It’s finally here — the most wonderful time of the year: holidays, presents, way too much eggnog and the much-anticipated release of Spotify Wrapped.
Around the first week of December every year, Spotify sends more than 150 million users a shareable recap of what they’ve listened to this year. Whether you like seeing your top artists or just want to know exactly how many times your friend played that Taylor Swift hit, Wrapped is a fun way to celebrate music and community.
For marketers, there’s a lot to learn here. Spotify Wrapped shows how the right combination of personalization, visuals and shareability can create a flywheel of engagement for users.
In this post, we’ll dig into how the trend got started, what makes it work and how you can leverage the trend for your audience, even if you don’t happen to be the largest music streaming service in the world.
How Spotify Wrapped Began
The origins of Wrapped go back to 2015 when Spotify first launched “Your Year in Music.” The year in review gave each user a personalized but fairly simple recap of their listening habits for the past year, including:
- The songs they listened to the most
- Top artists
- Number of minutes streamed
In 2016, Spotify rebranded their year in review into the Spotify Wrapped campaign we know and love today. They also added more social sharing functionality, and it snowballed from there. In what’s now an annual tradition, music fans rush to share their Wrapped summaries with friends in early December.
The features of the annual look-back campaign have expanded too. Along with stats, users can now share playlists, compete to be the biggest fan of their favorite artists.
Spotify Wrapped Strikes Marketing Gold
Over the years, Wrapped has become a viral success and helped drive Spotify’s bottom line. In 2020, over 90 million people engaged with Spotify Wrapped. That helped support a 21% increase in Spotify app downloads during the first week of December.
And it’s not just people sharing their personal recaps. They create other content about their Spotify Wrapped. News agencies cover the campaign. It’s a cultural lodestone that ignites discussions about women in music and more.
By all indicators, Wrapped’s growth is continuing in 2023. The #SpotifyWrapped hashtag already has a staggering 66.5 billion views on TikTok alone — and those numbers are still going up.
The Year in Review Trend Beyond Spotify
And it’s not just Spotify wowing their fans with shareable recaps. Brands like Apple, Fitbit, Instacart and Ubisoft have rolled out similar campaigns.
- Apple Music Replay kicked off in 2019, showing users their top songs and artists, though it’s not very shareable. YouTube Music jumped on the bandwagon with a similar year-in-review campaign in 2021.
- Pocket Casts launched their “playback” in 2023 so you can see the podcasts you listened to most, time spent with your top category (2 days and 4 hours for “Business” in our household), and year-over-year listening time.
- Meanwhile, in the gaming world, personalized and shareable stat recaps are obligatory. They can cover a season or 5 years, but global giants like Activision, Nintendo, Ubisoft and Activision all do them.
- Recap campaigns aren’t just for the entertainment sector. They show up in industries like education (Duolingo emails their users yearly stats with shareable graphics), wellness (Fitbit includes a breakdown of each user’s health habits like sleep time and workouts completed), and finance (Mastercard shared a year in review with select cardmembers to boost retention).
And that’s just scratching the surface.
Why Spotify Wrapped and Similar Campaigns Work
A year in review is more than just a fun treat for fans of your brand. This kind of personalized campaign can drive serious business results.
So what’s their secret sauce? Here’s what makes Spotify Wrapped so effective when it comes to engagement and real ROI.
It’s visual. Wrapped uses bold colors and eye-popping design. If you see a Wrapped summary in a social feed, it’s going to grab your attention. It takes the animated slideshow “Instagram Story” approach where you tap forward to see the next stat. Other year-in-review campaigns (especially in gaming, where visual quality is prized) use Personalized Video. But however you do it, you need to think thumb-stopping design and movement.
It’s personal and insightful. One thing everyone loves about Wrapped is that it uses data to reveal preferences or patterns that aren’t obvious to even them. Who knew my favorite genre was samba? A little surprise can go a long way in delighting customers.
It creates an emotional connection. Wrapped and similar annual lookbacks give users an opportunity to reflect on their journey. The combination of visuals and personalization are a powerhouse for emotionally charged creative marketing. (Tip: Share something they’ll care about. Great example below from Plan Canada.)
It’s shareable. By encouraging users to share their Wrapped summaries (and making it easy for them with built-in sharing features), Spotify creates a sense of community around their app. People are eager to show their Wrapped summary to friends or compare themselves with others. And people not using the app may download it just to be part of the discussion next year.
How To Leverage the Year in Review Trend for Your Marketing
Whether you’re looking to start a year-in-review campaign or to enhance your existing recaps, Personalized Videos are a great way to pair data with engaging visuals.
They’re scalable (millions of customers is no problem), fast (up to 100x real time) and shareable. That last point is interesting — we’d actually argue videos are better to share on social media than a link or a single downloaded graphic as you do with Wrapped.
But the important thing is that they work. Check out these stats:
- The Financial Times improved CTA click-throughs on their recaps by 25% when they switched to Idomoo Personalized Video. As one Financial Times fan tweeted, “Eat your heart out, Spotify.”
- Plarium doubled referrals with their personalized year in review that encouraged fans to share their video to get friends to try the game.
- Online entertainment company Entain earned an impressive 88% conversion rate with their personalized recap campaign celebrating a milestone anniversary.
Other success stats from our personalized year-in-review videos include a 68% increase in sales, 10x higher engagement and a 17x uplift in user reactivation.
For more examples of how we’ve helped Delta, Epic Games and many others upgrade their marketing strategy with Personalized Video recap campaigns, check out these 7 tips for an effective personalized year in review.