Why Online Ads Fail

Comments: 44

In the latest Music Marketing Manifesto Podcast (Episode #19) I touched on something that comes up nearly every time I post anything at all about Facebook advertising.

It goes something like this…

I spent $20 on Facebook ads and, while I got a bunch of clicks and some likes, I didn’t see a single sale.

Stories like that are not at all uncommon. HOWEVER, when ad campaigns flop, there is always a reason.

In this quick video we’ll take a look at the top reasons why musicians struggle to profit with Facebook Ads.

If you enjoyed this video and would like to learn more about Facebook Advertising, then please join me in the Music Ads Workshop 2.0. The Music Ads Workshop is a complete step-by-step guide to successful using Facebook advertising to promote your music, grow your fan base, and sell music, tickets and merch. Music Ads Workshop 2.0 will be open for registration beginning Wednesday, November 30th, 2016. Early registrants will receive a 30% discount and access to TWO live coaching sessions. Click here to learn more.

I hope you enjoy the video. Please post in thoughts, related experiences, or questions below in the comments and I’ll come through to reply.


  • Kyirim says:

    Agreed!! I’m slowly learning how to tweek these adds.

  • Murie says:


    Good stuff! I enjoyed the video. Is it too late to sign up for the ad workshop?

  • Greg says:

    John, Just want to make sure that in the workshop you’re going to be covering examples of successfully marketing MUSIC (whether yours or others’), and not just FB marketing for your MMM biz.

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hey Greg,

      Absolutely. All I do is teach musicians about marketing music. I don’t really ever discuss the marketing of traditional products or businesses, such as MMM. I do occasionally use my MMM account when showing people how to set up certain aspects of an ad, simply because I spend more time in that account. But all examples of marketing are in reference to marketing music.

      Thanks for the question.

  • D. Lucas says:

    For the Music Ad 2.0 workshop; what if I can’t listen to it live at the time? If I pay for it, will I have access to listen to it whenever it’s convenient for me and to listen to it multiple times?

    • John Oszajca says:

      The Music Ads Workshop 2.0 will not be a live workshop in the way that the 2014 MAW was. However there will be two live coaching sessions that will be offered as a bonus to everyone who signs up early (in addition to a 30% discount). So to answer your question, you will have access to the training material indefinitely. I guarantee one year but in almost every case, I make my products available to customers for many years. If you can’t make the Bonus Live coaching calls, you can ask a question in advance via the broadcast room, and download and listen to it later. Let me know if you have any other questions about MAW. Thanks for the interest.

  • Hal says:

    I agree with Geoff, I am not naturally a very interesting person. That’s why I was thinking of a short video (well done, of course) before the call to action on the page. Hal

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hey Hal,

      Video is one of those things that can help or drastically hurt conversions. More often than not, it hurts. But not always. All you can do is test different variables and see what works best.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Hal says:

    Great video! I am thinking that I should also include a short video, maybe 8-10 seconds of me talking, on the landing page. Thanks for sharing such an informative video!

    Hal Merrill


  • Pete Berwick says:

    Yes,Facebook LIKES are to fame what wet dreams are to sex. To get a lot of LIKES, simply post a photo of your lunch or your new dog. Or the pile of puke that you just left all over the driveway. People love that shit.

  • Markus K says:

    Hi John, you have my attention. πŸ™‚
    I signed up for the early warning, but there is no indication of the cost. Can you enlighten me in that regard please?

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hey Markus,

      Thanks for signing up the early bird list. I hadn’t mentioned cost because until that actual page is up things have a tendency of changing. But I want to make this pretty cheap. I’m thinking that the discounted price will be $97, and will include the two bonus group coaching sessions. Once the early access period comes down it will go up to $147. That’s the current plan. Thanks for asking.

  • Logan says:

    Love it John! Thanks for sharing! I think that the relationship aspect is probably the hardest to teach, but the most important to master.

    I’ll be sharing this videos with others for sure!

    • John Oszajca says:

      Thanks Logan,

      It definitely is the hardest part to teach, simply because each person is different and there are no consistent variables. But it’s huge! Thanks for watching and for posting the comment.

  • Geoff Gross says:

    Good info- I’ve been seeing your ads on FB for a bit now, but this one was the one that finally made me click. πŸ™‚

    There’s a bit of truth in all of your four points for me, but mainly in the “being interesting” bit. Although my bands music is excellent, we’re struggling with marketing. We’re just starting an email list and even coming up with content to fill it and make people want to read.

    I’m interested in anything that helps us along that path! πŸ™‚

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hey Geoff,

      Thanks for stopping by. It;s a big deal that you can see that about yourself. Most can’t. While it’s easier said than done, it starts with understanding who you are making the music for. Once you get into the head of that hypothetical fan, crafting a message for that person helps. I’ve gone as far as to actually add a friends email to the “to:” tab in an email and then type out a message as if I was going to send it to them. Even though it was just an exercise, it made me really think about that person and how they would respond to my words, and it helped serve as a “pass the muster” test of sorts. But branding is certainly a larger topic.

  • Ray says:

    Have you tried Google Ads like YouTube Ads? We did a 40 dollar YT Ad campaign for a new artist and got 62k impressions with 1.5k clicks.
    Would you call this a failure ?
    The label was happy to get the exposure.
    What about Twitter Ads? Pinterest Ads? LinkedIn Ads? Instagram Ads ?
    What makes Facebook ads your favorite traffic source ?

    • Drago says:

      It is outstanding Ray. How did you manage to do that?

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hey Ray,

      As I’m sure you can tell from the video, I’m a huge fan of paid advertising. So well done on getting all that exposure with such a small budget. I’ve spent years advertising through Google but have never personally gotten the return on my investment with Google or Youtube, as compared to Facebook. At least with music. I’ve had success with those platforms in other markets. Exposure yes, but Facebook has been far better for me in terms of ROI and so that’s where I’m focused these days. But hey, so long as you profited from that ad spend then that’s all that matters.

      In general though, I think you’ll find most musicians have better luck, and a greater return, with Facebook Ads.

  • Matt says:

    This couldn’t have come at a better time. I started running my first facebook ad today! Obviously I’m just testing, but so far I’ve had quite a few clicks but only two subscribers on a Β£8 investment. So my ad is working but there is something wrong with my squeeze page? What people tell me is that they are disappointed on clicking through to a squeeze page and there not being any music to listen to. hmm. Press on regardless?

    My ad: https://www.facebook.com/theunsearchablevoid
    My Squeeze page: http://www.badprincess.net/download-void

    So far I’ve spent Β£4.40 of the total Β£8, reached 361 people on facebook, had 20 visitors to the squeeze page and two subscribers to the list. I had hoped the squeeze page would convert better as I’m giving away a whole album!

    My targeting:

    You are targeting men aged 26-45 who live in 4 locations and have 2 interests.
    Location – Living in: France, United Kingdom, Norway or United States
    Interests: Burzum or Mayhem (band)
    Age: 26-45
    Gender: Male

    I gave up on your wordpress template John, sorry, it was just too ugly, but I’m applying the principles here on bandzoogle instead.

    Sorry if this is waaay too much info for this comments section. I thought I’d just give you the whole picture seeing as you seem to like the details. That’s where the devil is, right?

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hey Matt,

      Lets see…

      While Β£2.20 per lead is too expensive, it’s just a few tweaks away from being where you need it to be. When you are within range like that it can be any of a number of things that is throwing things off. It could be targeting, it could be your ads, it could be the squeeze page. First step is to look at all the ad and conversion metrics and see if you can spot something that could be better. Your CTR, your relevance score, your squeeze page conversion rate, etc.

      The FB link takes me to your page rather than the ad so I didn’t see the ad. The squeeze page has a few elements on it that are typically under performers, such as it’s a dark theme, the headline is a bit abstract, I have to scroll way to much to read the content, and the formatting is a off. You want to really walk a person through the process of overcoming their resistance. Your squeeze page has some good info on it, but it blinds me a bit and seems to be dominated by quotes and more abstract ideas. I get what you’re going for, but to my mind that would all hurt conversions. But only the numbers matter.

      Regarding the MMM template… You wouldn’t be teh first person to suggest that it was ugly. It is sort of designed to be. Not ugly exactly, but extremely basic. This is for two reasons…

      1. I am teaching thousands of musicians how to do this stuff and I need one template that is so void of branding as to not serve one genre while hurting others.

      2. Ugly tends to convert a lot better. Time and time again you’ll see it when you start geeking out on marketing stats, that plain and simple tends to out perform slick. The reason being that the attention you have captured from an ad is incredibly fleeting. The second you let a person feel like they understand what you’re all about they start making decisions. Often that decision is “I don’t like this kind of music or this artist”. By being very light handed with your branding, the decision is based more on the very copy that led them clicking in the first place and conversions go up. This is just a general rule, not an absolute one.

      But I’d also remind you that the format used in that theme has been tested and proven, and thats why I offer it. But also, the theme is very customizable. The MMM site (the site we’re on right now) s using a customized version of the MMM theme. Every aspect of it can be tweaked.

      But hey, if you are happy with what you have and you are seeing a conversion rate you are happy with, that is all that matters.

      Thanks for watching the video and posting the comment.

  • Dan says:

    Great video. Sound advice as always.

    I would like to say that we’ve sold many CD’s with FB advertising! Not sure why but we do it every week of Black Friday and we always get the same sales we do for the entire year! We follow all of your advice we can and it works. One thing that absolutely works is building relationships and connecting with our fans/ One word that comes to mind is PERSEVERANCE!

    Thanks for your great insights!

  • Jared says:

    When the music stops I don’t just go blank I pass out. πŸ™‚ lol!

    Sounds great John, I have to say your dead on with this podcast. For me when I first starting marketing with Facebook I was expecting to start seeing a ROI with in a few days. However it’s been over a year now and I now feel that I have strategy that is leading me to profit. I also now have a lot of fun when creating content like blogs, Videos, Podcast, and photos. But when I first heard you speak about the importance of blogging I thought it was a waste of time and the only thing that really mattered was the music. But now looking back I feel like an idiot for thinking that.

    Also just wanted to say I have noticed that most musician do not have a theme for there page and are posting stuff mostly just about them. I think to be great with Facebook you need a theme in order to have a brand. So each post should be like a chapter in a book. Also when posting it should be 80% about your followers and 20% about your music since it is all about the customer.

    • John Oszajca says:

      That’s awesome to hear man. I love that you’ve come around on this stuff and I think your analogy about each post needing to be like a chapter in a book is bang on. Good stuff Jared.

  • Having a personal relationship with fans is a much better way to keep them connected with your artistry and support everything that you do. Many artists (especially established artists that have been around for so many years) never seem to build a relationship that is considered viable. A fan buys their music and never feel as though the artist knows them. It’s just like being married and never meeting your spouse in person to build any relationship or trust; it doesn’t work. Building relationships in music is a necessary tool to keep fans supporting the hard work and effort that you put in to your talent. Without it; artistry is just futile.

    • John Oszajca says:

      I couldn’t agree more Darryl,

      It me of a friend of mine who’s name I won’t mention… She had a huge hit (everyone has heard the song) sold over 4 million copies. But there was no base. It was just a radio hit. The next album came out and sold 40,000. And this was well before mainstream album sales started to slump. Relationships are absolutely key.

  • Brady says:

    Thanks, John!
    Great info & insight.
    Thanks for your generosity.

  • LindaVeeSado says:

    Facebook is as bad as advertising on Reverbnation. The only ones who see them are the other musicians who Liked your page and you are cross-promoing with anyway. So you don’t reach anyone new.

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hi Linda,

      Facebook actually offers incredible targeting options. You can target by interest, age, location, and a million other variables, as well as do things like create custom audiences of people that have engaged with one piece of your content but not another. This really helps move people through that relationship building process I described in the video. I’d urge you to take another look at the platform, but do be aware of the problem areas I mention in the video.

      Thanks for watching and for posting your concerns.

  • Good sound advice as always. Thanks John

  • D. Marlin McNichols says:

    Wonderful and help information. I’m a 40 plus year vet in the music industry and I will be signing up for Music Ad Workshop 2.0

  • Bruce says:

    A question about targeting a specific audience. I do agree that’s appropriate. However suppose your music covers over lapping genres?

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hey Bruce,

      My advice would be to find a single aspect of what you do and develop a brand around that, and market that brand. This doesn’t mean you can’t continue to make music that spans multiple genres, you absolutely can… But I would wait until the initial connection is made before introducing people to the other aspects of what you do. Otherwise it just because very difficult to create that message to market match.

  • sajana H says:

    Wow. Building relationships. This made so much sense. Thank alot man.

  • David Beck says:

    Great tips and info. Thanks for the vidoe. It is helpful
    Many Blessings

  • Brian Rogers says:

    Seems that if you think of these people on the other end of these ads, what they like, what they don’t like, their Pre existing passions and the convo in their head as you say – and then line that up with those parts of you as an artist, you’re sure to reach your goals.

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