How Spotify analyzed brain activity to improve its ad experience

Neuromarketing, a field that makes use of studies and research into the human mind, thoughts, feelings and experiences to design better products, increase sales as well as enhance the marketability of organizations has been gaining momentum. It involves developing an understanding of consumer needs by applying the techniques of neuroscience. While some techniques such as EEG, fMRI and the like are used to directly measure brain activity corresponding to specific functions, other tools include eye tracking and biometric data measurement.

Neuromarketing requires a good amount of investment. However, it is worth the expense since, in comparison to traditional forms of data collection, such as questionnaires and surveys, it directly collects information from the subconscious, a prime source of human decision-making. Moreover, manipulation of data is less likely using this method and it establishes a far better emotional connection with the audience. PepsiCo, Hyundai, Yahoo and eBay are some of the well-known organizations that have used neuromarketing. Spotify, the leading audio streaming platform has joined the list by recently collaborating with the neuro analytics company Neuro-Insight to conduct a brain wave study.

How was it conducted?

The study was based on the experience of 600 participants who listened to multiple genres of music, ranging from rap, pop, Latin, etc. Audio digital ads were allowed to play in between. Brain activity was measured by researchers using a brain tracking method known as Steady State Topography (SST). According to its developer, Richard Silberstein, founder of Neuro-Insight, It not only measures an individual’s speed of response to stimuli but also helps in understanding psychological processes by analyzing the speed of various brain sensitively.

What were the results?

  1. Emotional intensity can be increased by using digital audio since it keeps the long-term memory active and engaged in the process of searching for details and memories.
  2. The genre of music determines its impact on the brain. Rap music, which is driven by speech, tends to bring about more engagement. On the other hand, genres such as instrumental and rock produce more emotional attachment.  
  3. About 93 percent of the brain’s capacity to engage with the music or podcast impacts the engagement with ads. This was a particularly noteworthy aspect for Spotify, an ad-driven platform and can serve other similar platforms in the future.

Jon Gibs, who is the principal data scientist and global director at Spotify, reported that this study was conducted to ensure that Spotify serves content that aligns with the interests of the consumer. He believes that through Neuromarketing, brands can get good insights into a consumer’s thought process as they consume multiple types of media. Samrat Saran, who is the head of client solutions at Neuro-Insight, said that this study would enable them to determine Spotify’s efficiency as an ad-driven platform.

This study provided some valuable insights which can be very helpful to plenty of content creating and streaming platforms. Advertisers are always looking for customer-friendly platforms and through such studies, user experience can be optimized in such a way that more investors would be attracted to pitch in, which would, in turn, generate better revenues and services. Even though Neuromarketing is not yet widely used, it has the potential to transform the future of marketing.