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By Jasmine Nguyen

Music Biz 2014 – A Quick Recap

So that was quick…. We can’t be the only ones having withdrawal for Music Biz, right? Three days fully packed of exciting events, activities, panels, and networking seemed to fly right by. And just in case you have no idea what we are talking about, Music Business Association’s annual conference (or Music Biz in short) was recently held in Century City as a combined convention of NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) and digitalmusic.org.

We have to admit the new merger has worked out great. It is fascinating to see so many old and new faces at Music Biz this year, from indie and commercial labels, music law firms, tech companies, music producers, artist managers, to fellow music advertisers. We had a great time catching up with everyone and saying Hi to new friends. Now, for many years we thought we have benefited enormously from NARM that it is only right to give back—which is why this year we opted to host a panel on social media trends to inform and share with the community we love so much. Below is a quick recap of our panel. Enjoy!

Panel: Harnessing the Power of Social Media Trends in 2014

Introduction: 2013 was a seismic year in social media: Twitter went public, Snapchat became one of the hottest apps of the year, and Facebook continuously expanded their advertising offerings. As new platforms pop up, how can we best utilize them to put our artists’ names out there? What type of mobile ads will be the next big thing? Is Google+ finally relevant? This panel hopes to give the most accurate insider look into the social media world with representatives from Twitter, Facebook and Google to provide our audience with useful resources on social media advertising.

Panelists: Tony Gortticelli (UMG Nashville), Kevin Carr (Facebook), Andy Abdelmalek (Google), Valerie Nelson (Twitter) & Gino Sesto (DASH TWO).

Q: Future growth of your company in the social media space?

Summary of answers:

  • Google has 2 different social platforms right now – Google Plus & YouTube. You can look at G+ as the social spine underlining all Google products such as Search, Knowledge Panel, YouTube, etc… The potential value of being able to tie all of these different platforms together is huge and waiting to be mined. YouTube on another note is already striving on its own as an enormous community and many people who started out on YouTube have enjoyed mass commercial success. If utilized correctly, YouTube has the power to influence people’s music choices, what they are listening to, etc… Artists, labels, and advertisers can leverage that to hit key demographic and promote your brands to the right audience.
  • Twitter’s social media presence is very much embedded in their culture especially with music (integrated with Billboards). The impact of your content on Twitter (in the music industry) is almost immediately reflected on Billboard charts. The strength of Twitter is being able to host these real time, global conversation between artists and fans online. An example is Q&A on Twitter for famous celebrities.
  • Facebook is planning its next step in mobile. This is where people are communicating and taking their life with them. There’s an increased amount of decisions (related to brands) being made on mobile over desktop. Between Facebook and Instagram, one out of five minutes spent on mobile anywhere on the world is spent on Facebook.

Q: Future development on each platform in term of mobile advertising options?

Summary of answers:

  • Google agrees that mobile is indeed the future. Over 40% of YouTube users come from mobile devices, and this number is likely to increase to over 50% soon. Google continues to work on mobile advertising options. An concern is how Google can help brands to get consumers to the right place example is Google Now—it links all different parts of your life together such as Maps, Calender, Mail, Weather, etc… They are looking at the ecosystem of Google and how everything can be utilized outside of just advertising platforms. Search would be at the bottom of the structure. Ex. Search focuses on app download—driving people to download mobile apps that they might be interested in, so there is a type of conversion right there. The main with the right ad types. On YouTube, TrueView is the bread and butter, and Google is working on improving targeting, audience demo, conversion tracking, etc… as well as figuring out a good call for action on mobile ad units.
  • Twitter was born mobile and that’s where the character limit comes from. 80% of their users are mobile active. Two third of users tweet while watching TV. So as a second screen for TV, Twitter products can be integrated to enhance or reinforce your ads on TV, and get the audience start talking about your shows. In short, Twitter is a leader in mobile and this is where they are heading in the advertising space. An example is Alicia Keys running a Twitter promotion called Alicia Dedicate and had people Tweet from their seats the songs they would like to hear, then she would pick one and dedicate a song to you. It’s a very innovate and engaging concept for artists/brands to try out with fans.
  • Facebook: 1 billion people access mobile through Facebook and Instagram. 71% of music streamers are active on Facebook. That’s a very high percentage of active consumers. Video products are also coming along substantially. For example, artists have been able to make personal 15 seconds videos to post on Facebook and many content are being consumed via mobile.
  • DASH TWO: we have definitely been running ads on both desktop and mobile. It is essential to say that all Google, Facebook, and Twitter have been very accommodating, innovating, and invaluable to digital advertisers these days. Mobile is certainly where we are all heading next. Right now, we have been experimenting with many new and different ad types both on desktop and mobile. As a digital advertising agency, we encourage our clients to try out new ad products and help figure out just the right combination to achieve the best results. If you are only relying on old and predictable ad types, you might just be wasting money and not engaging the right consumers. Technology is a fast-paced industry after all. At the same time, you cannot just focus on the technology and forget the music part of the equation. The best campaigns utilize strong experience and knowledge from both fields.

A few extra notes:

  • Cross-device tracking (mobile/desktop) is another very important concept that has been in the work for the whole industry. When somebody sees an ad on Facebook or Twitter, then go home and make a purchase on Google, or vice versa, advertisers want to know that data, and what factors influence these cross-device decisions. So it’s hard to say whether your display banners are effective basing only on the conversion number or click number you see from data, because impressions do matter. People may see your ads on static banners a few times before they decide to purchase, and the purchase might be made on a different platform and not from the banner click. But at the end of the day, it’s the combined effect from banner ads, social media ads, etc… that will lead to the consumer awareness and actions. So in the future, we may be able to have some kind of cross-device tracking feature that can give us a bigger picture.
  • When you are running an ad campaign, it’s hard to say which platform is more essential and what kind of formula to apply for a successful campaign. From experience, it all depends on the objective of the campaign and the brand of the artists/bands. There is definitely no one size fit all. Many first time advertisers really have to be on their feet, ready to respond or alter their methods/tools in order to capture the audience best. For smaller bands/artists, it’s important to remember that you have to start organically and grow your audience slowly before you can mass advertise. The one thing you don’t want to do is to promote a Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus page that does not have enough content or likes to engage new consumers. Content is very important and should be updated regularly to keep your fans enticed. As Tony from UMG Nashville said, start with a good product and build it up from there, because no matter how much you advertise it, if nobody wants it, it won’t be successful.

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