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The One Thing

Ads on Instagram vs. ads on Spotify

Published about 2 months ago • 3 min read

Spotify has been hard at work rolling out new marketing and advertising options on its platform.

Within the past couple of years, the company has introduced things like Discovery Mode and Showcase in addition to updating existing options like Marquee.

All this, of course, in addition to Spotify’s own ad platform.

And while these products can certainly be effective (some more so than others), I personally believe Spotify is a long way from becoming an actual threat to advertising on social media.

Especially Instagram.

It’s not to say Spotify’s ad options aren’t worth considering—I simply think their current place is in addition to a robust social-media-first ad strategy, not a replacement for it.

At least not yet.

Here’s why.

Side effects

There are so many wonderful side effects downstream of advertising on Instagram (and Facebook too).

With a simple ad directing listeners to our music on Spotify, we will not only see our numbers grow on Spotify itself, but we can also expect a rise in listeners on other platforms like Apple Music, YouTube Music, and more.

Additionally, we’re likely to see growth in our followers and engagement on Instagram and Facebook if we’re advertising on both.

All because we created one basic ad to get more streams on Spotify.

Conversely, with Spotify’s ad options, we can only expect to see growth on Spotify and that’s it.

Yes, we might see a few new Spotify followers when running an ad for a song or new release, but there is almost zero chance we’re going to see any sort of discernable increase in fans, listeners, or followers on Instagram, Apple Music, or anywhere else.

There just isn’t much crossover growth that exists downstream of those ads on Spotify.

And while this isn’t necessarily the end of the world, it is a difference worth considering when you’re an independent artist looking to stretch your marketing budget as far as you can.

For me, I’d just much rather utilize a strategy that has a healthy dose of natural byproducts that occur alongside my principal advertising focus.

Retargeting

The ability to retarget is the single greatest unlock of ads.

Even if we’re not advertising to extend reach, earn more views, or grow our followers, ads can still be used to grab organically earned attention and redirect it to an offer.

Using ads on Instagram, we can create a complex marketing funnel and build campaigns to retarget users at every level, pulling them down the system toward a purchase.

Want to advertise to people who have engaged with your content on Instagram?

We can do that.

Want to advertise only to your followers?

We can do that.

Only people who have clicked through on a specific ad to Spotify?

Yep, we can do that too.

Yes, there are some retargeting options available on Spotify (e.g. Marquee); however, the options simply aren’t as robust as they are on Facebook and Instagram.

And on top of that, we don’t have nearly the level of targeting detail available to us on Spotify that we do within Meta’s ad platform.

Things like Marquee and Showcase are awesome Spotify-native features that shouldn’t be overlooked; however, if the end goal is to build an advertising system that helps to grow a business, then, for my money, Instagram remains the clear winner here.

Audio ads

Audio ads on Spotify are a useful tool for generating awareness for large brands.

For independent artists like us, well, not so much.

Companies like Nike, Coca-Cola, and Ford are who this ad platform serves quite well at the moment.

Because, realistically, they’re paying a big chunk of the budget for the whole party.

In my mind, the issue is that we know audio ads on Spotify are, by default, served up to free-tier users (as a premium user, I’ve never heard an audio ad on Spotify before).

We also know that, because it’s free, it’s quite easy to create a legion of bot accounts on Spotify to automatically stream songs, follow artists, or whatever else (including listening to ads).

Of course, this doesn’t mean that every audio ad is shown exclusively to bot accounts, but it does mean there is a significant risk that our ad spend will be wasted, at least in part, on that very thing.

Now, there are certainly bot issues on Meta’s ad platform—that’s nothing new—but the bot problem on Spotify is… severe.

And we all know it.

Even Spotify knows it.

Having said that, it takes a far more complex piece of software to click through on an ad, click through on a landing page, and then stream a song on a completely different platform (i.e. Spotify) than it does to just listen to an audio ad directly within the same app.

Now I don’t know of a way to absolutely, without question, 100% avoid the bot risk when advertising online, but I do know that, given the options, I’d rather lean into the system that mitigates that risk most effectively.

And for me, that’s advertising on Instagram.

I just don’t think Spotify has scratched the surface yet on competing with that.

That’s it for this one.

Whenever you're ready, here are three ways I can help you:

  1. Get more marketing information for free by exploring our entire backlog of Articles here.
  2. Learn to quickly and easily automate your growth on Spotify inside the DuPree X Academy here.
  3. Hire our team to market your music for you by becoming a DuPree X Agency client here.

Have a fantastic week,

Tom

The One Thing

Tom DuPree III

One high-leverage idea to scale your audience (and your business). Delivered every Tuesday.

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