by MATT BACON >
I think one of the big struggles we are going to be facing in the next few years is social media advertisement.
Like it or not (And let’s be real – probably not) it’s extremely difficult to set up ads within social media and these high barriers of entry are a huge problem especially for DIY bands who don’t have a lot of experience with the low level programming that these often require. I know that the music industry isn’t a place meant for pretenders but by the same token – why the hell does some of this shit have to be so hard? I’ve been wrestling with Facebook Power Editor for the past few days now and felt like it might be worthwhile to spend some time sharing my experiences in order to help you figure out what is going on with the development of these programs and what you can do to get the most bang for your buck from them.
So first I wanted to tackle what most bands do these days which is the simple straight up boosts that you see on Facebook advertised to you all the time.
These generally target fans of your page or friends of fans of your page. This is a good way to get started on developing your music and getting announcements out there. It makes sure that you are in peoples feeds because, unless people click ‘follow’ as well as ‘like’ they are never going to see what you have to offer anyway. Now this is a perfectly legitimate what to promote your band and probably the easiest way. It’s the closest Facebook offers to a one size fits all approach to band promotion. Unfortunately it’s also not super precise and can often be more like a sweeping blow than it is a accurate strike at who you want to be targeting. Still – if you just want to toss $20 into an ad to get the news out about your upcoming show this can definitely be a valid way to do it.
One of the key things then if you want to have truly effective and targeted ads is to have your Facebook Ads Manager and Power Editor game on fleek. For the uninitiated Power Editor is the big brother of Ads Manager, it’s a little more involved and quite a bit more powerful than plain ol’ Ads Manager. The general interface though is fairly similar, I prefer Power Editor simply because it gives me more flexibility. Unfortunately both of these platforms are extremely finnicky and hard to understand. For example – the ther day I as trying to create a lead form, did everything right, hell I’ve created lead forms before but it just wouldn’t work out. Why? Because of an “Unknown Error” after a few hours of struggling it randomly started working, I’m still not sure what made it start working, so I remain generally frustrated with the unfortunate reality of it all.
This is where we start to get into rant territory but you gotta hear me out on this one.
Part of the issue with the Facebook ad campaign software is that it is routinely updated and so it rapidly makes existing guides invalid. By the same token it means that a lot of the public questions on the Facebook help service refer to obsolete or radically altered features. This is where it starts to make you want to tear your hair out of your head. It means that most videos you see about Facebook ad setup are invalid and that the ones that do work are often extremely long and confusing because the system is just not intuitive. I know this sounds whiny, but it sucks so be prepared to run into some difficult scenarios. That being said not all hope is lost and you definitely can teach yourself how to do it, you just need to be prepared to spend quite a bit of time beating your head against a wall.
At the end of the day the world of Facebook ads is just like everything else in the music industry, yeah it’s hard and stupid and sometimes will fuck you over for no discernible reason (One fun feature of campaign editor is a lack of backups and making it impossibly easy to accidentally delete hours worth of work) but it’s what we have to work with. Objectively speaking this is the kind of service that indie bands from years gone by would have killed to have had. If you’re not willing to invest the time and money needed to properly understand what this software can offer then you’re not going to be able to reap the true benefits and that’s your own damn fault. A lot of people are intimidated by this program and rightly so, but it’s the sort of thing that with some hard work you are going to be able to pick apart, as complex as it might be and as much of a headache as you might be having there are ways forward.
I’m sorry that this piece wasn’t a step by step guide for how to use Power Editor and Ad Manager but in my eyes that wouldn’t have been effective since things are probably going to change soon and the software is so goddamn finnicky that no matter what I write it will probably not work for a good portion of you. I know this because I’ve spent hours reading about Ad Manager and Power Editor and walking away with only frustration. There are a few general marketing rules that hold true throughout though and I’d like to get into those son. There is a lot to pick apart with what is being done here and it makes for a future that could realistically revolutionize how we market bands and what we do to get the word out there.