When it comes to music promotion, directing people from platform to platform is one the hardest things to do, and something that we get asked about a lot. Should you even do it all?
The issue here is that not only are you asking them to consume your content, whatever that may be, but sometimes you’re also asking them to leave the platform they are currently using. It’s a bigger ask than you might think.
Perhaps you’re dabbling with social ads and trying to boost your presence, but you’re feeling stuck and don’t know where to send people.
Whether it’s more views you’re after, listens or likes, in this article we’re going to breakdown all the options available to you and discuss how you can effectively link your content and platforms economically in order to increase your exposure.
Option #1: Linking to YouTube
If you’re familiar with our content, you’ll know that we absolutely love YouTube as a platform. This is because every view of your video or channel is a valuable asset. YouTube will retarget those viewers on your behalf.
Suppose someone watches the majority of your video. In that case, when you release your next video on YouTube, the algorithms will suggest your latest video via their homepage, even if your last video was from several months ago.
Ads can cost a little more to get people onto YouTube, but you will likely get a lot more views for your money. Plus, getting pushed out on YouTube can do amazing things for artists. At first glance, you might get less of a return, but you have to factor in the extra future views from the YouTube algorithm.
Instead, you get longevity. The great thing about YouTube is that content doesn’t expire quickly like it does on other platforms like Instagram, where the success of a post is fairly temporary. A good YouTube video might not pick up straightaway, but once the algorithm picks it up, you can rake in the views months down the line.
Making it Easy for the User
The easier you can make it for someone to view your ad or content, the better. For example, watching videos on YouTube doesn’t require people to download anything, unlike Spotify or Apple Music which require an account. In all likelihood, the viewer will have a Google or Youtube account that signs them in automatically, so in one click, they can view the video. Also, if they subscribe to your YouTube channel, you can potentially create a lifelong fan.
There will be no additional steps, accounts to sign up for, or apps to download. This only annoys people and encourages them to click away, making YouTube a great platform to direct to.
There is one small pothole when it comes to sending people to YouTube. If they are browsing on their phone, the user can’t necessarily listen to your music in the background – for example, if they lock their phone or go onto another app.
They might start listening and even if they think it’s a good track, when a message comes through, or they go back to what they were doing before they saw your link, then YouTube will not play in the background. This is possible if people pay for the premium version of YouTube, but on the whole, most people don’t have this.
What Not to Do
Directing people to Youtube will only work well if the video you are leading them to is not a static image with music playing, in other words, a music video on-the-cheap. We have tried ads before that look visually stunning, but directed to a static image and they have not been that successful.
If the video is just a static image with music and people are on their phone, it is unlikely that they will sit there and listen to it because there needs to be a visual factor to keep their attention.
So, the deciding factor on sending users to YouTube is whether the artist has visually compelling videos on their channel, and they upload frequently. In this case, Youtube’s algorithms would pay off in dividends.
Option #2: Promote Your Music on the Ads’ Native Platform
The next option is to keep traffic on Facebook or Instagram where you are posting your ads.
Perhaps someone is scrolling through their newsfeed and they’ve been enticed by your ad. Instead of directing them somewhere else, they can watch without the need for leaving the app. People are lazy and don’t often want be taken off platform, so this is arguably a clever tactic.
This works best when you run a promo or narrative video as an ad, aiming to get video views, which are great for general awareness.
However, there a few downsides because these platforms come with a considerable amount of distractions and you have the difficult job of breaking the flow of people’s endless scrolling. You need to ‘interrupt the pattern’ somehow and this is not always an easy feat. That could be something eye-catching happening in the first few seconds of the video, or perhaps some text, or a banner to grab attention and differentiate from other video content on the feed.
In addition, if you want them to watch your video ad with full effect, then they will need to take the further step of turning the volume on. Most people on Facebook and Instagram will scroll with the sound off because in all honesty, who wants to be annoyed by the first 3 seconds of every video they scroll past. Bearing this in mind, your ad needs to be enticing enough to make them do this.
Native Platform: Conclusion
Don’t expect huge gains from the first ad you create here as it can take at least 3-4 times of someone seeing you in various mediums for them to take action and invest their time. Getting people to stop scrolling and turn the sound on is undeniably difficult, but if you’re enticing enough with your content, you have an advantage in that you aren’t asking the user to change platforms.
Ads on Instagram and Facebook are great for video views, but only if you have a good retargeting strategy. You can watch a video we made about this here.
Option #3: Linking to Spotify or Apple Music
Naturally, streaming platforms like Spotify or Apple music would be the logical places to send visitors to because, as an artist, you want people listening to your music. So, if you’re going to invest your money into advertising your music, then you’re likely to want to get your stream count up.
Spotify does have a strong algorithm, so if you can get people there and listening, you stand a strong chance of being pushed out further and finding yourself on various playlists. However, it only counts as a stream if the track is listened to for 30 seconds or more.
If you’re getting a lot of clicks on your ad from Instagram or Facebook, but the streams aren’t coming in, it could be because:
- They’re not listening to the full track
- You are directing people to the wrong place
- They just weren’t invested enough, and you need a retargeting campaign
You need to reassess the original content or the journey to understand why. Perhaps the excerpt of the track that you advertised is the strongest part (naturally) and when the visitor starts to listen, they aren’t as fond of the rest.
However, you do get follows, and you do get saves on your track. This all helps the algorithm, and you can end up getting placed on a lot of good playlists. They might only have 50 to 100 followers if it’s a user-curated playlist, but it’s an asset nonetheless and still helps the Spotify algorithm.
I can totally see why people would want to place ads and direct them to digital streaming platforms. You also now have a lot of smart URLs and link tree type websites, which allow you to people to click through, go to a website and select whether they want to go on Spotify or Apple Music. This way, you avoid sending people to platforms they don’t have installed or don’t subscribe to.
The main downside is that some people might not have Spotify or Apple Music installed, so for them to listen to the track in its entirety, they have additional steps to take, which again, can seem like a lot of effort for most people. Consequently, you end up wasting precious ad money on people who don’t have it installed. Saying this, if you’re targeting the right people, who are typically going to be music fans to some extent, the majority are likely to be using at least one of the main streaming services.
You can target people on Facebook who have an interest in Spotify or Apple Music and narrow them down, but Facebook doesn’t know who has what installed. They know that they’ve mentioned Spotify, or perhaps been on the Spotify website, or searched for Spotify.
A tip here if you’re finding that your ads are not converting very well, you can try filtering to only people who are browsing Instagram or Facebook on a mobile device. You might find that because of the nature of your ad, it works better on a mobile device. And you know that people are on the move, and more likely to sit and listen to music. Whereas if someone is browsing Facebook on a laptop, they might be at work, they might be bored, or they might be sitting watching TV.
Streaming Platforms: Conclusion
Directing traffic to digital streaming platforms is the default choice if there is nothing else.
It’s the obvious choice to direct people to digital streaming platforms. You also now have a lot of smart URLs and link tree type websites, which allow you to people to click through, go to a website and select whether they want to go on Spotify or Apple Music. This way, you avoid sending people to platforms they don’t have installed or don’t subscribe to.
Also when playlisting is such an amazing tool in terms of increasing your exposure as an artist, this is essentially the default route for ads so you can build streams, followers, land some playlists and kick the algorithm into gear.
But if it’s just about the music, the default is Spotify, to get the streams, the release radars, followers up, and grow the algorithm presence, as well as hopefully landing on some playlists.
Option #4: Linking to Your Instagram Profile
The last option is to direct people to your Instagram profile.
Although we always say it’s not about the numbers, getting followers is a metric that artists love to see. As long as you aren’t gaining those followers by artificial means (fake accounts/bought followers), then to some extent, they can be a good indicator of progress. If you want to truly engage with your fans and let them get to know you, then Instagram is where you should be directing them.
To achieve this, you do need to have the music in the ad itself. The viewer is going to need an opportunity to hear your music, but they’re not going to click follow if they don’t like it. You are a musician, that is essentially what you do and music is your most important piece of content.
If your music is good enough, then you can send people there. A mistake we see a lot of artists making is sending the traffic to their Instagram profile, when content on that page is not worth following. If there’s nothing really there, or the content quality isn’t good enough, you’re wasting your ad spend. Your page has to be populated and regularly updated so those people know that you’re active and consistently offering up good content.
We hear a lot of artists say things like: ‘I’ll put more effort into the content when I’ve built my following…’, but this is totally backwards; the effort needs to have been made beforehand in order to gain those followers.
You have to show that you have good content and are worth following. First-time visitors will take a glance at your Instagram profile, and maybe they’ll click through on a couple of posts, and if they like what they see, then you are more likely to get visitors converted into followers, and eventually maybe even fans.
That’s when you can plug your music as you’ve got a primed audience that will go and stream your new music when it comes out. They are invested in you. They know you, and they want to support you.
Instagram Deciding Factor
When deciding whether to send traffic to an Instagram profile, you have to assess the quality of the page: Is it good enough (yet) to send people to?
If you have a decent profile, it is good idea to send traffic there. You can plug your music from then on knowing that your followers are invested in you.
Which Linking Strategy is Best for You?
You need to take a good look at your overall online presence and see what assets you have available. If you haven’t got much of a catalogue on Spotify yet or don’t have a great content game on Instagram, maybe don’t send them there. Think about where your strengths are, and from there you can conclude what the best option for you is.