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How Spotify Used dscout to Scale Their Product Insights

Spotify's product insights team partnered with dscout to make better use of their various data streams, adding voice-of-the-customer insights to refine two critical launches.

Words by Ben Wiedmaier, Visuals by Jarred Kolar

Product Insights Manager Ali Fradin and her team needed to combine and more efficiently leverage multiple user data streams to sharpen two critical product offerings: Only You and Wrapped. Using dscout Recruit and Diary, Ali's team added context and depth, allowing her to better support teams like Brand, Marketing, and Product. Here's how...

The Opportunity

Like any data-rich company, Spotify focuses on quality, not quantity, of insights. Ali Fradin and her team had access to varied streams of data related to two important products but wanted to triangulate and make the best decision—so they leveraged dscout to add contextual data to clarify. Multiple stakeholders were not only consulting these various data streams, but had questions flowing from them. Ali needed a nimble way to add and answer, not distract and dilute.

"Though we had a single learning goal, we still prioritized a mixed methods approach, a survey from research, and product analytics with data science. This enabled us to understand what was happening, by unpacking both behavioral and attitudinal data, the what, and beginning to understand the why. By combining research and data science, we could provide complimentary insights, gain a holistic understanding of the experience, and mitigate blind spots of a single research method."

Ali Fradin
Spotify

More generally, Ali wanted her team involved throughout the product development lifecycle, from pre-launch generative work to concept testing, all the way through post-launch refinement. In this way, the data streams would be more useful to all Spotify teams.

The Approach

Ali combined moderated user interviews for foundational projects and rapid, iterative diary studies for the post-launch refinement work. This offered her team more inputs while still being nimble to react and adapt as needed.

Using dscout Recruit and Diary, Ali captured attitudinal, perceptual, and app-focused usability data for the Only You and Wrapped programs. They started in a single market to get a pulse check, then refined the design and launched in more markets (Brazil, U.S., France, and Japan) to add international scale and insight rigor.

"...dscout, provided the qualitative data or the 'Why?' and it also provided some behavioral and attitudinal data. Because we demonstrated the value of the diary study method on previous projects, we scaled our approach to include three more markets, bringing us to a four market diary study. A few days before Wrapped came out, we launched this diary study on dscout, to observe how listeners are made aware of the experience and how and why they engage with it."

Ali Fradin
Spotify

The iterative approach used with dscout Diary, as well as the multiple time-points of data collection, gave Ali and the team a lot of rich and relevant data to work with. They weaved this "Why?" data from dscout into their existing "What?" and "How?" data to deliver a more robust set of recommendations.

"Through these data streams, we were able to glean quantitative, qualitative, behavioral, and attitudinal data representing nearly every quadrant of the what-why framework and a key piece of the Insights puzzle. To analyze this data, our approach was simple: ensure we stayed focused on the key questions. Instead of thinking of these data streams as totally separate studies, we instead focused on the larger research question."

Ali Fradin
Spotify

The Impact

Ali's team identified three core outcomes from this work. First, adding dscout to existing data streams is best when the core question is kept front-and-center. More isn't always better. Second, partnering with key stakeholders early and often encourages experimentation and ensures alignment on chosen methods. Finally, strive to counterbalance the approaches used: dscout helped add "Why?" to the ample "What?" data the teams had on hand.

"We wanted our learning plan to reflect this cross-disciplinary effort, by bringing all of our stakeholders along for the ride and make them key partners in developing our learning goals. This partnership was a relatively new way of working and it didn't happen overnight. It started small and it grew each year, similar to our insights approach."

Ali Fradin
Spotify

Ben is the product evangelist at dscout, where he spreads the “good news” of contextual research, helps customers understand how to get the most from dscout, and impersonates everyone in the office. He has a doctorate in communication studies from Arizona State University, studying “nonverbal courtship signals”, a.k.a. flirting. No, he doesn’t have dating advice for you.

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