those using video ad formats, uploading your content is as simple as drag-and-drop, with additional capabilities for viewability tracking via third-party vendors. This ensures your ad not only reaches but resonates with your target audience.

Once all those steps are done, you’re ready to launch!

6. Measure & Monitor Performance

Measuring and monitoring the performance of your ads is crucial for optimizing your advertising strategy and maximizing your return on investment. With Spotify’s Ad Studio, you can easily track and analyze the effectiveness of your campaigns. Ad Studio provides initial results within 24 hours of your ad going live, allowing you to quickly assess its performance. You’ll have access to a range of key metrics, including people reached, frequency, impressions, completion rate, CPM, CTR, and insights into how long people listen to the ad and the genres they’re tuning into. 

You can utilize third-party measurement tools for more advanced analysis and deeper insights into your campaign’s performance. By regularly monitoring these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into audience behavior and preferences, enabling you to refine your targeting, messaging, and creative assets for improved results. With Ad Studio’s real-time reporting capabilities, you’ll have the actionable data you need to make informed decisions and optimize your advertising efforts effectively.

Spotify Ads Best Practices

We’ve covered everything from Spotify’s overall advantages to various ad types, but how can you make sure you’re following general best practices when it comes to advertising on the platform? Let’s dive in.

Build Strong Messaging

In a recent study, Spotify has found that listeners are less concerned by the length of a creative, and more about the message itself. This means it’s critical to have strong messaging from the start. Be clear, concise, conversational during your ads so listeners grasp the point(s) you’re trying to make quickly. Don’t forget to communicate any additional benefits you are giving your audience like promo codes or sale offerings.

Include a Clear Call-to-action (CTA)

What action are you trying to get listeners to take? Ads on Spotify are on the shorter side so by including a strong CTA (ie: “Buy Now”), you’re allowing users to easily and quickly complete the intended action. Including a clear CTA within your ad is crucial – don’t forget it!

Test and Learn

No matter the campaign you’re running, it’s incredibly important to test and learn from the performance of your ads. You’ll want to take a deeper look into your ad metrics to ensure you’re meeting or exceeding your KPIs to see if tweaks need to be made. As we’ve previously covered, Spotify has a wide range of ad types for advertisers to utilize. If one ad type isn’t meeting your intended goals, be open to testing and trying out new methods.

Conclusion

Not looking to manage your Spotify Ads all by yourself? No problem. 

Creating, managing, and tracking ad performance takes time – we get it. So, if you’re looking to streamline your Spotify advertising process, Tinuiti can help. By working with our team of experts, you can take your Spotify ads to the next level by utilizing a more customized approach to further target your ideal customers. By working with a dedicated streaming audio agency, your Spotify advertising has the ability to stand out among the competition – elevating your brand to new heights in this emerging space.

“By working with Tinuiti, your brand’s Spotify ads are in the hands of specialists who are familiar with audio campaign set up, optimization, and success. Our programmatic team is in the platform daily, making real-time bidding adjustments to campaigns that boost performance while maintaining efficiency. This performance visibility allows us to understand how audio stacks up against your other tactics in a user’s path to conversion. Our programmatic experience and hands-on approach is what sets us apart.”

– Carly Fipps, Programmatic Senior Specialist at Tinuiti

If you’re interested in learning more about Spotify advertising, streaming audio, or how Tinuiti can help your business, contact us today.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Greg Swan in May 2018 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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How DocuSign’s Teams Tie Customer Value to Every Single Change

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How DocuSign’s Teams Tie Customer Value to Every Single Change

How do you deliver value at every stage of the customer journey? 
 
It’s the single most important goal held by almost everyone from marketing to sales to engineering to data teams. 
 
Even with a solid customer journey map, delivering that value — much less connecting it directly to the everyday work that happens on the ground — is easier said than done. Unless you’re the team at DocuSign.

DocuSign’s teams (with hundreds of individual contributors) tie customer value to every single change they make across their marketing and product strategies and deliverables. By doing so, they also happen to constantly find ways to deliver the best possible experience to every single one of their customers.

How has the team accomplished what for many feels like a distant dream? They’ve developed a strong culture of experimentation that their teams deploy for every proposed change, and their Marketing, Product, Design, and Engineering teams (to name a few) use Optimizely to bring those experiments to life.

In this post, Anjali Mehra, Senior Director, Analytics & Experimentation, at DocuSign, breaks down how DocuSign built their experimentation program from the ground up.  

Get the inside scoop: How DocuSign structures their experimentation program 

The DocuSign difference isn’t just that DocuSign uses an experiment like A/B testing to endorse every customer-facing change. Here at Optimizely, our team loves experimentation, but we know that, practically speaking, running experiments simply isn’t enough. 

The reason DocuSign has been so successful is their rigorous, holistic approach to experimentation across the company. Here’s the good news: Anjali from DocuSign has told us how they’ve achieved it.

Here are the program highlights: 

  • DocuSign’s experimentation program is a whole-company effort: more than 20 customer-impact teams amounting to hundreds of users are on the Optimizely platform. 
  • DocuSign Marketing, Product, and Design teams use Optimizely to test both web and product features. Plus, the DocuSign Engineering team uses Optimizely’s feature flag functionality to ship most features they deliver. Everyone can work from the same platform, which meant they can scale their programs and share their learnings easily. 
  • Because the whole DocuSign team uses Optimizely to run experiments, they’re generating data from across the customer lifecycle. All this data allows them to truly understand not only their current customers but prospective and lost customers.  

 

All of this happens because DocuSign has built not just a culture of experimentation but a strong experiment planning culture. All of the teams’ testing is backed by a clear strategy that includes: 

  • Planning the test and parameters 
  • Developing a clearly refined hypothesis  
  • Choosing a North Star KPI 
  • Achieving cross-functional stakeholder alignment 
  • Running an impact analysis 
  • Selecting a decision framework to take action   

 

Why DocuSign partners with Optimizely for their experimentation program 

Running a program like DocuSign’s starts with a business commitment, but they needed the right partners to bring it to life.

DocuSign began their journey towards their current culture of experimentation over ten years ago. At the time, they were heavily focused on building a website with a ground-breaking conversion rate. They chose Optimizely even back then to test and iterate on their web and commerce flows.

As their company evolved, they decided to grow with Optimizely to onboard more teams for feature optimization and experimentation and even feature flagging. Even better, they’ve reduced the resources otherwise needed for this program because they don’t need in-house engineering resources for experimentation.

 

The results transform day-to-day work for their teams 

As a B2B SaaS organization, DocuSign is most concerned with three KPIs: conversion, expansion, and retention rates.

But to create velocity and stay at the forefront of their category, they’re just as focused on tying every decision they make to powerful data, which allows all their teams to directly tie their work to business value.

The results across the business speak for themselves and are transformative for work flows.

As individual teams, DocuSign are: 

  • Not only hitting KPIs but understanding how they got there & tying it back to individual contributor and team work 
  • Creating real velocity to launch and ship faster through a data-driven, experimentation culture 
  • Building product and marketing roadmaps & making business decisions based on clear results 

Replicate DocuSign’s experimentation program in 5 steps 

Remember how DocuSign carefully plans every experiment and their underlying experimentation strategy serves as a foundation for every test they run?

Take another step back and there’s another framework they used to get where they are. And it’s the same framework that can help you set up a long-lasting program of your own.

According to Anjali, here’s the framework she used to build their experimentation program: 

  1. Get executive sponsorship. 
  2. Align with all your cross-functional partners. 
  3. Establish program-level goals and OKRs (like velocity, win rate, impact) 
  4. Create a test planning strategy and program 
  5. Build a test and learn culture 

Will 2024 be the Year you change everything (with data)? 

Check out our new report, The Evolution of Experimentation, to learn more about how Optimizely customers have run over 127k experiments and turned practitioners into champions. 

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Choosing the Right Tradeshow Exhibit Company: A Comprehensive Guide

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Choosing the Right Tradeshow Exhibit Company: A Comprehensive Guide

In the dynamic realm of trade shows, your exhibit is the face of your business. It’s the first impression you make on potential clients and partners. Therefore, selecting the right tradeshow exhibit company is a critical decision that can significantly impact your success. To help you navigate this important choice, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to ensure you make an informed and strategic decision.

1. Define Your Objectives and Budget

Before diving into the selection process, defining your tradeshow objectives and setting a realistic budget is essential. Are you aiming to generate leads, showcase new products, or strengthen brand awareness? Understanding your goals will guide you in choosing an exhibit company that aligns with your needs.

2. Research and Reputation Check

Start by researching potential exhibit companies. Look for firms with a proven track record in creating successful tradeshow booths. Check their portfolio, client testimonials, and industry reviews. A company with a positive reputation is more likely to deliver quality service and results.

3. Experience in Your Industry

Experience matters. Work with a tradeshow exhibit company that is familiar with your industry nuances is better equipped to design a booth that resonates with your target audience. They understand the trends, regulations, and unique challenges, ensuring a booth that stands out correctly.

4. Innovative Design and Technology Integration

A visually appealing and technologically advanced booth can capture attention and leave a lasting impression. Look for an exhibit company that embraces innovation, incorporating the latest design trends and technology solutions. This can include interactive displays, augmented reality, or other engaging elements that set your booth apart.

5. Customization vs. Modular Solutions

Consider whether your needs align better with custom-built or modular exhibits. Customization allows for a unique and tailored booth, while modular solutions offer flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Rise Exhibits & Environments should be able to guide you toward the option that best suits your goals and budget.

6. Sustainability Practices

As environmental concerns grow, many businesses are opting for sustainable exhibit solutions. Inquire about the exhibit company’s commitment to eco-friendly practices, such as recyclable materials, energy-efficient designs, and responsible waste management.

7. Communication and Collaboration

Effective communication is critical to a successful partnership. Ensure the exhibiting company you choose values collaboration, providing clear timelines, updates, and opportunities for your input throughout the design and construction process.

8. Post-Show Support and Storage Options

The exhibit experience doesn’t end when the show concludes. Inquire about post-show support, including lead follow-up strategies and analytics. Additionally, discuss storage options for your exhibit materials between shows, saving you time and resources in the long run.

9. Legal and Logistics Expertise

Navigating tradeshow logistics and regulations can be challenging. A reputable exhibit company should understand the legal and logistical aspects, ensuring a smooth experience from planning to execution.

Tradeshow exhibit planner services can propel your tradeshow experience to new heights; here is how:

  • Understanding Your Goals: The first step in the tradeshow exhibit planning process is a comprehensive understanding of your goals. A proficient exhibit planner will work closely with you to define objectives such as lead generation, brand exposure, or product launches. Clear goals form the foundation upon which the entire exhibit strategy is built.
  • Budgeting Wisely: Exhibit planners are adept at balancing creating an impactful display and adhering to a budget. They can help you allocate resources effectively, ensuring maximum ROI without compromising on the quality and effectiveness of your exhibit.
  • Designing for Impact: Exhibit planners leverage their expertise to create visually compelling and strategically aligned booths. From layout and graphics to interactive elements, they ensure that your booth captures attention and effectively communicates your brand message.

Choosing the right tradeshow exhibit company requires careful consideration of your objectives, budget, and the capabilities of potential partners. Following this comprehensive guide, you can make a well-informed decision that meets and exceeds your expectations, ensuring a standout presence at your next tradeshow. Remember, your exhibit is not just a structure; it’s a strategic investment in the future success of your business.

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