Facebook Ads for Spotify Best Practices

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.

I’ve written about Facebook and Instagram ads for Spotify many times, like here, here, and this one from April of 2018 where I noted that I’d spent $5888.35 on Facebook ads to date.

Three years later, it’s $20,614.84.

While there are still useful angles to explore in those older articles, this post supersedes them. Not because they were necessarily wrong, but because the platform and practices have evolved.

For example, Instagram Stories was far and away the best ad placement for music two years ago. Viewers tend to be receptive to exploring new music, and have their sound on.

The problem is, most musicians know that by now. The resulting competition has driven ad costs up. Lately I’ve gotten cheaper followers through feed ads.

My Spotify following in March 2021

I’m spending $20 a day on Facebook ads, split between promoting my artist profile and my synthwave playlist.

I’m up to 9K profile followers and 17K playlist followers.

The big bump in the middle came from my Gleam ROLI giveaway

Every morning I track my follower growth in a spreadsheet. Here’s March so far (click to enlarge):

conv = conversions, CPC = cost per conversion, CPF = cost per follower

Right now I’m paying about $0.30 per follower for both my profile and playlist.

The latter has been pretty stable, but the former is just starting to settle in since I added India last week. More on that later…

My current Facebook ads for Spotify

Here’s my current profile ad for feeds:

And my playlist ad for feeds:

Same audio! For whatever reason, this little snippet of the last verse going into the coda outperforms everything else I’ve tried.

You may have noticed my feed videos aren’t square. They’re actually 4:5 or 1080×1350. I render them at 2x (2160×2700) in ScreenFlow for retina screens, though I’m not sure it makes a difference after Facebook processes it.

The result takes up more screen real estate on mobile, at the cost of black bars on desktop:

I get very few conversions on desktop, even with square video, so it’s totally worth it.

My stories ads are 9:16 (2160×3840), and are basically the same as the feed ads but with an added prompt to “swipe up to follow.”

I run both variations in a single ad using the “edit placement” function:

The eight placements I’m running are Facebook News Feed + Video Feeds + In-Stream Videos, Instagram Feed + Explore, and all three Stories options.

It doesn’t really matter though. As long as you don’t waste your money on Audience Network, Facebook will optimize for the best performers.

My profile ads dominate in IG feeds, but my playlist ads do better on Facebook (click to enlarge):

Breakdown by Placement, March 1-20

Facebook Ads for Spotify Targeting

I target all Spotify countries, divvying them up between my profile and playlist ads so they don’t compete against each other in the auction.

The playlist ad hits the Americas plus Oceania, which roughly translates to Mexico and Brazil (click to enlarge):

Spotify playlist ad, Breakdown by Country

The profile ad delivers to the rest of the world. Mostly Russia, but India will surely overtake it soon:

Spotify profile ad, Breakdown by Country

Up until last week, my ads wouldn’t run to India, and I couldn’t figure out why until Facebook support told me:

Facebook page restrictions

At some point, I must have blocked a bunch of countries from viewing my page’s content.

Since removing all country restrictions, most of my profile conversions are coming from India. I’m good with that! Spotify for Artists confirms that they’re actually listening to the track:

Can you spot when my ads to India started delivering?

That’s not always the case though. The $6.55 I’ve spent so far this month on Algeria doesn’t appear to be paying off, so I may drop it:

PSA: Country comparisons are only available for individual songs!

I’ve already dumped Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Indonesia for the same reason.

Considering where my ads are being shown, you’d think that my Spotify Top Countries would be Mexico, Brazil, and Russia. Nope! I have more listeners in the US than those three countries combined:


By now you’ve probably heard of the whole “trigger cities” concept. By advertising in cities that have high music consumption and low advertising rates, you trigger the Spotify recommendation engine, resulting in more algorithmic streams worldwide.

I’ve never zeroed in on specific cities, and I can’t prove that the underlying assumption is correct, but I can testify that 15% of my streams, 8.5K in the past 28 days, are from algorithmic playlists.

Conversions Objective Setup and iOS 14

I’ve described where I’m targeting, but not who. I’m targeting a lookalike audience of users who previously clicked through to Spotify from my ToneDen landing page, which looks like this:

The Spotify link directs to my profile, not the song

I optimize for Spotify clicks using a custom conversion:

Facebook Ads custom conversion

You might be wondering, don’t I want YouTube and SoundCloud plays too? Sure, but I don’t want Facebook to optimize for them! I can already get YouTube views for far less.

Explaining how to set everything up in the midst of iOS 14 changes would take its own quite boring post. Before you can configure your ad, you have to verify your domain, create the custom conversion, add it to Business Settings, and configure the web event in Aggregated Events Management.

And before all of that, you have to host the link on a domain you own, which took me five minutes with ToneDen. Just go to Settings/Advertising, click on “Add Domain,” enter a subdomain, then add a CNAME DNS record at your hosting service:

Now all my go.colortheory.com links direct to ToneDen. You can do the same with Feature.fm and Hypeddit.

If this all sounds too technical, I recommend John Gold’s Spotify Growth Engine. It’s dirt cheap through my link, and John hosts a weekly coaching call and Facebook Group where you can ask questions if you get stuck.

So again, I’m targeting a lookalike audience of users who already performed my desired action: clicking through to Spotify. Of course, I didn’t have that audience to begin with, so I started by targeting a lookalike of 75% video viewers.

My only other restriction, which is hardly a restriction at all, is setting the age range to 16-64.

So that’s my current playbook, honed from months of careful testing. In the near future, I’ll swap my profile and playlist targeting and retarget users who watched 50% of the prior ad. In other words, I’ll show the playlist ad to users who already watched half of the profile ad, and vice versa.

Beyond that, I’ve got a laundry list of further ideas to try out, and a list of conclusions I’ve drawn so far, which I’ll expand on now.

Facebook Ads for Spotify Dos and Don’ts

Without further preamble, here are my best practices for Facebook and Instagram ads to grow your Spotify following:

DO visit Facebook Ad Library for inspiration

Did you know you can view anyone’s ads? You should absolutely explore how other artists in your genre promote their music.

If you see a blank page, click on “All Ads.” It defaults to politics for some reason, for me anyway.

DO keep your ads simple and direct

I’ve tried animations, Spotify canvases, and official music videos. None of them work as well as the simple images you see in the examples above, with subtle animated overlays courtesy of the Motionleap app on my phone.

DO include the Spotify logo

The Spotify logo instantly tells users what your ad is about, and lessens the chance that they click through just because they like the pretty picture. You only want to pay for, and optimize for, Spotify users.

You can grab the Spotify logo as a transparent PNG from me here.

DO use Dynamic Creative to test headline, text, and description

Believe me, you can do better than “Out now on all major platforms!” I’ve found that “Listen now on Spotify 👉🏻” is a solid choice for a description. If Facebook doesn’t think displaying the description will help, it won’t show it to the user.

Oftentimes the best text is no text, especially in countries where English isn’t the primary language. You can test it by leaving the first option blank.

When in doubt, tell users what you want them to do, i.e. “Listen & follow on Spotify.”

DO experiment with Detailed Targeting Expansion and Lookalike Expansion

Lookalike Expansion always seems to help, even when it pushes the audience size into the tens of millions. Still, I don’t enable it right away, because I don’t want to risk optimizing for bots.

Detailed Targeting Expansion comes in handy for broadening a very narrow audience. Here’s one of my favorites:

For this campaign, I’d also throw in “And Must Also Match: Spotify.”

Depending on your age, gender, and geographic targeting, your potential reach could be in the low thousands or worse. Detailed Targeting Expansion can bring that up to a reasonable range, ideally 1-3M.

Again, it’s best to wait until you need it, like when the ad frequency gets above 1.5 or so. If your audience size is already workable, there’s no need to risk showing ads to users who may not have Spotify.

DO test different video lengths

Stories ads are limited to 15 seconds, but your feed ads can be as long as you want. I didn’t see a big difference going from 20 seconds all the way up to a minute, but I suspect it depends on the song.

I suggest ending the ad on an unresolved chord or phrase. It may encourage users to click through to “close the loop.”

DON’T bid against yourself in the auction

If you have multiple ad groups with overlapping audiences, you’ll bid against yourself in the auction, and your cost will go up.

The way to check is to hover under the ad set name and select “Inspect”:

If you don’t see 0% auction overlap, you’re doing it wrong.

An easy way to remedy overlap is to exclude every ad set’s audience from the rest.

For example, if you’ve got one ad group targeting Depeche Mode fans and another ad group targeting Electronica, you’ll almost certainly have overlap. You can see exactly how much in Audiences by building the two audiences and selecting “Show Audience Overlap.”

To remove the overlap, you exclude Depeche Mode from the Electronica ad group, and exclude Electronica from the Depeche Mode ad group.

DON’T forget that social proof is a factor

My ads have hundreds of likes, dozens of shares, and a handful of nice comments. That social proof is enough to outperform a 10% better ad.

If you’re always testing new ads, you’ll never reap the rewards of social proof. Sometimes the best ad is just “good enough.”

This works both ways. One insightfully mocking comment can torpedo your entire campaign, so be sure to keep an eye on your feed ads on both platforms, and reply to comments.

DON’T violate Facebook policies, even when you know you’re not

For years, my profile ad used the same image as my playlist ad. One day Facebook decided it was “shocking.” I appealed and they upheld their decision to not let me run the ad.

I could’ve made an imperceptible tweak and uploaded the video again, but I decided it wasn’t worth the risk.

A friend’s entire ad account was recently disabled for no reason we can fathom, using the same techniques and structure I outline here. No ad was ever rejected, no policy ever violated.

Still, the appeal was denied, and a half dozen requests for clarification yielded nothing but canned responses.

My advice is: don’t push your luck. Even if you know you’re in the right, assume that you won’t be able to make your case to a fellow human being.

Now let’s get out there and waste some money!

Is it smart to throw our money into the data black hole that is Spotify?

Probably not. Are we going to do it anyway?

You bet we are.

I’m spending $600 a month on ads to Spotify, and getting $300 back in royalties. I’ve built a finely tuned money-losing machine!

To be fair, I’m also getting 150 Facebook and 150 Instagram followers every month.

Sure, I could be devoting that $600 to selling CDs or running another free + s/h funnel, but growing my Spotify audience is addictive.

Let’s start with the obvious. Tens of thousands of people are hearing my music every month on Spotify. That’s too many for my brain to keep track of. It’s literally mind-blowing!

It’s also incredibly gratifying. That’s the whole point of making music, right? For people to hear it.

To the listening public, an artist’s monthly listener count is the primary measure of their success. If it’s too low, many won’t listen in the first place.

I don’t know who these Spotify listeners are and I have no way to reach them, yet I can watch my listener count on my phone in real-time.

I don’t know if Spotify gamified their artist platform intentionally, but it sure feels like it!

And so, against my better judgment, I persist in the Spotify ads game. I’ll continue to report my results so that you can do the same.

What’s working for you? Anything you’d like me to test? Let’s strategize in the comments!


      1. Hey Brian,

        Thanks a lot. I have many questions. I did create campaigns both to promote my artist profile and a playlist and facebook numbers are quite amazing, got very low cost per click (0.01) and huge number of clicks with several of the creatives I did but when I go to the spotify artist profile the numbers are not the same by a substantial difference. I am truly confused as I know clicks are not translating to following or streams but even using url genius to track the clicks on the link the difference is huge. Facebook says more than 100% higher numbers than the clicks I am measuring with url genius. Wondering if you have any explanation that can help me? Thanks a lot! J

        1. My guess is that most of the clicks are accidental, and people are bailing out when they realize it, which may often be before URLgenius completes the redirect.

          I always suggest optimizing for conversions rather than link clicks. If that’s not an option, at least go for landing page views.

  1. I found that my spotify marketing had an ROI about 16 months out.

    Something I did that not everyone can do, is I built a web-app which is the landing page that they click though to Spotify to playlist the song, yes they have to authorize connecting and yes I saw about a 60% drop in click throughs to Spot. But what I got back, using their API, was all the pertinent data about them – email, name, dob, location and sub level. The landing page had a bit more of the song, and basically said click to add to your existing playlist or create a new one. (and by clicking you agree to getting an email from time to time about new music I am releasing). Plus I could use the FB pixel and Google Analytics

    They ended up on my email list from that. From there they were in my funnel.

    Like I said, it was about 16 months to get an ROI (just a small one).

    1. Also by doing this i could see how many paid subs vs freeloaders and target emails differently, and could calculate the number of estimated plays a paid user did in a month, vs, a freeloader to determine the value of each. This allowed me to a/b test some emails with offers and found that yes, those that paid for spot also paid for CDs, and other things. usually about 2:1 compared to the freeloaders. So for the freeloaders, I had longer email campaigns to develop more relationship before hitting them up for a sale.

      1. That’s fantastic! I’m always scared of asking for too many permissions, but in your case it clearly paid off.

        Feature.fm provides that sort of granular data for presaves, and I’ve seen others use ToneDen gating to force playlist submitters to follow their playlists.

        The clickthrough rates for my two landing pages are currently 88% for the profile and 83% for the playlist. If I did the same thing and saw the same 60% drop, my ad costs would double.

        Whether or not it would be worth it is anyone’s guess!

        1. It’s something I built with another musician. Neither of us are programmers so it took us a month or so to figure out the Spotify API, spent a lot of time on github and other sites, and had to configure our server with some middleware.

          Not a turn-key solution by any means.
          I thought about monetizing it and I own a couple of domains that I could possible do something with, creating a subdomain type of thing, i.e. artistname.myspotify.com type of thing.
          I just don’t have time.

  2. Wow. I’m still learning Indepreneur stuff and the jargon is still a little above me; But I’m impressed with your dedication for listeners on Spotify.

    1. Thanks Jonathan! I’m happy to clarify any terms you’d like. I’m so deep into this stuff that I don’t have a good sense of what’s jargon and what’s not.

  3. Brian,
    Nice article. Too bad indeprenuer keeps shutting your post down, over there. I think an open discussion would be better.

    I have questions 🙂

    If you’re spending $600 on ads, and getting back $300, is that balance changing? In other words, did it start at $600 with $100 back, and build from there, or is it a stable $1 back for each $2 spend?

    Is it your feeling that eventually the royalties will overtake the ad spend?

    If you stopped ads tomorrow, you’d still get some streams and royalty payments. What are your thoughts, or do you have any data on how long, or if the royalties would eventually pay back the ad costs?

    And finally, I’m having difficulty understanding where most of your royalties are coming from. You say 15% from algorithmic playlists. At $.30/follower, you’d have to get maybe a lot of streams from each follower to generate the other 85% of royalties. I don’t understand playlists well. Are there non algorithmic playlists that are generating revenue, or is the 85% from your followers?

    If there are non algorithmic playlists, what’s the revenue split between those playlists, and your followers?

    1. Yeah, it’s too bad they disabled comments. I understand where they’re coming from though.

      To answer your questions, I don’t think too hard about ROI. The streams directly generated from the ads are a very small percentage of my overall streams, and there’s no way to say how much they contribute to my algorithmic streams.

      If I stopped ads tomorrow, I suspect my overall numbers would drop a little bit. I’d see the biggest hit on Juggernaut, the song I’m using to promote both the playlist and profile. My playlist streams would definitely slow down though, and I genuinely want to help out the other artists on the playlist, so I wouldn’t do that to them.

      After promoting Juggernaut for so long, it gets 42% of the 15K streams per 4 weeks from “listener’s own playlists and library” and a ton of Shazams. Let’s see… 1846 total, 337 in the past 4 weeks.

      It also gets a ton of visitors to YouTube saying they heard the song on Instagram. The physics of the whole operation is just too much to take in.

  4. How do you get to that “Countries comparison” screen in Spotify for Artists? Can’t find it for the life of me.

    1. It’s only on individual songs. Go to Music ➤ Songs ➤ Song Name and it’s about halfway down. I just added a caption to one of the screenshots to clarify!

  5. Great post, as usual. As you point out this notion of losing $300/month (net of streaming revenue) on these facebook ad strategies it raises two related questions just for perspective: (1) What is the average net gain/loss that you see on your Color Theory efforts in a typical month [so, total revenue (Streaming + CD Sales + Merch sales + Patreon donations) less total expenses (Marketing + CD COGS + Merch COGS + Shipping costs + Misc)]? and (2) How many hours per month do you spend on all of the various aspects of Color Theory (aside from recording)? I’m not saying it’s not worth it – clearly, it is to you – but I’m curious as to how much time you have to dedicate to these various strategies on a monthy basis. It seems like a lot, but maybe I’m wrong.

    1. Let me just send you my tax return! 😉

      Kidding aside, there’s too much variation to even forecast my income. I’ve tried tracking my hours, but many activities don’t fit neatly into one category.

      The way I see it, I’ve got three main professional pursuits: my music, my mastering business, and this blog. My music feeds the other two, so regardless of whether or not it’s profitable on its own, it’s necessary. I’ve pretty much always had my fill of mastering and production work, without ever advertising.

      For tax purposes, all of my musical endeavors are lumped into one business, which has been profitable for as long as I can remember.

      1. Well, I’m certainly glad that your musical endeavors as a whole have been profitable given that mastering is your actual vocation – it would be problematic if that weren’t the case! Have you thought about doing more on the production front? I’d think the margins are better there (than mastering)… but I don’t know.

        1. I just finished mixing and mastering a full album, including editing all the vocals. I would absolutely make more money, at least in the short term, producing and mastering full-time.

          But hey, if I wanted to make money, I wouldn’t have gone into music in the first place!

  6. Great article. I have made an ad campaign following your advices. So far satisfied with the result. When trying to see location where my FB ad has been seen I get a lot of cities. Is there a way too see this location statistic as countries instead?

      1. Thanks, Brian. Got it.

        One more thing. I have been running a campaign for 4 days now and it’s gets ok amount of clicks. I also got a lot of messages indicating that a lot of people took it the whole way and actually heard the song. However according to the Spotify statistics there has been zero listeners from these countries. Any idea what the delay is from Spotify from the play until it’s registered at my artist profile?

        1. You should see the Spotify data the next day around noon Eastern time when it updates. Remember to look under Music ➤ Songs ➤ [Song Name] and scroll down to Country Comparisons.

          So you’re getting messages from listeners on Facebook and/or IG? Lucky you! I’ve never had that happen.

  7. Hi Brian, this is a great post, thank you so much for sharing all this information! I am also using a Toneden landing page and I want to run an ad that links direct to my spotify profile only, no other platforms for this particular ad. When setting up the smart link in Toneden, would you recommend checking the ‘Redirect all visitors’ box – ‘Skip landing page and send directly to your destination url’? I’m assuming this is sort of the same as using a url genius-type link but with the added bonus of being able to track the traffic via the landing page. I have done the custom domain and conversion event set up for my Toneden landing pages. Would I also need to optimise for Spotify links as you have in yours? Thank you, Happy Easter!

    1. Happy Easter Lucinda!

      I wouldn’t recommend skipping the landing page, because you risk optimizing for accidental clicks. A clickthrough from the landing page shows a higher degree of intent, and that’s what you’re looking for. Of course, your cost per conversion will be higher, but I’d guess your cost per follower will be lower over time.

      So I’d keep the landing page, even if Spotify is the only option. In that case, I’m not sure you need to define the event parameter in the custom conversion, but I would anyway just to be on the safe side.

  8. Hey man! So I keep seeing you a an a bunch of other people (a lot involved in John Gold’s Spotify growth engine, which I’ve also signed up for) try feed placements for Spotify traffic.

    I’ve tried it countless times over the years but it never ever leads to actual listeners. Cheap clicks every time, but almost nobody actually clicks through.

    Stories, I can usually achieve followers for about $1 each. anytime I’ve seen people beat that lately, it’s been feed placements. But I cannot feel the life of me get anything even close to $1/follow that way.

    Does it take a while?

    I’ve tried:
    – Turning on the wifi only setting
    – Conversion campaigns running for the second click on the bridge page
    – feed placements only
    – automatic placements
    – green light only countries
    – international countries.

    Always cheap clicks. Almost no listeners. Any idea why? I’ve even tried multiple platform and bridge pages.

    1. Hey Chandler!

      If you set it up the way I do, with separate videos for feeds and stories in the same ad, Facebook will optimize for whichever is cheaper. If that turns out to be stories, so be it!

      By the same token, you can test all those other things in one go, other than the wifi only setting, which hasn’t made a difference for me.

      I’d try a conversion campaign for clicks from the landing page, including all Spotify countries (except maybe my losers: Ukraine, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco), with the placements I use (no Audience Network).

      If you’re seeing crazy cheap conversions, like less than $0.05, and no plays, maybe you’ve been optimizing for bots. I had that happen to me and I had to basically start over, tossing the lookalike I’d built.

      In that case, I’d narrow to something you know is safe (maybe just Brazil), and dial in the targeting – no lookalikes or detailed targeting expansion. Once you can see it’s working, expand little by little until you’ve had enough genuine conversions that you can build a lookalike from it.

      Let us know what you find out!

  9. Brian,

    I’m confused as to how you’re converting these clicks into followers. Are you using a download gate where they have to follow your profile/playlist to listen/download or are you just giving them the links to the song/playlist and hoping they’ll follow?


    1. Ultimately I’m just hoping they’ll follow, but two factors increase my odds:

      1. I’m directing to my profile instead of a release, so the follow button will be front and center
      2. My landing page description is “Follow for new songs!”

  10. Brian, this is an amazing post. Thank you so so much for it!

    I am running ads on FB now and trying to learn how they work, so I will use this information… hopefully I can come back with some nice feedback!

    Just a quick question: are you still using the ToneDen landing page with all the links to your music stores? That is, you clarified that you “collected” the clicks for a lookalike audience from this landing page, but in your current campaign are you using that one or a new landing page that only directs to Spotify?

    All the best!

    P.S.: Yesterday I opened a ToneDen account using your referral link. Thanks for that as well!

    1. I am indeed still using a ToneDen landing page! The page lists seven services including YouTube and SoundCloud, but it only counts as a conversion when someone clicks on Spotify. The lookalike audience is created from those Spotify clickers. Make sense? I’m happy to clarify!

      Thanks for using my referral link!

      1. Hi Brian, here I am after some time. =)

        I started experimenting with ads 4 months ago, and I had some very good results. Roughly speaking, my Spotify daily streams went from 700 (average) to 2.5-3.5k during the best moment of the campaign. The increase was because of the ads themselves and from the Discover Weekly features that resulted. I stopped the ads for a week now and will soon run them again, making some corrections. In this week without ads, my daily listeners and streams are twice than before starting all this.

        I spent 600 US$, but only half of that budget was properly spent, the rest was “learning phase” and very reckless experimentation lol. My first time ever using FB Ads. I changed the budget a lot as I went along but it was always in the range 5-9 US$ daily. 

        I did more or less the same as you. One big difference is that my toneden button directed to a playlist with several songs of the band. This worked VERY well, mainly because people stayed on the playlist for quite a while! On average, 1 listener = 10 streams. My total streams jumped up visibly and almost immediately, with only 5 US$ a day! I wonder how that compares to the approach of directing to the profile. I guess you had a stream increase in your “most popular” tracks , but it could be possible that actually directing them to a playlist prompts the audience to listen for longer. 

        I’ve explored some of the advantages of creating a playlist the way you want. An important point is to put the promoted song (the one in the ad) as the first track. Doing otherwise can be a bit off-putting, I think. And then you can play around with the rest of the playlist and experiment. The most interesting thing I did was to keep  track of the listener to save ratio for each song as the campaign went along. After several weeks, I had a good notion of which songs performed better, and I put those in the first spots of the playlist. 

        On the other hand, linking to the profile is certainly better if you’re aiming for profile follows. But I did get my share of followers anyways (8 a day, on average, and about 1k during the whole campaign). 

        After 2 months of promoting, our advertised song landed on Discover Weekly with a bang. 5k algorithmic streams in one week. After that, it stayed on DW with far fewer streams, but the push was enormous anyways. This song was OLD (almost 3 years) it had never been featured in DW before.

        The second song on the playlist went on to DW even earlier! But that’s because it was an older track with more daily streams and which had been in DW in the past. It simply needed a small push to get back there. The 3rd and 4th song on my playlist also entered DW but this yielded only a very small amount of streams (60 and 20 streams in total until now). It’s interesting to see that the algorithm noticed them at least and I’m hoping that in my next run of ads, I can push a bit further.
        Nobody knows exactly how DW works. In my case, it looks like there was a threshold in the range of 100-200 daily streams. The key could be in sustaining this amount of streams or more for 2 months, plus a good listener to save ratio. Then again, nobody knows what a good ratio is! My promoted song had 30% ratio for the listeners gained during the campaign. Historically, the song had 8.6k listeners and 38k streams, with a (also historical) save ratio of 25%. For the other songs that entered DW, listener to save ratio was around 13-15% during the campaign and 20-25% historical. Furthermore I can add that from other things I’ve seen and read, 8-10% could be the lower limit for what’s a “good” listener to save ratio.

        Onyxx has suggested this already and it’s important: The song you’re promoting is going to have an abnormally high listener to save ratio during a successful campaign. I mean, it’s being streamed by people who LIKED THE SONG ENOUGH TO CLICK ON AN AD! And in this way you are forcing up one of the key metrics that shake the algorithm. You’re kind of tricking it a bit, actually. It’s a very interesting observation.  

        Well, I hope I was able to convey my ideas clearly, I’ve written too much now! And I left out many details and other comments in order to simplify and summarize. Eager to know what you think of all this… you may find it interesting!

        And thanks again for your post, as it was vital in helping me set it all up!

        1. This is epic! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and strategies.

          I’ve never experimented with directing ads to a playlist of just my tracks, but of course I have plenty of experience directing them to my Vocal Synthwave Retrowave playlist. As you noted, my track from the ad is always at the top of the playlist so people know they’ve come to the right place.

          Your results are pretty dang amazing, far beyond what any playlist promotion service could accomplish!

          I think the key factor is that your music is quality. I’ve never achieved an organic 25% save ratio. Despite that, I’ve had long-term success with a song that I promoted over the course of months. Not just on Spotify, but on other platforms too. Even Shazams are through the roof!

          Bottom line, this approach works. It’s not cheap, but it’s not ridiculously expensive either if the music is good and you’re willing to do the science.

      2. Hi Brian! I would say this post is so helpfull for those who want to work hard with our passion, our musica. Thanks for sharing it!!

        I would ask you: how to you track toneden clicks if it is another pixel of another website? How do you track those for later on create a looklike audience?


        1. I’m not sure if this answers your question, but you can enter your pixel in ToneDen. I create a custom conversion for clicks through to Spotify specifically, and then you can create a custom audience of people who performed that same action and make a lookalike from it.

          I’m personally not even using lookalikes anymore! I just enter Spotify under detailed targeting and leave the rest open.

        2. Also wanted to ask you. Did your CPC increase a bit after IOS14? It looks those numbers were before right?

        3. I don’t think the numbers are from before, since I wrote about iOS changes in the post. Many people complained that things got more expensive, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case for me.

          For example, this month I’m promoting my album to the US only, and averaging $0.20 per conversion. Last month to 22 countries it was $0.10 per conversion.

  11. Thanks for the updated post on this. I had recently used your previous article on this subject and have had my ad account disabled for the 1st and now 2nd time. Have you pinpointed anything from your previous article that might be causing this? I was thinking that it’s possibly one of the following:

    1) The Genius URL deep linking
    2) The phone scroll style ad (could possibly be considered misleading)

    Any thoughts on this since these were both things that you did within the first article?

    1. So sorry to hear that Jay!

      I highly doubt either of those are the issue. If the scrolling ad were misleading, they would’ve rejected it and cited that reason.

      I’m guessing they just disabled the account like they did with my friend, with no clear reason or guidance. So frustrating!

      My advice is to politely but firmly state that you don’t think you violated any policies, and to ask that your account be reinstated, through whatever channels are available.

      If you can trace the reasoning back to anything I advocate here, please let me know and I’ll update any relevant articles!

      1. Just an update. I did get my account re-activated. Of course there was no explanation. I did go through their little course that walks you through a bunch of possible term violations and did did learn that you’re not allowed to have fake calls to action on your ad. Since there are play buttons on the Spotify scroll ad, that could potentially violate those terms. Perhaps they have heat maps on these ads that are auto-flagging odd clicking/tapping behavior. Who knows?

        1. Hallelujah!

          The fake CTA seems like a stretch, but your guess is as good as mine.

          Amazing that we can pay Facebook hundreds of dollars a month and get zero support when we run into a problem. At this point I feel like I should have a dedicated hotline.

      1. I’ve been running a campaign this week for my first release. I tried a few different ads and placements. The conversion I optimized for was the landing page buttons that click through to stream. I tried recommended placements. By far the most conversions have come from audience network. I didn’t even know what it was. On another subject, I have also noticed that ads manager has started putting up messages that because of IOS 14 the numbers might not be accurate anymore.

        1. Just looking at today, about 90% of my ads are served to Android users. I’d be curious to see if your Audience Network conversions are generating streams and followers. My understanding is that your ads are showing up on random sites and apps, and that the conversions are likely to be accidental. I’d love to be wrong though!

  12. I am also getting some odd analytics as of yesterday. Over half of my conversions are now showing unknown in placements, countries and demographics. I have never seen this before. IOS 14 opt outs maybe?

    1. iOS 14.5 is out, so that seems likely. That said, I just checked my analytics for today and everything looks about the same. Maybe the reporting was just delayed for you?

  13. Ok it seems a bit strange to me. About accident clicks I thought as someone has to click through the ad and then click through the landing page I thought this unlikely. I watched a video by Andrew Southworth yesterday and he said if the conversions were coming from the Facebook platform itself, there wouldn’t be a problem. Audience network is, as far as I understand it, outside apps. As an experiment I have turned off audience network to see what happens.

    1. Actually Andrew is the one who advises against Audience Network. Still, these things change and it’s always worth testing. Your current experiment doesn’t make sense to me though. My guess is that your cost per conversion will go up. The question is, are the cheaper Audience Network conversions resulting in streams and follows? To know that, you need to isolate that variable and test Audience Network by itself.

  14. Hi Brian, thanks for the new article.
    so the landing page requires monthly subscription from either toneden, Hypeddit Feature.fm, correct? if with toneden do you need “Streaming + Social Growth Suite” or does basic plan work?
    I got into some of this last year with toneden (using your referral!) I liked how toneden made things easy for the technically challenged…. but i see what you’re doing here is a bit more involved than the lazyman’s “spotify playlist” on toneden…
    I dropped out last year when my advert money ran out, but now looking for the easy/cheap way to start again with <300$/month ad spend. — and trying to navigate what's changed since last year…. so must decide what's best/easiest/cheapest to use for landing page on limited budget.

    1. I’m pretty sure you can do a custom domain with a free ToneDen account. If you find out otherwise, please let me know!

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the other two offered it for free, but I haven’t investigated. If not, Hypeddit is only $9 a month last I checked.

      1. cool, thanks – i’ll check it out and dedicate some brain cells to the education. will be worth it for the finer tuned ads placements and saving the 90/month on the toneden spotify playbook I was doing before.

  15. all good and interesting until the last para, which is kind of depressing, in all honesty.

    HOW much work to lose 300$ a month? It sounds like an expensive hobby, not a business, to be honest.

    Do you see that changing at some point? Is it a loss leader? Or do you see it as an expensive but necessary part of a profitable (w)hole?

    For my part – I’m just trying to figure out how to be able to spend more time being a better musician, and creating original music. This doesn’t really look like it, TBH.

    1. I was half-joking about my money-losing machine. There are benefits beyond royalties from the streams, but they’re tough to track. Off the top of my head, my Shazams go way up, people comment on YouTube that they saw my ad and had to find the song, Apple Music streams go up, and I’m sure some of my Bandcamp sales are from people who discover me on Spotify. In other words, it generates genuine fans, but there are certainly more cost-effective ways to do that!

      I don’t think I’ll ever make more in streams than I spend on ads, because I’d just spend more on ads. 🙂

      1. Brian that does make some reasonable sense. Thanks for pointing that out. Hopefully those other avenues are netting you well over the 300$ per month, right? There is hope? 😉

  16. Brian, I noticed that you were able to set up a link to your submithub from your playlist description. How did you go about doing that? I can’t find documentation on that anywhere and nothing I tried has worked.

  17. Yeah I think that might be the case, and I don’t think they verify user accounts anymore. If that’s the case.

  18. Yikes! I’ve been researching on and off over the past year while my colleagues and I create some music. I’m an older muso, been around since the record co days of the 80s. I’ve never heard the word ‘give up’ yet either. 😉 Got a label set up on Distrokid, lining up my ducks. It’s pretty hard to market ugly old farts but I digress. I’m gathering info (I think my head is going to explode) to market our wares. I have been following along the whole social media craze since the mid naughties, dabbled in html, SEO, google ads, facebook ads. Your post is quite comprehensive so now I’m going down the toneden rabbit hole or is that warren? Anyway, thanks for that. Where do I throw my money?

    1. Great to hear from you Paul! I’ve been dabbling right along with you with the double purpose of sharing my experiences here. It’s all good fun. Whether you go with ToneDen or decide to roll your own campaign, keep us posted!

    2. Paul, fellow old fart here from the 80s. Your post is very relatable! Lets connect!

      Brian, super useful post! I have a very modest goal; I’ll be very happy with just a small group of loyal followers who enjoy the music as much as I’ve enjoyed producing them; just enough to validate the effort and the hours invested. I’ll try your suggestions a couple of times and see how that goes… Thanks much for doing this!!

      1. Depending on how much you enjoyed producing your music, that seems like a quite reasonable goal! 😉

        YouTube ads may provide cheaper validation, though the learning curve is higher.

  19. Brian,

    This is roughly the approach we stumbled on through trial and error (and lots of money spent), but with a twist:

    Release Radar can send your song to thousands who don’t follow you. It’s like magic!

    The way this becomes worth the money is to heavily promote a new release, and then coast between releases with maintenance ads. With just 740 followers, we got 2.8k Release Radars the second Friday which put the song into Discover Weekly. We only got 2 Discover Weekly listeners the second Monday. Then the Release Radars dropped significantly the third Friday, so we thought the fun was over. Then we got 6 more Discover Weekly listeners the third Monday, which was encouraging because it had increased a little. We kept running ads that week at around $20 a day. Then we got another big Release Radar push the fourth Friday of around 1.5k (4.3k Release Radar listeners total on this one song so far) listeners which finally led to a big surge in Discover Weekly listeners yesterday, around 750 so far. If the song does well, it should keep growing from there. All free traffic. We dropped our ad spend down now to $5 a day. With others we’ve seen this happen with, Discover Weekly can generate around 10 to 20k (or much more!) listeners a month, almost indefinitely, with no more advertising needed. It all depends on how the song performs, especially the listener to save ratio, and especially the first week. It gets much harder to have a higher ratio when traffic comes from the algorithm because less people save it than with ads. Anecdotally, people have said their song dropped out of Discover Weekly when the popularity score dropped below 30%, and you can run Facebook Ads to increase it and get it back in again. So, looking at your numbers, this is what you’re missing with the money you’re spending. Most of your traffic is coming from ads when it should be coming from the algorithm if you heavily promote new releases. More than half of the streams we have for this song have come from the algorithm. You can spend, say $3-500 on a new release, and then drop your daily spend to $10 and get much better results because most of your traffic will be coming from (and keep coming from) the algorithm.

    Here’s what we came up with: On release week, between Friday and Wednesday, you want to shoot for 150 or more conversions a day with a goal of having 400 to 500 saves by Wednesday (because the second Friday Release Radars start going out to Oceania early on Thursday morning, so stats up to Wednesday are what counts). With a new release, you won’t have social proof on a new ad, so the CPR will be higher than what you’re getting now, so it’s not about the budget but how many conversions you are getting. The lower your save rate, the more conversions you need to hit that goal and the higher your CPR, the more money you have to spend.

    How well your song performs also has to do with data we can’t see, like repeat listeners, shares, skips, etc. The listener/save ratio is the only definitive thing we can track, but it seems to be a good guide on how well the song is doing. If your save rate is really low the first week, it won’t matter how much money you spend. Some people doing this only spend $50 for three days, and then just keep running their daily campaign. We tried that, but our CPR was too high and we couldn’t hit the number of conversions and thus, saves, the first week and the song before this one didn’t get a big Release Radar push and nothing happened after that. We went all in on this release and it was worth every penny.

    Also, if you want a second chance at an old song that you didn’t promote this way, re-do the song significantly enough that the algorithm won’t identify it as a duplicate. Change some synth and drum sounds, re-record the vocals, add some more harmonies, etc. We are doing that with a few tracks that we didn’t promote this way (“Deluxe Mixes” on a Deluxe EP) , but think they could do much better than the first release (or just want to see!). That first week is crucial and it’s hard to ever make up for it if you don’t promote it correctly the first time (we tried just running ads on an old song, and did not see these results). Getting one song into Discover Weekly doesn’t automatically boost your other songs. They get a tiny bit more attention, but not enough to get them into Discover Weekly, too.

    And, if you get your song up to 100,000 or more streams from Discover Weekly, you make the extra money back you spent on the week 1 promotion. One person we saw do this spent $700 to promote a new release that now has 500,000 streams from Discover Weekly.

    A note about building followers:
    Spotify says they send your song to your followers when it’s released, but we are not seeing this. Each release, it has only gone to about 2-3% the first week. Because your followers are following many different artists, it seems that you have to compete for space on the Release Radars even for your own followers. We only had 17 Release Radar listeners the first week with 750 followers, so you can’t count on growing followers to boost your first week of a new release. You seem to have to promote on your own the first week to earn a place on the Release Radars of your followers on the second Friday (maybe this changes when you’re super famous because the 17 people who got our song the first Friday were people we knew or avid fans – one Spotify account I had didn’t get the song in the first Friday Release radar because I hadn’t been active on it, so people actively listening to your music on repeat are more likely to get everything you put out on the first Friday, but most followers aren’t like that) and you can also get your song sent to people who don’t follow you if your song performs well the first week.

    Another thing about “trigger cities”: most of our Discover Weekly and Release Radar listeners went to our top countries and cities, not to our country of origin (the US). This was very surprising to us. Our number one country now is Russia, with almost double the listeners than in the US. Facebook traffic to Russia is cheap, so this makes sense. Lesson learned, we are now targeting some US cities near where we live to “seed” the algorithm to send the song to listeners in our local area. You pay for the seed listeners and then the algorithm sends you free ones. That’s our theory, anyway, we are going to test it even though targeting a US city costs much more. We are hoping to get our local city into the top 50 to get free algorithmic traffic going forward (this should help with local press, radio, and shows, we are hoping). That would totally be worth the extra CPR.

    Hope that info helps with your future experiments!

    1. This is incredibly helpful and an article unto itself! Thanks so much for taking the time to detail all this.

      I’ve never considered re-releasing an old song to give it another shot at algorithmic success. I wonder if you really need to make changes, as long as you use a different ISRC. Of course if you can actually improve the track, you probably should! I know I always hear things to fix after a couple months.

      As for Release Radar sending your song to followers, I wonder if the issue is just that Spotify has been hiding Release Radar lately. I’ve actually had to search for it on Fridays! That can’t be good for visibility.

      Russia is my top country too, on Apple Music! It looks like I have a decent following there organically, and I think it’s #4 for Spotify. My ads are hitting India, Brazil, and Mexico mostly these days. Maybe a little Russia. Still, US is my #1 on Spotify by a significant margin.

      Let’s see… US 10.9K, Germany 5.7K, Italy 4.1K, UK 3.5K, Netherlands 3.2K, Brazil 2.9K. So even after all those ad dollars thrown at Brazil, it’s pretty far down the list. I never promote to the US or Europe. Maybe it’s less about the algorithm and more about the playlists I’ve been on recently.

      You’ve given me lots of ideas to test out! It might be fun to target just California and see if anyone recognizes me. 😉

  20. Hi Brian, First of all let me state that you’re blog has helped me out immensely. Thanks a lot.

    I have been running an ad campaign for my playlist for over 4 months or so. Made it to 1400 followers over this period. Was very happy with the result. Conversion around 0.20 with almost all the conversions ending up with a follow up.

    My ad campaign got paused due to the IOS 14 update. I made a new campaign, following all the steps of creating a custom domain and verifying it via fb bussines manager. My new campaign is live since a day or 3. I am seeing conversions around the same cpc rate as before. Only I am not seeing any follow ups on the playlist. I made around 60 conversions in the last 3 days but not a single follow up. Also my toneden click tru rate is way different then my previous campaign.

    On my original campaign the click tru rate was 97%
    On the new campaign the click tru rate is 46%

    I am personally thinking it has to do something with the link not properly opening in the Spotify app but in the webbrowser. But I am not sure, I’m kinda stuck here and hope you got a clue where to look for.

    This is the link :


    Hope to hear from you

    1. The link opens Spotify properly for me both on desktop and on my iPhone!

      At first, I didn’t know what you meant by a “follow up” but I believe you mean a playlist follow. If so, it’s super impressive that most of your early conversions resulted in follows! You can see from my spreadsheet that I wasn’t quite as lucky.

      Lately about a third of people who click through to Spotify follow my playlist, and I’m paying about $0.40 per follow.

      I suggest trying very focused targeting that you know is safe. Maybe just Brazil with a narrow age range. Once you start getting follows again, expand slowly from there.

      Maybe you’ve attracted bots and Facebook is looking for more accounts that look like bots. Something like that happened to me and I had to ditch all my lookalike audiences and start fresh.

      Keep us posted!

      1. Thanks for getting back so quick Brian !

        Im gonna try this out straight away and let you know any of my results.

        Did you noticed anything strange from your spreadsheets since the iOS 14 launch or nothing in particular ?

  21. Ok Brian, I switched to using only Brazil and I am seeing some followers now. Only gained 2 on 20 conversions wich is pretty low for my standards., but at least something to go with. Thanks for your help and if you wish I could keep you posted.

  22. Just went tru some data and found an interesting statistic.
    I was looking into the device data. Here’s what I found.

    On my previous campaign I made 1759 conversions.
    1246 on android smartphone
    367 on iPhone smartphone
    131 on ‘other’ devices

    My new campaign is just 61 conversions in, but all are made from ‘other devices’
    I find this quite peculiar. Could it be it has to do something with the IOS update or what are you’re thoughts on this ?

  23. Yeah, it’s like a secret that not many know about or understand. Spotify sure doesn’t make it known. Some run Facebook ads, target the world, use automatic, get all their traffic from bots or India, and say Facebook ads don’t work. They give up and never figure it out. I have combed the Internet, Reddit, and comments sections for almost a year trying to find answers and I finally found them. It’s amazing to finally find something that works.

    We did try to take down an old release and re-release it as a dry run when we were first running ads. You retain all of your old saves, streams, and playlists, but you get another 28-day Release Radar cycle, so Spotify treats it like a new release. The new release gets a new URI, so the algorithm can track it separately from the original version even though the data from both versions is combined.

    We didn’t have any luck triggering a big Release Radar with that campaign because our budget was too low. We were trying to find the number of saves you needed to trigger the push and the ratio of conversions to saves you get from ads. We underestimated. We only had around 150 saves by day 6 for that one. We had heard from another marketing channel that you can pull down and re-release songs and trigger the algorithm, so it is possible. I’m not sure how far back the algorithm includes data. It could be a rolling 28-days, but some say it also includes early history. We just felt some minor changes could help the two tracks perform better in ads and in the algorithm because we weren’t happy with the way they were mixed, so we are going to do new mixes on both and try again later in the fall. If you are happy with your song, you can try pulling it down and re-releasing it. It takes about a week or so to come out of all of the stores and another few days to be back, so you need about 3 weeks. You want to re-release it on a Friday. The only catch is that you can’t submit it for editorial consideration.

    Also, I think my previous estimates on how much traffic comes from the algorithm were a bit high. A lot of weekly traffic comes from user playlists and repeat listens, but you can get surges of 5k or more from Discover Weekly if your song does great. We got one the 4th Monday of around 2k (Listeners! not, streams – more like 4k streams) from Discover Weekly. Our track is at 20k streams at 4 weeks after release, which is amazing after dismal results from PR promotion, Submithub, blogs, influencers, TikTok – you name it, we’ve tried it (and some of it came from your blog!).

    A note about countries to target: you should target cheap, foreign countries for a new release to get the cheapest traffic and the most conversions, but you want to stay away from the really poor countries that don’t turn into listeners. None of the new Africa countries ever showed up for us. India sucks traffic because it is so cheap and only about 25% of conversions show up as listeners. We put India and other traffc-suckers (Malaysia, Phillipines, etc.) in an ad set together with a daily budget limit and usually only run it on release day or maybe a few days after. The others, like Egypt and Brazil, generate enough super fans that it’s worth the drop off. A super fan will play your song like 50 to 100 times in one day!

    But after the release, we started targeting nearby US cities, as I mentioned. It worked. LA showed up as a top city and had more listeners than we had conversions, so they came from the algorithm. You could run a maintenance campaign between releases that targets richer countries to influence the algorithmic traffic. That’s what we’ve seen others do also, I’m guessing for the same reason. The CPR is higher, but the free algorithmic traffic that follows it makes it worth it once you’ve primed the pump.

    1. I’m starting to come to your way of thinking in regard to India. I’m getting followers but I think I’d do better paying a little more for Brazil, Mexico, and Russia. My traffic suckers have been Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco (though the last two weren’t getting that many conversions).

      I’ve never seen much action from Egypt! I’ll have to be more deliberate in testing that one out.

      And come to think of it, I actually did a re-release of three tracks, to move them from one distributor to the other. In the process, I slightly tweaked the mixes but used the same ISRCs. I don’t think they hit Release Radar again, but I confess I wasn’t looking too closely.

      You’ve given me the itch to experiment, but right now I’m only running ads for my playlist. On the artist side, I’m testing two different services right now, so I don’t want to complicate matters even more! Maybe in a month or two.

      Thanks again for sharing all this great info! I hope someone else will put it to the test and share their experience here. I’ve already referred someone to your comments by email.

    2. Hi Onyxx, check out my recent answer to this post =)

      There are some insights that you might find interesting. By the way, thanks for your information, it’s really helpful!

  24. Hi Brian

    I’m an artist who feels daunted by the prospect of spending time on wide spread promotion campaigns. Are there any promotion companies you can recommend who can take the reins? Thank you in advance for your time!

    1. As much as we’d all love for someone else to handle the marketing while we focus on our art, I haven’t seen it work that way in the real world. Ultimately if you’re going to succeed in music, you need to master marketing.

      There’s IndieX which is an extension of Indepreneur (or maybe it’s the other way around) but they’re selective in who they’ll work with. Generally it’s established artists or artists with marketing chops that need a bigger team to execute.

      That’s all I’ve got, other than the services I talk about here. They can help you with individual elements of your promotion, but none of them are going to mastermind the grand scheme.

  25. Hello,
    Just had a read of all this. Love this page Brian.
    To add to the toneden comments. I use the free plan and over the last week – I noticed the loading has been clunky and slow of both the landing page and deep linking to Spotify. This happened during the start of my campaign. So I’m switching to hypeddit. If the user isn’t getting an easy, swift experience they won’t stick around. Can I get your advice?

    1) What is a good CTR on a campaign?
    2) Why is it a good idea to get streams from countries like Mexico, Egypt and Brazil first and not the US?

    1. Last time ToneDen was misbehaving, I contacted support and it turned out Amazon Web Services had an outage. Can’t blame them for that!

      That said, I love Hypeddit and the look of their landing pages. Definitely worth the $9 a month.

      Looking over my past couple of weeks, my clickthrough rates vary wildly. One ad set is 4.6% and another is 1.1%. I would focus on cost per conversion instead.

      The idea with promoting to non-US counties is to get the cheapest engagement possible, under the assumption that Spotify doesn’t care where that engagement comes from. Looking over the same time period, my CPM (cost per thousand impressions) is $1.15 to Brazil and $4.60 to the US.

  26. I’m begging you to go into detail about the custom conversion and how to set it up properly. I can’t figure it out to save my life and my campaigns have been horrible compared to yours without it. I know I’m targeting the right people (no bots) with a high quality ad. Specifically, I have a website with Bandzoogle and I want to find a way to use that for the custom conversion.

    1. There are how-to guides from ToneDen, Hypeddit, and Feature.fm that will hold your hand through the entire process. Here’s one from ToneDen.

      While I prefer to optimize for conversions, you shouldn’t be THAT much worse off optimizing for landing page views, especially if you include Spotify in your targeting and make Spotify the only option on your landing page.

  27. How did you add the “content_name equals “spotify” in your custom conversion. Did you set that up in the Ad creation process or did you do it in your Facebook business account? I wasn’t able to figure out how to add it in the URL parameters in the Facebook ad setup process. If FB, where do you set that up at? Events Manager? Create Custom Conversion?

  28. Your article here is the best I’ve read on the subject, thank you so much for posting this gem!

    The most helpful sentence I read above was “It doesn’t really matter though. As long as you don’t waste your money on Audience Network”. I couldn’t agree more! I’ve also spent a small fortune on Facebook ads, even though Facebook constantly pops up reminders to turn on automatic placements, I’ve found the audience network to be a giant drain every time.

    At one point we were getting clicks for $0.03 thinking we were doing great. But when looking into the actual data they were all coming from the audience network and none were converting.

  29. Hi Brian, thanks for a great informative article!

    Can I ask you what’s your Ad Link Clicks to View Content ratio, roughly? I saw T**D*Pree has about 70%, and I’m having about 25%-ish. I’m wondering where this drop in clicks on landing page could be coming from, as my landing page is just cover art + spotify link and there is visual continuity all throughout the funnel.

    it’s a bit bugging to know that the ad costs could potentially be 2-3x lower. Could it be because of lack of historical data from the pixel? What do you think?

    1. Looking over the past week, about two thirds of clicks result in conversions. In my case, that’s not just View Content, that’s specifically clicking through to Spotify.

      Right now I’m just targeting the US as a test, but when I include India, that percentage drops dramatically.

      It’s hard to say what the issue is in your case. It could be that the ad isn’t clear about what you’re asking them to do, in which case including the Spotify logo or a “Listen now on Spotify” call to action could help clarify.

      The pixel will get better at finding the people who meet your ad objective, so make sure you’re getting the highest percentage of followers per View Content possible!

  30. I have some questions regarding the article “Facebook Ads for Spotify Bedt Practices”, if you don’t mind replying:

    1.) You make ONE campaign to promote the artist profile
    ONE campaign for the playlist?

    2.) If yes, how do people follow you? I mean, why should people follow someone (artist) they don’t know anything about? Or are you using retargeting?

    3.) How many creatives (ads) do you usually test for these kind of campaigns? And how often do you update them with new creatives?

    4.) How do you create the custom conversion based on one “button” (spotify’s button) only?

    Thank you in advance!

    1. 1. Yes, one campaign for the profile, another for the playlist

      2. They follow me because I send them to my profile where there’s a big “FOLLOW” button. Sometimes I include a CTA in the description too, like “Click to listen & follow on Spotify.”

      3. I test maybe 4-6 creatives. Really, as many as I have ideas for. I confess I haven’t added any new ones in forever! They’re getting awfully stale.

      4. How you create the custom conversion will depend on what service you’re using. It’s done in Facebook’s Events Manager. For my playlist, I set up the following custom conversion:


      URL contains “go.colortheory.com/vsr”
      content_name equals “spotify”

      Getting all that set up is beyond the scope of this blog. It would require its own article with separate sections for ToneDen, Hypeddit, Feature.fm, and perhaps DistroKid’s HyperFollow.

      And then I’d have to update it all the time, so I don’t see it happening! Hopefully I’ve at least pointed you in the right direction.

  31. Have you had any problems with your ads being stuck in “learning limited” phase? My audience is ENORMOUS and I was getting decent conversion results. I’m not sure how to fix this.

    1. The size of your audience doesn’t necessarily matter. In fact, being stuck in “learning limited” doesn’t necessarily matter either if you’re happy with your cost per conversion.

      The issue is you’re not getting enough conversions within a given timeframe. I think they want 50 in 7 days? Something like that.

      The easiest way to fix it is to up your budget, but unless it’s an incremental increase, it’ll probably start optimization again from scratch.

  32. Well covered topic on Spotify ads for Facebook. I have been testing taboola and the audience is mostly from South America and Asia if I don’t apply the correct filters I see them as wasted money there is also alot of click fraud on the network. I might give this a try.

    1. I had never heard of Taboola but you might as well see if you can beat their results! I’m currently splitting up my countries into tiers so the conversions don’t all go to India, Ukraine, Indonesia, and the Philippines. With any luck, I’ll find time to write about it soon!

  33. Hello Brian,
    I recently followed your advice and purchased the “Spotify Growth Engine” course ($37) and felt dissapointed as many of the options on the menu of the download gate (pre-save, using the pixel, conversion API, email capture) do not work unless you go pro and subscribe monthly ($9). Even worse: the link gate setup doesen’t work unless you do the same, which is not explained on the training video, so it doesen’t feel right. Unfortunately my 30-day guarantee has passed, otherwise I would have claimed the return. In my opinion, studying in depth FB ads and Spotify might help you save this unneeded expense. Just if it might help anyone! thanks.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Daniel!

      You don’t have to use Hypeddit for your smart links if you don’t want to. You can use ToneDen for free, though there are advantages to going with Hypeddit. For example, John just set up Facebook Conversion API support, which should make it easier for Facebook to track your conversions on iPhones.

      Considering what I spend on Facebook ads in a month, $9 is a drop in the bucket and a real bargain IMHO.

  34. Thanks for the article, good stuff! I had a question about setting up an ad. My project is dropping a single in a couple of weeks and I’m planning to run a facebook ad with a link to our Spotify page not just the song. We don’t have a look-a-like audience to reference so for the set up would you suggest targeting a wide net and select multiple countries and make the age group 16-64 to start out with? From what I understand of FB ads you don’t want to make the audience size too large and be specific with targeting details but since we haven’t been consistently running ads I’m wondering if starting out with a wider range of countries and age group etc and then editing the ad if needed say a week to 10 days later would work ? Also our budget is around $15-$20 a day. Hopefully that all made sense! I’d love to know what you think….

    1. Considering your budget and relative inexperience, I highly suggest working through Spotify Growth Engine. You’ll get a ton of guidance including an active Facebook Group and a monthly live call where you can get all your questions answered.

      I don’t really know how to answer your questions here because the answers depend on your music and your goals. Even with that information, it would take a full article to plan out a campaign for you!

        1. Absolutely! In fact, John Gold likes to direct people to a playlist by default, rather than just his latest song. You can try it out here and get your money back if you’re not satisfied.

      1. Thanks for the response to my question on the Spotify Growth Engine (SGE), Brian.

        May I also know if there is another other monetary commitment that we need to make (asides from, of course, costs like ads expenses) in order to make SGE works (e.g. other monthly subscription, etc)?

        Also, Im assuming you’re one of the students from SGE as well, so perhaps you can share with us a handy tips or two that you’ve learned, so that we can have more confidence to sign up 🙂

        Many thanks again, Brian.

        1. I’ve taken Spotify Growth Engine, Spotify Growth Machine, Spotify Profits, and Spotify Field Guide. With the exception of the latter, they offer money-back guarantees with no ongoing commitments .

          Spotify Growth Engine is my top choice, but I found value in all of them, and learned a lot on my own through trial and error.

          As for handy tips, this very post is a compendium of them! 😉

        2. I can’t remember how much of the training utilized download gates, and John just rerecorded all the videos due to iOS changes so things may have changed. I can say with certainty that most of the people in the Facebook group aren’t using download gates, and the strategy doesn’t fundamentally change one way or the other.

          As for Hypeddit, you certainly don’t need it, but of course his examples use it. Personally I think it’s well worth $9 a month, but you could just as easily roll with a free ToneDen account.

          Unless cash flow is an issue, I suggest you jump in and watch the trainings. If it’s not everything you hoped it would be, there’s a no questions asked money-back guarantee I can assure you he will honor.

  35. Brian, thanks a lot for this article — it’s very useful. A couple of questions:
    – What percentage do you target when building a lookalike audience based on your Toneden conversions? Do you stick with 1-2% or go broad, all the way to 10%?
    – For your profile ads, do you link directly to the Spotify profile page from your FB ad or go through a Toneden landing page? If it’s the latter, can you share a link to your profile landing page?
    Thanks again for sharing all this info!

    1. I always go with 1%. If the frequency gets too high, you can always enabled lookalike expansion at the ad set level.

      I go through a landing page (currently Hypeddit) so that I can pixel the user. That also allows me to run a conversions campaign with a click on Spotify counting as a conversion. That shows a higher degree of intent from the user, which makes for better lookalike targeting!

  36. Hi Brian! I’ve been trying Facebook ads for a while, including with a ToneDen landing page, but with little success. Lots of video plays… no action. Def. not for Spotify either. I’d like to try to follow your lead for my new music coming out in a couple weeks. And I’m going to try it on IG Reels for sure. Question – sorry if I misunderstood. But I believe you’re saying that to build the lookalike audience, you 1st run your ad to the ToneDen landing page first, so users have to click on the ad, and then click again on the “Spotify” button to get to your profile (and then technically a 3rd time on the song, to hear the song your referenced in your ad)? Do you lose a lot of people here?

    Also, aside from locations and “likes Spotify?, how do you target people for that landing page? You mentioned to not use detailed targeting yet…. do you at least target people who like similar artists or genres? Or “audiences” in the same way Indepreneur advises in the Fan Finder? Or something else?


    1. Sorry for the delay Lia! My site decided to stop sending me comment notifications.

      You’ve got the process right. Users have to click on both the ad and the Spotify button on the ToneDen landing page to count as a conversion, which feeds my lookalike audience. Except these days I’m not even bothering with lookalike audiences. My ad account is so seasoned that I can just target “Spotify” and leave it at that.

      If I were starting fresh, I’d definitely pick some other artist targets or other interests. Come to think of it, for my latest single “Dungeons” I targeted anime, because the video is an AMV.

  37. Hi Brian,

    When you use a lookalike audience, do you insert the same target audience counties (as those you used to create lookalike audience) during ads set stage?

    For example, if you created a lookalike audience using “US and UK” as your audience location, then in ads set stage, do you also insert “US and UK” as the target audience countries?

    Many thanks in advance for your advice

    1. Yes I do! I create separate lookalikes based on geography. It can be individually countries but usually I split them up into tiers. This may have changed or I could be mistaken, but I think you need at least 100 conversions in the country you’re targeting to generate the lookalike. But as I mentioned in an earlier comment, these days I don’t even bother with lookalikes. I just target “Spotify” and leave everything else wide open.

  38. Firstly, great article and has been extremely helpful and constructive to take on board your progress and results to fine tune my ads.
    I have a question which I’m curious you’ll most likely be able to answer.

    I started off targeting similar artists as an interest to gain conversions. Now into the stage of targeting a 75% video lookalike, however I’ve added an extra step of only targeting the countries with a CTR of 30% or higher, in hopes that it’ll achieve cheaper conversions.
    Would you recommend doing this?
    Or would you suggest just leaving it as all Spotify countries for the lookalike audience and then letting Facebook use campaign optimization to automatically choose the countries it shows?

    Also I saw that you mentioned you don’t use lookalikes anymore after having more than enough data on your ad account. Does that mean you are just targeting “Spotify” or are you using any sort of interests or custom audiences for your current best results?

    Wondering if it’s worth spending on lookalikes see. Was going to go for the conversion lookalike once I garnered enough results.

    Currently at 2000 conversions through to Spotify after 2 weeks and hitting 12-15p per conversion. Really trying to nail the right audience so I can scale the ads. Have found what seems to be the sweet ad/song/creative that works best out of the 9 I tested, so am happy with that.

    Would appreciate a response when you have time. Thank you 🙂
    Have a good day and happy new year!!

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Dylan!

      I worry your combined 75% VV and 30% CTR targets are overkill, but I suppose it depends how many countries meet that threshold. Facebook will optimize for the cheapest conversions regardless.

      Lookalikes served me well for a long time, but now “Spotify” does the job for me. You prompted me to double-check and it turns out I actually have “Dungeons & Dragons” as an interest on my album campaign! I think that’s because I duplicated the campaign for my single “Dungeons.” Oops! But it’s doing great – $0.10 conversions over the past 14 days, so I’m going to leave it.

      I’ve got two articles in the queue about choosing countries and splitting them into tiers. So definitely stay tuned for those! For now, I’d suggest hitting all Spotify countries and checking against Spotify for Artists to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth in streams. If a single country like India, Philippines, or Ukraine takes off and you don’t see streams take off, drop it!

  39. It is absolutely hepfull. I subsribe and definitely I am going to follow you closer. Thanks a lot for sharing and trying to help to connect artist with their respective audiences. Good luck Wei!

  40. Hey Brian

    first, thanks for sharing your results !
    Im doing Facebook Ads as well and idk why, but i guess im having a problem.

    I run since few days a playlist campaign with 7€ daily budget. I also get enough conversions and my costs are also really good. But out of 100 conversions, i only get like 5-7 playlist follower ? It seems really low imo.

    I run my ad on facebook and instagram (feed and story) and i dont target any country in afrika or asia.

    Do you have any suggestions ?

    1. Hey Maxx!

      So you’re paying $1.00 to $1.40 per follower. That’s on the high end, but not out of the question.

      Can you check what country is getting most of the impressions? If it’s India, my guess is that you’re getting accidental clicks. India never works for me anyway!

      Most of my impressions go to Brazil, Mexico, and other South American countries.

      1. Brasil and Mexico do the most conversions.
        And like i said, i dont advertise in africa or asia 🙁

        Thats why it looks strange to me

        1. Sorry, my geography is nearly as good as my reading comprehension. 😉

          Assuming you’re seeing a decent number of streams from those countries in Spotify for Artists, I suppose the next place to look is your creative. Maybe a different song, different headline, different video?

  41. What was your cost per click before the actually started following you or how many clicks were you getting each day before actually following your playlist on spotify?

  42. Out of interest what is the long term benefit or aim if it’s costing 600 vs 300 return?
    When or what is the goal to get this to go into profit?

    1. I don’t expect to ever turn a profit based on Spotify royalties alone. The hope is that some of these listeners will support me in other ways, or at least listen to my future releases to somewhat offset my up-front costs.

      If my primary focus was money, I wouldn’t invest in Spotify at all. I’d focus on opt-ins to my mailing list and merch sales.

  43. Hey Brian Hazard!
    Loved your guides on facebook advertising, they have helped me understand the meta system a lot better.
    I followed your advice in terms of separating countries in terms of their CPM (in ad sets). I am testing 3 ads for each ad set, I have now tried doing this campaign twice and none of my ads deliver and my campaign shows no impressions.
    I have a £20 daily budget, it’s an engagement campaign on auction, the only thing I can think of is audience fragmentation (this is what the meta system said) which seems crazy to me since i’m still targeting millions of people in each ad set.
    I have been in contact with so many people running playlists yet none of their advice has been able to fix my problem. I’m at the point where I may just stick all of the countries in one ad set just so my playlists see some growth :/
    Any advice would be appreciated!
    Bailey @toujoflow

    1. Sorry to hear your ads are stuck in Meta limbo!

      I don’t think fragmentation is the issue, but you can test your theory by turning all of the ad sets except one.

      Are you sure your conversion event is set up properly? That seems more likely to be the issue to me.

      1. Thanks or your reply Brian really appreciated!
        Okay I will try turning all of the adverts off except for one and see what comes from that.
        My conversion event seems to be all setup correctly, I have a submithub landing page with a pixel on there. The pixel is registering the traffic and more specifically when someone clicks on ‘open in spotify’.
        Should I start to see impressions pretty soon after I disable the other 4 ad sets if it was too work?

        1. I had a lot of trouble getting the SubmitHub landing page to work. When I finally did, it didn’t perform better despite the improved loading speed.

          If all the ads are approved, I’d guess you’d get impressions within a few hours.

          If you still can’t figure it out, try Hypeddit, ToneDen, or Feature.fm for the smart link.

        2. Right ok that makes sense, i’ve heard a few people say that they have had problems with SH. If I don’t see impressions within the next few hours I will replace the landing pages with one of the websites you have suggested. Any preferences for yourself?

        3. I’ve been partial to Hypeddit lately if you’re willing to pay $9 a month. With ToneDen, you can’t really tell which countries are performing well. Feature.fm has the best reporting but it’s also the most expensive.

        4. Perfect I will try hypeddit, seems to be the best choice from my own research so far. Thanks so much for your help Brian!

  44. My adverts are finally rolling which is great to see!
    My only problem now is my ads are struggling to go through the learning phase, facebook is still recommending I combine the 5 ad sets together so they go through the phase quicker? Do you have any thoughts on this? Thanks again.

    1. Presumably the five ad sets have different targeting, and you want to test which targeting performs best. If it looks like you’ll get 50 conversions in a week, it should exit learning. If not, you might consider raising the budget or using campaign budget optimization so Facebook stops wasting money on the poorly performing ad sets.

      1. The five ad sets targeted different groups of countries separated by their average cpm. They all had the same interests ‘Spotify, Alt Rap, House’. The ad spend was only really going to tier 4 and tier 1 wasn’t getting any spend at all (Canada and US). I had around 70 conversions in the first 2 days and still had 0% learning phase progress. I’m so confused. I have been using a fair budget of £20 daily with campaign optimisation. The facebook seemed to ignore my daily cap spend on the lower tier countries as well haha. Avg CPR being £0.44 as well. I think I might just start the campaign over and check if I did everything correctly.

        I just realised I am also testing 3 adverts per adset, this could be why its taking so much longer to exit the learning phase. Were you just testing one ad per ad set? Also out of curiosity do you take consultations?

        1. You’d think at least tiers 1 and 4 would be making progress toward optimization!

          Do you really need four tiers? I’m currently using two. I typically also use three ads per set, so I don’t think that’s the problem.

          I don’t advertise it, but I do occasionally consult at $140/hr (same as my studio hourly rate). Normally I’ve got more than enough mixing and mastering work to keep me busy!

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