The A-Z Of New Music Marketing

July 13, 2019

The second iteration of the CHANGES Music Summit rolled into Melbourne last week, and it was incredible. The programming was refreshing, with thought-provoking sessions on offer. The APRA AMCOS networking brekkie was fun (tiny croissants filled with bananas!) and I bumped into lots of Bolster friends across the two-day event. And also never going to complain about learning and meeting new people in a location as beautiful as Abbotsford Convent.

Oliver Hall (Senior Campaign Manager at Bolster) and I were asked to do a talk about the A-Z of new music marketing on day 1 of the conference. It was the largest group of people I’ve ever talked to in my whole life 😱 but it was wonderful having a speaking buddy with Ollie and our presentation GIF game was on fire 🔥

Paige X. Cho & Ollie Hall at CHANGES. Picture by Eric Peng.

I’m not going to re-share the full A-Z in this post, but here are three of my faves:

ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS:

Might seem boring to highlight this in a list with fun tech advancements like AR or the rise of dark social, but insights are one of the most valuable things a marketer can possess.

A little context. The amount of data music marketers have is astounding. We have access to Facebook Page Insights, Facebook Audience Insights, Chartmetric, Next Big Sound, Spotify For Artists, Spotify For Brands, Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics, YouTube Analytics and so much more at our fingertips. And you bet that every one of these platforms is also constantly making their metrics more and more nuanced by the day.

Having all of these numbers are great, but it can be totally overwhelming. It’s crucial to not only have the data, but use it to pull out key insights that mean something and take action based on that. As in:

data > insight > action

It’s sick if you know that most of your Facebook fans tend to be online at 10pm, but what use is it if you still post content at 2pm because you don’t work at night? Or knowing your most requested song on Triple J if you don’t turn it into an encore? Or figuring out Adelaide is your top Spotify city but not adding it to a tour because no one tours South Australia? Or having data that shows 90% of your ticket page traffic comes from mobiles, but the mobile experience sucks so mobile traffic only accounts for 30% of final ticket sales?

You get the picture. (If you want to get nerdy about the data > insight > action cycle this is a great read.)

MOBILE FIRST:

When I started working at Bolster in 2015, I noticed that desktop was the top device for most music festival sites. People just liked using their computers to connect with festivals. A year later in 2016, I could see the beginnings of mobile growth. Some festivals started to see more mobile traffic overall, but desktop usage spiked when tickets went on sale (because frankly, some ticketing companies were decidedly mobile unfriendly at the time).

Fast forward to 2019 and mobile takes the cake. Across our clients, the wider industry and just the plain old internet, lots of people browse (for leisure anyway) using a phone. Ticketing companies have improved their mobile UX massively, and we’re seeing mobile as the #1 device for festivals throughout every stage of the campaign.

Yet… I do hear of marketers/brands/businesses prioritising desktop (not clients, but just in my wider networks). The most common culprit is that someone higher up (ahem, a director perhaps) doesn’t understand mobile. Said person approves websites/designs based on what they look like on their 2011 Windows Dell computer using Internet Explorer. Mate. Seriously.

This doesn’t apply to just websites though. Future marketers need to mobile optimise everything a consumer will see online*, including video creative, photos, captions, links, everything.

* Exception to this is if your business/artist has more desktop use, but check your analytics. An example might be a job ad site where people tend to apply for roles on their computer, or maybe the blogging interface for users (not readers) to write long form. CHECK YOUR STATS.

OPTIMISATION: 

I occasionally get asked if I’m worried robots will steal my job… They already have, and I am so fine with it.

Back in 2014, digital advertisers had to pretty manually optimise everything. If I had five campaigns with three audiences in each, and each ad set had three ads… I would have to individually check out each campaign across all three levels and decide what to keep live, kill or tweak. This took up an enormous amount of time.

Facebook and Google have since used machine learning (read: AI) to optimise campaigns for marketers. The platforms can do anything from serving out an ad creative that’s better at selling tickets, or spend more of your campaign budget on the audience most likely to RSVP to a Facebook event. Bonkers.

I’ll let the robots do that happily so I can spend more time doing campaign strategy, channel planning and data analysis.

Here’s to CHANGES 2019, and see y’all at CHANGES 2020! Perhaps with another 26 buzz words rolling around my head at that time.

Pic by Eric Peng.

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