What was your favorite song in 2022? Which albums turned into an obsession? How about guilty pleasures - the songs you listened to after making sure “the social share” button is switched off?
You might not remember it all. Don’t worry! That’s why Spotify creates its traditional end-year activation “Spotify Wrapped.” When it’s that time of the year, when all the Christmas ads are out, red Starbucks cups are in use, and “All I want for Christmas is you” again becomes the most played song, you know that Spotify will soon ping you with a summary of your “year in music.”
There are many reasons why Spotify has remained the most successful music streaming platform for the last several years. Not only does this platform make it easy and convenient to stream millions of songs from nearly every artist, but it also knows how to engage its audiences.
Spotify is one of those engagement tactics which turned into a global success story over the years.
I’m sure you know what Spotify Wrapped is. But let me explain briefly just in case you spent the past couple of years at the top of the remotest mountain.
Toward the end of every year, Spotify provides users with a summary in the form of a storyboard review that explores every user's listening habits. It comes in story size to make it easier for you to share it on your social media so you can tell the world how your musical world has been. Recent years have also made Spotify Wrapped even more interactive, with users able to take quizzes about their favorite artists. Wrapped even shows users visual "auras" that represent each listener's personality using a kind of watercolor-style image.
This feature is so engaging that millions of users share their Spotify Wrapped summaries all over social media. But I've wondered how this is possible today, particularly with increasing privacy concerns and general worries about how brands use consumer data. The answer lies in Spotify's appeal to user behavior.
But first, let's take a look at some of the statistics out there proving what kind of impact Spotify Wrapped is having on users across the globe.
In 2019, it amassed 1.3 billion streams from the Wrapped playlists in the app. In 2020, it generated more than 60 million shares among 90 million users, but it's possible that even more users shared their Wrapped summaries using screenshots, which Spotify obviously can't measure. That same year, Spotify Wrapped boosted downloads of the Spotify app by an impressive 21%. This average was spread across several countries, with the U.S., India, France, and Russia accounting for the highest percentages of new downloads. Spotify turned the whole thing into an advertising campaign for the platform as well. Needless to say, they also boosted the conversation on social media. You remember the billboards, right?
2021 was not different. Apparently, the engagement with the content doubled. So, yes, Spotify Wrapped has been such a success in recent years. As Variety magazine puts it, “What started as a simple data share to reward existing Spotify listeners by showing what they played in the previous year — and how much — is now a full-blown holiday tradition.” But that doesn't exactly get to the "how" behind Wrapped's success.
Here’s how: It all comes down to the experience.
We all know that people expect personalization. We all do! We love the fact that when we play a song on Spotify, it will instantly make a recommendation that will fit into our taste in music. Again, one reason why Spotify Wrapped has done so well is its appropriate use of personalization. What keeps Wrapped summaries from feeling intrusive and creepy is their emphasis on the user and what the user cares about. People like me are interested in their listening habits and want to see what kind of artists and songs captivated them the most, which can be an engaging surprise. As a result, Spotify can harness the power of personalization without sparking worries over privacy and data usage.
Also, what we listen to can reveal something about ourselves as people, with many listeners perceiving music as a core representative of their identities. Spotify Wrapped can illustrate this identity through the unique audio-visual experience that it provides.
I’d say gamification is also a key factor. Wrapped incorporates game-like elements into the whole experience by turning the simple act of listening to music into a kind of competition among its users. Each user can see where they rank among others, such as which percentile of an artist's listeners they fall under. Some users might feel a sense of pride in finding that they're among the top one percent of their favorite artist's listeners, or they may take pride in simply finding that they've listened to music more frequently year over year.
You can wrap it too!
Spotify is not the only one that makes a summary of the year. Google and YouTube publish “Year in Review” videos while Instagram shows top content for each user. But there’s something special about Spotify Wrapped. And the truth is it can be done by any brand with a mobile app!
For instance, shopping brands can provide customers with a summary of their buying habits and the specific types of products they purchased. In this experience, a shopper might be able to see the top product categories that saw the most spending. Shoppers may also see which products they viewed most often but neglected to buy. Meanwhile, content applications could highlight the types of content people consume most throughout the year. For instance, a news app could reveal which categories people read most often along with their favorite columnists.
Generally, there is an opportunity for all, and users sharing it on social media can turn into a form of free advertising for brands of all types.
How? The answer is simply “Storyly.”
Yes, you can integrate your own similar experience on your website or in your mobile app using Storyly. For instance, retail apps could create Stories showing their favorite brands in Storyly Stories. In a fitness app, users may interact with a Story that shows the total distance they've traveled on foot or by bike in a creative way, such as visualizing this distance across the country.
There's no shortage of ways to develop your own "Wrapped" experience, which could go a long way in connecting with existing users while attracting new ones.
The Wrapped format is not only an engaging, fun experience for users. It’s a great opportunity for marketers. Don’t be late and don’t let it become “a missed opportunity.”