What Spotify Wrapped Can Teach About Successful Marketing Strategies

How Spotify Wrapped made the platform grow 21% in downloads (and how you can do that as well)

Updated: November 19, 2023
spotify wrapped

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During the last two weeks, more than 381 million people worldwide were faced with the question “What did your 2023 sound like?” when accessing the Spotify app, the most popular and used streaming service in the world.

This is indeed a question that makes the user curious enough to get to know themselves better, and awakens in most of them the desire to share their results with friends and family. After all, it’s your Spotify Wrapped communicating that all this data is unique to you in 2023.

Since its release in 2015, Spotify Wrapped has become a December tradition anticipated by streaming users around the world. Additionally, it is a growth hacking strategy as assertive as the choice of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” for the Christmas’ family dinner soundtrack.

The experience, launched on December 1st, features information about the top songs, artists and podcasts listened to by the user throughout the year. In addition to the creative ways this data was presented in past versions of the platform, this year gamification and connectivity were the highlights of the retrospective.

What makes this Wrapped so appealing to the user is the hashtag #SpotifyWrapped, a trend around the world. This helped the app go from 15th to second in number of downloads, within hours of its launch. How did popularity among users manage to generate massive results for the brand in December helping establish Q4 as the company’s biggest quarter, according to CEO Daniel Ek?

I believe that the way Spotify collects data, presents it and interacts with its users can be conceived as a successful process that can teach companies and marketers around the world the “behind the scenes”. This can apply to your own strategies, too.

If you’re also a Spotify listener, go to the app, press play on your “Your Top Songs 2021” custom playlist and follow me.

Data collection for data-driven experiences

Throughout the year, you use the music streaming platform and provide specific data about your music tastes, podcast preferences and time spent in the app.

Spotify, a pioneer in well-developed and assertive methods, shares with users the main insights about their behavior. This often motivates users to share the results on their social networks, so all of their followers can interact in a variety of ways.

Some would say this is a risky strategy because the company is openly showing that it collects and analyzes personal data to promote the platform. But the company has managed to turn Spotify Wrapped into the streaming giant’s secret growth hack.

But what makes it so effective? 

These factors can help to answer that question:

Using smart data for gamification

The brand is able to use data and BI that the platform already understands about its users to bring personalized gamification.

Surveys point to interactive content as a great source of engagement and conversion results for marketing strategies. This blog post explains the validity and importance of quizzes:  Quiz format was a good catch in 2023.

Creating hype and market predictability

Since 2015, Spotify has consistently launched this feature within the first few days of December, Spotify Wrapped is now an action expected by users – and also by the media and press.

This generates expectations between listeners and, consequently, a lot of hype around the theme in this period. The brand is, therefore, able to work with the predictability of the market itself based on the increase in visibility generated by the personalized use of their user data. Then,  Spotify can develop specific strategies to grow and implement at another appropriate time.

Free custom resources for the user

At the end of the interactive experience, the user receives contents created especially for them using automated algorithms. In 2023, the company went beyond playlists of top songs or artists: it created the 2023 Wrapped Hub which features a variety of personalized, data-driven, and editorially curated content.

In other words: after an immersion of information about a users’ favorites within the app, the brand still presents users with a free resource to keep them involved and engaged. Does this sound familiar, marketer?

Presentation of use behavior

One of the main focuses of the format chosen to present Spotify Wrapped is to capture the user’s attention, and delight them with information about themselves that manages, at the same time, to make them feel unique and a member of specific groups.

But the entire user experience throughout the retrospective was created from key points that are essential to the success of this strategy.

Check out some details::

Using words of encouragement and empathy

Impactful catchphrases are hits in Hollywood movies, car stickers and, apparently, in this year’s Spotify Wrapped.

“In 2023, you did what you had to do”; “you always understood the assignment”; and “you deserve a playlist as long as your skincare routine” , each of these demonstrates empathy and connection with the user. 

Almost immediately, the curiosity to verify what is said after that is aroused, increasing the time that Spotify’s listeners interact and engage with that experience.

Shareability: beautiful colors and design

The user behavior information is presented in a highly shareable, attractive and colorful format. During the slideshow, different animations and interactions are delivered, always along the user’s most listened to songs and with a very clear Call-to-Action button: “Share this Story”, expanding the brand’s reach even more through social media likes and shares.

Have you ever thought about creating content so good that users and customers share it for free on different channels? That’s what Spotify users are doing.

Word of mouth marketing: creating free advertising

The data collected throughout the year by Spotify and shared in the retrospective allow curious insights for its users, which end up being the subject of many conversation circles (in my family, for example, nobody was impressed with the fact that The Beatles are the top artist from my retrospective, but my mom being one of Alok’s 0.5% listeners made me realize she would be a great company for my next disco party).

This increases the word of mouth marketing advertising, spreading the brand’s services more among current and future users, without direct investment in advertising. This is certainly one of the most positive free ad campaigns ever!

Interaction: with the brand, users and artists

After a period in which the digital became essential for the cultivation of personal and professional relationships, this year’s Spotify Wrapped brought possibilities for interactions and connections between users, artists and the brand. This action established that Spotify Wrapped is one of the company’s greatest marketing successes.

But how did they do it?

Getting closer to who you listen to

In partnership with more than 170 content creators of the music streaming platform, Spotify has added artist and podcaster videos thanking their fans for listening so much that they appeared on the users Wrapped (these videos can be watched by accessing the custom playlists created on retrospective or in the profile of the artists).

By doing this, the company inspires other brands to develop strategies with real people. A video with your team thanking the customers for the partnership throughout the year, for example, could be a good alternative.

Seeing what you and your friends have in common 

A feature present in this year’s Spotify Wrapped is the use of common slang and terms highly searched for in search engines. This  increases the user’s sense of proximity to the brand and, by sharing the content, the company gains even more free advertising.

Another Spotify Wrapped news that endorsed this was the launch of the 2021 Wrapped Blend, a feature that allows the user to see how their 2023 music tastes match up with friends, stream their blended playlist, and share their results on social media. Another good incentive for the growth of people’s interaction with the brand’s content.

Spreading the word: sharing on social networks

Similar to the numbers of the digital market, the exponential growth in the use of the TikTok platform could not go unnoticed by Spotify. In addition to the Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook channels, this year each Spotify Wrapped slide can be shared by the user on TikTok.

The company demonstrates, with this feature, that it follows market trends and invests their strategies through different channels, even if indirectly. A reminder that new channels can be sources of good opportunities.

Music, marketing, and data

After a few years following the hype promoted by this action, I’m happy to share my insights into why Spotify Wrapped is a success, not just with its users, but also as a complete marketing strategy of collecting, presenting and sharing data organically and with free advertising. 

I hope you also are inspired by Spotify’s strategies, and can replicate some of my tips in your own business.
Please let me know if you are also one of The Beatles top listeners, and if you have any other questions about music, Spotify, marketing or this article.


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