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Spotify’s Head of Global Ads Business and Platform Jay Richman Talks New Spotify Podcast Ads


Jay Richman, Spotify VP, Head of Global Ads Business and Platform, has spent his career at the intersection of digital media and ad tech. His positions at NBCUniversal, Scholastic, and Bertelsmann taught him how to build consumer ad experiences that deliver for companies, brands, and creators. In his role at Spotify, he especially takes pride in delivering standout promotional experiences for consumers, artist teams, and brands—helping to bring free music and podcasts to the world.

Jay is representing Spotify at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a major annual convention that looks ahead to the future of consumer technology (last year’s event had over 180,000 attendees). He’s excited to explore topics like IoT (internet of things; a.k.a. the devices that orbit smartphones), and how AI is being integrated into smart earbuds. 

But he’s also part of a major announcement for Spotify: the unveiling of Spotify Podcast Ads, powered by Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI). At first glance it seems like a lot to unpack, so we caught Jay at the start of the conference to learn what this means for podcasts lovers and creators, and the brands that back them. 

Spotify announced Spotify Podcast Ads powered by Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI) which leverages the power of streaming to deliver Spotify’s full digital suite of planning, reporting, and measurement capabilities to podcast advertisers.So, break it down for us. How does this change things for podcasters, advertisers, and listeners?

First of all, I’m super excited to be launching Streaming Ad Insertion for Spotify Podcast Ads this week. We’re essentially taking all that’s great with podcast ads today and adding real-time targeting, measurement, and interactivity to them, none of which exists in the industry as it stands today.

SAI will make podcast ads targetable—they’ll be relevant to the people who get them; measurable—we’ll more easily prove that they’re effective; and interactive—more to come here—for the first time. This will make the podcast ad experience more personalized for podcast fans, introduce performance metrics for advertisers, and allow creators to better monetize their content and make money off their hard work.

Why is this different from podcast advertising as it exists today?

Think of it this way: Podcast ads—until now—were actually more like magazine ads, versus the ones that we’ve all become accustomed to on the internet, which are personalized based on the content we’re reading or the video we’re watching. That’s because the podcast ads themselves came downloaded with content regardless of who is listening.

Now, with the shift to streaming, we can serve ads in real time based on who you are and what you’re interested in, and we can understand whether or not the ad was actually listened to. Soon we’ll be adding interactivity so users can directly engage with podcast ads without needing to remember, say, the coupon codes. We’re really excited about what this means not just for Spotify, but the industry overall.

You mentioned that this is an industry first. How does this set the stage for the future of podcast advertising across the industry?

It’s no surprise that Spotify is making big investments in podcasts—from content to the user experience with playlists like Your Daily Drive and now advertising, starting with SAI. What we’re doing is providing the industry with an example for what podcasts can do moving forward, adding another way to showcase just how remarkable the medium is.

Our research shows that a staggering 81% of listeners have taken action after hearing audio ads during a podcast. This means that podcast ads are already effective in allowing creators to earn more off their hard work. So with SAI, we’re taking formats that traditionally have been more of a static experience and making it a more personalized and attractive one. It’s not just about reach and numbers, but about impacting the ideal audience and knowing it. It’s a great opportunity for brands to have measurable impact.

Today, SAI is only available for Spotify originals and exclusives. When is this offering going to be available for a larger set of creators?

We’re starting with Spotify originals and exclusives as a part of the testing phase. This represents a first step into a super exciting space that will benefit consumers, creators, and Spotify alike. At Spotify, we are constantly innovating. Sometime down the line we might expand this to more audiences. This is just the beginning of a long-term journey.

On a more personal note, are there any podcasts that you’ve been especially into recently?

Well, I just finished a series called S-Town by the producers of Serial and This American Life. It documents a brilliant yet deeply disturbed man who despises his Alabama town. I found the series to be pretty suspenseful and gripping, like a murder mystery. I don’t want to spoil it, but definitely one worth checking out.

Want to learn more about Spotify Podcast Ads and Streaming Ad Insertion? Head to Spotify for Brands.

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