2018 Wrapped: How Spotify nailed personalised marketing

The best gifts are gifts are those that have been chosen or curated especially for you, with your personal tastes and interests in mind. This year Spotify nailed the art of giving with their 2018 Wrapped campaign, a lesson in the power of personalised marketing if there ever was one.

Spotify Wrapped is an end-of-year event in which the Spotify unveils listening data from throughout the year. The first part of this campaign was a series of outdoor media advertising looking back on yearly music trends. The second part was an individual event, in which Spotify subscribers receive their personalised listening data from the past year.

So why is Spotify Wrapped so successful, and what can we learn from it?

It’s Timely

The end of the year is a time for wrapping up and reflecting on the highs and the lows of the past 12 months.  Tapping into this wider consciousness at the opportune time is one of the reasons Spotify’s 2018 Wrapped campaign was so successful – it’s timely. “Our users have come to expect the year-end ‘Wrapped’ campaign year after year, “June Sauvaget, Spotify’s global head of consumer marketing.

Spotify’s omnichannel approach shows a strategic method of building hype and awareness of the campaign. While the outdoor media campaign focuses on wider listening habits and statistics of listeners – speaking to a wider cultural lexicon – it creates anticipation for the personal 2018 Wrapped release which was strategically promoted across social media (generally a channel for more personalised comms).

It’s Personalised

So what makes people excited to see their listening habits from the past 12 months? Two words here – data storytelling.“With more listeners and better data, we were able to give fans a tailored experience, showing that Spotify really gets them,” Spotify wrote in a post last year. Amidst a sea of messaging, customers increasingly expect personalised and relevant content. Here we see the old adage hold true – content is king. We see the most successful campaigns moving away from the ‘blanket approach’, giving way to contextually relevant and personalised stories. Basic personalisation doesn’t cut it anymore (for example, using a customer’s first name in an eDM) with 52% of consumers stating they would share personal data in exchange for product recommendations. For marketers, it’s a win-win.

Chiara, our Content Marketing Manager, shares her Spotify 2018 Wrapped!

It’s Shareable

[Our users] are eager to see how their interactions on Spotify connect to what is happening across the global Spotify community,” Sauvaget, notes. The idea of being able to connect with a wider community who share the same interests and passions is the third contributing factor to the success of Spotify’s 2018 Wrapped campaign. With 26% of women and 20% of men looking for more ways to connect with multiple friends at once, we see a general shift towards the idea of finding a ‘tribe.’ Spotify simply create a space for listeners to congregate and share. 


Read next: The 2019 CMI Content Marketing Benchmarks

The rise of voice search and what it means for your business

When mobiles were introduced, we were amazed to have the world at our fingertips. We could pick up our phones and communicate with people instantly, search online for the answer to any questions, or add last-minute things to our grocery list.

Now, thanks to voice search, we don’t even have to lift a finger.

Hey Siri, can you tell us about voice search?

Voice search is technology that allows users to conduct a search or request an action by voice command.

Skipping a song while you’re driving is as simple as saying ‘Hey Siri, next song please.’ You don’t even have to hold down the Home button anymore, literally just say ‘Hey Siri’ and she’s ready to respond.

Siri’s just one example familiar to iPhone users, but other voice command technology includes Cortana on Windows, Samsung’s Bixby, Google Home, and Amazon’s Alexa.

There’s a lot more voice search can help with – ordering takeaway, online shopping, or even finding out how hot it is outside (because dressing for Australia’s weather is so hard to get right these days.)

A voice on the rise

A recent survey of more than 1800 smartphone users across the world revealed that 62% of participants engaged with voice-activated technology in the past six months, with 57% of Australians using voice search.

Of those who have used the technology, 95% intend to keep using it in the next year.

With lots of celebrities endorsing the technology, it’s no surprise it’s becoming more popular. The six-minute Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson ad for Siri was one thing, and then Amazon came out with an ad for Alexa, featuring the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Cardi B, Rebel Wilson among other popular celebrities.

Alexa loses her voice

Dwayne Johnson x Siri

How can voice search be utilised for marketing?

When it comes to the queries and questions we ask our voice search companions, results are powered by search engines.

Search language

Voice search will give you a single answer or option in response to your query. There’s no more scrolling through the webpage results to find the most relevant one; you get what the technology churns out.

To beat this, create more conversational content, because the way we ask questions while speaking is conversational, while we usually focus on keywords for a typed query. For example, we might ask Siri ‘What’s the weather like in Sydney today?’ but if we were to type, we’d probably just search ‘Sydney weather’.

So with voice search, rather than focusing on keywords, it’s best to focus on long-tail keyword phrases.

Create specific content for the common keywords or phrases your audience would search for – a keyword search tool like CognitiveSEO can help you find keyword phrases that are high-volume and likely to land your content in the top results.

Adding an FAQ section to your website could also increase chances of landing in the top results, as it’s likely the user could search the exact question (or one very similar).

Local SEO

Did you know voice-searches are also likely to be 3 times more likely to be based on something local? Maybe it’s about a restaurant, or a service station. To give your business the upper hand in local search, make sure your business has a Google My Business page. Secondly, reviews can help get your business noticed. Third-party apps and local directories with reviews can also help – the more reviews your business gets and the better the reviews are will likely boost it to the top of the search engine results.

While voice search is still something to get used to, it represents new opportunity and growing importance for marketers to adapt to future technologies. 

Email isn’t social media, but it’s still pretty popular!

Social media is a very popular tool for online marketing, but we shouldn’t forget the power of email. Think about it – if someone has a social media account, chances are they signed up using their email address. Essentially, everyone who accesses content on social media most likely also has access to emails.

According to DMA Insight, 99% of consumers check their emails every day, with an estimated 281 billion emails to be sent daily in 2018. In fact, 69% of people admit to checking their phone while watching a movie and 34% while in the bathroom!

The best things in life are free (or cheaper at least)

Not only is email marketing more affordable than advertising on social platforms, but it’s also great for keeping track of performance and results. Important for businesses of all sizes, email campaigns can give marketers a better perspective of what’s working well and what needs improvement. This will also reveal the numbers behind your subscribers and click-through rates.

Facebook, in particular, is making it especially hard for people to come into contact with content from business. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier this year that friends and family are going to be brought back to the core of the ‘Facebook experience.’

This means users will see less content from businesses and media, and more from family and friends. Whilst great for the user, this makes marketing on Facebook much more difficult. As a result, the organic reach (the number of users who see your content, not as a result of paid distribution) is on a steady decline, so to reach more people, brands have to use paid promotions.

On the contrary, email content goes directly to the consumer, rather than the consumer searching for the content in a sea of posts from family, friends and competing brands.

When someone gets an email, they generally get an immediate notification on their smartphone – something less common for social media marketing unless the user actively opts to receive notifications when a particular brand posts something.

So what are the best processes for an email marketing campaign?

  • Personalising emails is a great way to keep people on board with receiving emails from your brand – rather than sending an obviously generic email, make them feel like they’re more than just a number on a list.
  • Buyer personas are a way of differentiating types of customers based on how they interact with the brand, whether it’s by what products they buy or the pages they look at. Try targeting particular groups with specific content relevant to their interests.
  • Providing incentives is also super effective – who doesn’t like free stuff!? This could be a free item, a discounted service, or maybe an invitation to an event.
  • Competitions are a really great way to get more people to sign up to receive your emails. There’s a great chance that people will use their email address to enter competitions, whether it be for a chance to win a new wardrobe, a discount off future purchases, or even a holiday – if there’s a chance for a reward, you’ll see the numbers grow.

Email marketing remains a relevant tool for businesses of all sizes. Emails allow you to stay in touch with the people who have a vested interest in your business – your customers!

Another Facebook data breach: What does this mean for users?

Most social media users are concerned about privacy, and these concerns surfaced once again over the last few weeks when Facebook announced it had experienced its biggest data breach in history.

What happened?

On September 28, Facebook announced cyber attackers gained full access to around 50 million Facebook accounts. A further 40 million accounts were deemed “at risk”. Around 300,000 Australians are thought to have been part of those numbers. In response, Facebook logged these 90 million users out of their accounts and asked them to log back in, with a notification of the breach appearing on their newsfeeds.

On October 12, Facebook announced that it was in fact only 29 million users who were directly affected. Of these 29 million, the attackers took profile information from 14 million users, including birth dates, employers, education history, religious preference, types of devices used, pages followed and recent searches and location check-ins. The remaining 15 million users could be considered lucky, with their data breach restricted to name and contact details.

The social media giant claims it doesn’t know who the attackers were nor what their motivation was. The breach was a result of three vulnerabilities in the app being exploited simultaneously to allow the hackers access to accounts. 

For the biggest data breach in history, there doesn’t seem to be as much discussion about it as would be expected. Could it be that we’re becoming used to it? Perhaps it’s the ‘that won’t happen to me’ mentality that subsides a big reaction.

Or as CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan put it: “I think we all have data breach fatigue.”

Even Googling ‘Facebook data scandal’ churns out article after article about the data breach from March this year, rather than what’s described as the biggest data breach in history.

Previous data-breach cases

One of the most notable cases of data breaching happened in March 2018. The Guardian reported that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that “uses data to change audience behaviour”, had harvested the personal data of more than 87 million Facebook users.

Most of the controversy surrounds Cambridge Analytica’s use of the data to influence voter behaviour in the 2016 election, likely helping Trump become president and also impacting the Brexit.

The data was breached via the personality quiz app ‘thisisyourdigitallife’. Users consented for the app to collect their data when they took the quiz, but they did not consent for information to be collected from each of their Facebook friends, which is what ultimately occurred. So, of the 87 million people involved, only 270,000 people used the app. Furthermore, data of 300,000 Australians was also collected from the 52 users who allegedly used the app.

Do users even care?

#DeleteFacebook began trending on Twitter during the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, urging users to take a stand.

But the number of Facebook users remains steady, despite a survey following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and before the latest data scandal revealing that 81 percent of users have little to no confidence in Facebook protecting their data and privacy.

Even with all the security breaches, Facebook is a communication tool providing too much convenience for many to delete.

Impact on marketers

The data breaches – whether by hackers or third-party apps – have diminished the trust between consumers and marketers in most cases, resulting in users sharing less private information. This will make it harder for marketers to establish targeted ads, resulting in an increased cost to improve reach to relevant audiences. To establish (or re-establish) trust with consumers, it’s essential for marketers and advertisers to show transparency and accountability.

Are you safe?

To find out if your account has been breached, go to the Facebook Help Centre and access an article about Facebook’s recent security incident. If you scroll to the bottom, there is a message stating “Is my Facebook account impacted by this security issue?”. Here, you will find the answer regarding the status of your account.

So, what now? Do we log out of our accounts and call it a day?

It may not be that simple. Facebook has become so engrained in our culture that it’s almost impossible to delete. It has become a necessary platform to keep in touch with friends and family, used for work, education, and general engagement with the wider community. From organising events, sending group messages, to sharing thoughts, arguments and memories –  these simple conveniences are few of the reasons that make users turn a blind eye.

A Brave New World: How Facial Recognition Could Shape the Future of Marketing

The world of social media marketing is marked by anticipation of the “next big thing.” If the moves by Apple and Facebook this year have been anything to go by, facial recognition technology is a certain game changer.

We deep dive into the world of facial recognition and explore how some brands are already integrating this technology into their marketing.

Big-time Backers Set the Stage

Facial recognition hit the mainstream when Apple unveiled their iPhone X. The inclusion of 3D mapping (rather than the more basic 2D imaging) means this form of facial recognition will be more secure than previous editions. Users can use facial recognition to log in to their phones as well as using it for Apple Pay.

Facebook also jumped into the world of facial recognition this year. They’ve begun testing facial recognition as a way of allowing users to verify their identity when reclaiming their account after a lost password.

Meanwhile in China, the tech has really taken off with services like Face++ and Baidu. The Face++ technology is being used to transfer money, with just the users’ face as login credentials.

Baidu’s service lets users pick up train tickets from facial recognition machines, and they’re working on adding access to attractions and events.

Baby Steps: The Brands Using the Technology

While facial recognition technology is still in its infancy, a handful of brands are already experimenting with different ways to use the technology. It’s consistently proved to be effective at creating a more engaging experience for users.

South African coffee brand Douwe Egberts placed a dispensing machine at O.R. Tambo International Airport. The machine used facial scanning technology to detect people who yawned as they passed by. As they yawned, it dispensed a free cup of coffee. Watch below as word spread around the airport and travellers began queueing to use the machine.

Streets used facial recognition to promote the launch of the Magnum Infinity. Billboards across Australia were set up with an inbuilt camera to detect when users were smiling, before placing a virtual ice-cream in front of them. Users could pretend to bite down on the ice-cream while a photo of them chomping down was uploaded to the Streets Magnum Facebook page.

In Seoul, the International Finance Centre shopping mall set up LCD-screen kiosks with cameras and motion detectors. These kiosks used facial recognition to detect the gender and age of users. Users were then served with different ads for shops and restaurants based on their demographics. As the technology improves, we can only presume this kind of precise targeting will only become more widespread and commonplace.

Growing Pains: The Ethics of Facial Recognition

While facial recognition will allow marketers to provide a more tailored, customised experience for their audiences, facial recognition also raises many technical and ethical questions.

Many testers have already managed to dupe and break into facial recognition systems using photos, cheap glasses, and even special makeup.  

Privacy also becomes a major concern. If facial recognition apps can be embedded in any camera or recording devices, brands may eventually reach a stage where they’re able to perpetually track the movements and actions of their audience.

This lack of privacy could feel very much like a Big Brother situation. As technology advances faster than legislation, it remains to be seen what the social impact of facial recognition technology could be.

The Future is Bright

While it’s important to keep these issues in mind, the future is certainly bright for facial recognition. Soon, brands could be using the technology as the “cookie” of the future.

It could become to the most accurate way to target phone users and mall shoppers. After all, it’s much harder to change your face than it is to delete your browser history.

Different ads could be served based on a person’s moods, their recent foot traffic and any number of data-driven metrics.

Beyond the face, iris-scanning could become more commonplace, meaning the only log-in you’ll ever need is a scan of your eye.

In short, wherever the technology goes, it’s certainly one to keep an eye on.

Read next: A Robots the New Face of Customer Service

Here’s 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using 360 Video

As consumers’ appetite for a more immersive and personalised content experience grows, so does the need for 360 video. We’re taking cues from some of the brands that did it best. Here are 5 creative ways that you can use 360 videos in your marketing.

A Rewarding Experience  

Good storytelling is all about creating engagement and an immersive experience. 360 video gives marketers the necessary tools to create a sense of immediacy, emote their storytelling and therefore, develop deeper connections with their audience.

A recent study conducted by Google revealed that 360 videos often see lower completion rates, likely as a result of the higher level of user engagement required for viewing. However, this level of engagement is also what drives higher click-rates, shares and subscriptions than standard videos. 260 videos also achieved 47% higher view rates, meaning a lower cost-per-view for the advertiser.

1. Give them an experience

360 video gives audiences the opportunity to turn their dreams into a [virtual] reality and immerse themselves in the action. Take, for example, Samsung’s 360° Snowboard & Freeski Experience. Viewers were given the opportunity to glide down the slopes with Olympic snowboarders like Gian Simmen. Rather than being constricted to only one perspective, viewers had the opportunity to experience multitudes of scenes.

Therefore 360 video is key for giving your audience the ability to create and control their own experience.

2. Develop Empathy

We believe there is no better way to develop empathy than to walk in someone else’s shoes. Therefore, 360 video is a key tool for charities and not-for-profits to educate their audiences and improve their understanding of the cause.

This incredible 360 video from the National Autism Society put the viewer in the shoes of someone diagnosed with autism. It allows the audience to experience what it feels like to be overwhelmed by light and sound.

3. Exclusive Access

Take your audience behind the scenes with 360 video and grant them exclusive access to reveals and events. Show them how your product is made, take them on a journey through your office or use 360 video to give them an all-access pass to an exclusive launch.

We love Jason Wu’s all-access pass to his Fall 2016 show at New York Fashion Week.


If there’s one thing social media is great for, it’s driving a fear of missing out. The immediacy of 360 video allows marketers create FOMO and use it as a key tool to pique their audience’s interest.

One of our favourite examples comes from Tomorrowland, one of Europe’s premiere EDM festivals. The festival organisers released a 360 video showing off their 2014 show, it’s no wonder it captured the attention of over nine million viewers.

5. Capture imagination

Capturing the imagination of your audience is easier if your content wows and awes them. Think about how different angles, shots and editing techniques can be used to enhance the immediacy and emotive capabilities of 360 video to create aspirational content.

In essence, 360 video challenges us to rethink our perspectives, blurring the distinction between the possible and impossible. The emotive abilities of 360 video and its ability to offer a new way of seeing are what makes it such a key tool to brand storytelling. The tourism industry does it best. This example from Expedia opens up a new world of possibility to the audience and captures their imagination with sweeping vistas and bright colours.

Read next: Cause Marketing- Why Brands Need to Take a Social Stance.

Are robots the new face of customer service?

In a world where we can order gourmet meals at the touch of a button and chat to friends around the world in real time, it’s no surprise that consumers also expect brands to be readily available 24/7. So how are brands using social technology to rise to the challenge?


The kind of innovation that signals the beginning of the robot takeover for many, Chatbots are forms of artificial intelligence integrated with messaging apps like Kik, WhatsApp and Line that create personalised one-to-one interactions. These automated messaging bots help consumers do everything from ordering food to paying bills.

Chatbots are a new kind of communication that diverge from social media mass messaging to automated personalised communication.

“Chat apps will come to be thought of as the new browsers; bots will be the new websites,” said Ted Livingston, founder of Kik.“This is the beginning of a new Internet.”

Taco Bell, for example, eliminated the need to download the Taco Bell app to order food. Users are able to TacoBot on messaging platform Slack, and can even receive recommendations while they place their order.

This kind of ‘at your fingertips’ access to information is what makes Chatbots such a revolutionary social technology. They allow brands to be there for every part of the consumer journey, meaning an opportunity to interact with customers is rarely missed.

Platform innovations


A brand’s Facebook business page is the equivalent of a business shop front across social media. Recently, Facebook launched a new look for business for brand pages, a cleaner look akin to a webpage which makes the page’s call-to-action button – like “Sign Up” or “Shop Now” – much more prominent.

These new features bring avenues of communication to the fore and make it easier for consumers to converse with the business or brand, highlighting the shift in consumer expectations towards personalised interactions across social platforms.


Many businesses across Twitter use the platform as a customer support service. It’s not uncommon to see users tweet to a brand about customer service issue with the expectation that the brand will respond with a solution.

This method of communication has recently changed, with the introduction of a new feature that foregrounds a “Messaging” button, thereby encouraging consumers to start their conversations with brands via direct message instead of on a Twitter public feed. Personalising the communication between consumers and brands will do wonders in terms of removing angry Tweets from a brand’s profile, yet also highlights the consumer’s craving for personalised service and communications.

Brand Integration

Customer conversations are more than an opportunity for brands to strengthen their relationship with consumers, these interactions are also an invaluable source of data. Integrated forums are rising in popularity as a tool for brands to gain insights in consumer sentiment. Often integrated with a brand website, these forums enable consumers to hold brand-related discussions amongst themselves, giving the brand the opportunity to closely monitor sentiment and jump in only when they deem necessary.

The global outdoor clothing brand, Patagonia, collaborated with Vanilla to create an integrated forum that allowed ambassadors to provide feedback about Patagonia products. Condensing the feedback into one channel enabled Patagonia to easily monitor consumer sentiment rather than trying to coalesce conversations across an array of channels. This tactic also created a direct pipeline of communication between the brand and consumers.

The kind of information gained from these forums is invaluable for brands looking to improve their service offering and gain a competitive edge. For example, Dell’s IdeaStorm website has generated more than 420 customer ideas that have been implemented, contributing to the final design of Dell Mini notebook.

Want to stay ahead of the trends?

Get our really useful (non-annoying) emails