Spotify playlist

How I’m Promoting My Spotify Playlist with Instagram Stories Ads

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.

UPDATE: I’m doing things differently now! There are still some great pointers here, but don’t miss my latest post on the subject, Facebook Ads for Spotify Best Practices.

If you were wondering how I found your work, it was through Spotify. I was looking for vocal synthwave playlists. Yours had the most followers and I really enjoyed the first song.

My Spotify playlist is getting a lot of action lately. Not because the search algorithm starting picking up on it, or because it went viral on Reddit. No, I’m growing it the old-fashioned way: by paying for it.

On March 10, it had 1079 followers. As I write this on March 19, it has 3124 followers. That’s 2K followers in two months, for a total of $378.46 in ad spend (click to enlarge).

I learned a lot in those two months, and I’m paying much less per follower now than I was at the beginning. More on that later!

The benefits of owning a popular Spotify playlist

Owning one of the top playlists in your genre offers several advantages:

  1. Strangers are more willing to check out a playlist than a song, album, or artist profile.
  2. You can promote your entire scene instead of just pushing your own stuff.
  3. You can trade placements on other artists’ playlists.
  4. You can place your name (in the description), likeness (in the cover art), and music alongside the biggest names in your genre.
  5. A high follower count legitimizes the playlist and generates more streams due to its perceived authority.
  6. A high follower count attracts higher quality submissions on SubmitHub.

Convinced yet? Here’s how I did it…

How I created my Instagram Stories ads

Instagram Stories ads are 15-second videos with a 9×16 aspect ratio, essentially 1080p flipped sideways. iMovie can’t do it, but it’s a breeze with ScreenFlow.

ScreenFlow dimensions

ScreenFlow is also great for making square videos, which take up more screen real estate on social media. I’m using a really old version that I bought years ago for screen capture, but it still does everything I need.

Note that it’s Mac only. If you know of any good Windows alternatives, please share them in the comments!


I just add my assets to the sidebar, drag them to the video window and/or timeline, resize them to 15 seconds, add text and “effects” (mostly just fades), and export using the following settings:

ScreenFlow Settings

I’m sure that’s way overkill video-wise, but I love that it encodes audio at 320 kbps!

My winningest Spotify playlist ads

Here’s a playlist with 4 of the 24 ads I’ve tested so far. Remember that Instagram also includes a call to action (“Listen Now”) at the bottom of the screen, with a caret telling the user to swipe up.

FRAME DJ was a huge help in coming up with ideas. He noticed that “scrolling through the playlist” ads like the first were being used to build massive EDM playlists.

He also came up with “imagine the warmth of 80s synth music.” I was skeptical at first, but it outperformed the others at the time.

I’m quite proud of “it’s always midnight somewhere,” featuring the music of The Midnight. Clever, huh?

Still, I was glad that “bask in the neon glow of an 80s that never existed” performed just as well using my own music.

Facebook Ad Library is a helpful resource. There are several expensive courses on Spotify promotion that center around Instagram Stories ads. Rather than pay for them, I just looked up the relevant artists’ ads for inspiration.

Test, test, test! I can’t stress this enough. Try different songs, background images, copy, fonts, timing, you name it! Don’t forget to test which 15 seconds of your track converts best, rather than just starting at the top of the chorus.

I test each ad by letting it run solo for two days, ideally two weekdays because weekends may perform differently.

Remember that followers are the goal, not clicks. Every morning I write down my follower count and track the increase from the previous day. It should scale with clicks, but if it doesn’t, your ad may be confusing users.

I place the song from my ad, typically my own, in the top slot of the playlist so people recognize it immediately and know they’ve come to the right place. Sure, it’s self-serving, but not entirely selfish!

Setting up my Instagram Stories ads

I won’t walk through every step in the ad creation process, because yawn. The campaign objective is traffic, and the sole placement is Instagram Stories.

I mostly targeted US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Once I launched my free CD campaign, which I’ll write about soon, I restricted my targeting to US-only, where I charge $5 to ship a CD rather than $15 internationally.

Eventually I opened it up to Mexico and Brazil, where I’m getting clicks for $0.04, versus $0.11 in the US. The lower cost per follower is offset by a lower payout per stream.

Ultimately I settled on splitting my geographic targeting into two ad groups at $2.50 each per day: US, and Mexico/Brazil. If I kept them in the same ad group, the latter would eat up the vast majority of my budget.

Choose your targets wisely, and for chrissakes make sure they are all countries where Spotify is available!

I’m getting about 50 new followers a day, so $0.10 per follower if we attribute all growth to the ads. That assumes that organic growth is canceled out by unfollows.

Interest targeting no more

You may have noticed that I mentioned where I’m targeting, but not who I’m targeting.

That’s because I already spent a few hundred bucks to build a lookalike audience of 75% video viewers — yet another topic for a future post! I know I previously said that lookalike audiences don’t work, but it turns out I was doing it wrong.

You’ll likely need to use interest targeting, in the form of “artists I sound like” or “my genre” plus Spotify. Remember, you want to narrow the audience using Spotify as an additional interest.

Hopefully, there are targetable artists that you sound like, or genres your music fits into cleanly. I’m not so lucky, which is why it cost so much to create that lookalike from mostly non-music-related interests.

Deep Linking with URLgenius

Let’s swap places with our potential fan for a moment. Imagine you see an ad for a cool playlist, swipe up, and are greeted with this screen:

download app

“Wait, don’t I already have the Spotify app?,” you wonder. Yes, you do, and clicking the “download app” button will open it.

We want to avoid this confusion at all costs. The solution? URLgenius.

Facebook Ads Manager

URLgenius creates deep links that bypass the download prompt and open the relevant app directly.

The first 1000 clicks are free. After that, it’s a penny per click. In this case, a penny spent is more than a penny saved in cost per follower!

Here’s a URLgenius link to my playlist. Now you owe me a penny.

My Spotify playlist results

Do people actually listen to my playlist? Indeed they do!

Here’s my Spotify for Artists data for the top slotted track (click to enlarge):

Juggernaut Spotify plays

I’ve got another track in the middle of the playlist, which only generated 436 plays over the same period.

If I consider my playlist campaign only in terms of my two songs, that’s 2K streams for $174. That’s not terrible relative to what you’d pay for Spotify PR, and I know the streams are legit!

SubmitHub to the rescue

When my playlist hit 2K followers, I made the mistake of announcing it on social media. Suddenly I was receiving submissions from every corner of the internet.

Most obviously didn’t fit, because they didn’t have vocals, or weren’t even close to synthwave. Some artists sent me full albums, or worse, directed me to their Spotify profile, expecting me to scour it for any appropriate tracks. It got to be too much, so I turned to SubmitHub:

Vocal Synthwave Retrowave on SubmitHub

If you’re unfamiliar with SubmitHub, you can read all about it in last month’s article. It’s a platform where curators of all stripes screen and manage submissions from artists, labels, and publicists.

I’ve always pushed back against claims that SubmitHub was payola and that curators were somehow scamming artists, but now it’s obvious how off-base those accusations are.

Once I worked through 200 submissions I was allowed to raise my price to two premium credits. Now I get $1 out of every $2 submission.

I’m currently receiving 15 submissions per day on average, making $20 per hour while falling behind on mastering and production work that pays far better.

SubmitHub is no get rich scheme.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of curators only charge a single premium credit, which is $10 per hour at my pace.

It has its perks though! Curators can purchase credits at a 50% discount. 45 minutes per day of my time covers both the cost of my playlist ads and my own artist submissions.

Feel free to submit your track to me if it has 1) great vocals (not just vocoder), 2) obvious 80s elements, 3) traditional pop structure, and 4) a synth-driven arrangement. You wouldn’t believe how many people send me instrumentals!

Spotify playlists conclusion

I think that covers the entire ecosystem!

What do you think? Is playlist promotion a viable substitute for artist promotion, at least on Spotify?

It’s definitely a ton of work, but I take pride in my playlist, and genuinely enjoy listening to it. It’s nice to be in a position where I can help other artists, rather than feeling like we’re all competing in a zero-sum contest. I suppose that goes for this blog too.

Do you curate a Spotify playlist? Have you tried Instagram Stories ads? Let’s swap strategies in the comments!

Don’t miss my latest post on the topic, Facebook Ads for Spotify Best Practices.


  1. Wow, great in-depth view on how all this promoting and adds on the socials work, didn’t know that at all.

    1. Thanks Jeroen! Hopefully this behind-the-scenes “how the sausage is made” stuff doesn’t get in the way of enjoying the music. You’ve probably noticed that I generally don’t push out my promotion posts to fans.

  2. Thanks for the mention Brian!
    And for anyone still hesitating – yes this all works and can work for you as well if you put in the hours.

  3. Awesome! Funny as i got a synth wave playlist too (just started..). I wonder if my first song would be a little too pop for your playlist? It should go live on june 1th. Let me know Thanks

  4. can someone use the swipe up link on instagram story if he doesnt have upto 10k followers on instagram? i heard there is a restriction to only your IGTV..please throw more light on that… thanks

    you mean ad manager from facebook?

    1. I don’t have 10K followers on Instagram myself! Fortunately, there’s no such requirement for swipe up on Stories ads.

      Yes, Ads Manager from Facebook, which owns Instagram.

  5. Thanks Brian for this interesting post. One thing I didn’t understand is how you identify artists you sound like or your genre. Is there an algorithmic tool for that? I’ve never found one. Thanks


    1. The closest thing to an algorithmic tool would be your Spotify Fans Also Like. For a graphic birds-eye view, check out Every Noise at Once.

      It’s not an exact science, of course. You may sound like a certain artist but have an entirely different brand identity. I suggest trying a ton of artists and genres, and weeding them out if they are underperforming after $5 in ad spend.

  6. So for anyone interested – the cost of getting new followers can vary between 0,04 and 0,40 depending on these things:

    Location of the ad placement (US is more expensive)
    Targeting expertise in FB’s Business manager
    Quality of the visuals and Ad design
    Quality of the call to action (for example: look at what my suggestion did in the article above)
    Uniqueness of the playlist (nobody is looking for another gym playlist)
    Artwork and text of the playlist
    Strength of the playlist curation in getting back a follower to listen

    If anyone wants some free tips let me know (info at framedj dot com).


  7. How did you manage to create a playlist with your artist account? Last time I checked it only allowed me to create a playlist with my personal account…

      1. Yes I did. Apparently at some point Spotify made it impossible for new users to merge the artist and the user profile. I went through so many boards looking for a solution but everyone keeps on having the same problem. I was hoping maybe you found a way around this 🙁 it’s really frustrating

  8. You can’t anymore. My artist profile is verified and i do have a premium personal account. You have to use your premium/personal account to create the playlist. Create your playlist fast, as you might run into problems. There’s always someone waiting/wanting to take advantage of a situation lol! I was lucky enough that no one took the name of my project to create his own playlist!

    1. Good tip, thanks! Do you know if one can change the name of the personal profile so that it matches the music one at least?

  9. Thank you for this! I always seem to run into your posts when I Google music promotion and I learn a lot from each one. The last time I read one of your posts I also discovered your song “In Motion” which is still one of my favourites to this day. And coincidentally I just created a Spotify playlist called “Androids & Emotions” with your track in it. 🙂 I’m hoping to promote it using these methods. Thanks again for the great resources!

    1. That’s great to hear Alex! Most of my traffic comes from Google, which is surprising considering how little effort I put into SEO. Thanks for the kind words and for including my track on your playlist!

  10. Brian thanks so much for all the info! Really cool to see people sharing info like this, inspires me to pay it forward big time!!

    Wanted to ask you a couple things after reading all this.

    I saw your playlist has gotten a lot bigger since you wrote this article (nice going!), I was wondering how many streams you’re getting on the tracks you put in the playlist nowadays. Could you share that with us?

    Also, do you think if you’d increase the budget on your ads (while also focussing on learning what ads work best with your audience of course), you could speed up the process of getting new followers to your playlist? I’d assume so (more budget = more reach) but I’d love to hear what you think.

    Cheers, Abel

    1. Glad you found it useful Abel!

      The playlist is at 6721 followers this morning! SubmitHub reports my average plays as only 140, but Spotify for Artists shows 3.6K streams for my first track from the playlist. Clearly position matters!

      I absolutely think I could double the budget to $10/day and double the number of followers.

      Looking at the last 14 days in ads manager, the frequency is 1.47, so it’s not like the same people are being bombarded with the ad.

      And it’s still the same ad! If I had more time I’d do more testing, which would reduce frequency even more.

      1. Awesome! Steady growing man, so cool to see this really works.

        Ah so because of the frequency, you wouldn’t advise spending a much bigger amount on ads, do I understand that correctly? An amount like 30-50 dollars a day is what I have in mind (hypothetically)

        Also, I saw track #8 in the playlist is also yours, I’m really curious to hear how many streams that one has gotten in the last 7 days 🙂

        1. I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t scale to that budget! I’d love to hear how it works out for you.

          That track doesn’t show up in my Spotify for Artists, I guess because I’m only listed on a single track and not the whole release?

          Looking on Oceanside85’s profile, my playlist is the top in “Discovered On” and the track is #2 with less than 1000 plays. Doesn’t tell us that much I suppose.

        2. Awesome! Thx man and if I ever set up my own I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!

        1. I’m normally quite self-conscious about putting my track in the opening slot, but in this case, I think it’s necessary for listeners to connect the playlist back to the ad.

          I’ve seen people positively litter their playlists with their own tracks, and while it rubs me the wrong way, but I don’t know if the average listener cares.

          I’m at an all-time high right now with four of my tracks on my playlist, out of 100. Granted, two of them are collaborations where I’m the second artist listed, so if you sort by artist, there are only two.

  11. Hey man good article! I’m also promoting playlist with ads. What countries are you targeting?

  12. Listen Now is not a CTA button choice for me on Instagram, How did you get that on to your ad? Also after creating a Screenflow, I have to pinch and zoom in to make it fit the instagram story. Thanks in Advance! Also, I hit the Ad Link on your page for Screenflow and now I’m an owner!

    1. Glad to hear that ScreenFlow is working out for you! I actually made a full music video in it using their stock library.

      What are you pinching and zooming exactly? Did you create the ScreenFlow document at 1080 x 1920?

      I’m not sure what to tell you about the CTA. Are you creating the ad in Ads Manager? “Listen Now” is a choice for me under the “Call to Action” dropdown menu.

  13. Hi Brian

    After checking your campaign for growing your spotify playlist and decided to test it.

    I made 2 promotions:

    In one, i made a direct promotion of my instagram story using my mobile phone, using the share button on spotify and then “share playlist to IG story”. I spent 5 euro.

    Then I made a second promotion using facebook ads manager, also targeted only to IG stories (excluded everything else), through another IG account, for another spotify playlist, another music genre and different campaign setup. Also boosted for 5 euro.

    In both campaigns i received 0 new followers. 10 euro = 0 followers.

    Could it be the fact that I don’t make charming videos but use a static image ?

    Do you have any idea what I am doing wrong and I didn’t receive any followers ?


    1. It’s hard to draw any strong conclusions from 10 euro in ad spend, but I’ve got a couple of ideas:

      1. Your campaign may not have been properly configured. You mentioned your placements but not your targeting or campaign objective.
      2. You’re “selling” music, but there’s no music in your ad. It may be less about image vs video, and more about silence vs audio.

      To really make this work, you’re going to have to come up with multiple creatives and multiple targets, and judiciously test them. Let your ad sets fully optimize or at the very least, don’t touch them for a few days!

      Hope that helps!

    1. I didn’t license it. I figure they’re kinda sorta friends and I’m using it to promote their music too (they have the perpetual second slot), so I just went for it and didn’t get in trouble.

  14. I found this super helpful, except… “I won’t walk through every step in the ad creation process, because yawn.”
    Um, that’s the part I need help with!

    Also, you say…
    “Remember that Instagram also includes a call to action (“Listen Now”) at the bottom of the screen, with a caret telling the user to swipe up.”

    It does? How do you make this happen?
    I was trying to do an instagram story ad (just a general ad for my album) which would send clicks to a landing page with streaming options. (I’m questioning if this is the best option) and I could not figure out how to add music to the story or get the swipe up option.
    Anyway, sorry for the long post. I really appreciate you sharing your experience. I even have an agency helping me a little and the amount of work that social media promotions is can be overwhelming. And it’s not particularly intuitive.

    1. Thanks for commenting Will!

      I’ve already got an article on Facebook Ads, so I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel here. The call to action is the same one you set for Facebook, but in Instagram Stories, it appears as a swipe up instead of a button. You probably know this, but you have to have 10K followers to enable swipe up from non-ad stories.

      I haven’t had much luck sending people to a Smart Link. Too much friction.

  15. Thanks, Brian, I’m slowly figuring it out. I have a fb ad that’s running and getting traction, but I’m sending people to one of those smart links and I think they’re stalling out there. So you always send them to Spotify? What about the other streaming markets?

    I created a video promo that I really wanted to run on IG stories (it did pretty well organically as a reel – nearly 700 views – and I only have 300 followers currently, anyway, seemed good to me) but I haven’t been able to figure out if I need to have music on the video itself or add music like you do with stories and reels, but it’s looking like for an ad I need to have the music built into the video.

    Can I ask one more question? When I add music to a reel or story, viewers can click on the music, but when they click on the artist (me) it says “No profile has been linked to this artist.” Do you know anything about this?

    Thanks so much for the info and feedback!


    1. Yes, I only send to Spotify, and the only placement that’s really worked is Instagram Stories.

      I haven’t really messed with reels, or TikTok for that matter, so I haven’t seen the “no profile” message. Sorry I don’t have any guidance there.

      But I can confirm that for an ad you need to include the music in the video.

  16. Yeah, the “no profile” error happens when I add one of my tracks to a story with the music sticker, too.

    Anyway, I’ve run an instagram stories ad and I did see some traffic, however, I couldn’t seem to find a way to make it ONLY instagram stories. The ad ran on facebook and messenger, too. Do you build your ad in Ads Manager or Ad Center? There are so many different ways to do seemingly the same thing.


  17. Hey Brian!

    Thanks a lot for sharing all those valuable information. Looks like Google did a great job by re-directing me here 🙂

    Had a question however, haven’t seen anyone discussed this topic in the comment.

    What are your thoughts about sending people to a landing page, where you’d have a Facebook Pixel on, which then redirects them to the playlist, on Spotify?

    Say (I guess you are familiar with Facebook Ads) you set the click on the playlist of your landing page as a “View Content” event, is there a difference between making a lookalike audience of people having clicked the link (the View Content) and of the % of people who watched the Ad video?

    Really hope I’m clear 🙂

    Warm regards

    1. That’s exactly what I’m currently doing through ToneDen. People who click on my ad get pixelled on the way to Spotify, but they don’t actually see a landing page. That’s registered as a conversion, and my ads have a conversion objective.

      I would expect much better results from a lookalike of people who actually clicked versus those who just did nothing and allowed your ad to play!

      1. Nice good to know, thank you! I believe this feature of Toneden is available in a pro version.

        Concerning lookalike audiences, you told in the article that you were doing something wrong, what was that? 🙂 Whenever I try to build a lookalike audience, the audience size remains unavailable, even though I’ve had some videos that did +15000 in 3s video views. Should I wait more? 🙂

        Thanks a lot for your time

        1. I wouldn’t build a lookalike off 3s views! Depending on the length of the video, I’d go for 75% higher. If they watched your video for 2 minutes, they’re probably interested.

          Still, if you did build a custom audience of 15K 3s viewers, you’d expect to see an audience size. Unless it says “populating,” it’s done, so no point in waiting.

          As for what I did wrong, I don’t think there was one thing in particular. Lookalikes just didn’t seem to work for me when I wrote my previous post on Facebook ads.

  18. Hey Brian, I see you’re still steadily growing the playlist, amazing to see! Just wanted to check if the streams from the playlist are also increasing together with the follower count, can you share with us how many streams your top track now gets every month? Cheers!

    1. Looking at total streams for “Juggernaut” for the past 12 months, they’ve been roughly the same since July. The track has 88.4K streams total, with 24.3K from the playlist. The next highest is Radio with 4.8K streams.

      Just looking at the past 28 days, it got 12.7K streams, but only 2.3K were from the playlist. 1.9K were from Spotify Radio! 39% of streams were from “Listener’s own playlists and library.”

      Confounding matters further, I’ve also been running direct-to-profile ads using the same song in the ad, so I can’t attribute the organic growth to one campaign or the other.

      On the face of it, it would seem easy to conclude that the number of playlist streams has been constant and that the audience of people listening to the track on their own has grown. In other words, they use the playlist for discovery purposes once and then move on.

      But looking in Ads manager, my result rate has been constant but the cost per result has doubled! So if we were only seeing plays from new listeners, my monthly streams would’ve declined.

      Make of those numbers what you will! I’m really pleased with the results, especially the 39% “Listeners own playlists and library” figure.

      1. Yoo thx for all the info, nice going man! You’re def on to something, especially with the radio plays and the listener’s playlists!! Great to see that. Keep up the great work, look forward to more articles 😀

  19. I have heard that Spotify is penalizing people for running ads to it…any idea what I am talking about at all??

    1. I’m aware of the takedowns for fake plays recently, but I’ve never heard of penalizing people for running ads. I’m currently running ads to smart link landing pages, so Spotify would have no way to know that those clickthroughs are the result of ads anyway.

  20. Hi Brian,

    Thank you for sharing your experience, this blog is amazing. I’ve taken inspiration from this post and just created an ad campaign for my instrumental hip-hop playlist; already 100 new followers in less than 48 hours 🙂

    Keep up the good work. By the way, your playlist and your own music are really good!

  21. Thanks Adrien! 100 new followers in less than 48 hours is great, since the ads take awhile to fully optimize. I’ve been experimenting with different placements besides IG Stories lately, and hope to write about it soon!

    1. hey brian thank you for this post.

      I actualy have multiple ads and redirect it on an hyppereddit on conversion.
      I get new followers but i gain maybe 1 followers per 0.80 cent on asia.

      Can you give me a tips please to improve my ads please =)?

      1. I can try!

        Are you promoting a playlist? If so, I think there’s room to improve. If you’re promoting an artist profile, $0.80 per follow isn’t necessarily that bad.

        Can you tell me a bit more about your campaign? Is it possible to link to your ad through Facebook Ad Library?

  22. Hi Brian,

    This article is helping me a ton, but when I go into facebook ads manager with all the specific targeting (Interests, non-US countries, age, etc.) It tells me tens of thousands of impressions (50,000 for $20 I believe) but only 24-100 expected link clicks. Should I just ignore that or is something wrong with my ad? I have never run an ad on this account before and Facebook takes into account past data so that could be an issue.

    1. I don’t see that as a problem! I mean, $0.25 per click (at 100 link clicks) isn’t out of the realm of possibility. I doubt it factors in how appropriate your specific targeting is, but I could be wrong! You won’t know until you run it.

  23. I’m trying to get closer to your $0.04 per click because $100 for 2500 followers is obviously much more appealing than $100 for 400 followers. When you are creating your ad does it give you an estimate similar to mine where it’s around 1-4 expected ad clicks per dollar or are you getting an estimate from facebook that’s much closer to the rate that you’re getting (25 clicks per dollar).

    I really appreciate you taking the time to make this article and reply so quickly!!!

    1. I’m in the process of testing out some new theories, so I’m not sure. Regardless, it really doesn’t matter what the estimate says. In fact, it really doesn’t matter how cheap your clicks are if they don’t translate to followers, so be sure to track that separately!

  24. Hey!

    Im no stranger to doing creative work such as quick and effective ad videos like yours there, Ive run some testing ads one targeted on Spotify and genre also the right countries.

    with over 331 link clicks (Deeplink) I have gotten 0 followers. do you have any idea why my conversion rate is 0%? I read you get around 50 followers per day but for some reason I go a day without anything :S

    1. Something’s definitely up! Assuming your track is at the top of your playlist, can you see how many streams it’s getting from the playlist in Spotify for Artists? Are there literally 0 followers of the playlist, period? If so, maybe it’s not set to public?

  25. Its set up public, I don’t have my own songs in there (different genre kinda) but I have the song from the ad I’m running on top

    it might be my branding there is somthing wrong with even that I feel would at least give 1 single followers no?

    1. For testing purposes, I suggest limiting your targeting to one safe but relatively inexpensive country, like Brazil. Make sure you’re optimizing for conversions, not link clicks. I optimize specifically for clicks to Spotify.

      Does the playlist have zero followers total? Or do you just mean no new followers from your ads? If it’s the former, it could just be that the complete lack of social proof is discouraging anyone from following. I mean, if I saw a playlist with zero followers, I’d assume it was a stinker.

      If you want to include a link or at least the playlist name if it’s unique, I’ll take a look!

  26. Im currently trying with a rebrand on the playlist –

    so just so I understand correctly. You mention you run ads for conversions and not link clicks, but also mention you optimise for clicks to Spotify that would be link clicks no? now that we run the deeplinking they come to Spotify with link clicks aswell no? sorry im from Denmark so understanding is not 100% 😀

    1. The playlist itself looks fine, though I’d rename it from “EliteSoundWaves – Deep House 2021” to “Deep House 2021 – EliteSoundWaves”.

      I optimize for clicks to Spotify with a custom conversion. In the case of ToneDen, I look for ViewContent events where the URL matches my smart link and the content_name equals “spotify”.

      I haven’t been deeplinking lately, but I need to test it again!

  27. Great article Brian! I just started running ads for a playlist and it’s going fine so far, but my biggest confusion was whether to make the playlists on my own personal/artist account or to make them on a new free account. I heard it suggested to do the latter in case Spotify ever changes their terms of service regarding running ads for playlists. However my goal is two-fold like yours was – to be able to promote my own music but also have the playlist up on Submithub. I’ve not been clear on how Spotify for Artists would factor in besides tracking streams for my own songs. Does Submithub have requirements for playlists beyond the 1000 follower mark that you know of?

    1. I can’t imagine why Spotify wouldn’t want us creating ads to bring people to their platform! There’s nothing remotely sketchy about it.

      Right, Spotify for Artists only helps track your own songs. SubmitHub is connected with artists’ Spotify accounts though and provides an approximate stream count that approved tracks can expect. I don’t know of any special requirements beyond the 1K mark!

  28. Hey Brian, great writeup!! I’m starting up a playlist and just ran a toneden campaign, but my costs got up to about $2 a follow. Can’t wait to use some of these tips to build my own campaign from scratch and hopefully get these costs down.

    Quick question also, how did you do the screen capture for the scrolling playlist ad example? It looks super clean and I would like to try and replicate the look myself,but I cant seem to make my spotify look like that.

    Thanks again!

    1. Lately I’ve been around $0.30 per playlist follow. There’s definitely room for improvement!

      I did the screen capture on my iPhone. Just enable screen recording, scroll away, and then crop the top bit off.

  29. Hey Brian, thanks a lot for this comprehensive and very helpful article! May I ask you how you made the first video ad, the “scrolling through the playlist” one? I’d like to make a similar one to promote my own playlist below, but I just can’t figure out how to get that scrolling motion/screenshot video effect :/

    Here’s the link to my playlist on Spotify:

    1. You gave me déjà vu! I could’ve sworn I’d already answered that, and it turns out I did when Logan asked three days ago.

      The answer: Screen capture on my iPhone. Just enable screen recording, scroll away, and then crop the top bit off. Easy!

  30. Hi Brian, thanks for the info, it has helped me a lot!

    I was wondering, the first couple of days my ad got a lot of traction and gained 150 followers in three days but it stagnated after that.

    Do you have any idea why that is?

    Thanks mate!

    1. 150 followers is nuts! Are you sure it was all from the ad?

      I guess it depends on your budget. Assuming it stayed the same, you’d think your cost per follower would go down, not up.

      I suppose there’s a chance that bots took over and FB started optimizing for them. Using a Spotify clickthrough from a landing page as your conversion event can reduce the chances of that.

  31. Hi Brian,

    Any chance Toneden has a playbook to get playlist follower? If not, any other service provider that have similar service but for growing playlists?

    Many thanks in advance!

  32. Hey Brian,

    Thanks for the amazing write-up!

    Lately, I’ve been trying to rebuild my playlist now named ‘Bass Car Music’

    It was at 412 followers when I started pushing it again, after testing it for some days, the results aren’t really great. I’m targeting Brazil seperately with an ad in Portugese and I’m targeting main European countries (like 14 of them) in another ad set

    This is the ad:

    I’m currently spending well over 2 euros per follower and like 30 cents per click

    My campaigns are traffic campaigns with their call to action buttons being ‘Listen Now’.

    Any idea how I can improve my results?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. That’s way too expensive Rob!

      I don’t like your main call-to-action: “FOLLOW MY PLAYLIST”

      Already it sounds like a personal playlist and not a professionally curated one.

      Also, your swipe up prompt isn’t until the very end, when most people have already skipped.

      I didn’t have much luck with my “scrolling through the tracklist” ad. In your case, there’s way too much happening on screen, and the video content is really dark.

      And then there’s the song selection. You could test that if you haven’t already.

      There are plenty of variables to experiment with, but I can see why the ad isn’t working in its current state – no offense!

  33. Hey man, huge fan of your content! I had two questions:

    First, how do you feel about using a deep link for my spotify track on my toneden landing page, to use with my FB conversion campaigns?

    Second, would running a story ad with a standard FB conversion campaign cause audience overlap?

    1. Last time I tried a deep link (I assume you mean URLgenius), I didn’t see a difference in conversions versus using the raw link.

      As for overlap, that’s a matter of targeting the same audience in multiple ad sets, not with multiple placements within the same ad set. The latter isn’t an issue.

      Hope that makes sense!

      1. I appreciate the timely response! So my FB conversion ads also have Instagram story placements. By the way, I noticed your update message ontop of the post saying you moved on to FB ads.

        Do you run your profile deep link click campaigns at the same time you run your FB conversion campaigns?

        1. Hey Omar!

          Whatever placements you’re using, as long as they’re in the same ad set, you won’t see any overlap. Overlap only happens when different ad sets target the same audience.

          Maybe I wasn’t clear in my last reply, but I’m not deep linking at all. You can see the two campaigns I’m currently running in my latest post.

  34. Hi Brian, I’ve just read your blog and I can say that i’m impressed with the amount of detail and effort that you have put into this. My name is Emsi and I have a great passion for music, without it it just wouldn’t be the same. This is why I’ve been recently thinking to get into promotion myself. I’m not an artist but I like the idea of supporting other artists and the community.

    I would just like to ask some further questions regarding playlist promotion and how to get started. I like the approach of using Instagram to promote but would I need any license to do this or maybe do I have to contact each artists for their permission before I include their music? Also I’m slightly in the dark with how you make revenue through playlists, is it every time someone clicks on a song, and how much do you receive? And lastly, with the paid advertisement, do you get charged daily to keep your ads up?

    I hope you can give me some insight, thank you for your time and effort.


    1. Nice to meet you Emsi!

      I’ve got good news and bad news.

      The good news is, you don’t need permission to include artists in your playlist. They’ll certainly be glad you did!

      The bad news is, you don’t earn money through your playlists. At all.

      I’m still paying $10/day to run my playlist ads.

  35. How do you get the cost per conversion so low? Because I just paid 5 euro’s on Instagram for just one pre save (with 2000 views on my reel), targetted to my niche 🙁

    1. Your first problem is running a pre-save campaign. You’re asking people to accept a third party they’ve probably never heard of taking control of their Spotify account.

      1. That makes so much sense. Thank you so much for your reply! I stopped the ads and I’ll wait till the song drops and then run the ads then instead 🙂

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