A few weeks ago we ran a report on “How We Get Thousands of Real Facebook Fans For New Artists” which got quite a lot of attention at the time. Since then, we’ve continued to work with musicians of all levels, helping them build their fanbase with very cost-effective and targeted Facebook campaigns.
Our first article was quite general, and talked about the average kind of campaign we run, so in this post we wanted to take one campaign and share the specific results.
This is how we helped a new band climb from 300 to 2,000 fans in 3 weeks, with $250.
The Sudden Lovelys
Shortly after we wrote that article, Danny Ferraro got in touch. He is one half of the wonderful duo “The Sudden Lovelys.”
The band already had a website, an EP and a Facebook page with 300 fans. They had started trying their luck with promotional tools like Facebook ads, but as Danny said when we first started talking “We’ve gotten a decent response but I think it could/should be better.”
They were growing at a steady pace of a handful of new fans each day, but we agreed that they should definitely be aiming for better, so we agreed some goals and set to work.
Step 1: Build A Landing Page
Once the band had agreed to work with us on this campaign, we set about building a landing tab for their Facebook page. This was going to be the first page that all new fans will see when they land on the page. As you can see from the screen shot below, the one and only goal was to get everybody to click “Like” and connect with the band.
The key to the success of this landing page (with a conversion rate of over 50%) was that the option to download the songs became visible only after the fan connected with the page.
Once the fan clicked the “like” button they were presented with this widget, which lets them get the 6 track EP in exchange for their email address. (You should try it out, it’s a great EP!)
Step 2: Select The Target Audience
Once the landing page was ready to convert visitors into fans, we had to decide which visitors we wanted to attract. To do this we asked the band to picture their average fan and then asked what other musicians that fan would like.
The important thing to remember when targeting your ad campaign is to keep it as specific as possible, but with as large a number as possible. That may sound contradictory, so let me explain:
Danny listed a number of musicians in answer to this question: The Weepies, Damien Rice, She and Him and many more. Most musicians (and many marketers) will run one campaign targeting fans of all these acts, but that’s a mistake. You should only ever run one campaign per audience – the more specific you can make the ads the better they’ll perform and the cheaper each new fan will be.
So we decided to pick The Weepies and pitch The Sudden Lovelys to their fans. But this brought us to a problem on the other side – The Weepies didn’t have enough Facebook fans (20,000) to make a decent campaign that would get enough fans.
So for both those reasons we decided to concentrate on fans of She & Him. There are 150,000 of them on Facebook, the fans would have the right taste in music and the guy + girl group is similar too.
Step 3: Make (many, many) ads
This is probably the single most important part to any successful Facebook campaign - variations. For this we started with 5 different pictures and 5 different pieces of text, which totals 25 different ads run on day 1. For other campaigns we have run variations into the hundreds of ads, all in the interest of finding the most efficient combination.
If this seems like overkill you have to remember how the Facebook ad algorithm works – the more clicks an ad gets the cheaper it becomes. So if one small change in the text can encourage more people to click and thus decrease the cost-per-click by a couple of cents, it could dramatically increase the number of fans you get from a given campaign.
When we run larger advertising campaigns with a hundred different ad variations, even if the difference between the average ad and the top performing ad is $0.04 vs. $0.02, that results in double the amount of clicks. That means $500 could get you 12,000 fans instead of 6,000 if we take the time to test as many variations as possible.
Step 4: Launch, Cull, Boost
Once we had created all the different ads it was time to start spending money. We launched all 25 with a small daily budget. Here’s a screenshot of how 9 of those ads performed on day 1, with a $10 budget
We let that run until day two, and soon the top 3 performing ads became apparent:
At this stage the top 3 ads were costing roughly $0.30 per click. Given that 50% of these became fans, it was still costing $0.60 per fan, which isn’t an amazing return on investment.
We’ve noticed that a lot of musicians would give up at this stage, but this is only just the beginning. This is why we recommend starting with a small daily budget (relative to the total amount you want to spend), because the ads will always be inefficient in the first few days.
By day 3 we had spent $20 with no real return to show for it – but that’s always the plan. That $20 is an investment in research. We now know which ads are performing best, so we increased the daily budget and pumped it directly into the top two ads.
Within another day we could confidently say which was the best out of those two, so we stopped one and double the amount invested in only the top ad. This is where the excitement starts, as you can see from the screenshot below:
Within three days the top ad had dropped from $0.36 per click to $0.06 per click. This is because Facebook was rewarding the effectiveness of the ad with a lower cost. As the days went on, this became a virtuous cycle, with the following week proving to be even better:
The band have invested over $500 and now have 2,030 fans on Facebook. If you’ve had a look at their Facebook page you can see that all their updates are now getting much more engagement, feedback and interaction. As with all the campaigns we run, these new fans are genuine.
The campaign is currently paused as the band have wisely decided to take some time to get acquainted with their new fans, to make sure they all have a copy of the EP and are enjoying the music.
This means hundreds of people will see every new video they upload, every new song the release and every new date they ad to the tour (coming Feb 2011!). And what would it take to earn a return on that investment? One, maybe two gigs?