Spotify makes podcast ads clickable

A new clickable ad unit aims to bridge the gap between podcast ads and their call-to-action.

As part of its presentation at CES this year, Spotify has unveiled a new ad format that makes the typically one-way podcast ad more interactive.

Call To Action Cards are an ad unit that will appear in-app when a podcast ad inserted using Spotify’s dynamic system begins playing. Instead of listener having to remember a promo code or to visit the URL of brand they heard during a podcast, the ads will allow them to more easily find the product or redeem an offer the piqued their interest.

Recognizing that most users are not actively looking at their phone while listening to a podcast, a card related to an ad a user heard will also be surfaced the next time they interact with the app. For now, the ad units are limited to Spotify’s original and exclusive podcast programming.

Spotify began testing the format in the U.S. last year, with partners including Ulta Beauty. Spotify says the tests showed that CTA Cards delivered twice as many site visits compared to regular podcast ads. During a presentation at CES, Christine White, head of content, social and integrated marketing at Ulta, said the company reached 250,000 unique listeners with one test campaign, with half seeing a CTA card after hearing the audio version of the ad.

The CTA Cards are also a way for advertisers to reach Premium subscribers on the platform. While Premium subscribers do not have ads inserted into their music listening experience, they will still hear ads during podcast listening if a particular show has chosen to allow for dynamic ad insertion.

In Q3, the company reported 172 million paid subscribers globally, not far behind the 220 million monthly active users who use the ad-supported version; both have been growing at roughly the same rate.