I recently ran an advert on Facebook. Ok, yes, Facebook is evil, but it was £7 for a week and the whole idea was so ludicrous that I gave it a go.
Originally, the advert was directed at US-based fans of Christian rock music, but they were so profoundly disinterested, that I started worrying a bit about wasting my money and so broadened out to also include Canadian fans of noise music.
My advertisement ‘reached’ 1,267 people. Which means, it was placed in the feeds of that number of people. Not that they saw it at all, just that it went into their feeds. Of those, 22 people interacted with it some way. 15 of them clicked ‘like’. One of them liked my page (more useful). One of them actually shared my promoted post!
So I went to his page. He shares everything he sees. Which is mostly about cars, guns and war. His 13 facebook friends probably have him muted.
Of the 15 people who liked the post, I ‘invited’ all of them to like my page. Two or three did.
Facebook does not tell me how many people clicked the link through to my shop. However, Etsy gives me statistics on views.
31 people found my shop via Facebook. I can’t say how many of them came from my advert, but I think having 17 views from Canada is possibly unusual.
I’ve also been promoting this round of commissions through blog posts (like this one), twitter and Diaspora. Etsy also is a traffic draw. Over the last 30 days, there have been 224 views of my shop, which may or may not mean it’s been seen by 224 people. 29 People came via twitter and 3 from my blog. Views peaked on Friday, when my shop had 60 views.
16 people actually got as far as looking at a listing. One person favourited the listing. Nobody commissioned me.
It’s worth noting that only nine of my facebook visitors came from the non-mobile website and the rest were mobile users. this may be a reflection of the growing importance or the mobile web. Or there is the tiniest possibility that it’s more strongly related to the facebook mobile UI. Users complain frequently that it’s impossible to use and they keep clicking on adverts accidentally. But, if it looks like clicks to advertisers, why would facebook fix it? It’s not like their users are their customers.
I think it’s clear that I just wasted £7, spending it on ineffective, annoying evil. It’s like selling your soul to the devil for a subway sandwich.
I started this project nearly 10 years ago. Before crowd funding sites and before patreon. Both of those models are potentially well-suited to this project. Indeed, in many ways, they’re both better suited than my model. If I had done crowd-funding, I could have made naming tracks rewards for sponsorship, which is more or less what I’m doing now, but with a model that makes a bit more sense and guarantees that people will actually end up with the album at the end. If I had gone with Patreon, I would not be wedded to the one-minute-of-noise format I’ve chosen, as subscribers would be supporting my output more generally. It would, however, create pressure to make and post tracks frequently enough that I didn’t feel guilty for taking people’s money. Through sponsorship and reliable posting, there’s a potential I could grow my listener base.
This is not a good time of year for doing this sort of project, which may have performed better before Christmas. Every time I do it, I worry I’ve exhausted my social capital. People who commission me are usually only one degree away. Once in a while, I’ll get somebody two degrees away. Alas, my original, foundational hope that people would hear their friend’s commissions and want one for themselves has not come to be.
On the other hand, I started this before my PhD, something which did force me to take along break from it. I do it when I feel like it and pause it when I don’t. I have a lot of control over when I’m not working on this project, which is something I needed towards the start.
I’ve got another advert about to run on a porn blog. Will anybody commission me from it? Probably not, but at least this one will result in a new piece of music, so I don’t care.
This is an advert right here. Have you noticed it? Have you ever clicked through? Have you ever wanted to commission short bursts of noise for the same amount of money I spent advertising that possibility? Go for it! Order now for this Valentines Day!