One Size Does Not Fit All: Social Media Advertising Across the Major Platforms
When it comes to social media marketing, there are many platforms out there in an ever-growing landscape. It’s important to diversify advertising in your marketing mix, but also understanding each of the platforms can help you allocate to those that are best suited for your needs. Here we breakdown the major platforms for marketing your music and where to best implement your social media ads.
Let’s start with the big one. Facebook is the largest social platform with around 2.7 billion monthly users. Stories alone has 300 million active daily users. Facebook also has the second highest number of visit frequency to total users ratio, second only to TikTok. Meaning, people that do use Facebook tend to use it a lot.
Social Platform Monthly Active Users
When looking across the social media platforms, you can’t ignore the massive size of Facebook and the frequent use of it. Facebook has become paramount to advertising music because of the sheer reach, popularity, and its detailed ads platform.
Facebook has an incredible ads manager with highly in-depth targeting. Between the targeting, audience building capabilities and analytics, it is unparalleled in terms of finding and reaching your detailed targeted demographic. On Snapchat you can target “Country Music”, but on Facebook you can also target specific country music artists, publications, organizations and other interests that might relate to your fanbase. Facebook even provides you suggestions based on what you’ve inputed.
On top of its comprehensive ads manager system, Facebook offers a great variety of campaigns, to boot. Because of that, it can work as a multi-purpose tool, promoting various types of creative such as video, images, carousel images, and more. You can also create a wide range of ads that lead to page likes, traffic, views, conversions, or even lead forms, or messenger ads. It has a large network of placements you can utilize like Feed, Stories, Marketplace, Messenger, etc. Not to mention Instagram is within the Facebook network and can be placed through Facebook Ads Manager as well. In other words, Facebook has everything you need.
For a more detailed breakdown on the best ways to use Facebook ads in promoting music, check out my previous blog on that topic here.
Takeaway: The OG of social advertising, Facebook ads platform will give you the most bang for your buck due to its in-depth targeting and ability to target almost endless combinations of content types, placements and desired actions.
Since Instagram is part of Facebook (for now at least), it makes it easy to place advertisements through Facebook Ads Manager. However, Instagram acts differently in terms of demographics, content, and engagement. For starters, Instagram has a much stronger young audience and a weaker older audience. 72% of teenagers use Instagram.
Most Used Platforms By Age
Looking at the data above you can see that Instagram is the top platform for teenagers besides YouTube. Instagram is a must if you’re looking to engage with a younger audience.
Instagram stories alone is massive. It surpasses Facebook Stories, at 500 million active users daily. If you’re looking to promote your music through a short video story, and you want to connect with the younger age groups. Instagram stories is a placement you need to be using.
Instagram also has the highest engagement and brand loyalty than other platforms. The majority of Instagram users follow their favorite brands, and engage with those brands at a much higher rate than the other platforms. Making Instagram one of the leading apps for you to foster the community and fan base you’re building.
Takeaway: With its ease of use and connection to Facebook Ads Manager, Instagram is a great entry-level ads platform. It is also a must if you’re looking to engage with a younger audience, with 72% of teenagers on the platform. And - it has higher engagement and brand loyalty than any other platform.
You also might have a better chance with ads actually being viewed as Twitter users spend 26% more time viewing ads on Twitter than any other major social media platform.
Twitter content is great for sharing news. If you have a live stream, album release, a show going on sale, etc; Twitter is a great platform to share this news.
When it comes to running ads, one of my favorite aspects is that Twitter allows you to target keywords and hashtags. Not only are you able to highly target a niche, but it also allows for you to reach potentially in-market customers in real time. Something Facebook & Instagram doesn’t do.
Takeaway: Twitter is a great platform to reach a millennial audience that spends more time actually viewing ads. Also, you can target hashtags here - something you can’t do on Facebook or Instagram - which allows for super targeted niche advertising.
Since its birth in 2018, TikTok has seen a meteoric rise and seemingly everyone is seizing the opportunity. There are now 800 million active users and it has grown exponentially fast. It has a growing user base across all ages, and while lately more Millennials (especially younger ones) have been jumping on board, there’s no denying its a heavy Gen Z app.
Percentage of TikTok Users by Age Group
More than half of TikTok users are under the age of 30, where the majority of users are actually teenagers, and early 20 something year olds.
TikTok is comprised of short videos usually consisting of dancing, music, lip syncing, and comedic material - making it an amazing harbor for the entertainment and music industry to thrive. TikTok has the potential to make songs go viral such as the infamous Dreams skateboard video which led to the song being streamed 36 million times in the two weeks after the video. It was the first time the song landed on the charts since its original release, 43 years earlier. All because of a TikTok video.
TikTok has also been an incredible way for advertisers to get creative. It’s the perfect app to show authenticity and appeal to users natively. Don’t approach the app with "branded” ads. Be cooler than that. Show your fun side and be genuine. (If you’re looking for some ideas - we’ve got you.)
Admittedly, however, the ads platform has some catching up to do, especially when it comes to detailed targeting. You can narrow by country & age groups, but the interest targeting is still fairly vague especially when compared to Facebook/Instagram. However, if you have great content that fits well with the TikTok environment, you can see ads reach a ton of people and achieve excellent results.
Takeaway: The fastest growing social platform with a nascent ads manager, this tool can have astounding reach, but be ready to come with a creative and natural-feeling content strategy, since this mostly Gen Z user base does not take kindly to ads that feel, well... like ads.
Snapchat is heavily driven on quick, short, content for all of us short attention span folks. It could be a photo or video that is previewed for a short amount of time, but users are able to draw or add text on top of it. Snaps are meant to be personal.
Like Instagram & TikTok, Snapchat leans towards a younger demographic — 69% of teens and 62% of people age 18-29 are on the platform. It’s a hyper engaged platform where the brand followers get the majority of their snaps viewed. Your content also won’t get lost because it sits there until its opened by the follower.
Similar to TikTok, Snapchat ads offer a chance to be fun & unique to grab attention. It’s a chance to show that you’re a real human being, not some faceless branded promotional robot. Snapchat is also a great opportunity to show the behind the scenes. Show them what it’s like to be in the recording studio or backstage. Your fans will love to see the real you and whats behind the curtain.
Snapchat ad targeting isn’t as detailed as some of the other platforms, but there is opportunity to implement pixel tracking and retargeting. Another cool feature is Geofilters. For a small fee you can create Geofilters that your fans can apply to their Snaps when they’re in a specific area, such as at your concert. It’s a great ripple effect when your fans are sending snaps of a fun night out to all of their friends, all the while with your branded Geofilter stamped right on it.
Takeaway: Snapchat also leans towards a younger demo and similar to TikTok, the more personal and unpolished the ad content, the better it will perform. Targeting isn’t as detailed as Facebook or Instagram, but there are unique features like Geofilters available.
YouTube’s reach is enormous. There are over 2 billion users. It’s the 2nd largest search engine behind Google. And because YouTube is owned by Google and uses the Google Ads Manager platform, it has a phenomenally advanced system with precise targeting.
You can target certain audiences like “Pop Music Fans,” but you can also place your ads on specific videos and channels as well as keywords. Say your sound or targeted audience is similar to Billie Eilish. You can place your ads directly on her YouTube channel and videos. You can also target keywords such as “Billie Eilish” so your ads are placed in front of those that search the term in YouTube.
For musicians using YouTube, in-stream & discovery ads are great choices for promoting your channel & music videos. You have other options like running banner ads and traffic campaigns as well. Unlike the native look on TikTok & Snapchat, you want to have high quality, well produced and polished videos on YouTube.
Percentage of People in Urban vs. Rural Areas that are Users of Each Platform
Another interesting note about YouTube - it’s amongst the highest usage of people living in rural areas (compared to urban), along with Facebook. This might be important, for example, if you’re a country music artist who might appeal to a rural demographic and style of living. You might consider allocating more of your advertising spends towards Facebook & YouTube. That’s not to say you don’t have fans or rural demographics on other platforms, but you’re going to have a larger pool and stronger community within YouTube and Facebook, and therefore should spend more time and energy capturing those fans on those platforms.
For a deeper dive on running YouTube ads, check out our other blog, here.
Takeaway: With the power of Google behind it, YouTube’s reach is massive and the targeting options are incredibly precise. It’s also the second highest used platform of rural areas, compared to other platforms. But no matter who your audience is, with the right targeting you’re likely to find a large pool of users on YouTube.
All statistics aside, the best way to find out what works for you is to experiment. You should try out each platform at least once, to see how your content and brand resonate with different audiences, and we hope that this guide serves as a jumping off point and baseline for understanding what each platform offers. We can say confidently that if you’re trying to reach an older, or rural audience, you should invest more in Facebook. If you’re interested in a younger demographic, try TikTok, Instagram & Snapchat. But, maybe you’re somewhere in the middle. The only way to figure out where your content will make the most impact is to keep experimenting. And the great news is - all of these platforms have cheap, self-service, set-your-own-budget campaigns that you don’t need a huge budget to do it.