Spotify | Wonder


Spotify’s marketing activity is effective at delivering publicity, subscriber growth, and positive earnings results for the company. Spotify can tap demographic, generational, regional, and seasonal insights through their user data. Both agency and in-house creative teams have endless material to inform and create engaging campaigns that work across paid, owned, and earned media.

Spotify is a consistently visible advertiser with a smart strategy, fueled by consumer insights, and a deep understanding of online listening behavior. Its annual “Wrapped” campaign has become a cultural barometer for the entertainment industry. Partnerships with Holiday icons such as Mariah Carey and the “Artist Wrapped” (B2B) version of the campaign provides shareable content to active artists and creators.

Spotify “Wrapped” Brand Campaign

  • Now in its fifth year, Spotify’s end-of-year “Wrapped” campaign used the results of a decade’s worth of listener insights to create traditional, digital, and native/in-app creative executions.
  • Outdoor advertising played a key role — there were 5,100 unique billboards and other out-of-home placements running globally. Out-of-home executions of note included London’s Westfield shopping center, where the brand turned Mariah Carey’s dress into a holiday wonderland. In Brazil, the São Paulo yellow line became the Spotify Line.
  • The annual Spotify campaign began in 2015 as a microsite showing the top songs and top genres for each year. In 2016, it included personalized year-end playlists and was rebranded officially as “Wrapped.” In 2018, the campaign debuted in 18 markets, and in 2019, it ran in an additional 21 markets, including the UK, US, Brazil, and Japan.
  • Executions vary based on the local market, but the global campaign featured record-holding artists such as Mariah Carey, Lil Nas X, BTS, and J. Balvin. According to Alex Bodman, Spotify’s vice president and global executive creative director, the online campaign presence is “largely organic.” All executions are designed for social media sharing, and lists are already formatted like Instagram-style stories. Tools for creators are increasingly focused on social-media ready content.
  • The campaign featured on their native mobile app for the first time in 2019. In prior years, it was only accessible on the desktop version. Spotify users generate a personalized summary of their listening habits based on usage data across all library content, including music and the ever-expanding podcast catalog. Of Spotify’s 271 million monthly active users, more than 60 million users engaged with the new in-app integration.
  • There were nearly 3 billion streams from the curated playlists in the first week, and campaign mentions in at least 1.2 million Twitter posts and curated moments.
  • According to post-campaign data released in February 2020, 40 million users had shared their “Wrapped” stories and cards on social media. There were an additional 6.5 billion streams of the “Year/Decade Top Songs” playlists.

Mariah Carey Partnership: “Christmas. Starts. Now.”

  • Customer insights identified Mariah Carey as the ideal partner for Spotify. As part of the “Wrapped” review of the most streamed artists of the decade, Carey is a regular in the rankings and active on social media channels.
  • In addition to featuring her streaming statistics on outdoor installations, they created an exclusive Spotify “enhanced album” to kick off the Holidays. They made her the “cornerstone” of their “Wrapped” consumer and artist campaigns.
  • Spotify hosted a “Christmas Control Center” for Mariah, where she officially launched the Holiday season (in November) by pressing a button. The branded microsite featured exclusive and original content including a 25th Anniversary album, humorous videos, playlists, and other shareable content to encourage global fans to engage with Mariah, both in-app and on her social media feeds.
  • Mariah Carey’s Christmas anthem “All I Want for Christmas is You” is one of the most played Christmas songs globally. According to Spotify, the track has been added to 12 million playlists, has over 520 million streams and there are 1,000 cover versions available from artists such as Michael Bublé, and Fifth Harmony.
  • In 2018, there was a 2000% increase in streams from October to December, and Christmas Eve is traditionally the biggest day for streaming Mariah Carey songs.
  • Spotify users aged 18-24 are the top age group, accounting for 29% of total listening.
  • “All I Want For Christmas Is You” was the highest-charting holiday (Christmas/New Year) song on the Billboard US Hot 100 by a solo artist, according to the current Guinness World Records 2020 book. It hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time since its release in 1994.

Success Attributed to Marketing Activity

  • In addition to engagement metrics already mentioned, Spotify’s financial releases and quarterly results attribute their growth to their promotional activity.
  • In the year-end letter to investors, the company said monthly active user (MAU) growth was 30% year-on-year, with North America seeing its fastest quarterly growth since Q4, 2018.
  • Final quarter results were “bolstered by promotional activity,” namely the 5th annual year-end “Wrapped” campaign. Annual results were “boosted by strong free MAU growth, the success of the Wrapped campaign, and higher than expected seasonality lift over the holiday period.”
  • Spotify is outpacing its nearest competitor, Apple, and they added roughly twice as many subscribers per month, year-on-year.
  • More than 60% of Spotify users discovered an artist from a country outside their own.
  • Chris Beer, a senior trends analyst at GlobalWebIndex told The Drum, “Spotify earnings demonstrate a positive outlook for the platform…with accelerated growth for the third consecutive quarter, in subscribers and more brands turning to the platform to reach their target audience.”
  • Spotify successfully converts free users into premium subscribers and 40% of listeners are now on a paid-for account, compared to 35% at this period, two years ago.

Research Strategy

There is considerable coverage of Spotify’s brand campaigns and their creative work is tracked by the leading trade press sources including Campaign, The Drum, Advertising Age, Moat and Digital Music News. Many executions are localized, and due to the dominance of out-of-home placement in their integrated communications strategy, only the most popular are captured in the public domain. Spotify’s media relations section features the most high profile executions and any available success metrics.

Part01of twenty: Delivered February 11th, 2020. Contributors: Madonna D., tiffany H., Lu J., Sweta S., Julie P., Barnabas S., John P., Justin B., Kevin D., Shannon L., Foni, Shelby C., Josh T., Nichole J., Ulzii-Orshikh D., Asenath K. and 11 others