Last May I said I’d pick Spotify Marquee over Facebook Ads.
Now I’m not so sure.
With 28 Marquee campaigns under my belt, I’ve got a lot more data to draw conclusions from.
I’ll share all the important metrics and compare them to my current Facebook Ads campaign below.
For a detailed explanation of what Spotify Marquee is and how it works, please see my previous post on the subject.
My Spotify Marquee Results
Without further ado, here are the results of all my Marquee campaigns, newest first:
We’ve got the number of listeners multiplied by the number of streams per listener to give us total streams, then the cost of the campaign divided by streams to give us a cost per stream.
It would be easy to dismiss Marquee outright by comparing the cost per stream to Spotify’s payout per stream, but that would be short-sighted.
We also need to factor in Intent Rate, which is the percentage of listeners who saved or playlisted at least one track. Those actions demonstrate an intent to listen to your music again.
To calculate the true cost per stream, we have to make some educated guesses. If we assume that a user showing intent will stream 10 more tracks, that could effectively cut the cost per stream in half.
How did I come up with 10 more tracks? I pulled it out of my *ss. They may not stream any tracks at all, or they may become your biggest fan.
Let’s just stick to what we can actually measure…
Obervations & Considerations
Previously Marquee campaigns only ran to US audiences. Today many more countries are available (36 to be exact), but you need a certain number of “reachable listeners” in a country to launch a campaign there.
I was able to promote my top-performing song “Trick of the Light” to 9 countries, but today I only have the option to launch campaigns in the United States, Mexico, and Brazil. The latter two each show a reachable audience of around 750-2200 listeners, to give you some idea of where that lower threshold may lie.
Just looking at my US campaigns, my cost per stream has increased from a low of $0.07 all the way to $0.50 with my latest. I pulled the plug on that one after only two days!
My cost per stream is lowest in Brazil and Mexico, proportional to what Spotify charges per click and the royalty they pay on the stream. Yet with “Trick of the Light” I still paid less per click in the US than Brazil.
The more tracks on the release, the better it performed. The Skeleton’s Closet is an 11-track b-sides collection. By definition, not my best stuff, but it got the best results!
One other factor is the click destination. You can send users to the track, the album or, for singles only, to your This Is playlist (if you’ve got one). You’ll absolutely get more streams per listener by directing them there, and playlist followers to boot!
Last but not least, my results varied depending on when the campaign was scheduled. Launching on release day yields more favorable numbers, but you end up paying for people who would’ve listened anyway.
The pop-up isn’t supposed to appear to anyone who’s already listened, but earlier this week I saw one for a track I’d not only streamed, but added to my playlist. Hmm!
My Spotify Marquee Game Plan
Going forward, I’ll continue to launch Marquee campaigns for every release, at least in the US. Since I can pull the plug at any time, there’s little risk.
One exception: I don’t think it’s worth it for singles unless you can direct users to your This Is playlist (as an example, here’s mine).
Based on my history, I’m looking for at least 2.5 streams per listener and a 25% intent rate.
If I don’t see that in the first few days, sayonara.
My Facebook Ads Results
That changed in early December when I wanted to give a joint release an extra push. I started by sending people to the release, but later pivoted to my self-made “official playlist.”
I placed the new release at the top of the playlist, but used a tried and tested track for the ad. It worked like a charm! Since then I’ve been reliably using one song to promote another.
When users click on the ad, they’re directed to the song they heard in the ad within the playlist, courtesy of a “deeplink” generated by Hypeddit, which looks something like this:
Yes, it’s big and ugly, but that’s because it’s two links in one: the track and the playlist. If you click on it and allow it to open the Spotify app, it’ll automatically play the third track inside the playlist.
The deeplink only works on mobile, not the desktop web player. Which is fine, because the vast majority of my conversions are on mobile. On desktop, it opens up the track in the browser, but not the playlist.
You don’t need Hypeddit to do the dirty work for you, though it’s certainly convenient. Just duplicate the syntax above with your own playlist and track links.
Here’s what the ad looks like, directing here:
Here are my results in Ads Manager for the last 28 days:
And here are my results in Spotify for Artists over the same time period:
As you can see, it’s now my top playlist, with 11.5 streams per listener!
Prior to the campaign, it saw no action. Zero.
My previous post on Spotify Marquee assumed one stream per click from Facebook ads. I was only off by an order of magnitude! Nor did I factor in 200 new playlist followers.
The Winner: Neither. Both?
So which is better, Spotify Marquee or Facebook Ads?
Cop-out time! I honestly don’t know.
I’m not sure it’s even possible to know. There are just too many variables to account for.
That didn’t stop Spotify from declaring Marquee 10x more effective than social ads.
Remember that Marquee is retargeting past listeners only. It’s not a way to make new fans, unless it triggers more algorithmic streams I suppose.
If I could only choose one, at this moment in time, I’d go with Facebook Ads.
Not only because my last few Marquee campaigns performed poorly, but because advertising on Facebook and Instagram has side benefits, like engagement, follower growth, and the ability to retarget.
Reach a different conclusion? Spot any interesting trends in my data? Let’s talk about it in the comments!