Running Ads on YouTube as a Musician

Running Ads on YouTube as a Musician - De Novo Agency

Youtube is one of the most important platforms for independent and unsigned artists. According to an article by Brandwatch, 93% of the most watched videos on YouTube are music videos. If you are making music videos, your audience will depend heavily on your YouTube following.

With 2 billion monthly active users on the platform, artists want to be on YouTube and to be successful there. Videos are an important part of any artist's marketing strategy. Yes, the music is the most important thing for an artist, but the visuals you attach to your music have a major impact.

Because of this, having an effective YouTube strategy is so important for any independent artist. And while having an organic presence on there is a great starting point, utilizing sponsored posts will allow you to grow quickly and more efficiently.

Without belaboring the point, let's get started on how to craft a YouTube sponsored posts strategy.

Getting Started with YouTube Sponsored Posts

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, then you know that we have been doing a series of these articles helping walk you through how to craft a sponsored posts program for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and now, YouTube.

As was true with those platforms, defining your audience and your goals is the best place to do so. Aimlessly running ads is a good way to kill your return on ad spend. As a musician, defining the equity you get from your ads is not as simple as someone who is selling a product. That said, setting goals is a good way to make sure that you are spending your ad budget smartly.

Setting Goals for Your YouTube Sponsored Posts

You don't need to re-invent the wheel or come up with super fresh goal idea, you just need to have a direction for your ad campaign. Here are a few simple goals you can set:

  • Gain Followers on Other Social Media Platforms

  • Grow Your YouTube Followers

  • Grow Your Spotify Followers

  • Increase Website Traffic

  • Increase Streams of a New Release of Music

  • Increase Views on a Music Video

As you can see, these aren't overly complex or difficult, but they give you direction and they give you something to measure as you determine if your Ads are working or not.

Defining and Setting Your Target Audience

Understanding your audience is the key to success in any marketing venture. Understanding who you are serving and what resonates with that group will be a huge part of your ads working to their full potential.

When it comes to the creative process of making your music, you don't want to just pander to your audience. However, when it comes to drawing in new fans, you want to understand will get them into the door so that you can get them to give your music a shot.

YouTube aside, you should have profile or buyer persona of what your ideal audience member looks like. Then, as you craft your ads, make sure that you do so with them in mine.

Now that you have done that, you need to set up your targeting strategy on YouTube to make sure that your ads get in front of those potential new fans. Let's explore what the YouTube targeting and audience settings look like.

YouTube Audiences

You start of by either selecting In-market audiences or affinity audiences. In-market audiences are people who are actively searching for what you provide. Affinity audiences are for made up of people who share similar interest and hobbies to the people inside of your in-market audiences.

In both cases, both will open you up to new listeners and fans.

After that, both options present you with several niche categories within those audiences. Here are some of the most relevant for you

  • Event Tickets
  • Media
  • Lifestyles & Hobbies
  • Media & Entertainment

Inside of that, you can again narrow and focus your targeting. For instance, you can select affinity audiences, then select media and entertainment, and then you can select the group, music lovers. Talk about getting your ads in front of the right people.

Now, we decide what type of ads to run.

Selecting Ad Types on YouTube

The next step in the process, is choosing the ad type that you want to run. Depending on your goals and your audience, certain ads will perform better than others.

As you work on this step, know this. All the research and insight will only go so far, let data be your guide. Meaning, until you run ads, your guesses about what types of ads will work best are just that, guesses. My suggestion to you is to try at least two ad types at a time to test them against each other.

Here are the ad type choices that you have:

  • Display Ads

  • Overlay Ads

  • Skippable Video Ads

  • Non-skippable Video Ads

  • Bumper Ads

  • Sponsored Cards

Now, some of these names may be self explanatory, but for here's a great reference to better understand all of the YouTube Ads.

Launching YouTube Ads

As I mentioned just a moment ago, let data and analytics be your guide. This article is meant to get you to a starting point so that you launch with purpose and with goals in mind. Even the best laid plans are no guarantee of success.

At this point, it's time to set a budget and launch. From there, monitor the results and make changes and tweaks as you go. You do want to make sure that you allow for a decent amount of data before making changes so it's best to allow for at least 30-60 days before making any big decisions.


As you begin to navigate this new marketing strategy, you may have additional questions or need further help. If that's the case, then check out our free Music Business Toolkit and learn how we can help. In the meantime, we wish you the best of luck.