Using Facebook Ads: What I learned promoting music and writing on Facebook

Posted by on February 12, 2017

Over the past few weeks I experimented with using Facebook ads to promote music and writing. I experimented with two campaigns, each running a week: One was for the launch of this blog, the other was regarding a promotion to raise funds for the ACLU through album sales. Both were done through my Facebook page, Cecelia Creates.

Blog Launch Campaign

For this campaign, I used a very specific target market — people who likes my page and their friends. I looked through the demographics of my followers and friends and saw that I already had access to many people who were most likely to need the specific advice here. People like artists, photographers, musicians, writers, and owners of creative small businesses. Also, because marketing blogs are a very saturated market, I felt an ad may be more impactful if there was a mutual friend that already liked my page.

I set a small budget ($10) and the results are in the gallery below. Ultimately I ended up with 7 clicks through to the blog and 2 new page likes. All in all, not bad for an experiment and the cost of a lunch.

ACLU Promotion Campaign

I wasn’t originally intending to run two campaigns, but when Bandcamp, the platform where I host my album “Upward, Onward”, announced they were going to donate all proceeds from sales on Friday, February 3rd to the ACLU, many artists followed suit, myself included. I decided to donate any proceeds from album sales in the month of February to ACLU, and used the opportunity to test another approach to Facebook ads.

This campaign was a little different, in that I was promoting a page post and including a wider demographic audience. I opened it up to people outside my friend-of-friend circle, all ages in the U.S., with specific interests related to my music.

I did get some clicks and post likes, but no new page likes and no conversions (sales). This was definitely a broader approach, and even with the added zeitgeist of being part of the larger fundraising campaign, I didn’t see too many results. Interestingly, the response for both campaigns was a 50/50 split between males and females.

Based on my experience using Facebook ads to promote music or writing, here are four things I learned to keep in mind for your campaigns:

Have a specific call to action

There are three types of communication: interactive, push, and pull. Pull is when someone searches out your website or Facebook page on their own. A push describes most ads — messages sent to people with no guarantee of response or reaction. The goal is to move your ad from push to interactive. You want to encourage the reader to engage with your ad and have a conversation or back-and-forth with your content. By have a specific action for them to take — subscribe, use a coupon, enter a contest — they feel more in control of their relationship with your brand and have a more positive experience.

Be picky about your target audience

A wide audience for your Facebook ad can be tempting. The idea that more people who see your ad, the more that will click isn’t an inherently wrong idea, but ultimately you’re not just looking for clicks. You’re looking for fans, for people who will like what you have to offer and want more. That’s why targeting your Facebook ads appropriately is so important. Take some time and come up with interests or keywords that only describe what you do, but things that your fans may also like. Getting your Facebook ad in front of 100,000 people doesn’t make a difference if they’re the wrong people. It’s okay to be discriminating when setting your target audience.

Use analytics to see the real picture of results

The information Facebook gives you after your campaign is interesting, but it’s not the entire story. It’s important to also understand what people did after they left Facebook. Bandcamp and WordPress both have excellent analytics tools to offer more data and insight into how people reacted to your Facebook ad campaign. For example, using Bandcamp’s data, I found that people who clicked through on the music ad tended to only partially listen to the first song, but those that listened to the second listened to the entire thing. I was surprised by this, given that the first song on my album is pretty short already. In the future, I can use this information to link directly to the more popular song, for example, in an effort to better drive actual sales.

Analyze and adapt for future campaigns

The real trick is learning from each and every campaign. It’s not over once you hit your $10 budget. There is a lot to be gained from the results of a Facebook ad campaign even after it ends. Take some time to study the responses and determine how you can better plan future campaigns. One approach used by marketers is called A/B testing, in which you run two versions of an ad for the same product and see which performs better. You can experiment with different call to action text (ex., Learn More vs. Buy buttons), target audiences, or ad design. The same way you use valuable feedback about your art, you can use the feedback about your ads.

How have you found success with Facebook ad campaigns? Anything in particular that’s worked well for you? Post your experiences and ideas in the comments.

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