Is Google AdWords a Good Idea for Musicians?

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Google’s AdWords is one of the most popular forms of advertising on the Internet, and its relative popularity has led to a lot of interest from musicians and bands looking for a way to drive traffic to their websites. I recently tried out Google’s AdWords on my own music website.

Here are a few tips and observations for musicians looking into Google AdWords as a marketing tool.

  1. You only pay when you get hits.
    Therefore, your risk is pretty limited. You’re only going to pay when people are looking at your website and listening to your music. That doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed a lot of hits, though. My first few AdWords campaigns received very few clicks, since my keywords weren’t very well chosen (more on this later). When set up correctly, though, you can rest assured that AdWords won’t be charging you unless it’s providing your music website with hits.
  2.  Those hits rarely turn into sales. For whatever reason, through multiple campaigns, I received far more sales from traditional banner advertising rather than Google’s AdWords program. Perhaps people were clicking accidentally, or maybe it’s that people who found my website using Google were in more of a click-around-and-surf type of mood, but I received less sales per click than I’d expected. There are two ways to look at this. First of all, the obvious way: less money is bad. However, I was certainly making an impression on those people that clicked through, and as the cost per click was fairly low, I could take the hit, provided that I could keep those people coming back.

  3. By localizing keywords, AdWords is worth the cost.
    For all independent musicians, a worldwide campaign simply doesn’t help you out very much. You might sell a few CDs, but you’ll make most of your money by getting people out to your shows–which is where your real CD sales will kick in, and you’ll get door money, other merch money, and lifelong fans. AdWords lets you localize your keywords and results, for instance paying money for keywords like “st. louis acoustic music” or “denver metal music.” Be sure to pick keywords that use a lot of localization, and you’ll be able to make some money off of AdWords. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time.

  4. Start with a low advertising max.
     $50 a month or so. You’ll be able to determine whether AdWords is right for your type of music, and you won’t have any regrets. Overall, it’s a good service, and worthwhile for musicians, as long as campaigns are carefully constructed and operated correctly.

Are you a musician? Have you used AdWords? Post in our comments section below.