Data, Spotify and Rock ’n' Roll

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What marketers can learn from the “2018 Goals” campaign

So, I was scrolling through Instagram a little after the new year and found a sponsored ad that said: “Sit far away from the over 4,752 people who streamed the ‘My Desk, My Drum’ playlist this year.”  

“Hmm,” I said to myself. “That’s sound advice.”

I stopped mid-scroll because the Spotify ad used the confetti and balloon associated with the annual “Wrapped” playlist — one’s unique brand of music. Although, I dispute some of my personal “2017 Wrapped” findings. I did not — regardless of what Spotify says — listen to “Dancing Queen” by ABBA. I plead not guilty on that one (or, at the very least, I plead the fifth).

But I digress. The “2018 Goals” campaign was promoted on Instagram through the Spotify Brands account. Now, branded Spotify playlists aren’t new and brands have been making their own Spotify playlists for a while. But, I’ll be honest, I hadn’t really thought about them a whole lot. Like many subscribers, I have Spotify premium and don’t see or hear the ads. Fancy, I know. However, there’s been a greater push by Spotify to market its branding opportunities, including an Instagram account and a website dedicated to the service. 

So what’s the deal with Spotify for Brands?

For one, it’s a cool way for brands to tell their story, drive web traffic and, perhaps most importantly, increase brand awareness. To take it one step further, Spotify for Brands allows companies to target a specific audience at a specific moment across any number of devices through audio, video and display ad placement. And that’s not all. Your target audience can even be incentivized to watch your ad. Through Spotify for Brands, viewers receive 30 minutes of uninterrupted music when they watch an ad in its entirety. This brings it all around to what Spotify is all about: the music that people live their lives to. 

Oh, and that target audience? It’s a mega ton of people, too. Currently, there are approximately 70 million paying subscribers using Spotify — and that number doubles when you count the people who stream for free.

Quick! Creative exercise: If you were to create a Spotify playlist that speaks to your target audience, what songs would you include?

But, let’s be honest: many brands don’t have the budget to advertise on Spotify. I don’t know what it costs, but I’m sure it ain’t cheap. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn from Spotify. If there’s one thing that Spotify’s ad campaigns have made clear, it’s that Spotify has a lot of data. Like, a lot. Perhaps you’ve seen their campaign that shows just how much Spotify knows about the streamers on their site. Personal favorite: “Take a page from the 3,445 people who streamed the ‘Boozy Brunch’ playlist on a Wednesday this year.”

Boozy Brunch

On the surface, these ads are funny, specific and, at times, a little weird. But what they show is an invested effort at understanding their consumers’ behaviors and patterns. This, then, results in advertisements that leverage this knowledge to attract more customers and target specific audiences. But you know what’s great? You don’t need a technologically advanced computer program and an insane algorithm to figure these things out. Do a little research, send out a survey, or just look at business or buying patterns. Plus, you’re probably already an expert when it comes to your audience and its demographics and you should use that info (data, anyone?) to your brand’s advantage.

Data isn’t only for rockstars.

Sure, your brand probably won’t be bumping the “Ralph You’re Not a Kangaroo” playlist, but, really, most brands aren’t. What most are doing — at least the more successful ones — is getting as much insight into their core audience as possible. So even if a sponsored playlist doesn’t fit in the budget, you can still be inspired by Spotify’s passion for knowing its audience and its brands’ audiences and providing the content that best meets their needs.

You know, if you don’t know your audience, you might turn into a data point and then a Spotify ad. And you don’t want to end up the subject of the Spotify ad, like the one that reads: “Dear person who played “Sorry” 42 times on Valentine’s Day, What did you do?” The answer? They didn’t know their audience well enough and now their client lunches are for a  party of one. A little extreme? Maybe. But do yourself a solid and start stockpiling that client data.

Need help diving into your brand’s audience? We’ve got a plan! Just give us a holler

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