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Your (very revealing) year in review.

From our phones to our watches to our cars to our fridges, these days everything seems to be harvesting and harnessing our data, yet most of us seem to be OK with sacrificing a little privacy as long as there’s some benefit to us.

We allow our data to be sent to advertisers so we can use Facebook.

We allow Fitbit to receive our data so we can keep tabs on how our fitness is progressing.

We allow Google Maps to track our every movement so we can avoid traffic and not get lost.

If we didn’t see the benefit in all these services, we wouldn’t agree to surrender our data so freely.

Of course when taken to the extreme, like in China’s Social Credit System or when it falls into the wrong hands like in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, data collection can look a bit like a dystopian nightmare. But most of the time, all it seems to lead to is extra convenience, improved performance or just highly targeted ads. No harm no foul? In fact, when it comes to advertising, studies in 2016 showed that people actually prefer targeted ads, however more recently a subsequent caveat has been added – it must not be creepy.

This preference for targeted, personalised communications is also behind the trend of brands creating one-to-one ‘Your Year in Review’ emails, digital engagement experiences like Spotify’s 2018 Wrapped or Facebook’s Friendship Anniversary videos.

This softer and more engaging use of data developed further with Spotify’s recent ATL work celebrating worldwide users’ listening habits, and last year’s awesome A Year With Uber wrap up video. Here brands are hoping that you’ll be interested in what everyone has been up to, and most importantly what you personally have been up to.

For example, it’s interesting to know that Amy Shark’s ‘Hi’ was played on Spotify over 24 million times throughout 2018, but it’s far more interesting to you as an individual to learn that your most-played song beat out your second-most-played song by a whopping factor of 5.

These highly-targeted, one-to-one comms are novel in that they’re a win-win for the brand and the consumer. For the consumer, they’re a bit of entertainment mixed in with a bit of flattery – it’s nice to think that Spotify noticed you and what you rocked out to all year – and they’re a retention tool for the brand by creating a stronger emotional connection.  

So when the next Marriott Hotel-esque data scandal hits and the world learns all about your guilty pleasures playlist, at least Spotify made you smile by letting you know just how many times you indulged throughout the year.


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