LearnwithSelar: What We Can Learn from #SpotifyWrapped on Community Engagement

Do you remember where you were on the 29th of November? For many audiophiles, this was the day Spotify Wrapped 2023 dropped, sweeping the world into a frenzy. 

Spotify Wrapped is a feature created by Spotify that provides users with a personalized summary of their listening habits over the past year. It includes information like the user’s most-played songs, top artists, genres, and total listening time.

This feature has proven to be a powerful tool for community engagement, and in this article, we will explore how #SpotifyWrapped brings people together, and helps the company grow; and key lessons that can be applied to your own brands and businesses, as creators and entrepreneurs. 

But first, a little backstory.

Spotify Wrapped as a concept was first introduced in 2016, and has since then grown in popularity. The feature allows both users of Spotify and producers (musicians, podcasters, etc.) to see data on their listening habits in the past year.

People are encouraged to share this data on social media through the Spotify story feature, which creates a viral effect that has been described by June Suavaget, the former head of product marketing, as a “FOMO effect that inherently entices new users to consider Spotify.”

Spotify Wrapped is a massive marketing success. In 2019, Spotify told Forbes, that more than 60 million users engaged with the in-app story experience, racking up nearly 3 billion streams. On Twitter, the feature was mentioned in at least 1.2 million posts that year.

Seeing its widespread success has led other music streaming and distribution sites to make versions of their own. Apple Music released its “Replay” playlist feature in 2019, and in 2020, Youtube Music created the “Your Music Journey” feature. Beyond music, the concept has gone mainstream, with individuals and brands creating data compilations for different things and releasing them at the end of the year. 

Users on social media with their own version of #Wrapped content.

We spoke with Content Creator, and Spotify Ambassador, Salem King, regarding his views on Spotify Wrapped. He said, “Even before I started working with Spotify as an influencer, I have always just loved the idea of it. I like that it reveals the story of your year, telling you the songs you listened to the most and when. You can just remember exactly what you were going through that made you listen to those songs, what emotions you were experiencing, or who you were sharing a moment with.”

About how he’d seen it bring people together, he told us about the #SpotifyWrapped party that was held in Lagos on the 9th of December. “I loved seeing people relate, like “Oh, you listened to that song? I listened to that song, too!” It was such a great feeling.” 

Like Salem, millions all over the world love and actively engage with the #SpotifyWrapped campaign. This means that there are perhaps a few lessons we can learn on building community engagement as creators and entrepreneurs.

Ready to explore them? Let’s dive in! 

1. People Love to Feel Included: Personalization Drives Engagement.

One of the reasons why Spotify Wrapped is very successful is because the data presented is tailored to each user’s unique preferences.

The student in her early twenties would be excited that a song by AnEndlessOcean or Dwin The Stoic, was her most played song of the year, while the 28-year-old software developer would be geeked at J-Cole number topping his list.

Both individuals may like music quite alright, but having content tailored to their distinct preferences makes them feel seen, and appreciated, which endears them even more to the platform. 

As a Creator or Business Owner, understand that people love to be included. They want to see themselves in your work. This means that you should represent as many groups as possible (within your target audience) in the content you make and community-building efforts you engage in. 

For example: if you create career-related content, you can dedicate some posts to helping beginners/students find their career path, and others to helping mid-level professionals navigate conflict in the workplace. 

Personalization can also be achieved by sending relevant messages and recognizing individual contributions. When sending emails, you can segment them into different tiers of your audience to make your community feel seen.

On social media, talk to your audience. Bounce back ideas with them in private, and sometimes publicly too. This way, they get to feel a sense of ownership and fondness for the work you do and the value you bring. 

2. Visual Appeal Matters: Make it Attractive.

A huge part of #SpotifyWrapped’s appeal lies in the visual presentation. It is vibrant, colorful, and visually stimulating. The flow of the feature is also smooth and easy to breeze through, making the process an exciting one for users. 

People are more likely to engage with aesthetically pleasing content. Applying visually engaging elements in your community engagement efforts, such as videos, infographics, images, and interactive content, can enhance the overall experience for your audience. Content is king; invest in branding and design. 

3. Your Win is Our Win: Celebrate Achievements and Milestones.

Spotify Wrapped celebrates the music milestones of its users, such as top songs and favorite genres. Based on the data presented, it even anoints users with titles (like knights!). It is not uncommon to hear people say, “I got the Hypnotist, what about you?” in conversations.

It even induces nostalgia by showing songs users listened to in the past, like Salem said. By doing this, they are tapping into emotions and memories, and creating a deeper connection with their users.

As a creator, recognizing and celebrating community members’ achievements, contributions, and milestones fosters a sense of accomplishment and encourages continued participation.

Remember their birthdays, and celebrate their achievements. Sometimes, a text is more than enough. You can even choose to go a step further by announcing their wins publicly (with their permission of course) so other members of the community can celebrate them too.

Furthermore, incorporating nostalgic elements in community engagement, such as highlighting past achievements or community events, can evoke positive emotions in the members of the community. A great throwback always works! 

4. Encourage Participation with UGC and Interactive Elements.

Spotify Wrapped has hacked making influencers of its users. An article regarding the campaign had a tagline that said, “​​Tis the season for social media feeds peppered with free advertising for Spotify.” Why? Because everyone knows that users are encouraged to share their Spotify Wrapped summaries on social media platforms, which contributes to user-generated content for the company.

Spotify Wrapped also includes interactive elements, such as quizzes and “sharable” content. This year, Spotify leaned heavily into this strategy with the “Me in 2023” segment, that gave users fun archetypes and descriptions that mirrored their listening habits through the year. For a breakdown of all the archetypes, visit this website. 

As a creator, encouraging members to share their experiences, success stories, or insights can amplify the community’s reach and create a sense of belonging. Adding interactive elements to community engagement, such as polls, surveys, or challenges, can also boost engagement by providing members with opportunities to actively participate! 

5. Winter is Coming: Timely and Seasonal Engagement Works.

“It’s Timeeeeee!” *In Mariah Carey’s voice*

Human beings are creatures of habit. As the year comes to a close, Spotify users begin to expect Spotify Wrapped. They don’t have to second-guess or forget. Why? Because Spotify has done a great job at releasing the feature at a specific time of the year (usually the first week of December) thereby making it an annual event users can anticipate. 

Search results showing anticipatory blogposts on SpotifyWrapped.

From June it’s not uncommon to hear people on social media talk about what songs they know would be on their Spotify Wrapped of the Year. By November, the whole world buzzes in anticipation. This consistency in releasing at a specific time aids engagement. 

As a Creator, you can choose to adopt a timely and seasonal initiative, content or feature into your work. This way, people expect it, and it creates a sense of excitement and anticipation within your community. 

At Selar, we are doing this with the Selar Top 100 Creators initiative, the second edition which will be released later this month. I Said What I Said, the popular podcast, does this by releasing new episodes on Wednesdays. Planning and executing community activities on a consistent schedule can enhance engagement.

6. Talk True: Transparency Builds Trust.

People are generally skeptical of companies using their personal data, and yet Spotify’s usage of the same is largely celebrated each year. Why? Because Spotify Wrapped is fairly transparent about its data usage, and users appreciate this honesty. 

When trying to build community engagement, being transparent about your processes, the community goals, metrics, and decision-making processes helps you builds trust and credibility with the members.

Tell them your story. Be honest. If you’re an influencer, endorse products and services you know are good or you’d use personally. Protect the relationship you have with your audience at all costs. It really matters!

In Conclusion, 

Spotify Wrapped succeeds as a tool for community engagement because it does the following:

  1. Leverages personalization by making the data specific to each user.
  2. Is visually appealing.
  3. Celebrates the achievements of its users.
  4. Encourages interaction through user-generated content that can be posted on social media.
  5. Is released on a timely, seasonal basis.
  6. Is fairly transparent with its users. 

As a creator, you can adopt these principles in your community-building efforts. They will help you create a more engaging and inclusive experience for your audience, which in turn, will increase your chances of business success.