Using Facebook Ads To Promote Your Music: A Guide

With over 2 billion active monthly users on Facebook and affordable advertising that allows you to set your own budget with full control of targeting, Facebook Ads Manager is the perfect platform to define & reach your audience, and to bring in new fans.

First things first: how do Facebook ads work?

Put simply, Facebook ads work by using your set budget to place your content in front of people on the platform. There are various factors that affect how ads perform, cost, and optimize, such as bidding (how much you are willing to spend for someone to take an action), your objective (page likes, website traffic, purchases, video views, etc) and competition. Facebook ads are priced on an auction system where ads compete to be shown to users. Specifically, if you are targeting the same group of people that other advertisers are targeting, it’s going to drive up the cost of the ad because you are competing for ad space on the same people’s feeds. So - the first stop in your journey should be learning the basics straight from the source - check out this guide by Facebook, here.

Already know the basics, and just curious what strategies & specifics to deploy in using Facebook ads to promote your music? Read on.

How do I use Facebook ads as a musician?

Facebook ads are a great tool for artists and it all starts with one question: what is your goal? Do you want more followers on your artist page, are you promoting a live stream, music video, or merch sales? Do you have a new single/album coming out and you want to drive more visitors to the fan link? Your goal will determine your campaign objective. And remember: these aren’t mutually exclusive. You can run separate campaigns with all these objectives at once.

Step One: Define your promotional objectives.

Assuming you have Facebook ads manager setup (if not, take a quick pit stop here), once you go to create a campaign you will see a label that says “Campaign Objective” with an option to choose what objective you want. Some of these options are self-explanatory such as “Page Likes”, or “Video Views”; you are running a campaign with the objective to get more page likes or more views on the video you are promoting. Some commonly used objectives for artists is “Traffic” and “Conversions”. You would use these objectives to drive people to a specific destination off of Facebook, such as your Spotify account, fan link, or website. If you familiarize yourself with pixels (a little code you can install on your website, fan link, or elsewhere, that tracks users as they visit the page and take an action), you can opt for “Conversions”. Choosing a “Conversions” campaign allows Facebook to show your ad in front of people who are likely to convert. In other words, people who take an action past clicking on the ad. Take time to look at the different campaign objectives, read what each of their purpose is, and what best applies to your goal.

Step Two: Determine your strategy for ad placement.

Once you’ve decided what campaign objective you want to run, you need to think about the placement & targeting. Placement = where the ad will show up. You can have the ad run on both Facebook and Instagram or one over the other. Furthermore, you can choose to place it on feeds, stories, or other places within the Facebook/Instagram network. You should be thinking about where your audience interacts on these platforms and what type of creative you want to use. Use this guide to determine what spec sizes you will need based on your placement.

Step Three: Figure out who you’ll target with your promotion.

So, for more reasons than one, it’s important next to figure out who you’re going to target. Let’s say your band plays Alternative Rock. There are over 2 billion users on Facebook globally, so don’t bother spending money to blindly reach anyone on the platform. They are not all Alternative Rock fans, so you will spend money to put the ad in front of people that may not even like your style of music. Instead, you can narrow the targeting down to individuals who are likely to be fans.

First, you can target your Facebook ads by demographics.

Perhaps you want to reach certain parts of the country, or you want to expand globally. You can choose the locations of where your ads appear. You can choose all sorts of demographics including gender, profession, field of study, and you can also choose age ranges between 13-65+. If you’re a teen pop artist placing ads on Instagram stories, you would want to narrow down your audience to a more likely fan base of a younger demographic, and cut out the older folks. Conversely, an act whose fan base skews older may obviously want to cut out a young demographic from the targeting. It’s also important to recognize that none of these targeting metrics are set in stone; you can always edit campaigns as they run to try new strategies, or you can try A/B testing to test the better performing targeted audience.

Second, you can use detailed interest targeting.

You can target people based on various interests including certain genres of music, festivals, similar bands, and much more. In this case, you could target “Alternative Rock”. Facebook will then show your ad to its users who have demonstrated an interest in this keyword. You can also target similar artists to yourself such as The Killers or Catfish and the Bottlemen. Your ad will be presented to people who have shown interest in these bands. Don’t be afraid to stray away from direct genre and artist interests too. You could target radio stations, or festivals like Warped Tour, or media publications like Pitchfork. Think outside of music for overlapped interests in your audience. Maybe your band is heavy in skateboard culture. That could be another interest target. Get creative and test out different detailed targeting.

Finally, mix and match for super targeted results.

To get more advanced you can go to the “audiences” page on your ad account to create specific audiences to target. For instance, you can target people who have viewed your videos, follow your social pages, have visited your website, or have engaged with your posts before. Have an email list? Get them into a spreadsheet and import that as an audience to target. You can also create lookalike-audiences where Facebook will find similar people to the custom audiences you’ve made. For example, let’s say you create a custom audience of people who follow your page, you can then create a lookalike audience from that group of people where Facebook pulls data of  users who are similar to the people who already follow you. In other words, Facebook is putting an audience together of potential fans for you.

Step Four: Setup creatives for your ads.

Lastly, you will create the ad. You can import videos or images (tip: videos tend to get more engagement than images) into the Facebook Ad Platform. You can also edit, crop, and even turn images to videos within the ad set up. 

It’s important to have great, inventive, and hopefully disruptive creatives. We live in a world of high volume content. There is so much already on people’s news feeds. What you put in front of them needs to stop them from scrolling. Without good creatives it doesn’t matter how good your targeting is. The ad just won’t perform well. If you’re looking for a little more in-depth advice on what makes good content, try our blog on social media content creation for musicians.

You can also test creatives, just like audiences, to see what type of ads work best. Add different creatives to an ad set and Facebook will optimize the better performing ad. You can also run A/B testing. See how different creatives perform over a given amount of time. If one ad does significantly better than the other, then it might make sense to turn the underperforming ad off and transfer the rest of the budget toward the better ad creative.

What now? Analyze, Optimize, Repeat.

Ahhh now that the campaign is published you can kick back and relax, right? Nope! For best optimization, and spending efficiency, you should be monitoring it. Analyze how it’s spending. Look at how much you’ve spent compared to results you’ve received. Depending on the campaign objective, different metrics will be used to measure its success, but ultimately you want to be looking at the cost per result. Are you happy with the results you’re getting based on how much you’ve spent to acquire that?

You should be analyzing the campaigns for data, but also as they spend to see if anything needs to be adjusted. Who’s engaging with the ad and where? What are the better performing ad sets or creatives? Possibly the budget needs to be shifted to higher engaging ad sets. If its running poorly, maybe your targeting needs to be adjusted. Is it hitting the right people, is it too broad or narrow? Maybe the creative isn’t capturing people’s attention enough or simply the placement you chose isn’t the best option. Finally, start new strategies every so often, roll in new ads, new targeting, new creative - consistently work at the craft of advertising and you will see improvement.

A lot of figuring this out is going to be trial and error. Experiment to find out what doesn’t work and what does. It may seem like a lot at first, but we promise - writing songs is harder. You got this.

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