Mobile App Success Story: Shazam

Happy New Year! It’s party time! And what is the best tool for enjoying special moments with your friends? A music app. Well, better saying, a smart music app which identifies various sounds and helps you to access those songs. How fun is that? We were talking about Shazam as you probably guessed and we are about to discover the most efficient marketing techniques which made Shazam one of the best apps in the app stores.

Brilliant Idea

The story of Shazam starts long ago, in 2002 even before the launch of Apple App Store. An impressive feature for that time allowed users to dial “2580” for receiving a SMS message with the name of the artist and the song title recognized by Shazam. Obviously, after a few years the app was available on both app markets and since 2011, Shazam has the power to reveal shows and other important data from TV. During this period the app continued to grow and attracted many investors with its innovative technology. Last month (December, 2017!) Apple bought the company behind Shazam because “Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit”. Everybody is eager to discover Apple’s future plans with the app. But until then let’s understand the marketing efforts invested in Shazam to attract more than 1 billion people.

How Shazam Did It?

We mentioned Shazam several times before in our articles and there is no doubt that the app provides many valuable lessons when it comes to build and to promote an app. For this reason we gathered here some marketing techniques that influenced Shazam’s evolution. Let’s check them together!

Machine Learning

Even though many would say that it is magic behind Shazam, we must admit that there is a scientific explanation for everything especially in mobile ecosystem. Machine learning allowed Shazam to improve its results based on an initial database of more than a million tracks. This behavior has to do with the way customers use the app. In fact, Tim O’Brien talks about how a playlist is influenced by user’s personality. If you want a detailed description of the algorithm that makes Shazam an amazing tool, we invite you to read the document published by Avery Wang, Shazam’s co – founder. Probably there are just a few people who understand that data since it is a very complicated process but this makes Shazam so special, right?

Partnership With Important Brands

Shazam doesn’t compete with other music channels. Instead it integrates the best environment for allowing users to continue their music experience. They can watch YouTube videos, enhance their Apple Music and Spotify playlists or to open Pandora according to the songs Shazamed. Moreover users can share their emotions on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Whatsapp, etc.  An impressive list with great companies from many domains, not only music industry created some amazing products which improved the way people interact with music. FOX, Disney, Fanta, Coca Cola, ESPN are only a few of the big names that built outstanding strategies with Shazam. And the list can go on and on. Talking about technology, we will leave here an example of an impressive AR campaign built in collaboration with MARS. So, chocolate lovers, what do you think?

Great Channel For Artists

Over the years, Shazam became the go – to service for people who want to discover the author of a song they liked but also for artists to connect with their fans. Their track pages and artist page complete their strategy to build a strong relationship with their followers. Not to mention that Shazam inspire users with other content that match their preferences. Assuming that you are a singer, maybe you have some important news you want to share with the people who like your music. Well, Shazam is able to create the right atmosphere for announcing your novelties.

Data is The Key

We all know Shazam as an audio recognition app, but recently visual recognition features improved the way people interact with the app. For this reason, Shazam gathers a huge amount of data and is able to engage users according to their interests. This fact allowed Shazam owners to target customers with Facebook ads on Audience Network which increased their revenue attribution with 37%. The format chosen for this strategy was native ads and after deciding on the suitable borders, colors and fonts it was time to figure out the right placement for the ads. It seems that displaying promotional content in the music track results page provided the wanted results without interfering with user experience. Indeed, finding the optimal characteristics that will influence the way users receive your ads is crucial for the success of a campaign.

Bonus Tip: Keep Your Promises

The main mystery behind Shazam is how its owners managed to keep the app in top even after all these years. We believe that the answer is hidden in the core function of the app. The secret of Shazam’s success is that the app continues to complete without problems its initial goal. Why people download Shazam? Because it helps them to recognize the music around them! That is the reason why users trusted this service almost 16 years ago and why Shazam became a verb during this time. Additionally to its interactive tools and amazing interface customers love the way Shazam helps them to make their lives more interesting. No matter how many improvements you add to your app don’t forget to keep it simple because it is vital to allow users to enjoy its main feature.

Final Thoughts

So, how many apps have a 4.9 overall star rating after 10 years on the Apple App Store? Definitely not many, but Shazam won its place in users’ hearts due to the impression created that technology can be simple and it can effortlessly provide multiple advantages for a great experience. The truth is that a more complex system was hidden behind its intuitive interface. Just like a magical illusion for smartphones!

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