I know the title of this blog post may look a bit strange. No, I’m not suggesting that there’s a widespread bug in the Spotify software that prevents me from clicking on ads. Things are a little bit more complicated than that.
Unless you’ve never used Spotify or have always had a Pro account, you’ve probably listened to these 30 second audio-based ads that play between songs. They don’t even bother me that much any more – it feels the same as listening to (commercial) radio or TV. Most of these ads end with something along the lines of: “… to find out more, click the banner on the bottom left corner of your screen”. And that’s where the trouble starts.
Most of the time, I leave Spotify playing on my laptop, connected to my home stereo, and head off to do more pleasurable things than staring at the Spotify screen, such as reading or cooking. And when I hear this “click on the banner” call, which is invariably played at the end of each ad, I have zero chance of running back to my laptop and clicking on anything before the ad has finished playing. And this is particularly frustrating when the ad mentions some free offer or discount, and I feel like I’m missing out.
From this perspective, Spotify ads aren’t any more effective than traditional broadcast advertising and Spotify is missing a big opportunity to make advertising better. When I listen to an ad that’s interesting, I’d rather go straight to a targeted campaign page than of have to remember what to search for on Google or which phone number to call.
Fortunately, fixing this isn’t rocket science. All Spotify has to do is to keep a list of “Recently played ads” and make this list easy to access, for example by adding it to the left column of the screen, where other playlists are also listed. Those who are only annoyed by Spotify ads won’t notice any difference. But those who, like me, find an interesting ad once in a while, will finally be able to click on it!
UPDATE (25 January): According to Spotify, what I’m suggesting is already possible by going into the “History” tab under “Play Queue”. But I wonder how many people have discovered it – maybe it’s still worth making it a little bit more prominent?