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Spotify's latest acquisition will expand its ads tech to third-party podcasts

Whether you like it or not, more ads are coming.
Spotify podcasts on an iPhone
Billy Steele/Engadget
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|November 10, 2020 9:58 AM

Spotify is still determined to reign supreme in podcasts, and that means putting more ads in podcasts — like it or not. The company has acquired podcast platform heavyweight Megaphone with the aim of making Spotify’s ad insertion tech available to third-party podcast publishers “for the first time.” If publishers want it, they’ll have the option of monetizing their podcasts through Spotify (complete with tracking) instead of having to negotiate their own sponsorships.

The ad tech will be available “soon” after the Megaphone deal closes, Spotify said, although it didn’t say when it expected that to happen.

Spotify has been been using this ad tech in its own podcasts since January, and it’s a lot different from what most people think of from podcast ads. Tradition podcasts ads are trackable in any real way, but Spotify’s ads deliver important metrics like impressions and reach to advertisers, which is pretty crucial in determining whether a campaign is working. And fortunately for listeners, the ads aren’t more frequent, and they don’t show up on top of traditional podcast ads. Most users probably won’t notice any difference.

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This could be good news for podcast publishers that might have otherwise struggled to make a profit from their shows. However, it could also lock them in. They may be less likely to distribute podcasts through rivals like Apple if they aren’t certain they can get ads on those platforms. And if you’re a listener? This might lead to ads in shows that previously didn’t have any, or at least a shakeup in the ads you hear.

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Spotify's latest acquisition will expand its ads tech to third-party podcasts