Promote Music on YouTube the RIGHT Way (Part 1): Using Ads to Boost Views

We love YouTube. It is without a doubt one of the most useful tools artists have at their disposal for music promotion, but very few utilise it to its full potential. People ask us how to promote music on YouTube all the time and the key is through using ads – the right way.

Even if you’ve invested a lot of time and money into creating an excellent music video, it’s still challenging to get people to watch a full music video, especially if your name isn’t familiar to them. Essentially, you are asking people to give up three minutes of their time, which is no easy feat. In this current social media era, imagine how much content you can consume in three minutes.

If you are an emerging artist, then good news! In this article we’re going to teach you a method that will help you significantly boost the views on your music video, even if you only have a trickle of visitors so far. 

Where to Start with YouTube Ads

The best place to start here is with YouTube pre-roll ads. This is a great method to get more views on your music video. We will walk through how to use the basics of the AdWords platform as that is where YouTube ads are set up.

In part 2 of this article, I’m going to show you some hidden gems and take you through all the tips and tricks to go above and beyond just getting visitors to your music video. We’ll go in to detail on how to convert your visitors into real fans who are going to show up to your shows, spend money on your merch, and potentially get you signed because you’ve got such an engaged audience. 

So let’s get you set up…

Setting Up Music Ads on the Google Platform

I’m going to take you step-by-step through setting up your music ads on YouTube through the Google AdWords platform.

Step 1

When you have set up a new ad account, you’ll be greeted with this screen and I want you to ignore the ‘switch to expert mode‘ option

  • Click create campaign and then it will get you to this screen below.

Step 2

  • Click brand awareness.

Step 3

  • Click video.

Step 4

  • Select skippable in stream as that is the name YouTube use for pre-roll ads.

Step 5

  • Name your campaign: let’s just use ‘Rock Music Video‘ for an example.

Step 6

For the campaign total I’m going to enter in £500 and the start date as soon as possible.

A word of advice here is to always have an end date just in case something goes wrong, like you lose access to your computer and you’re not able to stop the campaign. At least then you know it’s going to stop at a certain date and you’re not going to spend more than £9.62 per day or total of £500.

Step 7

The next section is networks. You don’t want your ad to be on video display partners – you only want to be on YouTube videos and definitely not inclusion in the search results.

Step 8

This section is languages. You can select all languages or you can search and select English only if you prefer and your music is only for an English audience. In which case, you could select United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, USA, etc.

Alternatively, you can opt for all countries and territories. Its totally up to you.

As you can see on the right here, you have a constantly refreshing estimated audience.

Step 9

In this step, we select the inventory type; this basically means what kind of content your ads are going to run on. So if there is sexual content or profanity, then maybe you don’t want your ad to appear on that. Some brands don’t want to be associated with that kind of content either.

For us, we just go for the recommended standard inventory.

Step 10

Next we have excluded content which is very similar to the above step and you can select things that you don’t want to be associated with.

Step 11

Now we’re going to get into the ad itself, and this is basically creating our audience. So let’s call this audience ‘Rock Music Fans‘.

Step 12

When we select gender and age, we’re just going to go for a young audience. It doesn’t matter about household income, parental status, or gender.

Step 13

The audience section is where you can identify your fans. I’ve already selected Rock Music Fans and Indie & Alternative Rock Fans. If anything else that comes that applies to your music, then you can select that as well. It will also give you ideas based on your search so you can select more relevant keywords.

Step 14

Keywords is about selecting words that people search for on on Google or YouTube. So say people have looked on YouTube for Nirvana, or Nirvana ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, or Metallica, we can enter this here.

Every single line is basically a new phrase you can enter and you can see the campaign estimates adjust on the right here. The chances are the figures are going to go up and down based on how many people have actually searched for this so experiment with keywords and see what is likely to work best.

I am going for a wider audience, so I am personally not going to enter any keywords here.

Step 15

The placements section is really cool. If you know the artists who have a similar sound to you, you can target the people who might like your music.

You can find their channels and run ads on their channels only. For example, if you shared a likeness to Nickelback, you could select that and your ads will run only on the Nickelback channel.

The campaign estimates on the right shows you how many impressions you’re likely to get from putting ads on that channel. The more similar artists you input, the more impressions you’re going to get.

Step 16

Now we select the Target CPM. This is basically how much you’re going to spend on 1000 impressions. £5 is very expensive. You shouldn’t be spending that but my strategy is to start high and then go lower and lower, to eventually see how cheap I can get it.

The great thing about AdWords is that it will always look for the cheapest deal for you. So it won’t ever spend five pounds per thousand, but you can put it in and get an idea of what you should be spending and how much your ads are going to cost. Then you can adjust it for future campaigns, once you have an understanding of typical costs.

Step 17

The final bit is where you actually put your YouTube video in. For this example let’s add Fallout Boy’s ‘Centuries’. It gives you a small preview of what your ad is going to look like.

I would just put the same URL in the final and display URL because people like to know that this ad will remain on YouTube platform. On the right it’s going to show you an estimate of how much it’s going to cost per thousand views. As you can see, it’s not even going to come close to that £5.

Lastly, put a name for the ad: I’ll call this one ‘Fall Out Boy music video’, and that’s it, click Create campaign.

Step 18

You’ll see this page to indicate your campaign is ready, just click Continue to Campaign

Step 19

At the top here, I’ve got a warning message stating I need to put in my billing information which is why the ad is not running. Once you do that, they will start to run.

Google ads take about two days for it to be approved. Instagram ads and Facebook ads can be approved within the hour, but Google are a bit slower than that. Unfortunately, they expect people to be running ads for months, rather than for a few days.

It can be very easy to get lost in this dashboard. But just remember to use the tab below…

…which gets you get backwards and forwards to specific pages.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

Okay, so we’ve shown you how to optimise your YouTube ads and target them to the right places, but what next?

All this music ad does is get people to watch the first 5 seconds of your video and you want people to watch the whole thing. Your goal shouldn’t be numbers as they don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, but fans do. Real fans speak volumes. So, your YouTube ads need to be part of an overall strategy.

You have to be able to build a fan base. That’s how you get signed. That’s how you grow and that is how you make money as an artist. You’re not going to achieve this by getting half a million people to watch five seconds of your music video.

So make sure you take a read of part 2 of this article where we’ll be going into detail on how to keep your audience watching and turn them into genuine fans of your music.

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