[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Rich Nardo.]
Depending on your personality type, digital advertising can seem like the simplest thing in the world or completely overwhelming. These days, the powers that be have made it incredibly easy to run ads across several areas of Facebook and Instagram simultaneously, and YouTube advertising is only a degree or two more complicated to set up. That being said, when you are allocating some of your already tight tour budget to advertising, do you just want to set something up and hope for the best? Or would you prefer to optimize the results you get for your dollars spent.
If you chose the latter, this article will attempt to provide you with some basic knowledge that should put you on the right track. To get started, let’s answer some questions that are probably going through your head as you start to contemplate your approach.
Where Are My Dollars Best Spent?
In terms of general advertising, I prefer to put more money into YouTube. However, when talking specifically about tour marketing, Facebook and Instagram ads are going to be your best bet. YouTube ads are great for generating content views, but you can set up Facebook and Instagram ads to direct traffic to a “click through” link, such as your ticket presale link or a Facebook Event.
Conveniently, you can set up both Instagram and Facebook ads in one campaign via the “Ad Manager” section under “Explore” on the left side of your homepage when you log into Facebook.
How Far In Advance Should I Start Advertising?
The answer to this question is dependent on your budget and how many tour dates you are promoting. If you’re only working with a little bit of money, I would suggest beginning to run the adverts three days to a week prior to the tour and running through the duration of the dates.
If the tour is only a few shows, say a three day weekend run, you can get started running them a bit further out or do two separate pushes – one around announcement and one when you’re about to actually hit the road. Keep in mind that for smaller shows, most people are buying tickets day of, so putting your advertisement in their social media feed when they’re trying to figure out what to do that night will probably get you the best results.
How Should I Set My Audience?
There are several key things to consider when putting together your target audience. First let’s look at age. There are two questions to focus on here: What age group are most of your fans and is your show all ages or 21+? From there we can get more specific in terms of targeting. There are three general approaches I would recommend.
- Targeting fans of your band and similar bands, or the venue you’re playing at.
- Creating a “Custom Audience” of your fans (though it may be too small if you’re presence isn’t big enough on social media).
- Use a “Lookalike Audience”. These create a potential ad pool of people with similar characteristics to your current following. These are super helpful if the audience is big enough to draw from. No matter which approach you take, make sure you’re geo-targeting to the general area you’re playing in to increase efficiency.
What Are Some Ways to Measure The Success of My Ads?
All of the analytics for measuring Facebook and Instagram success can be found in the aforementioned “Ads Manager” dashboard on your homepage. Some important targets to shoot for:
- A “Cost per Result” of under $1.00 (ideally between $.30 and $0.70, but the lower the better).
- The higher the number of Results, the better. Are you getting people to actually click through to your ticket link?
- A Frequency Close to “1” means that your ads are appearing in front of individuals roughly once. The higher that frequency rate goes up, the higher your “Cost per Result” will likely be and the lower your “click through rate”.
Now that we’ve covered some frequently asked questions, let’s move on to a few hints that I’ve always found helpful when running advertisements.
Utilize Boosted Posts – I know that this might seem counter intuitive, but boosting an existing post is often more effective than doing a stand-alone ad. I can’t give you a 100% confirmation on why this is the case and this bit of advice is, to an extent, anecdotal but as someone who runs a lot of ad campaigns, boosting a post often gets incredible results. I routinely will find “cost per result” on these ads to be between $0.02 and $0.15 whereas I usually can get between $0.20 and $0.70 on stand alone ads.
Offer An Incentive in Your Ad – Do you have guest lists or access to a discounted ticket link? Use them! Advertisements with a call to action usually get better results. See if you can partner with the venue to do a “Swipe Up” ad with a chance for a ticket giveaway or offer a free drink at the bar with advanced ticket purchase. Anything to help incentive someone seeing the post to click through.
Will the Venue/Promoter Contribute? – It might be a tough sell if you’re a smaller band, but a lot of venues run their own advertising around shows. They’ll actually pay to run ads through your artist page if they feel the potential results will be worth it. If you’re not quite sure that your band is big enough to entice a venue to do so, ask them to match any ad dollars you put into an event. Some will be excited to see how proactive you are, others might just flatly say no. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Can You Promote A Tour On YouTube? – Yes! But you’re better off going into this scenario with the goal of promoting content and adjusting a few things with your video to push people to your ticket link. For instance, run advertising around your official video or a tour teaser and put your ticket buy link prominently in the caption of the video. You can also post a comment on the video along the lines of, “On tour this summer in the Northeast!” and include the buy link and tour dates. If you do that, make sure to pin the comment to the top of the section so everyone coming in off of your video ads are sure to see it
Now you have the basics for starting an advertising campaign around your next tour. It may require a little extra money and research, but I’ve found digital advertising to be the best method of reaching fans directly. If you don’t have the money for it, though, don’t worry. Some elbow grease in terms of going after social media marketing and local press coverage can still help you get a nice boost in promoting your tour for a minimal cost!
Rich Nardo is a freelance writer and editor, and is the VP of Public Relations and Creative at NGAGE.