When we think about getting the biggest bang for a local business’s advertising buck, certain channels come to mind. In the age of digital marketing, we perhaps think of channels like pay-per-click search engine marketing, texts and emails, social media…the list goes on.

Ready for some irony? It turns out the advertising medium that produces one of the most eye-catching returns on investment (ROI) is one we can’t see at all. That’s right, I’m talking about radio.

According to Clear Channel, brands that utilized radio advertising increased sales by more than $6 for every $1 spent on radio ads, on average.

Even if the ROI for radio looks particularly intriguing, tread lightly. With radio spot prices varying vastly from channel to channel and by geographic market, it may not be an immediate slam dunk.

Music Streaming Services

Why dwell on past trends, when the present is improving upon them? Well, hang on. Music streaming services aren’t exactly new. But they are the latest development in consumer music consumption. Streaming giant Pandora made its way into the music streaming game back in 2005, and it never looked back. It reached 200 million users in 2013 and by then, they were valued at around $2.6 billion.

Pandora’s not the only cool kid on the music streaming scene. Sites like iHeartRadio, Tidal, Apple Music, Spotify and others compete closely to attract increasing users of their streaming services. Most offer free streaming with ads, with an option to upgrade to ad-free subscriptions at varying prices, typically somewhere around $5-10 a month.

A Deeper Look at Spotify

According to Fortune, Spotify, which came along in 2006, is the global market leader for music streaming services. With more than 60 million paid subscribers, and 140 million active users, it has a music library of more than 30 million songs. That’s quite the playlist.

With the exception of the 60 million paid subscribers who may have paid to forgo audio advertisements in their listening experience, millions of other active users are more than willing to hear out advertisers in exchange for free streaming. Sounds like a fair exchange to us!

Spotify Ad Studio for the Local Business Owner

It may seem like buying adverts on music streaming services is a practice best left to the big guys. But earlier this month, Spotify announced a beta version of a new self-serve platform called Spotify Ad Studio that essentially helps local business owners get in on the audio ad action — via Spotify ads.

Who is Spotify’s target demographic?

According to Adweek, the millennial demographic makes up the overwhelming majority of Spotify music streaming users. In fact, they’re responsible for around 72% of all weekly streams on the site. That’s not to say folks both older and younger aren’t listening, but if your target market is those people born somewhere between 1980 and 2000, this advertising channel could be a perfect fit.

What is an audio Spotify ad worth?

According to Spotify, their audio ads demonstrate a 24% lift in recall when compared to visual display ads. And while that number may seem high, it makes sense. Consumers are visually stimulated all day, every day, in every channel by print and digital display advertisements. It’s a noisy space, with tons of distractions and a largely desensitized audience. So where visual media is making it harder and harder for local business advertisers to stand out, audio provides a new opportunity to (quite literally) cut through all that noise.

How do audio Spotify ads work?

Putting together your ad seems just about too good to be true, when it comes to user friendliness. Much like how small businesses create Facebook ads, Spotify lets you customize your campaign details based on your budget, date range and target audience’s demographics.

According to Spotify Ad Studio, it’s as easy as:

  • Create your audio Spotify ad script. They’ll record it for you if you want, or you can record your own.
  • Pick your audience based on age, gender, location, activity and music taste.
  • Choose your campaign budget and dates.
How much do audio Spotify ads cost?

There doesn’t seem to be a one-size-fits-all pricing guideline or budget breakdown for these audio ads just yet. But Spotify does publish a minimum buy-in of $250 for a campaign you can create in minutes. So if you can budget a little extra to try it out, now’s the time.