Spotify study shows Marquee is 10X more effective than social ads

A new study by Spotify shows their paid Marquee release campaigns deliver 10X more listeners on average than similar social media advertising campaigns.

In a months-long test, eight labels and distributors compared Spotify’s release campaign tool vs. other digital advertising. Ten new releases, including a mix of release types (albums, EPs, singles), a mix of artists’ audience sizes (from 300,000 to 16 million monthly listeners), and a mix of genres (rap, electronic, indie, and rock) were studied.

To ensure that the ads were set up in a similar way to Marquee, Spotify set boundaries like using similar timing, audience targets, and budgets.

With the caveat that Spotify and not a neutral third party conducted the study, the results were impressive:

  • While Marquee delivered an average of 10x more Spotify listeners per dollar than social ads, the release with the lowest rate in the study showed that Marquee led to 5x more Spotify listeners per dollar spent on social ads.
  • Marquee delivered a 100% higher click-to-listen rate on average than similar social ads.
  • Marquee delivered similar results for artists of all sizes and across genres

“We believed in the efficacy of on-platform Marquee campaigns vs. paid social, but the results of this study were even more definitive than we expected,” said Whitaker Elledge, VP of Artist Development at Dualtone Music Group.

Why does Marquee work so well?

One reason for Marquee’s success rates is proximity. While Marquee reaches listeners when they’re already on Spotify, social ads involve more steps and a high potential for dropoff before listeners even get to the streamer.

Other factors also likely contributed to the results. “Social ads target listeners based on proxy metrics, making it easy to reach broad audiences, but difficult to be sure you are reaching listeners – especially those listeners who have the potential to become fans,” Spotify argues. “They also reach listeners out of context (while they’re scrolling and reading, next to other ads), not when they’re ready to listen.”

Marquee does have limits

While Marquee is inarguably better at delivering an audience based on Spotify listening, it’s also sometimes smart to cast a wider net. For example, fans of the bands that the artist toured with last year.

Some platforms, including most social media and others like Bandsintown Promoter, offer you that level of control.

For now, at least, Spotify Marquee does not.

Bruce Houghton is the Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank, a Senior Advisor at Bandsintown, President of the Skyline Artists Agency, and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.

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