The Artist’s Guide to Facebook Ads: Target the Right Audiences

With the campaign type and objectives selected, it’s time to get the targeting right. This is the second article of our three-part Facebook advertising guide for musicians.
The Artist’s Guide to Facebook Ads: Targeting
How-tos
Urska Jaksa

If you missed the first part, read the intro and learn how to choose the right campaign objectives here.

Facebook’s magic happens at the Ad Set level, where you define the audience you want to target with your ad. Just think about how many times you’ve been persistently targeted with an ad for something you have exactly zero f&#ks to give. That’s what we’re trying to avoid. Advertising only to your existing and/or potential fans makes Facebook advertising efficient.

Your mission is to find and define the groups interested in your music: the people who will stream it, download it, eventually buy tickets to your shows, those who might buy your merch, etc., depending on the goals you’ve set. ➡️ This is your target audience.

Narrow down your target audience. Targeting only the people who might actually be interested in your music will save you money and increase results – and this is where digging into your stats pays off.

Here’s how you can narrow down your target audience:

  • Define the age, gender, language and interests of your target audience.
  • Limit ads to specific locations and a specific time of the day.
  • Choose ad placements (newsfeed, right column, stories, etc.).
  • Create custom audiences: target the people who have already engaged with you.
  • Create lookalike audiences: use your existing custom audiences and create their lookalikes with similar interests in other markets.
Target audience setup

THINGS TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT 

Evaluate past social media posts and their engagement, go through your emails, check the free analytics on social media and music channels (such as Instagram insights or YouTube analytics), or use music analytics tools such as Viberate to get data insights from multiple channels in one place for a wider picture. Also, who’s been coming to your live gigs? All this information should give you a good idea of your target audience. 

Here are the different factors you have to take into account.

👉 Geography

Investing money in countries with an existing fanbase is a smart move, as it’s easier to establish yourself and create strong social proof.

Social proof is a concept that implies that people are more likely to like, comment or react to a post with already existing engagement – basically copying the behavior of others rather than being the first to act. In countries where you already have a fanbase, establishing a relationship with followers is faster. Consequentially, the ads are cheaper.

➡️ It’s smart to create several Ad Sets within a single campaign for different countries, because of:

  • the language barrier and
  • different buying power.

Facebook will spend your money in a way that minimizes your expenses. Because buying power varies from country to country (Mexico vs. the USA, Croatia vs. Germany, etc.), the majority of the money would be spent in countries with a lower cost per click, but not necessarily lower cost per conversion (the desired final action, e.g. the purchase of a track). This means that if you target, say, German and Croatian fans in the same Ad Set, it's less likely that the ad will even reach your German fans.

If you were to define similar target audiences in different countries, the cost of reaching them through Facebook ads would be different in each.

➡️ Another good idea is to first social-proof your ad and target it at the countries with lower buying power (where the cost is lower). Then, when the post already has some engagement (likes and comments), you can target the same post to countries where it would have been harder to compete before. Because it looks like something people are engaging with, it’s more likely new viewers will engage with it as well. This brings the cost per click down.

 

💼 CASE IN PRACTICE

Let’s find out in which countries UMEK, the #1 Techno producer on Beatport and Viberate co-founder, is the most popular. Look at the image below.

Audience Map

Based on the Monthly Streaming Map from Viberate analytics, Germany is definitely the place to be. European countries don’t come as much of a surprise, as this is where Techno is the most popular. But there are also others where his fanbase is strong, such as Mexico. The map of the number of Instagram followers is similar (with the strongest presence in Spain).

Depending on what we're promoting, we could narrow our targeting to the city level. If it’s a live gig, we want to be specific, but if we’re promoting a livestream, we can go broader.

👉 Language

This part is connected to the ad design, which we'll cover in the final article. The best results come from engaged users who fully understand your copy. Select only the languages in which the ads are set, and the user experience will follow. In many countries, English will work, but do your research in advance.

➡️ If you want people to sign-up for your one-on-one lessons, choose only languages you speak fluently. 

👉 Age and gender

Here’s where analyzing the crowd at your live gigs yields the most straightforward results. Bullet-proof them by looking into your stats: check Instagram and Facebook insights or look into Viberate’s Audience analytics for a visualized breakdown of your fanbase.

➡️ Determine the age bracket (10–15 years) that represents your fanbase the most. In the case below, the 18–44 group would work, but we can narrow it down further to a core audience of 20- to 34-year-olds.

➡️ If your ad is not specifically aimed at men or women, choose both genders. Even though we can see below that the base is predominately male, the audience can be defined further according to interests (more in the next paragraph).

Age and gender distribution of the fanbase

👉 Interests

Exclude or include individuals based on their expressed interests. Your basic setup for interest-based targeting should look like this:

Interests

You can set multiple criteria and only target people who match all of them using the “Narrow further” function.

If you’re an artist and want to promote your new releases on Beatport, the correct targeting could be the intersection between the following interests, as we assume your target audience in this case are DJs:

  • Electronic artists and festivals (such as Tomorrowland)
  • DJ equipment (such as Pioneer)
  • Electronic magazines and larger websites (such as Discogs)

➡️ If you want to expand your fanbase, find other similar artists add them to the selected interests. If the audience likes them, they might like you too. This doesn’t have to be guesswork. Go to Viberate’s list view of artists, which includes almost every artist in the world. Filter them by country, genre and subgenre. You’ll get a list, sorted by online popularity. You can also do more in-depth research, but we’ll touch on this later.

A similar tactic would work if you’ve been featured in a playlist with an artist whose fanbase might like you too. In the design part (covered in the third part of this series), you can add a simple screenshot and a catchy caption, and get their fans to notice you and stream your music. The same works if you’ve been on a radio show, a podcast, etc. (target the intersection of the show’s and the other artist’s following).

➡️ Keep away from interests that have more than a million followers. For example, don’t select Electronic music as an interest, because the term is quite broad and will include people that are not necessarily interested in your genre. 

➡️ Test it! No one can tell you for sure what’s going to work, so it’s really important to test things, analyze results, and double down on stuff that works

👉 Placements

In our experience, two types of placements show consistent and reliable results – News Feed and Stories, which you have to tick in Manual Placements.

Even though Facebook recommends it, only use the Automatic Placements option if you want to test things or plan a big campaign and reach your narrowly defined target audience repeatedly in many ways. When we used automatic placements, we saw an increase in impressions for the same money, but landing page views and clicks on our ads did not change.

For those selecting Instagram placements, it will be necessary to link your Instagram account in the last step – the ad creation step.

Facebook advertising placements

👉 Page engagement or website visits for retargeting

Besides building your target audience from scratch, you can create your custom audience by targeting people who’ve already engaged with you. This can be based on:

  • a mailing list (of people who are interested in your music),
  • people engaging with your ads or a Facebook/Instagram page that you manage. or
  • people engaging with your website (which requires the correct tracking setup, as mentioned in the first part).

➡️ You can promote your music video directly to generate views, and then retarget another ad to the individuals who’ve viewed at least 10 seconds of your music video.

➡️ If you have a list of emails that you can use (e.g., people who signed up for your newsletter), you can download a template under the “Customer list” tab and import it back into your Ads Manager. It will be automatically anonymized and synced with Facebook’s data.

➡️ If Instagram represents a big part of your online presence, there are options for creating audiences from activity there as well.

Here’s how it works:

Based on your custom audiences, you can later create lookalikes with similar characteristics on different markets (e.g. your custom audience is created for Spain and you’d like to create a lookalike in Portugal). Facebook’s algorithm will go through their whole userbase and try to find those that are as similar to your audience as possible.

WHAT ABOUT THE BUDGET?

To control your total amount spent, use a lifetime budget instead of a daily budget. Set an end date for your campaign and let Facebook decide how it will spend this budget in the time given. It won’t be spent equally each day, but rather optimized every day to achieve the campaign goal.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Think about who your (potential) fans are, how old they are, where they are from, what they like to do, who else they like to listen to, etc.
  • Go for two main placements: News Feed and Stories.
  • Create custom audiences to retarget your ads to individuals who’ve already engaged with you.
  • Only target the individuals who might be interested in your music – this will save you money.
  • Help yourself with data & test it! Data will help you define your target audience, but it can take some time to get it right. Test it and learn from your mistakes (and successes).

➡️ Next step: Mind the Design

 

We can help you with the last takeaway. When you want to get your target audiences right, music analytics save you loads of time by pinpointing your fanbase in countries and cities, finding the places where your genre is popular, looking into your audience's demographics, finding similar artists whose fans might like you too, etc.

Sign up and unlock loads of handy features.

Urska Jaksa

Urska Jaksa

Managing Editor at Viberate
Storyteller with a nerd eye for music data. Believes in the healing power of group singing, while her ultimate cure are live shows.