Mistakes artists make with their ad campaigns

Hey friends!

Today we’re going to talk about mistakes artists make with their ad campaigns.

I’ve done something like 2,000+ calls with artists, most often talking about how they can improve their ad campaigns for their music. Over all of that i’ve noticed some pretty common mistakes people make - this newsletter contains the top 5.

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Not doing any testing

I’m not ordering these mistakes by how common they are, but this one is definitely the most common.

An artist will tell me they’re not getting good results, and when I look at their campaign I see they only have 1 ad set and 1 ad. Meaning they only tried 1 audience and 1 ad creative (video).

One of the few truths in marketing you can rely on is that you can’t perfectly predict audience behavior. So the name of the game is in testing multiple audiences and multiple videos that they might enjoy to hedge your bets and find a winner.

Here’s an example of a campaign with 3 ad sets and 3 ad creatives:

  • Campaign

    • Artist 1

      • Verse 1

      • Chorus

      • Pre-Chorus

    • Artist 2

      • Verse 1

      • Chorus

      • Pre-Chorus

    • Genre 1

      • Verse 1

      • Chorus

      • Pre-Chorus

Tinkering too much

On the opposite side of the person who doesn’t test anything is the person that tinkers too much with their campaigns.

I’m not even talking about testing too many variables at a time (although that is also a problem). But rather tweaking your ad campaigns too frequently.

Digital ad campaigns simply need time to optimize and improve. You can’t expect to be editing something every single day most of the time. In fact my rule of thumb is don’t tinker with your campaigns more than once every 2-3 days.

Letting their emotions get in the way

Making art is very personal. Artists will often find themselves believing that their most recent song is their best song. The problem is this won’t always be the case.

I get it, your songs are your babies and you love them all. But you can’t let that cloud your interpretation of what the marketing data is showing you. I struggled with this for a long time too.

Certain songs will just inherently perform worse than other songs. It isn’t necessarily an indicator of music quality (although that definitely matters a lot) but rather the marketability of your song.

The songs you love most may not be the songs everyone else loves the most. 

Spending the same budget on every song

On a similar note as the last mistake, if you have bad performing songs you don’t have to push it as hard as great performing songs.

I recommend coming up with an average budget you’d like to spend on every song. Then, when a song does awful maybe only spend ½ or 1/3rd of that. However if the song does amazing you might spend 2X or 3X on that one.

Every song doesn’t need to (and shouldn’t) have the same budget. You’re looking to grow your music as a whole, not necessarily any individual song. Forcing songs that don’t perform as well just wastes money.

Not using a conversion objective

I’ve talked about this a ton on my YouTube channel over the years.

I’ve seen hundreds of artists assume that skipping a landing page and driving people directly to streaming services with a traffic campaign will result in better results than running a conversion objective to a landing page.

Their logic makes sense, but in practice traffic campaigns rarely work. Bots on Facebook and Instagram can click on links but generally can’t interact with landing pages, so conversions filter them out. Accidental clickers will count for a traffic campaign but will not be counted for a conversion objective.

Feel free to explore this for yourself but i’ve seen enough artists get 1,000 clicks that resulted in nothing to know for myself that traffic campaigns are unreliable.

This doesn’t mean they never work. In fact i’ve had great results using traffic objectives for retargeting campaigns and/or very localized tour campaigns. But for streaming promotion, lead generation or sales - traffic campaigns suck.

New Content

In this video I show how much music artists get paid per stream across different streaming platforms, countries and over time.

In this video I walk you through a profitable Spotify campaign my ad agency ran using Facebook / Meta ads.

Did you know you can listen to my music industry interviews on podcast platforms? Click here to listen to the Modern Music Marketing podcast.


Here are some music industry news highlights from the past week.

  • Spotify integrates with BandsInTown for concert listings, ends partnership with Songkick

  • New York City sues TikTok, YouTube and other social media sites over ‘youth mental health crisis’

  • India passes declaration that AI developers must get authorization to use copyrighted materials in training data

  • Only 19% of artists on Spotify had over 1,000 monthly listeners in 2023

Whenever you’re ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:

  1. My courses. Spotify Growth Machine teaches you how to use Facebook ads to promote your music on Spotify. YouTube Growth Machine teaches you how to grow a YouTube channel organically and how to use YouTube ads. Fan Growth Machine teaches you how to build a website, online store and grow your email list.

  2. My ad agency. Forbid Media specializes in running Facebook conversion ads to promote your music on Spotify.

  3. Website / Store / Funnels. MusicFunnels is the best all-in-one platform for music artists to make a website, online store, sales funnels and build their mailing list.

  4. 1-on-1 consulting. You can book 1-hour calls with myself or Alex Bochel here.

My Links:

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If you’d rather just purchase the e-book, or physical book or audiobook you can do so here.

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