Successful ads are about way more than your cost per result

We’ve all been there.

A new campaign kicks into gear and the cost per result (CPR, which is just ad spend divided by results) is through the roof.

Cue the cold sweats, the fear of wasting money, and the existential crisis wherein we wonder if we should really be doing this “music thing” anyway.

Sound familiar?

Look, I dislike a high CPR just as much as the next guy, but the truth is, cost per result is only one of many factors that add up to the success of an ad campaign and, ultimately, growth on Spotify.

That is to say, a high cost per result isn’t always a bad thing.

Wait, what?

That’s right. In some cases, a high CPR is to be expected and is actually an indication that what we’re doing is working.

Campaign performance is contextual, the details matter, and there is no such thing as “black and white” when it comes to advertising, especially when something as subjective as music is concerned.

So here’s how I dig into the data to determine advertising success outside of just my cost per result.

What’s your CPM?

If I’m trying to read between the lines in an ad campaign, the first place I like to start is with my CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions).

CPM can vary wildly depending on your genre of music and your targeting.

For example, if I’m targeting pop music with an estimated audience size in the hundreds of millions, theoretically, my CPM should be relatively low because I have a ton of people to choose from.

It should cost less to show my ad to pop music fans than if I were targeting, say, a niche sub-genre of metal with an audience size under one million.

Make sense?

If my CPM is on the higher side, then my cost per result (either cost per click or cost per conversion, depending on the campaign) is likely to be higher too, but that doesn’t mean my campaign isn’t performing well.

A CPR of $1 does not equal failure if you’re meeting your goals, which we’ll get to in a minute.

What about CTR?

The next metric I look at before passing judgment on my cost per result is my campaign’s click-through rate or CTR.

This is how frequently someone who sees your ad is clicking on it to take action.

The higher the click-through rate, the better, as it indicates you are finding an audience with whom your ad creative is resonating.

In international markets, if I see a CTR over 0.50% for an ad promoting an artist on Spotify, I’m happy with that, especially considering there are likely to be cultural and language differences that will naturally hinder that response rate.

As an English-speaking artist advertising in English-first countries like the US and the UK, if I see that CTR above 2%, I know I’m in good shape.

With the right song and great ad creative, we’ve even seen artists push up close to a 10% click-through rate on some campaigns in the US, UK, etc., which is just insane.

So if I’m seeing a high CPM coupled with a high CTR, but I also have a high CPR, I’m honestly not too worried about it, especially if I’m marketing to a more niche audience.

All this means is I’m finding my people.

Are you seeing growth on Spotify?

At the end of the day though, the only thing that matters is whether or not what we’re doing is having an impact on Spotify.

On the song side of things, if I’m seeing that popularity score increase at a rate that is commensurate with my ad spend, say rising from 0 to 20% within the first week at a budget of $350 or more, then I’m happy.

On the follower side, if I’m earning new followers at an average cost of $1.50 per new follower in top-tier countries over the course of the month, I’m thrilled.

So, for example, if I spend $10, have a CPR of $1, and get 10 new followers on Spotify, that is exactly the same as if I have a CPR of $0.10 and get 10 new followers on Spotify.

The second CPR may make me feel better about myself, but it’s $1 per follower no matter how you slice it.

Now, obviously, these numbers will shift if we’re advertising in different markets, so if you’re an artist in Mexico and that’s where your primary efforts are focused, then, naturally, your CPM and CPR should be lower.

Your payout per stream will be lower too though, so that’s a factor as well.

But if we take all of these metrics and throw them into the blender, what we’re really looking for is an indication that we are finding our audience on social media and they are responding.

That’s really it.

So whether your CPM, CTR, and CPR are high or low is immaterial so long as you’re seeing the right amount of growth for your ad spend on Spotify.

At the end of the day, the end result is the only one that truly matters.

Whenever you're ready, there are four ways I can help you:

  1. Read the Newsletter: Read previous issues of The One Thing to learn at your own pace and upgrade your marketing knowledge for free.
  2. Book a Consultation: Schedule a one-on-one call with me to improve your marketing across paid advertising, social media, and more.
  3. The Spotify Traffic Accelerator: Join the hundreds of artists who have successfully learned to automate their growth on Spotify using paid ads on Instagram.
  4. Become a DuPree X Artist: Hire our team to manage your marketing across streaming platforms and social media so you can focus on what matters most—making music.

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