Spotify Wrapped: Why it’s such a powerful marketing tool

Marketing campaigns don’t always look like marketing campaigns. Or, at least, not at first glance. But some of the best marketing campaigns are actually more than they seem on the surface and provide us with interesting case studies into what works and how to get your brand noticed.

In this blog, we take a look at one of our favorite marketing campaigns — Spotify Wrapped. Read on to find out more about this genius marketing strategy and what we as marketers can learn from it.

What is Spotify Wrapped?

Spotify Wrapped is an annual service provided by the music streaming platform that gives users a look back at the music and podcasts they have been listening to that year. It tracks what you’ve been listening to, then creates a funky little presentation letting you know your top artists, genres, and songs, which are then all put into a convenient playlist.

The campaign was first released back in 2016 and has proven to be an incredibly popular and successful initiative for the platform. Each year, people wait with bated breath for their Spotify Wrapped to be revealed, then head over to social media to share their results with friends. This leads to tons of free advertizing for Spotify and boosts the company’s organic reach, all while providing something of value for users.

Why Spotify Wrapped is a masterclass in marketing

Let’s break down why Spotify Wrapped is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to marketing and take a look at exactly what makes this campaign so successful. Luckily for us, the Spotify Wrapped official site provides us with a succinct breakdown of what we believe are the three pillars of what makes it so powerful. Let’s explore each in turn.

Your year in audio or “value creation”

The first pillar is one of the things that sets Wrapped apart from other marketing campaigns — value creation.

Often, marketing is simply about letting your audience know about the products and services you offer. This might come in the form of emails, video content like TV ads, or written content. These marketing efforts may provide some value to customers through sharing new information or telling a good story. However, their primary purpose is information sharing, as opposed to adding value for the consumer.

Spotify Wrapped adds value by telling the story of each user’s year back to them through their personal music tastes.

Spotify Wrapped, on the other hand, inarguably adds a tremendous amount of value for users and this is the main reason that people choose to engage with the campaign so fervently. By giving users a look back at the music they were listening to across the year, Wrapped allows Spotify subscribers to relive the past year through their music. It is a powerful example of storytelling in marketing, where instead of telling their brand story, Spotify are instead telling the story of each user’s year back to them through their own personal music tastes.

Added to this is the nifty presentation of your year in music that is full of nice visuals and is fun to scroll through, on top of a Wrapped playlist. This collates all of your top tracks into one easily accessible place and encourages users to continue using Spotify. The value creation offered by Wrapped advertises the platform, promotes its continued use, and most importantly, gives something worthwhile back to the users.

A conversation starter or “shareable content”

As previously mentioned, a large part of the furore surrounding Wrapped each year is people sharing their year in music with friends, family, and followers on social media.

spotify playlist example

Spotify makes it easy to post your Wrapped on social media and the inherent desire to share your music taste and engage with others’ means that users are all but guaranteed to share their Wrapped. This isn’t just limited to social media of course, with people sharing their playlists and music in real life too.

The result of this is essentially free marketing for Spotify as their platform becomes the talk of the internet moving into the holiday season. The organic reach achieved by Wrapped is staggering and leads to spikes in new downloads for the platform each December. 

Plus, since it is users sharing their own Wrapped and not Spotify itself, this flood of marketing does not feel like an advertisement and builds immense social proof for the company. People see their friends sharing Wrapped playlists and think “Oh, that’s cool. Maybe I should download Spotify too…”

Which brings us neatly to our final pillar.

Only on Spotify or “the FOMO effect”

In 2019, Spotify’s former Head of Consumer and Product Marketing, June Sauvaget, described Spotify Wrapped as having a “FOMO effect”. For those who don’t know, FOMO stands for “fear of missing out,” playing on the natural desire we all have to be included. When we as humans see others engaging with something interesting, there is an inherent desire to be included.

The final pillar sums the power of this up perfectly — Only on Spotify. Since you can only engage with Wrapped if you are a Spotify subscriber, it provides a strong incentive for people to download the platform and join in on the fun. Those who don’t have Spotify find themselves left out of the conversation each year, unable to share their own year in music, creating that FOMO effect mentioned.

spotify music

And each year, people download Spotify so that they can be included in the next Wrapped. By creating a valuable product that promotes conversation and shareability, and ensuring it’s the only place in town you can get said product, Spotify makes their platform a must-have every festive season.

Hopefully, this has given you a bit more of an idea of exactly why Spotify Wrapped is not only one of the most successful marketing campaigns around but also how the value it provides to its users is integral to its success.
If you’re looking for more content marketing insights and case studies, take a trip over to the Scribly blog for everything and anything content marketing. Or, get in touch with the team today and find out how we can help supercharge your next marketing campaign!