Happy 2019! There’s a good chance many of you would have spent the holiday season listening to some of your favourite tunes. And if you have a Spotify account, it probably had quite a workout.
The app wasn’t the only one running at full speed. Spotify’s marketing team must have been working overtime to pull off their ‘2018 Wrapped’ extravaganza. Let’s take a look at how Spotify got to where they are and why their marketing efforts keep them ahead of the competition.
Spotify was originally founded in Sweden in 2006 but didn’t make its way to Australia until 2012. In the following years, the service began to grow rapidly among Aussie music fans. The price, variety and technology Spotify offers consumers sets it apart from competitors. But it was their approach to marketing that has kept the streaming service ahead of the pack in recent years.
Spotify took off as soon as it landed here. Its free trial, family and student options make it affordable, it supports the artists you love, features over 40 million songs and collects data to ensure their personalisation technology is second-to-none. However, it wasn’t long before similar streaming services popped up alongside Spotify.
Rapper Jay-Z released Tidal, which is now available in 52 countries worldwide, iTunes morphed into Apple Music and the ad-free YouTube Red launched in 2015. Despite its already massive fan-base, Spotify risked losing subscribers if it didn’t continue to improve. Spotify’s ability to see and alter your music queue, close the app while continuing to play sound, create collaborative playlists and the infamous Discover Weekly all helped the service stay one step ahead.
However, as a new subscriber myself, one of the biggest things that stood out to me was their ‘2018 Wrapped’ campaign. And I wasn’t the only one. On every social media platform, people were talking about it. “Have you checked Spotify lately?” I’d heard my friends ask one another, all excited to compare their year in review. It was as though Tidal, Apple Music and YouTube didn’t exist.
Every Spotify Premium user was offered a short video, made up of the data the site had collected over the prior 12 months, packed with fun facts about their listening habits, favourite artists, music trivia and more! People were screenshotting parts of their wrap-up and sharing with friends, posting on their stories and flooding social media. Fun Fact: I listened to more Gemini artists than any other star sign in 2018!
The first thing Spotify’s marketing team got right was the visual aesthetic of the content. Specific colour schemes, relevant imagery and appropriate fonts were used throughout. This meant users were keen to share their content – if it is relevant to the individual and it looks nice, who wouldn’t want to post it?
That’s where branding came in. All the images had Spotify branding somewhere, whether it be their logo, wording etc., which meant every time someone shared the content, the Spotify name was reaching more and more people. But they didn’t stop there!
As part of ‘2018 Wrapped’, Spotify gave their users two new playlists – Your Top Songs and Tastebreakers. The first put each subscriber’s favourite songs in one convenient location, based on the individual’s data throughout the year, saving them the trouble of making their own playlist or searching specific songs that they’re likely to listen to. The second playlist featured songs the user normally wouldn’t listen to, but Spotify presumed they might like based on their listening habits. This was especially clever because the user may not have ever discovered these tracks without Spotify’s suggestion. Plus, Spotify was sure to use all their data. Rather than just looking at what songs or artists users liked, they also considered the genres they may not have explored yet. Spotify was able to leverage all their resources to offer users a unique listening experience. Then, they took it a step even further.
Spotify began billboard advertising some of the funny, sharable and interesting facts that came from the ‘2018 Wrapped’ campaign. They had some themed ‘2018 Goals’ content, in which they used trivia from the wrap-up data to make jokes. The billboards all shared a common colour scheme, so they were easily distinguished from Spotify’s other ‘2018 Wrapped’ general advertising.
For both the ‘2018 Goals’ and generalised fun facts, images of artists were paired with bright colours and short, snappy blurbs, which caught people’s attention, drawing their eye to the billboard. Social media users were taking photos of the signs and sharing them online as well. Here’s a couple of my favourites:
However, Spotify isn’t the only streaming site that does an annual wrap up for their fans. ‘YouTube Rewind’ is an annual year in review that features popular YouTubers and explores themes and idea relevant to viewers. But this year’s video failed in a major way – YouTube made two major marketing mistakes relating to product knowledge and the target audience. As a result, 14 million users gave it a thumbs down, making it the most disliked video in YouTube history.
The video used the ‘YouTube Premiere’ tool, which was launched in 2018 and allows content creators to promote their future videos. It counts down until the video is published and then brings viewers together to watch it live and interact in real time. YouTube used their social media to promote this service and tell fans the tool would be active for the rewind video. So far, they’ve taken all the right steps. But problems arose when the video went live.
Firstly, the video didn’t appear to use YouTube Premiere as promised, and it was published two hours ahead of schedule as a result. Not only did viewers miss the premiere, but the data YouTube collected from the launch would’ve be incorrect. They wouldn’t be able to quantify how successful their marketing in the lead-up was, because what they were saying on social media didn’t match up with what actually happened. This then impacts their reputation. They didn’t have the know-how to correctly use their own tool and gave their followers false information – not a good look for a site trying to encourage people to interact with their technology more!
The other major mistake YouTube made was disregarding their target market. Many fans were disappointed with the actual content of the rewind, because it didn’t properly reflect their 2018. For example, the video featured creators of channels that have lessened in popularity over recent years but neglected to include any reference to Swedish YouTube star PewDiePie, who holds the highest number of YouTube subscribers at 79.6 million to his daily posts.
With 2019 just beginning, our advice is to be sure to avoid these marketing mistakes this year. Follow in the footsteps of Spotify and remember to use your marketing to strategically leverage and integrate your content for the benefit of your customers and clients.
To get started on your own marketing plan for the New Year, get in contact with our professional team today!
The Marketing GP team has an extensive range of skills and experience, covering every element of what we do; marketing and communication.