From time to time I run little Ad-campaigns on Facebook and Twitter to grow my online-following and the interest in my music. If you are new to this blog you have to know, that I am an independent artists, not supported by a label, so I have to think twice, where I invest my hard-earned money. During the last campaign I noticed fundamental differences to the previous campaigns and I want to share my new knowledge in this article.
Since a few years I use occasionally Facebook-Ads to promote new songs or albums and sometimes also Twitter-Ads. I invest just little amounts between 30$ and 50$ per campaign and I never use recurring payments, so all campaigns are set with a lifetime-budget. The striking think about both, the Facebook and the Twitter-Ads, is the attracting possibility to address your music to a very specific audience, which can be targeted with the inclusion and exclusion of interests and behaviors. Let’s say you want to reach all female people from the age of twenty up to thirty , who live in New Zealand and are interested in Ed Sheeran and Strawberry-Icecream, the Facebook and Twitter interface enables you to reach your desired audience.
From my experiences a little unknown artists like me can hardly benefit from that. That’s the brutal truth. Let me explain why:
Motivated by the breathtaking targeting-options I have set up many campaigns for my own music. For an example, when I had published a song with lyrics of Edgar Allan Poe I created Ads, which targeted people interested in “Edgar Allan Poe” and “Progressive Rock”, my previous genre. Sometimes I also combined “Progressive Rock” with a similar band like “Gentle Giant” to catch fans of the similar well-known band. Because I still believed in selling CDs I narrowed my audience down to countries, where I thought would the people live, who can afford a CD: Europe, North-America, Japan. But the results were pretty lame and discouraging.
The success of an Advertising-campaign on both platforms, Facebook and Twitter, is measured by two numbers: Actions and the resulting Cost-per-Click-ratio. Both results can easily be studied and analyzed with the impressing statistics delivered by both companies. The more people respond to your advertisement, the better will be your cost-per-click ratio, because every action generates unpaid actions and views. So if you look on my “Quick promote”-Ad on Twitter for ten bucks you can easily observe, that it generated zero actions, just an amount of 5955 impressions.
Another Advertisement on Facebook generated slightly better results. With the investment of fifty dollars I could convince 209 people to click on the link to my bandcamp-page. I can tell you, that you can double-check the traffic with the statistics on bandcamp, so Facebook really delivers, what they promise. However nobody of the 209 unknowns was converted to a customer and bought the track.
Keep in mind, that I tried to direct people to Bandcamp to listen there to my song and to buy it. So people were forced to do up to four actions before they would be at the end of the chain:
- Click on the link of the advertisment
- Listen to the song on Bandcamp
- Probably creating an account on bandcamp
- Purchasing the song
So maybe I expected too much from the audience. Especially because the audience should be motivated by the outlook to listen to an unknown song by an emerging artist. I got much better results promoting Youtube-videos. Though the combination of LEGO, an afro-american poem and Progressive Rock can be called weird I reached a lot of people with the following advertisement.
Of course the interest “Lego” can reach a wider audience and generates more traffic than “Stephen Crane” (an old american poet), which I used for the Twitter-Ad above. I also suspect, that the expectation to watch immediately a video after the click is more engaging than a bandcamp-link.
For my latest campaign I changed my approach a bit and made some interesting observations. Because I don’t believe so much in selling CDs or downloads anymore I widened my audience to less financially strong countries. Meanwhile I have changed my style towards metal and countries like Brazil and Mexico have a long tradition as passionate Metal-audiences.
I offered a free download for an Email-address. Additionally I offered not just an unknown own song, but a well-known song of a famous band. With this combination I could achieve one of the best results since I started with Online-advertisement. On Twitter I reached a cost-per-click ratio of 0.03 Euro. That’s a worthy investment, isn’t it?
The same happened on Facebook. Countless people clicked on my Link, and some even liked and shared it.
I would call this an effective advertisement. The results correlate almost with my statistics on bandcamp within the same time-period. But out of 510 listeners just 65 listened to the song completely. And just eight people out of 65 were so impressed, that they downloaded the song and left their Email.
At last I got something countable back from an advertisement: Eight unique Email-adresses, which I can add to my mailing-list.
If those eight people are so engaged, that they leave their Email-addresses, the thirty dollars, which I have spend, are worth it in my opinion. I can just guess, how many ads and how much money would be necessary to get eight Emails with an own song through advertising. Certainly more than I am willing to spend. At this point I have to confess, that I was always bad in mathematics in school, but I just ignore my weakness and dare to calculate using the results of the Metallica-Promotion:
You see each Email costs almost four euro. So leaning a bit backward in my producer’s chair I realize, that this bargain is not as good as I thought before, slightly impressed by the big numbers I could generate online. I go on with the calculations:
To get one hundred Emails of potential fans I had to invest 375 Euro. Now I am warmed up:
For 100 Email-Adresses I had to reach 174987 people, of which 6562 had to click on the link. Impressive, right? And this calculation is based on a cover of a famous band. I start to understand, why some companies are buying Email-adresses directly.
What I have learned from my Advertisement adventure so far:
- Promoting own songs is not worth it
- If ever try to promote an own video, not a song
- Covers of famous songs seem to be a good way to drive people to your music
- Don’t narrow your audience down to the obvious countries
- Include countries with big populations
- Try to combine own themes with big brands like “Lego”