The following is a guest post by Pedram Nikfarjam. Pedram is Lead Online Executive at DASH TWO, Inc., a media-buying agency based in Los Angeles, CA. He studied business and got his bachelors in science at the University of California, Riverside and joined the DASH TWO team in August, 2012. After graduating, he opened his own business which he still continues to manage on the side while making sure DASH TWO’s online campaigns run smoothly and that advertising campaign objectives are met.
Below, Pedram describes what aspiring artists can do in order to advertise their music online and establish strong relationships with fans.
There are many techniques new and emerging artists can be using to ensure their music gets a wide audience. Here is a collection of tactics we use at DASH TWO, which can help new artists leverage the power of advertising to help increase their fan bases.
Share New Videos with True Fans
In order to advertise their music in the most efficient way possible, artists should share their new videos with the people who have shown interest in their previous work. For example, owning your own channel provides the means of having your own retargeting list. When people watch a video online, companies like ours can gather that audience and advertise any other type of Google Ad to them, whether it be another video, or banners.
Run Trueview Ads
Running Trueview ads is another way to advertise their music. It is a very cost-effective way to get the ad to run in front of other music video of similar artists, and the charge happens only after a user has watched 30 seconds of the ad. The video should have a very engaging first 5 seconds, so people are not clicking off of the video when they get the chance.
Engage Fans through Social Media
An aspiring artist should be engaging with their audience. I would recommend that artists create both a Facebook and Twitter page in addition to YouTube, where they will post all of their songs/music videos. Page likes are also extremely important on Facebook. The higher the page likes, the more people that can be reached with organic posts. Creating engaging posts helps in this regard because when a post is shared or liked, it can show up in people’s news feeds that their friend liked a specific post.
Engagement on Facebook and Twitter is also important. A lot of mobile users are on Facebook for a lot of the day. Creating good posts with images are important, whether it is an engaging story, or just another day at the record studio, people want to know what their favorite artists are up to.
Give away New Music on Multiple Platforms
Another really good tactic that aspiring artists can use is to give away their tracks in exchange for an email address, since this can then later be used to advertise music or to help better engage with the right audience. An aspiring artist should also host their music on as many sites as possible, so they can get the most awareness. Some people might exclusively use YouTube to listen their music, while another person would only use Soundcloud or Reverbnation. Brand exposure is extremely important for an aspiring artist.
Leverage Metrics to Target Ads
The advertising space is headed into an information direction. As the technology grows, we are able to gather and hold more data on users of specific brands. We are able to target our ads more effectively. For example on Facebook, we can now target people who like certain artist, and have shown behavior of making purchases online. This is something we were not able to do 1-2 years ago. The more data an aspiring artist can gather as they grow, the more it will help them sell albums down the line. Equally, if they are working with an advertising agency, the more data they can provide, the better the campaign will do. Also, having an entire year’s worth of retargeting data is much better than having just the last 30 days.
The reason that retargeting is extremely effective is that the ads are being placed in front of people who have shown previous interest in an artist. For example, I might like Band A and may have watched most of their videos on YouTube or visited their site, but was on the fence about purchasing an album from them. Fast forward two weeks, and I am on my phone browsing the web looking to buy something radically different, let’s say an AC unit. I would still be eligible to see the ad placed for the artist because I am in a retargeting bucket and it makes sense to advertise to me, even though I am not on a music blog at that moment.
Retargeting has been around for a short while, but there are still companies that are trying to expand their retargeting capabilities. As technology grows, so do the types of retargeting. For example, Google and Facebook are both working on ways to retarget across devices, and they are doing it thru a new means of retargeting, something different than placing a cookie on a user’s desktop or mobile device. Although Facebook is able to use their log in information to delivery data across their partner network and also across devices, it is only confined to the list of partners that Facebook is working with, and not a universal product.
In order for an aspiring artist to fully take advantage of these features, they should align themselves with an advertising agency who can better help them manage this data. Since at DASH TWO, we are able to retarget people based on clicks, we can gather more data than if an artist was doing this themselves. We can store this data to use for a future campaign. If people click on an ad to buy an album, we can store that data and advertise to those same people when an artist goes on tour. This logic also works vice versa, going from a tour to an album release.
Take Advantage of Conversion Tracking
Secondly, another trend that has been emerging is conversion tracking. We are able to track how many purchases have occurred do to a click on an ad. Although iTunes does not release what was purchased, they do release if something was purchased due to this click. iTunes does not want to give out all of its information either.
The most effective conversion tracking is when we have access to a checkout page. An artist can give us access to their page, and we can place tags on the checkout page. When a user clicks on our ad and makes a purchase, like an album, we can say that this ad led to a purchase, while this other ad was not working.
Conversion tracking, while growing, still has its limitations. We are not able to determine how many items were purchased, but rather that a transaction occurred. While incredibly detailed data about transactions is not yet available, I think it soon will be.
Another growing pain related to conversion tracking is cross-device conversions. I might be looking at an item on my desktop, but make the purchase on my mobile device. Unless a cookie is placed on both my desktop and phone, there is no way to determine which ad led to the sale.
Find a Solid Online Advertising Agency
A big piece of advice I can give to an aspiring artist is to first find their audience and then find an advertising agency that they plan to stick with so that their data can stay in one place. The important thing about this is to find an ad agency that cares about what they do and wants to see their clients succeed more than anything. This way, the ad agency has an invested interest in making sure their ads are optimized and taking the right targeting to reach the right audience.
For more information about Pedram Nikfarjam and the work he does with artists and online advertising, visit the DASH TWO, Inc. website or the DASH TWO blog. You can also check out the interview he gave in February, 2014 alongside DASH TWO owner Gino Sesto: “Will Social Media Become Pay to Play.”