MySpace Cautiously Tests Audio Spots

As MySpace struggles to remain relevant as a social site, it is testing audio ads in recognition of one place its strength does lie – music. The site is testing in-stream audio ads through a partnership with online radio ad network TargetSpot.

For about a month, MySpace has been testing :30 audio ads after songs featured on profile pages, on album pages, and on playlist pages. Users of the company’s profile player, which allows users to listen to tunes while visiting other sites, are also hearing around three minutes of ads each hour. MySpace has tested various ad placements and frequencies, targeting ads against demographic and geographic data.

“We’re testing some new ad products and the response from our users has been positive. As always, we’re interested in hearing feedback from our community and the advertising community as we roll out new functionality that creates the right balance between user experience and commerce,” said a MySpace Music spokesperson in a statement sent to ClickZ News.

Clearly the firm is sensitive to the potential for alienating users by introducing new forms of advertising, particularly inside the audio content that continues to attract users despite drop off of users coming strictly for social interaction.

Of course, MySpace has offered advertisers several ways to reach users viewing and listening to entertainment content, through custom profile pages and contests, exclusive music premieres, and at live events hosted by the Fox-owned company.

At this point, spots running through TargetSpot’s network from advertisers including TurboTax have showed up in MySpace audio streams. While most online audio ad units combine audio with display, the current MySpace test involves audio only.

Eyal Goldwerger, TargetSpot CEO, stressed his firm’s post-click measurement capabilities, which track traffic to audio advertiser sites from users who have been served related impressions from the advertiser.

“We’re live, we’re selling, and we’re actively marketing [MySpace],” said Goldwerger. The firm’s network features inventory from 76 properties, including pure-play online audio content from AOL, Yahoo, Live365, as well as inventory from online/offline radio groups such as CBS. Network advertisers include Home Depot, Progressive, Netflix, Kraft, and Ford.

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