Spotify launched their Ad Studio platform early last year. I was giddy with excitement.
For the first time, I could make potential fans hear my music. If they liked it enough to click through, my entire catalog was at their fingertips, AND I’d earn royalties on every play. Maybe I’d even earn enough to pay for the ads! What could be better?
My results, for one. It’s hard to see how they could’ve been worse.
I chalked it up to a lack of targeting options. I wasn’t able to target fans of specific bands, or even reach my own fans. Instead I was stuck targeting the overly broad and ambiguous “Electronica” genre. I’m not sure what “electronica” even means these days, but that was clearly the closest option to synthwave.
Recently I learned that you can now target fans of specific bands. The giddiness returned.
Was my enthusiasm justified? Read on.
My Spotify ad
I’m not going to walk you through the ad creation process like I did last time, since little has changed.
Instead I’ll share my ad and the thinking behind it. It’s pretty straightforward.
I left the high-level targeting rather broad, because last time I didn’t see any benefit to further restricting age, gender, or platform.
This time I was able to specifically target fans of The Midnight, who are the center of the synthwave bullseye for me. Most synthwave is instrumental, so being able to reference another artist with male vocals and a focus on solid songwriting was exactly what the doctor ordered.
One cool feature of Ad Studio is that they’ll record your ad for you if you provide the script. Last time I did it myself, but I wagered a female voice would prove more enticing to the overwhelmingly male synthwave fanbase.
Here’s how it turned out:
I don’t see how the ad could be any better:
- It immediately calls out the target audience (fans of The Midnight)
- It names the genre (synthwave)
- The music sounds just like The Midnight
- The artwork screams synthwave
If you disagree, let me know how I can improve on it and maybe I’ll try out your suggestions!
Here’s how the ad looked on mobile:
In a word, glorious. Let the clicking commence!
My Spotify Ad Studio results
Ready to be underwhelmed?
EDIT: Be sure to read to the end. There’s a “twist.” 😩
I’ll start with the good news: you can still stop ad delivery any time you want, without exhausting your entire budget.
I lasted nearly five days before pulling the plug, and reached 30,000 people in the process.
What percentage of listeners would you guess clicked through? 10%? 2%? Nope.
Not even one-tenth of one percent.
24 new listeners, meaning people who hadn’t listened to my music in the past 28 days, listened to an average of 2.3 songs. That’s 55 streams for nearly $80.
Intent rate is defined in the FAQ as: “The percentage of listeners who took actions showing intent to stream the artist again in the future. Actions include saving the artist’s music (by tapping the heart icon or “save”) or adding it to a playlist.”
In my case, 7.69% of 24 = almost two of them.
As a consolation prize, Spotify Ad Studio gives you some bonus reporting on the audience your ad was served to:
Spotify Ads Studio conclusion
It makes absolutely no sense, but somehow my old ad targeting the “Electronica” genre outperformed this perfectly targeted ad by a factor of three.
In fact, it makes so little sense that I just wrote to support asking them to confirm that the ads were delivered to fans of The Midnight, since that isn’t indicated anywhere in the actual reporting.
If it turns out there was a mistake, I’ll of course revise this article. I’m confident it wasn’t my mistake!
As it stands, I can’t recommend Spotify Ad Studio, at least for the purpose of reaching new fans.
Perhaps it’s an effective way to reach your own followers, for touring or selling merch. Alas, I do neither of those things.
There are far better ways to build a fanbase on Spotify, many of which I’ll be writing about in the coming weeks.
UPDATE #1: I just received the following email:
Hey Brian,The Ad Studio Team
We’ve had an issue with campaign targeting switching to ‘Genre – All’ but it is now fixed.
We apologize for the inconvenience that it has caused.
Grr. It appears the old ad can’t be restarted, so I just submitted another with the same specs. I’ll update this article when I have something to report!
UPDATE #2: The new ad was rejected for the following reason:
Your voiceover can only mention artists whose content is being promoted. Remove the mention of all artists whose music is not being promoted from your audio voiceover.
That’s news to me! I’ve seen other Spotify ads tutorials that call out other artists by name. Makes you wonder why the first ad was approved, or why the voiceover team recorded it in the first place?
I just submitted yet another ad without mentioning The Midnight, which is a shame, because I’m sure performance will suffer for it.
UPDATE #3: My NEW new ad is doing drastically better!
Here’s the slightly altered script:
And here’s the performance so far, with $16 spent:
The only thing that would make me stop the ad at this point is if the frequency gets out of control. Right now it’s at 2.58, meaning listeners heard the ad that many times on average.
UPDATE #4: Looking good at just past the halfway point ($163 spent of $250)
A couple days ago, I added a bunch of targets in an attempt to bring my frequency down. Now I’m targeting a dozen bands, but the frequency is still 6.45.
The campaign ends on the 11th, and then I’m curious what the post-campaign window will look like, so I might not have a full update (let’s be honest – a full rewrite) until the end of the month or later.
Have you tried advertising on Spotify? Let me know in the comments!
If you’d like to hear more of my promotional escapades, be sure to subscribe to my How I’m Promoting My Music This Month email newsletter.
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