The Podcast War

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Interactive Story by Growth.Design


(ep. 2)

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Hey, What's up!
Louis-Xavier here.

This is Episode 2 of Spotify vs. Apple: The podcast War.

if you missed it, Watch episode 1 here...

Let's jump back right where we left off...

use your keyboard arrows ⬅️⌨➡ For smoother navigation!



build growth experiments based on user feedback

avoid retention deal breakers

use the power of the tribe to engage users

this new episode is a bit different... it focuses on concrete tips to build better products and more specifically on how to:


The Busy Person Syndrome

If you're pressed for time. Instead of feeling rushed while trying to enjoy the story, grab all the key insights from the case study right here, and come back for the full story later!

If you're comfortable... Enjoy!

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hmm... new podcasts are available? But I haven't been notified...

looking at "unplayed"...

if I never get notified when there's a new release... it could be a deal breaker! 💔

So... on my way to the airport, i wanted to download podcasts before catching my flight to argentina...

And the brutal truth came knocking on my door...

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Download podcasts for my flight

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On the opposite, apple squeezes more information in one screen, which makes it harder to scan rapidly.

however, they both fail to provide the "add to queue" option...

That's the first action I need to do when I see a new compelling podcast!

in any case, both screens are making it really easy to download the episode. Which is precisely what I need for my flight!

anyhow! Let's download a few now!

Visual Hierarchy

When you have multiple elements on a page, make sure to give extra visual weight to your most important action.

In the Spotify screen, each podcast takes up more space, which makes the information easier to scan.

💎 Pro tip: Apple uses colorful thumbnails and high contrast to make the screen "attractive." However, be careful not to derail the user attention in the process.

clearly, new shows have been released...

oh well! moving on...

I Love the timestamp separators... My brain can easily categorize the information without effort.

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Download podcasts for my flight

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after the usual airport check-in, there was a small delay on the runway...



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Download podcasts for my flight

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This one looks pretty interesting. let's see if I can find it!

back to spotify...

so I jumped on the web to discover the best CX podcasts... A 12 hour flight is long...¯\_(ツ)_/¯

"10 inspiring podcasts..."

that sounds perfect!


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Discover new CX podcasts

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oh, wait... I know the trick now!

hide the keyboard!

is hope on the horizon?

Typing it in...

Again, all results are music focus...

which slowly starts to answer the question: Do Podcasts belong in the music world?

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Discover new CX podcasts

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quickly found it on apple podcast...

but wait... it seems like there's one that could be interesting here... Let's check it out!

The worst is... I'm still surprised.

I've been so used to finding all the music I want in spotify, that not finding my podcasts is kind of shocking...

Negativity Bias

We have a greater recall of the unpleasant over the positive.

Unfortunately, negative experiences largely outweigh positive ones in our minds.

💎 Pro tip: Reducing the number of errors when the user tries your product for the first few times can lead to a significant boost in conversion. 

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Discover new CX podcasts


the ultimate redemption ...?

Not Found...

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hmm... there are no followers?

no rating? or Number of views on each episode?

How do I know this is worth investing my time?

unless they've put it inside those (...)?

on apple's side, shows can have a ton of social proofing that reassures me...

The Power of The tribe

We tend to follow the patterns of others in new or unfamiliar situations.

Social proofing is mandatory in this context. If you want to convince people to take action, make sure to let them know how other people have done it and if they liked it or not.

💎 Pro tip: Ratings and followers are nice, but you can get creative too. What if one of your close friends listens to the same podcast and loves it? Wouldn't you want to know?

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Discover new CX podcasts

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I'm a bit lost honestly... should I start episode 039?

The Top Episode feature in apple is one of the ways to make sure you at least spend time on the best show! don't start a podcast like you would try a new song...

it's a bigger commitment that needs a lot of psych!! and mine is slowly fading away...

Taking off now...  and if you're wondering; I didn't download it... (no offense to Customer Experience leaders)

hmm... That's not enough to convince me to invest 43 minutes of my time... let's go back...

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Discover new CX podcasts

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a few days later... walking to work, my psych is back up!

listening to a great episode of Seeking Wisdom!

hmm... these notes are very minimalist!

then, they refer to another epic show about the mindset of abundance vs. scarcity...

Since I'm walking, I can't really take notes, so I'm hoping to find it quickly in the show notes?

Compare to what Apple is offering.

There's a real opportunity to improve the listener's experience here.

podcasts backlink

If a creator mentions another show, it would be great to have a direct link to that show.

It would increase the discoverability, and creators could, therefore, reach new audiences more efficiently.

Scrolling down...

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Look for a show reference

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but... the algorithm doesn't seem to understand what seeking wisdom is producing...

These look more like life coaching stuff...

The recommendation feature is spotify's core strength...

let's search for the episode they were referring to...

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Look for a show reference

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Apple does a slightly better job, giving you the chance to search within your library.

Next time I'll just take some notes myself!

searching for that seeking wisdom show about abundance & scarcity...

No results for seeking wisdom... if only there was a way to search within a podcast...

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Look for a show reference

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I guess I can do this with the "share" button... ?

Starting a new show...

Great quote from DC, how can I save this?

Imagine if I could have a direct link to the moment I paused!

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Take notes on the go


Good Signifiers = Ease of Use

The goal of a signifier is to illustrate what the object can do before you interact with it.

When designing icons, navigation elements or options, ask yourself this simple question:

  • Could a 10-year old understand what this does before clicking it?

Here, clicking the share button is simply an educated guess from past experiences (Familiarity Bias)!

See Video Example

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hmm... I could do "copy link," but that would be a bit long... let's try "More"?!?

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Take notes on the go

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Nice! There you go!

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Take notes on the go

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Let's find a home for this great wisdom...

Adjust deep- linking...

hmm... There's a link here... but I'm not really sure what it is...

I know that's Apple... but "save" on the top right? shouldn't they just swap with the bottom menu...

 1) choose where you want to save it 2) write 3) save, all in order!... Anyhow that's out of scope ;)

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Take notes on the go

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Thanks DC!

Let's save!

Talk to your users every week

The truth is always outside of the building. Spreadsheets don't question your decisions, but people do.

- David Cancel #Drift

in short, don't get disconnected from the people who actually use your product.

You have to get out and talk to people to really understand what the DATA really means...

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Take notes on the go


after creating a new note...

hmm... that's meta, but what David Cancel (CEO @ DRIFT) just shared on the podcast is too good not to share it with you...

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my notes with Apple look a lot sharper compared to Spotify's repeated gray blocks.

still no timestamp though...

This brings me to an interesting experiment...

unfortunately, I can't review it... that will be one of the key upcoming takeaways...

Create An Investment Loop

Adding notes directly in Spotify could be a great way to understand which podcasts are more engaging and promote those podcasts to increase chances of retention. (assuming podcast listeners take notes... !)

That will create new opportunities to re-engage listeners in creative ways, e.g., send users notes they took a while back, share notes with friends, engage in conversations.

oh, david cancel just asked for a 6 ⭐️ review...

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Take notes on the go


after I took a few notes, I looked at how apple was doing it...

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Now the recap from the full journey plus the key takeaways...

finally... A couple of weeks later, a few changes appeared in the interface, but they're only scratching the surface!

A Brand new category, "Your top podcasts," just showed up in the home screen!

it's a start! except it's really a summary of what I'm already listening too... 

I'm still waiting for that Core discovery engine to suggest new podcasts!

imagine if they made lists like "Podcasts Made for you" or "popular podcasts."


That's how Spotify will slowly make the switch from a music company to an audio first company!

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Slow evolution & customer journey map
















I understood why I hadn't used Spotify's podcasts... when I realized they weren't sending notifications for new podcasts.

The mechanics of downloading podcasts for my flight was straightforward, except...

it was hard to commit to any new discovery because of the absence of social proofing.

Then, recommendations which are the core business of Spotify seemed to be a bit off...

Taking notes was a bit easier than I thought it would be! however, there are still low hanging fruits to make it better!

but... Apple still wins!

...for now!

First, DG's tweet about an exclusive podcast got me into Spotify. I was really excited!

A small missed opportunity at the end of the podcast where I could have rated it or get a recommendation.

nonetheless a solid overall listening experience.

Finding out that I had followed other podcasts before... Clearly, the retention didn't work then!

Can't seem to find any podcast that I want to listen to... I got a bit unlucky, but my psych took a big hit here...



Finally, a few changes to the home screen reassured me that their algorithm will slowly find the balance between music and other audio formats including; audiobooks, meditations, courses, etc. 

want to know when the next story will be released?

The Full journey - Ep. 1 & 2

Recap -Episode 1

Episode 2

Our Philosophy

We know that...

  • The organizations that we review in our case studies have time and resources constraints.

  • These organizations do their best to provide great experiences to their customers.

  • No product or services will ever be "perfect" nor "finished".

  • Some of our observations may be elements that the organization already tested, and maybe they already made the conscious decisions not to take action due to many factors. We genuinely respect that.


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