4 things Spotify Wrapped can teach performance marketers

It’s the most successful influencer campaign in the world… with you as the star. Spotify turned user data into a marketing gift that keeps on giving. Can other brands do the same?

The stadium-sized triumph of Spotify's 2021 Wrapped campaign proved a valuable lesson to marketers. When done right, people not only love to dive into their own data, but they’re willing to become an ambassador for your brand and share it too. 

While music is often an easy (and privacy-safe) sell, these real-life music stories have become a badge of honour on social media. It shows how advertisers can make the most of combining data points with creativity to deliver real-time, personalised content to engage with a demographic keen to share. 

“Main character energy”

Now in its sixth year, the Wrapped campaign gives artists, podcasters and users a summary of what they’ve experienced through the music-streaming platform in 2021. 

Spotify took the data of 365 million active users and turned them into ‘Instagram-style’ stories. 

New features for 2021 included interactive content ‘Playing Cards’ where users play games with their data such as ‘two truths, one lie’ with friends, ‘Your Audio Aura’ which visualises your music as a mood, and ‘2021: The Movie' which pairs your top songs with scenes from a movie, fulfilling everyone’s desire to be the ‘main character’ with their own soundtrack. 

Here’s the team back in 2020 explaining how they expanded the campaign with iOS and Android integration:

Spotify’s success is partially attributed to fuelling the user’s ego by handing them shareable and positive statistics about their own audio experience over the past year. 

The real genius is how the brand utilises its existing user base to generate enough hype to gain new ones, even poaching from rival platforms such as Apple, Google or Amazon. It cashes in on the infamous ‘FOMO effect’ that it creates towards non-users, as the company’s previous Global Head of Consumer and Product Marketing told Forbes in 2019. All of these helped increase user activity on Spotify's mobile app.

Accounting for taste 

Data from consumer intelligence firm Talkwalker found that within the first three days of December alone, the campaign generated a huge 3.7million organic mentions. The campaign already has achieved 61.1% more social media mentions than at the same time last year.

Key figures from the data include:

  • The campaign received 3.7 million mentions in the first few days of December, 61.1% more than this time last year.

  • As users share their results on social media, the campaign has been very well received with a 39.1% positive sentiment.

  • Brands, such as TikTok, Heineken and the Bundesliga, joined in on this year’s conversations by launching their own made-up lists to take to their audience.

  • Apart from top artists, consumers are interested in new audio content across platforms, as shown by the presence of Bo Burnham’s comedy special, Inside. Spotify has already taken this a step further, by creating a hub with all the music from Netflix’s shows and movies.

  • In terms of podcasts, Spotify is succeeding with exclusive content like The Joe Rogan Experience and Call Her Daddy, and also with original content, especially if it’s related to crime, paranormal, and horror stories. This demonstrates the importance that the entertainment industry is giving to the production of original content.


Some Spotify users shared images of their Wrapped results, while others preferred to use memes, and brands launched their own lists of ‘top artists’.

Brands and artists become super influencers  

The Home Depot, Heineken, TikTok, and the Bundesliga joined the conversation by launching made-up lists of their own. Jumping on these trends can give performance marketers exposure to new audiences, but tailoring the messaging is key to making a positive effect on viewers.

The shareable statistics also reveal insights into the artists’ audiences, including information about the quantity of listeners, the countries that are listening and the total number of streams. After Wrapped is launched, multiple musicians and podcasters reach out on social media to thank their Spotify listeners, including some of the biggest bands in the world

4 things performance marketers can learn from Wrapped

  1. Incentivise users with your own brand USP

A good start is to find the unique selling point from your brand's own data, then leverage your brand’s content creators to spread the word about your brand organically. Adding a competitive element makes it even harder to resist, with a personal ranking or scorecard to compare with peers. Focus on positives so your users will share the content with pride, like a badge of accomplishment. 

  1. Data as tarot cards

Much like the fortune tellers of old, users are captivated by information that reveals new insights about themselves, or is presented to them in exciting formats. Look closer at giving users bragging rights. People often copy practices of social media influencers to help them navigate their digital lifestyle. 

  1. Put the user in charge

Give users a sense of control about sharing their own data. This encourages the idea that personal data analysis is both beneficial and insightful. Is there information people would rather not know or share? Be selective about what data you choose to incentivise. Reveal low-stake data to users that does not disclose too much personal information, encouraging your customers to share their data in the campaign.  

  1. Make sharing tools easy, frictionless and fun

Integrate with social media using a style that will resonate with your audience for example, copying the style of well-established Instagram stories, Twitter posts or TikTok videos. Encourage people to feel more comfortable with revealing personal data by making it safe and accessible. 

Wrapping up - a checklist for shareable content that performs

  • Have you decided on whether to brand it with your logo or not? 
  • Is the colour scheme optimised to stand out on social media timelines, or have you defaulted to your brand colours? 
  • Is it good enough for people's free time? Is the overall experience compelling enough to get free likes with having to pay them to do so?
  • Test, test and test again. The best organic marketing engines hit all these points, but it won’t be a home run at first. Use an iterative approach that seeks to refine, test, refine will set you in good stead.