5 reasons why traditional digital advertising doesn't work for music

In an age where people rent music over buying music, it has become more important than ever for artists to market themselves in the digital environment. Unfortunately, this is no easy task. Artists are forced to turn to the big platforms for digital ad campaigns in hopes that they can get more people to hear their music. Getting your digital music catalog to work for you will ultimately end up in more exposure, more streams, and more royalties. The problem is, the current digital ad platforms are not built for music and leave artists with a number of problems:

1. Your music isn't being advertised

Let's state the obvious. The best way to advertise your music is to get people to listen to it. When your best option in digital advertising is to use sponsored search results from Google AdWords or targeted display ads on Facebook, then you are left hoping that someone makes the active decision to click through your ad to listen to your music. Average click through rates are less than 0.5%! Yes you read that correctly, less than half a percent. That means for the amount of impressions your ad gets, less than 0.5% actually click through, let alone hear your music or become a fan.

2. "Likes" and "follows" are meaningless. they don't mean that someone likes your music or even heard it

So let's say someone actually does engage with your digital ad. Does that mean they are actually a fan or did they just mindlessly click a "like" button. The actions that result from your digital ad campaigns in no way guarantee that they actually heard your music. But you'll still pay for that engagement.

3. You are competing against non music related ad space in an environment that is not focused on music

Think about the number of digital ads that you come across on a daily basis. Think about all of the ones you notice and don't notice. Now think about how many you actually click on. The ad space that you are competing in includes ads from all industries, not just music. People are targeted with digital advertising 24/7 and you are forced to compete against all of the ads that people are hit with. Not just from music, but from everyone.

The online environment that you advertise in isn't focused on music. Yes you can try to target to people with certain music related keywords, but they are not in the environment specifically for music. If you can advertise your music in an environment that people visit speficially to listen, discover, and share music, then you are reaching people who are actively engaged in a music focused environment. In this environment, your music has the advantage over any non music related ads.

4. You can't measure how people actually interact with your music. Analytics aren't designed for it.

The analytics that platforms like Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, and Twitter Ads provide isn't designed for music. It is designed for general digital advertising. How do you know how people reacted to your actual music? How do you know if they liked your song or skipped it right in the beginning? How do you know where their favorite parts in the song were? How will this help you to create better music?

5. It is extremely costly

Pay per click advertising can cost between $1 to $2 per click and comes with all of the aforementioned problems. What does that $1 to $2 actually get you? Maybe one person will hear your music? You might get a "like" on Facebook or a "follow" on Twitter from someone who may or may not know who you are?

These are problems that all musicians and music promoters are facing. It is becoming ever more important to reach fans where they listen to music and let your music speak for itself. Let your fans and exposure grow organically.