Spotify advertisers can now target listeners by which podcasts they stream

Spotify is taking the next big step in terms of building out its podcast business: It’s now offering the ability for advertisers to target listeners based on which types of podcasts they’re streaming. The company says brands will be able to reach Spotify Free listeners who stream from specific podcast categories, including Comedy, Lifestyle & Health and Business & Technology.

This option is being launched across 10 global markets, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia.

Spotify shared the news with a handful of ad trade publications on Friday, but didn’t make a broad announcement, we understand.

Currently, the new ad-targeting option is being tested by several brands such as Samsung, which is marketing its Galaxy Buds, and 3M — the official sponsors of the Spotify Original podcast Dope Labs. 

The ad-targeting launch is the latest in a series of investments Spotify has made into its podcast business in recent months, which have included deals for exclusive content, acquisitions and new features.

The company picked up podcast businesses GimletParcast and Anchor for a combined $400 million, and has been steadily expanding its lineup of exclusive content, which now includes shows like The Joe Budden Podcast, Stay Free: The Story of the Clash, Jemele Hill Is Unbothered and Amy Schumer Presents, among others. It also recently landed a deal with Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company Higher Ground, and on Friday announced the third season of the Rob Riggle and Sarah Tiana sports podcast Riggle’s Picks will now stream exclusively on Spotify.

The company also sells its own podcast ads.

Meanwhile, in an effort to gain more podcast listeners across its service, Spotify just launched its first playlist that combines music with podcast programming, and redesigned its app to place podcasts only a swipe away from music.

Spotify believes in the potential for podcasts — and the ad dollars they could bring in — based on the trends it sees in its own, data as well as those across the broader industry.

According to Edison Research, 51% of U.S. consumers have listened to podcasts at some point, and 62 million listen weekly. On Spotify itself, podcast consumption hours grew by 250% year-over-year in 2018, with 49% of millennial listeners tuning in each week. Spotify also cited WARC’s Global Ad Trends report, which estimated that podcasts could account for 4.5% of global audio ad spend by 2022, or $1.6 billion.

“Over time, we aspire to develop a more robust advertising solution for podcasts that will allow us to layer in the kind of targeting, measurement and reporting capabilities we have for ads that run alongside other content experiences like music and video,” a spokesperson said.