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Is Spotify advertising right for your church (Part 2)


By Eric Seiberling

In our first article, we outlined the pros and cons of using Spotify as a promotional alternative for churches hosting a large community event.

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Even with AdStudio’s self-guided builder and user-friendly targeting tools, effective streaming campaigns require both bigger budgets and broader marketing knowledge.

As we said before, finding the right ad medium takes time and patience. Although you're tasked with being a good steward of church funds, you still need to allow grace to try new things. We decided to put Spotify to the test.

The case study

Indian Heights United Methodist Church in Overland Park, Kansas, hosted a large kid-friendly community event where families could learn more about special vehicles (fire trucks, police cars, race cars and antique cars) as well as pose and sit in any of the exhibited vehicles. It was designed as a major outreach event on the church parking lot.

The tests

Overland Park sits squarely in the Kansas City DMA. To test the targeting capability, they created two tests with a $250 budget for each:

  • Test #1: The first test targeted females ages 25 to 45, listening to specific music genres (country, children’s, pop and Christian) between 7 a.m. through 9 p.m. To optimize the $250 budget, the AdStudio platform recommended the ads run Tuesday, Nov. 6 through Saturday, Nov. 10.
  • Test #2: The second test was open to the general Kansas City demographic, targeting both genders between the ages 13 through 65+, listening to any music genres between 7 a.m. through 9 p.m. Spotify’s AdStudio recommended that we could spend our budget in a single day (Nov. 9), the day before the event.

The script

Spotify recommends that you limit ads to 70 words (or less.) The voiceover style selected for both tests was a young adult female with a voice characterized as “fun, upbeat and energetic.”

Here is the full script:

Hi Kansas City! Looking for some fun for the whole family? Come to the "Touch-a-Truck" event on November 10th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Indian Heights United Methodist Church in Overland Park.

See fire trucks, police cars, race cars and other cool vehicles — rain or shine.

Park at the XXXXXXX South High School at XXXXX Street in Overland Park. Shuttles will run continuously.

See you Saturday! Call 913-XXX-XXXX for more information.
Be sure to add the alt. text


The banner

A square banner graphic (640 pixels) was designed for the event based on the visual identity of the church. It linked to a Facebook Event page where people could get more details about the event.

The results

People from the church reported hearing from friends and family about the ad while expressing their desire to attend the event. The ads generated a bit of a “wow” factor as it’s pretty novel to hear church advertising on Spotify.

Type Budget Dates Ads Served Reach Average Frequency Clicks Click-through Rates
Targeted $250 Nov 6 - 10 13,410 5,793 2.31 8 0.06%
General $250 Nov 9 16,116 10,766 1.55 27 0.17%

The metrics recorded by AdStudio were surprising: Test #2 (the general test) turned out to get a higher number of clicks and a better click-through rate. While it reached more people, it had a lower frequency (meaning, people heard it fewer times).

Possible reasons for this outcome

  • Wrong target: While this is always a possibility, pre-ad research revealed that the age groups and music genres were appropriate for the church and event. Both tests spent the same amount of budget, but the concentration of ads in one day — the day before the event — may have been the right approach for creating a sense of urgency.
  • Clicks are unnatural for an audio app used by commuters: People are on Spotify to listen to music (often while driving), which limits the ability to tap the banner ad. Both tests had very low click-through rates compared to other forms of social media advertising (Facebook or Instagram).

Lessons learned

  1. Book ads early. Like most media, greater options for ad placement at  “clearance” rates — meaning, dollars fully spent when and where you want it — are available if you reserve in advance. For example, placing an ad 30 days before the event, it’s possible to spend $250 per day on specific music genres, age groups and time slots. Waiting until one week before the event, $250 takes 3 days to exhaust. While this may sound like a good thing, the more times you can repeat your message to a targeted audience over a period of time, the more likely they are to act.
  2. Reduce the word count in the ad. Spotify recommends an ad script of 70 - 75 words to fit within a 30-second spot. This results in a pretty fast-paced ad, so consider shortening it further.
  3. Prepare everything ahead of time. Beforehand, you will need to know your targets: DMA, demographic, times/days and types of musical genres. Take the time to define who to reach and their listening habits.
  4. Allocate time to create the ad. It may only take 15 minutes to create a commercial in AdStudio, but that’s only the beginning. You’ll need time to review and approve the creatives (your voice actor’s performance of your script). After submitting, Spotify's review process may take several days before your ad is approved. Make sure you start early enough to get everything done on time.
  5. Use Spotify for larger events with bigger budgets. For this case study, the costs per click (CPC) rates were high: $31.25 for the Spotify targeted test #1 and $9.26 for general test #2. According to AdEspresso’s 2017 benchmarking survey, Instagram ads ($1.15 CPC) are double that of Facebook’s ($0.50 CPC). From a cost standpoint, both Facebook and Instagram offer more affordable click-through rates.
  6. Generate urgency by scheduling Spotify ads closer to your event’s start date. Given the low click-through rates, focus spending your Spotify budget on ads the day before an event. Spread the word using other promotional channels, saving Spotify for the “wow!” factor to build urgency.

Spotify advertising is expensive and should be used strategically. Weigh the pros and cons to see if it’s a good fit for your church.

Much like TV, radio or print advertising, streaming ads can serve as a pricey attention-grabbing reminder of your event to a broad audience. It can never replace a personal invitation from a church member. Start there and then build other advertising to support your event.

Eric Seiberling

— Eric Seiberling is part of a husband-wife duo working to help the church embody "1 > 99" at He leverages his 20+ years of marketing and consulting experience to help churches "baptize" and use secular techniques to be more effective at reaching the lost, the least and the last for Jesus Christ.