Spotify Wrapped Inside Scoop.

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Gamification Insider Inside Scoop!

What is the Inside Scoop?

A monthly deep-dive into an organisation, product or service and how they are using gamification in their business.

We’ll talk about the specific gamification techniques used, explain what they are, why we think that business is using them and give you some ideas as to how those tools can be used by small businesses.

This issue of the Inside Scoop will be discussed in more detail at our monthly Codebreaker Club, available to Codebreaker level members and higher at 1pm on 17th January. 

Spotify Wrapped.

January’s Inside Scoop is all about Spotify Wrapped 2023.

As described by Spotify: “Think of 2023 Spotify Wrapped as a celebration of the real, the realer, and the realest listening moments that defined our year. It’s the receipt that you’ll definitely want to keep—from the song you secretly couldn’t stop streaming to the artists and podcasts you weren’t shy to shout your unwavering admiration for.”

We’ve covered Spotify in a previous Inside Scoop, however, Spotify Wrapped is a treasure trove of Gamification techniques and we couldn’t help but write a separate issue dedicated to this annual celebration of Spotify’s user’s listening habits.

Let’s look at some of the techniques they’re using! 

FOMO | Gamification technique 1.

The Cambridge Dictionary Definition: abbreviation for “fear of missing out”: a worried feeling that you may miss exciting events that other people are going to, especially caused by things you see on social media: Don’t get FOMO. Get a ticket now!

You’ve probably heard this term, you may have even used it but you’ve almost certainly felt it!

When everyone is talking about something (or someone) on social media and you’re not sure what or who they’re referring to. You desperately want to know because…. well, FOMO.

During the pandemic, you may have been tempted to jump onto the bandwagon of over-buying toilet rolls because of a deep fear that if you don’t, you might run out. That’s also FOMO.

FOMO is used in gamification and as long as it’s used ethically (to help others win as well as your business rather than manipulate) it’s a fantastic tool.

Where do you see this in the game world?

Countdown timers for rewards or goodies if you take action before a certain time. Limited-edition items, ‘skins’ and more that can only be achieved within a very specific time frame. Early releases, where games are released early to people willing to pay a premium encourages others to pay the price because they don’t want to miss out. 

How does Spotify Wrapped use the technique of FOMO and why?

Many people share their Spotify Wrapped on their socials each year; showcasing their most played music, their stats and more. You might not be bothered the first time you see it but after a few people share it on different platforms you may become intrigued. “I wonder how long I listened to music this year, I wonder which artists I listened to the most this year and I wonder what else I can learn from Spotify Wrapped”

So you trundle off to the website or the app and you see this:

Now you’re hooked and the FOMO hits hard. You click the button to find out more.

For Spotify, this is bringing traffic to their website/app. It is making people who don’t use Spotify wish they did use Spotify so they could see their Spotify Wrapped (thanks FOMO) and also brings people who maybe don’t use Spotify often back onto the app.

All of these things lead to revenue for them either through adverts or through people eventually upgrading to Spotify Premium.

Is the technique of FOMO something you could apply to your business?

This is one of those techniques that some people might consider manipulative so I’m going to be very clear here.

If you intend to use this kind of technique in your business please do so ethically; with the intention of gamification that benefits the end user and their wants/needs (be that your audience, students, members, customers, whoever) as well as your business objectives.

We want a win-win scenario.

With this in mind; in order to use this technique you need to consider what it is that your players (the users of your gamification project) want and need as well as your business objectives.

I also hope this goes without saying but please do not create face scarcity or lie to your audience/students etc to create FOMO, use it as a tool to help rather than manipulate.

Product businesses; let your audience know how many of a certain item you have left. If there are only three and someone has had their eye on it for a while now, that reminder might be enough to encourage them to purchase. This is great for them as they don’t miss out on the item they really wanted to buy and great for your business as you make another sale.

This is the same for service businesses, if you only have one 1:1 space left this month, let your audience know. They will be grateful for the reminder if they have an urgent issue they want to talk to you about and really needed the spot this month!

As already mentioned above, if you have a real deadline using a countdown timer is an excellent way to create FOMO. However, please only use this for genuine deadlines rather than creating false ones to generate sales. Your audience will not appreciate being manipulated or lied to.

Personalisation | Gamification technique 2.

The Cambridge Dictionary Definition: Personalisation. Noun: The act of making something suitable for the needs of a particular person.

Wait? Didn’t we cover this in a previous Inside Scoop? Yep! There will sometimes be repeats in the Inside Scoop as organisations use the same techniques. It’s always a good thing to see more examples of how different businesses use the same technique, or how they use it differently. Here’s a refresher:

You may already be using some personalisation in your business if you segment your emails.

I used to work for a train company and we had a large email audience. We segmented the audience to make sure that the right people got the right updates at the right times.

Why did we do this?

Because different people have different needs! Someone in Wrexham is probably not going to care about railway issues in Caerphilly. Someone in Cardiff is unlikely to care about ongoing trackwork in Bangor. While updates to the appearance of the train station in Newport are lovely news for everyone, someone who uses that train station every day is going to be much more delighted than someone who’s only ever been there once.

You might segment your own emails by the types of services or products your audience is interested in or where they are based if you run events in different areas.

Do you remember these lyrics?:

‘If everybody looked the same. We’d get tired looking at each other’ (Groove Armada – If Everybody Looked the Same)

It’s a useful reference here as people aren’t all the same. We aren’t all the same. If we were it would be a very boring world. In fact, all of the detectives reading this probably like to learn differently, and are presumably here in this membership for different reasons, hoping to achieve different things…

This means everyone in your audience, your students, your members, and your customers could want entirely different things, need different things or have different goals. While you might have a course/ membership/audience that from the outside looks like it’s all full of the same ‘type’ of people (say parents of teenagers, or business owners, or photographers) they’ll still all have different needs and wants.

You can use gamification to change your project to cater for the different types of people.

This is something Spotify does very well as we discussed in the previous Inside Scoop about Spotify and they haven’t dropped the ball on Personalisation in Spotify Wrapped either…

Where do you see personalisation in the game world?

 In video games, you might be able to change the appearance of your character, their clothes, weapons, vehicles and more. In some games, you can change your avatar’s name or upload a photo for your profile. You all play the same game but you start by making it feel like it’s bespoke to you. There are many more examples but you get the idea!

How does Spotify Wrapped use personalisation and why?

Spotify Wrapped couldn’t be more personalised. The concept is a deep dive into each user’s personal listening habits. They have cleverly taken some boring metrics that are available to pretty much anyone who owns an app and turned them into little videos that send everyone into a frenzy, eager to know even more about themselves.

We are desperate to know:

  • The genres we listened to this year
  • The place in the globe where fans are most likely to listen to music similar to our tastes
  • How many songs we listened to
  • The songs we listened to the most
  • The track we listened to for the most amount of time and how long that was over the year
  • The number of artists we listened to and the ones we listened to the most (including the song of theirs we listened to the most)
  • The podcasts we listened to the most
  • Your listening character and more…

These are all completely personal to the individual and Spotify Wrapped also gives you a playlist of the top songs you listened to in 2023. Even more personalisation.

One of the new additions for 2023 was listening profiles – mine was a vampire. This has the potential to create more FOMO as you want to know which character you are! 

For added personalisation, you can also look and see if your listening habits match the 2023 trends across the whole of Spotify.

And you could send a personalised thank you to the artist you listened to the most. Added personalisation and a little buzz for the artist too!

Why are they doing this? For the same reasons as using FOMO. This mega-personalisation is extremely tempting. Who doesn’t want to learn more about themselves? It’s why those social media games which tell you what kind of Friends character you are or what your Elf name would be are so addictive!

Tempting people to come to their app/website to find out more about themselves adds to the sunk-cost fallacy (mentioned in a previous Inside Scoop) It creates more loyalty to the brand (more revenue from adverts and ongoing subscriptions) and attracts new potential customers too (more revenue). 

Is the technique of Personalisation something you could apply to your business

Consider adding the concept of personalisation to your business strategy building on the suggestions previously mentioned in the Inside Scoop about Spotify and the Inside Scoop about Amazon.

To re-create what Spotify Wrapped has done with personalisation would take a lot of technical knowledge, but it is possible. You may have noticed other companies doing their own version of Spotify Wrapped, like Duolingo’s Year in Review, Reddit Recap, Year in Monzo and more. Some have had more success than others.

Consider what data you have on your audience, students, clients, members and more… could you do a ‘wrap’ that is about all of your members as a group?

You could do a re-cap of how many videos each student had watched this year, who are the top people engaging in your Facebook group and more. It doesn’t have to be a HUGE recap like Spotify, everyone loves a little bit of information about themselves, so it’s possible to use this in your business, even if it’s only a tiny amount.

It’s always a good idea to review metrics about your audience and customers to find out more about them for better marketing as well as market research for product and service development so why not use this time twice to create some content that is personalised to the people you want to work with too! 

Relatedness | Gamification technique 3

Wait? Didn’t we cover this in a previous Inside Scoop? Yep! There will sometimes be repeats in the Inside Scoop as organisations use the same techniques. It’s always a good thing to see more examples of how different businesses use the same technique, or how they use it differently. Here’s a refresher:

Time to talk about self-determination theory. This is a psychological theory concerned with motivation and in terms of gamification specifically, we focus on three things mainly: autonomy, competence and relatedness.
Relatedness is the need to feel connected.

Humans are innately social creatures and for some, being connected to others can be highly motivating. Relatedness comes down to a feeling of belonging.

Where do you see relatedness in the game world? 

Some games will ask you to work in teams, this is relatedness. You may have to help someone in order to get to the next level in some video games, again relatedness. In other games, you can gift items to other players, or request items all in the name of relatedness.

How does Spotify Wrapped use relatedness and why?

Spotify Wrapped is riddled with relatedness. This technique goes hand-in-hand with FOMO, seeing someone else’s Spotify Wrapped causes FOMO as users want to see if their tastes align with their friends, connections or the world at large.

Some of the 2023 features couldn’t be more targeted at that feeling of relatedness. The feature which shows you where in the world has similar listening tastes to you makes you feel connected to a new place you may not have considered before, the brand new “listening characters” may make you feel closer to your friends, audiences or connections who have the same character and by comparing your Spotify Wrapped with the trends of 2023 this may make you feel more connected to others too!

Why use relatedness? By finding out someone you know has similar listening habits to you, you may choose to follow each other on Spotify, maybe swap playlists and more. This all adds to the feeling of the Sunk Cost fallacy (mentioned in a previous Inside Scoop) and increases customer loyalty, leading to improved recurring revenue for the business.

In addition to this, as stated above, if you aren’t currently a Spotify user but see lots of people you know sharing their Spotify Wrapped you may be tempted to download the app and have a look so that you can talk with them about it and feel that sense of belonging. It’s probably not a conscious part of your decision-making process but it does happen! This could lead to more revenue for Spotify too. 

This works very well with the sunk cost fallacy, in that the more reviews you leave, people you follow and reviews you ‘heart’ the more invested you become in Amazon shopping as a service and the more you’ll spend.

Is the technique of relatedness something you could apply to your business?

In addition to the ideas shared in the Inside Scoop about Spotify and the Inside Scoop about Amazon Shopping. when it comes to adding relatedness to your business, consider if any of the methods Spotify Wrapped has used could be applied to your business.

In one of the examples above I suggested that you don’t need to do an entire breakdown for everyone in your audience individually, you could simply share one metric as an easier option.

Let’s say you share your most engaged Facebook group members on your socials, if you tag them they could share that post with their followers who might then choose to join your group too. They might want to join to be in the same spaces as your most engaged members!

Also, Spotify Wrapped gives users the chance to ‘share’ every detail from their Spotify Wrapped separately. There isn’t a single page of Spotify Wrapped that you can’t share externally and spread the word. Could you give your customers and audience more chances to share about your brand, products and services with their connections too?

It would be worth reviewing all of your current systems to see where you can add that share button! 

Mystery | Gamification technique 4.

The Cambridge Dictionary Definition: Mystery noun (STORY) A story, often about a crime, in which the strange events that happen are explained at the end.

The word mystery has many meanings, one of which is something that is unexplained and becomes explained, as defined here in one of the Cambridge definitions. In the case of Gamification, it is used to evoke curiosity, suspense or surprise. It works well with Novelty (mentioned in a previous Inside Scoop) and FOMO covered earlier.

Where do you see this in the game world?

Some games include clues that lead you to an answer, puzzles to solve, cryptic messages and more. Anything where you don’t get the full answer straight away is a mystery technique.

So how does Spotify Wrapped use mystery and why?

In a similar way to FOMO, users are intrigued by the mystery of what your Spotify Wrapped will contain, but in addition to this if you have used Spotify Wrapped before, you will be intrigued to see what new features Spotify Wrapped has added this year.

Each Spotify Wrapped add new ways of looking at your metrics; like the listening characters, Sound Town (which highlights the city that has the most similar taste profile to yours), and video thank you messages from your favourite artists.
If you are an avid Spotify user you will look forward to seeing what they come up with each year and learning more about your listening habits. Rewarding their existing customers will keep them loyal and continue to generate recurring revenue.

Spotify Wrapped is always layering gamification technique on top of technique. Here’s another example of adding mystery:

this year, for the first time ever, we enabled artists [in the U.S. and Canada] to set up Wrapped-specific merch discounts for their top listeners of the year. We want artists to be able to offer fans something special, and in turn, fans will know they’re receiving a discount for being a top listener.”

Again, this would be a complete surprise to the top fans; getting access to exclusive discounts and rewards for simply liking an artist and listening to them consistently.

When people get bored with a product or service they may decide to discontinue their membership, so by adding Mystery, Spotify Wrapped will keep some of their users engaged (and paying) for longer. 

Is Mystery something you could apply to your business?

Mystery is a great tool for marketing, increasing engagement and customer loyalty.

Some of you may recall that when we revealed that we were changing direction and focusing on Gamification we used Mystery at the core of the launch. If people wanted to find out what our ‘new thing’ was going to be before everyone else they could sign up for our emails. Then we sent out clues about our ‘new thing’ and people could guess what it might be. If they guessed correctly we’d let them know and their reward was to be in the know before everyone else!

We gained new people on our mailing list and lots of comments and direct messages from people desperate to know what our ‘new thing’ was going to be.

Could you market something that is coming soon without telling people what it is, by using clues to increase engagement?

Could you let your audience know to expect something but not tell them what?

Could you provide some level of mystery for your existing customers to keep them engaged?

Lots to consider! 

Time to wrap this up!

We’ve covered a lot in this issue. A deep-dive into Spotify Wrapped and some of the gamification techniques they’ve used to keep their customers loyal for longer and attract new customers too.

We’ve covered four gamification techniques; FOMO, Personalisation, Relatedness and Mystery.

We’ve also given you some ideas of how you could implement these in your business.

We will be discussing these techniques in more depth and workshopping how you could apply them in your business in the Codebreaker Club on 17th January. 

In pursuit of truth,
Kimba 🔍 

Find Out More.

A podcast about Spotify Wrapped in 2023

Find all of the listening characters here:

Spotify 2023 wrapped trends

Spotify Wrapped for Artists

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