Facebook and Instagram ads for musicians are excellent tools for promoting new releases, reaching a wider audience, and gaining followers. In this guide, you will learn how to set up an ad campaign on the Facebook Ads Manager and what to consider before you start.
Considerations before starting with Facebook and Instagram Ads
Before you start a new campaign with Facebook or Instagram Ads, it is vital to think about your goals. While promoting a new single, video or album might be the first thing you think of, there are many different goals for a Facebook ads campaign. Ask yourself some of these questions, if you have trouble defining your campaign goals:
Are you just getting started with releasing your first single or EP and looking for ways to promote it? Are you planning a tour and want to promote the concerts in the cities you booked? Do you want to increase your reach and find more people who are like your fans and followers? Do you want to increase interaction from followers with your social media posts? Is there a new merch item or do you have a sale on your merch store going on? Then…
What kind of campaign do you need?
If you are about to release your first single or EP, finding the people online who like your music enough so that they will become followers on social media and eventually fans who eagerly wait for your next release is the hardest part. To get them to listen to your music, you need a campaign that directly leads to a landing page that in turn leads to all the music streaming services. To get them to watch your video, you best have a small clip from it to tease and create interest. To get people to buy tickets to a concert, a clip from previous concerts might be best to generate interest. So the type of campaign, type of ad, and type of target audience highly depend on what you want to achieve.
After a couple of ad campaigns, you will start to get a grasp on who your target audience is and the number of followers and fans will hopefully have increased. Then the goal of a campaign might not be to grow the number of your followers but to get your followers to become newsletter subscribers. Getting people to subscribe to your newsletter is the most direct and successful way to interact with fans and get them to listen to your music, buy merch and come to shows.
To boil it down, ask yourself the what, who, how, how much, and how long, before creating a campaign on Facebook Ads Manager.
What do you want to achieve with this campaign, what is your goal?
- Followers: Increasing the number of people who follow your social media profile.
- Fans: Turning followers into fans. They engage with you on social media, they eagerly await every release and repost it.
- New release: A new single, album, or music video is about to be released and you want to reach the maximum amount of people.
- Tour: You want your fans and people in the cities in which you tour to buy tickets.
Who do you want to reach? Think about who your target audience is.
- Target audience: if you are just getting started, try to run with broader target audiences to find out who responds to your music. Later on, use all the data you have to narrow it down.
- Consider similar artists: how they present themselves on social media to their fans. Also try to find out, what else their fans listen to.
How: What kind of ad do you want to create?
- Image: A simple image or flyer is the most non-intrusive ad. In some campaigns, that can be a good thing, in others, it might not be attention-grabbing enough. For just raising awareness about a new release it can be enough.
- Call-to-action: If you want to achieve conversions, as in the people you target with your campaign not only see an ad but click on it, then click on the website that has opened, and then either buy something or sign-up for a newsletter, how do you achieve that? Think of ways to create an inviting graphic or monetary incentives like a sale or a discount code. Consider other conversions and what kind of call-to-action you need.
- Video ad: Videos, both short and long, are the most attention-grabbing ads. They are also the most expensive ones to produce. If you create a video ad, think about the goal you want to achieve. For example, increase the number of people who follow you on music streaming services or get people to buy tickets for a tour.
How much: What is the budget for your campaign? Think about ways you recoup your budget through merchandise or ticket sales or increased streaming numbers.
How long: Is this a short campaign about an upcoming release or a longer-running one where you continually target new audiences to increase your followers? Both have their merit, depending on where you are in your career and what goal you want to achieve.
Your first ad on Facebook - Boosting posts
No matter where you want to run the campaign, Facebook or Instagram, it is always created in Facebook Ads Manager (FAM). Even if you have never run a campaign, you might have already interacted with it on your posts on your artist profile. Whenever Facebook offers to boost the reach of a post, Facebook Ads Manager is working in the background.
To get your feet wet in running a campaign, it might make sense to test the waters by boosting a post. Boosting a post increases its reach and, given that you pay a flat one-time fee, this way to start learning the ins and outs of running a campaign without breaking the bank.
You can even add a button on the post by boosting it. Depending on what your goal is, clicking “Book now” or “Sign up” can directly lead your target audience to a dedicated landing page.
Then you set the duration and the budget. Underneath that, Facebook Ads Manager will instantly present you with the estimated number of additional followers you will reach with the set budget. If this number seems too high or low, you can adapt your budget until you see the desired number of people displayed.
Ads on Instagram vs Ads on Facebook: Best practices
Even if you want to only run a campaign on Instagram, you still set it up through Facebook Ads Manager. You simply select Instagram as the only place where you want your ad to run under “Placements” (see below). Everything else works exactly the same as the setup on FAM.
Note that effective ad campaigns on all social media platforms undergo constant changes as Meta, Facebook’s and Instagram’s parent company, often drastically changes options in FAM but also changes how its algorithms work. So what we recommend here today, might work in a slightly different manner in a couple of months.
When it comes to the right ad format and the best practices for both Facebook and Instagram, some aspects differ between the two. With Facebook’s bigger user base, the sheer number of people you can reach is much higher. Also, if you want to use a longer video as an ad, Facebook is the platform to choose since Instagram only allows video ads up to sixty seconds. Generally speaking, running campaigns on Facebook mainly makes sense if you are starting out or just want to raise awareness of your music or band.
To raise awareness is to catch attention. Although you could just link to your music on a landing page with all the streaming services listed, an attention-grabbing image, flyer, or video ad will increase the likelihood of people clicking a link or liking your page. Videos are the most effective ads, so when it comes to promoting your latest single, you could use the music video effectively as a long video ad. Those who respond to your song or video, will surely like your public profile or follow you on a music streaming service!
When it comes to actual engagement such as liking and commenting on posts and sharing snippets and screenshots of posts, Instagram has proven to be much more effective in recent years. Keep that in mind when creating an ad. It might make sense to run create to separate ads in an Ads Set (see below), one for Facebook and one for Instagram. Also, the specifications for image and video size are much stricter for Instagram.
Given the higher engagement, conversion campaigns (those that require people to actually click on the ad, then click on the website and do something like buy a ticket or sign-up for a newsletter) tend to work better on Instagram. There are many different places within Instagram where you can place your ad. Story ads, Feed ads, video story ads, or video feed ads - there is no one-ad-fits-all for any campaign here. As Instagram is a much more visual platform than Facebook, consider every visual aspect of your ad’s image or video in relation to your artwork in much greater detail.
Installing Facebook/Meta Pixel: Tracking your audience
In order for Facebook to successfully track your target audience, you need to install the so-called Meta Pixel (the name changed to Meta Pixel recently, but many tutorials still refer to it as Facebook Pixel) on your website. Through this, Facebook can determine if a user who clicked on an ad on Facebook or Instagram actually went through and bought something in your shop or sign-up for a newsletter. Through acquiring this data, FAM also adapts the target audience of your campaign and targets more of those it tracked as successful conversions.
Note that due to recent changes starting with iOS 14 that introduced deeply integrated ad-blocking measures this tracking has become significantly less accurate. Also, through the increase of data protective measures such as the GDPR, it is necessary to keep up with changes FAM might include to remedy these laws.
Until a new alternative is presented by Meta, this still remains the best option to track users. Depending on what content management system (CMS) you have built your website on, the process of including the Meta Pixel varies. Either your CMS like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace offers a direct path to include it or you need to insert a couple of lines of code into your website’s backend.
To set up a Meta Pixel, you first go to the Events Manager. Then click on “Connect Data” and select “Web” in the pop-up window. Then click on “Connect”. In the next window, choose a name (like “PixelForMyBand” for example) and click “Create Pixel”. On the next page, you enter the URL of the website (merch shop, ticket shop, or your website). Depending on the CMS and the host, you will then either be directed to a site where you can set up the integration directly or you will be presented with the code that you have to enter into the header of your website in order to install Meta Pixel.
Creating your first campaign on Facebook Ads Manager
In many ways, Facebook Ads Manager offers you more creative freedom and more control than simply boosting your posts. The setup is hierarchical. You start with creating a campaign. In that, you set your objectives, your overall budget, and the duration. Then you create an “Ad Set”, which determines your target audience. That means that you can have multiple “Ad Sets” in one campaign for running your ad for different target audiences. Within the “Ad Set”, you create the actual ad. That can be a picture, a link, a previous post, or a slide show.
You can also create multiple ads within an “Ad Set”. This way you can run two different ads, a video, and an image, for example, and through the data FAM collects, you can see which one performs better.
Create a Facebook or Instagram Ad Campaign
The steps towards creating a campaign for a Facebook or Instagram are as follows:
The first thing you have to select is the goal of the campaign. FAM offers you eleven goals in three categories. “Awareness”, “Consideration” and “Conversion”.
“Awareness”: These ads are just shown to your target audience and there is no required interaction. If you want to increase awareness about your artist profile, your new song, or want to tease upcoming releases, this category fits best. This is the cheapest option, but also the one that creates the least interaction.
“Consideration”. If you want people to click on a link to your new music video, pre-save a song, like your profile, subscribe to your newsletter, to take action, but more or less passively, then the goals in “Consideration” are your best choice.
“Conversion”. The goals here require the most actions and the most dedication from the targeted audience. If your goal is to get people to buy merch in your shop, buy tickets to an upcoming show or participate in a crowdfunding campaign then these goals will get you their best.
Tips: For getting your target audience to listen to a new release of yours on music streaming platforms, it used to be a safe bet to run a “Conversion” campaign. This way, the audience was directed to a landing page where they could choose the streaming service of their choice. FAM tracked these interactions and calculated the cost per conversion based on successful interactions. That determines the cost of the campaign. Since ad-blocking technologies have been included in iOS and soon Android, FAM’s tracking has been lacking. Many advertisers suggest running a simple traffic campaign (“Consideration”) that leads people to your website or your artist profiles.
On the next page, you fill in all the details: give the campaign a name so you can find it easily when you load up FAM. “Special Categories” is for ads for categories like politics or social issues. If your campaign is about your music and your artist profile, then you can simply ignore this and leave it unselected.
The “Buying Type” under “Campaign Details, next, is set to “Auction”. This might seem a little counter-intuitive, but once you have started your campaign, FAM auctions your ad against similar ads in terms of content and target audience. This is the way the algorithm determines who your ad is shown to and how your set budget is spent. It is a continuous process: your ad is, again and again, bet against similar ads. Sometimes your ad wins the bid, sometimes it loses. Whenever it wins, a number of people from the set target audience will see it.
Next, you can change the campaign objective you selected in the first step. Depending on the tips FAM gives you in the process of setting up a campaign, you might come to realize that a different objective might be better suited. Here you can change it.
The next two options, “A/B testing” and “Campaign Budget Optimization” are there to further optimize the outcome of your campaign. In “A/B testing” you can create two very similar ads, with, for example, slight variations in the graphics or the text and you can run both to find out which one is more successful with the set target audience.
With “Campaign Budget Optimization” you can let FAM help you distribute your set campaign budget. Turn this option on. You then select one of two ways, how FAM should be allocating your budget: “Daily budget” or “lifetime budget”.
“Daily budget”: You set a maximum amount, you want FAM to spend per day. On some days, more than your budget will be spent, on others less, based on how many auctions your campaign has won. In the end, it will average out to your set daily budget based on the duration of your campaign. If you have not set a campaign spending limit, then setting a high value here in combination with a longer-running campaign might become pricey.
The difference between “Lifetime budget” and the “Daily budget” is that here FAM will determine how much of your total budget it will use each day of your campaign.
Based on what you selected as your campaign objective, FAM will offer you up to five bidding strategies in three categories. Here you tell FAM based on what result you want it to do the bidding.
Lowest cost: Use this in most cases. In this case, FAM will try to keep the cost per bid as low as possible for the maximum amount of reach.
Cost cap: If the specified amount is reached, FAM will start to dial down bids and only bid your ad with a lower reach in order to not overstep the cost cap.
Bid cap: if you are more experienced, you can set a maximum bid per auction here. If the amount specified here is reached, FAM will simply not bid. If you are experienced with running Facebook Ad campaigns, you might have a better understanding of bid limits than the automatic adaptation of the other strategies.
Next, you create an “Ad set”. Here you determine your target audience and where the ad will be shown. Under “Traffic” you can select where you want your ad to appear. For musicians, the option “Website” (which is Facebook’s website, not yours) is most useful. Unless you specifically set up an automated Messenger system or Whatsapp channel, the other options are less useful.
Under “Optimization & Delivery” you can further determine what your ad should look like. With these buttons like “Link clicks” or “Landing Page Views”, FAM will optimize the delivery of your ad in order to reach said goal.
The schedule determines the duration of your campaign. Try longer durations in the beginning to get a feel for what works and who your target audience is.
One of the most important steps is the next one, “Audience”. Here you can determine in great detail who your ad campaign will reach. Based on who interacted with your artist profile, FAM will recommend a target audience. In the beginning, it might make sense to keep the selection very broad and to further narrow it down in later campaigns.
Next, “Placements” determine where your ads will be shown: On Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and the Audience Network. It is usually set to “Automatic Placements”, but if you choose “Manual Placements”, you can select where your ad will appear. If you only want your ad to appear in Facebook Video and Instagram Reels, for example, you can select that here. In most cases, if you select Manual Placements, focussing on Facebook’s and Instagram’s timelines while excluding groups and marketplace is a good start.
Under “Ad Setup” you select the type of ad. Depending on your objectives, FAM will present you with different options to choose from. In most cases, you can either select an older post of yours as the basis for the ad, upload a single picture or a video, or upload two or more pictures or videos to create a slideshow, or “Carousel”.
Under “Ad creative” you upload your pictures or your video ad. Here you also add the headline and the text that is displayed above the ad. If you need help with creating a Facebook ad, we have a guide for you.
If you’re unsure what your ad will look like, you can activate an “Ad preview” on the right side.
Hit “Publish” and your campaign will start and end on the dates you have set. You can always go back and change it. Be aware: After you hit publish, it will take up to 24 hours to go live, because Facebook will review your campaign. If it meets Facebook’s advertising guidelines, its status will become active.
While the campaign is running, continuously check the data FAM collects about your target audience. This is invaluable information about who likes your music, how your ad is perceived, and what type of campaign to run next.
In the age of DIY, there are numerous ways to promote your music on social media. You plan posts, you announce and tease your releases, and you have your fans pre-save your music and add the songs to their favorite playlists. You create live streams and encourage your audience to interact in the comments for your next merch item or their favorite song for your next tour. But to really grow that audience, running ad campaigns on social media is a must.
Creating campaigns for Facebook and Instagram Ads for Musicians takes a few steps and a while to really get the hang of. But the more you get into it, the more ads you run and the better you know your target audience to more you will also understand how to run your social media profiles. Start out slow, with low-budget campaigns that run for a while to find out who responds to your music and your ads. If a release is nearing, create multiple campaigns to target different audiences with different ads. And keep the DIY spirit up.
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