YouTube Music Ad Strategies For Musicians

A YouTube music ad is exceptional for boosting artist subscriber numbers and visibility on the platform. However, not all promotions on YouTube provide the return-on-investment musicians expect. That’s why it’s crucial to understand the critical levers of success.

It's no secret that YouTube is oversaturated with video content. In fact, over 500 hours of video are uploaded to the platform every minute. That’s why leveraging YouTube ads can give you a leg up. Ensure that you optimize your ads to specific audiences and countries. And write a captivating description to entice viewers to click on your promotion.

Whether you want to advertise a cover song or a live performance highlight reel on YouTube, we have you covered. Dive in to learn all the ins and outs that’ll get you the most bang for your buck. 

YouTube Ads for Musicians 101

YouTube ads are paid promotions that boost the reach of videos and channels on the platform. As a musician, you can leverage this tool to advertise your tracks or musical content to people who might not otherwise see your videos.

The different types of YouTube music ads include:

  • In-feed video ads: These ads are displayed where users typically discover content, such as the YouTube search results and beside related YouTube videos.
  • Skippable in-stream ads: These appear before, during, or after other videos, and viewers can skip them after five seconds.
  • Non-skippable in-stream ads: The opposite of skippable in-stream ads, these promotions are no longer than 15 seconds, and viewers can’t skip them.

Most music artists use in-feed and skippable ads to promote their music. In-feed video ads are ideal for boosting your subscriber base on YouTube and building trust with subscribers. Since these ads are longer, you can advertise a full-length video. The only catch is the CTR is much lower than that of skippable in-stream ads.

If boosting views is your advertising goal, skippable in-stream ads might be your best bet. You’ll benefit from a low cost per conversion because you won’t be charged until viewers watch at least 30 seconds of the video. These ads also have a high click-through rate (CTR) and more volume.

The typical spend to promote a music video on YouTube is between $0.01 to $0.05 per view. And the optimal daily budget ranges between $1 and $10. However, the cost-per-view and budget will vary based on the ad format, target viewers, and competition for a specific video.

Given that Google owns YouTube, video ads for YouTube are configured and managed in Google Ads. Therefore, you’ll need to create a Google Ads account.

When to Leverage YouTube Music Ads

Before running a YouTube music ad, knowing in what instances they'd prove beneficial is best. That way, you can decide if paid advertising will be the best route to take over organic promotion.

You’re New to YouTube

If you’re new to the scene, growing your number of subscribers on YouTube can feel like a behemoth of a task. You can take it one day at a time and employ as much patience as possible. However, you might not see much growth within weeks or months.

Also, if you’re an emerging or independent artist, it’s likely people aren’t searching for you as they would more famous artists. Therefore, you must find a way to draw in users.

YouTube ads can come to the rescue for anyone new to the platform or the music industry. You can increase your subscriber count by putting your best content directly in front of viewers.

Your Video Views aren’t Increasing Organically

So, you uploaded a music video on YouTube. It’s your best work yet, and you don’t doubt that viewers will instantly vibe with it. When you check back days later, your video doesn’t have nearly as many views as expected.

Does that sound like something you’re experiencing? Firstly, it’s pretty standard on the platform, but you no longer have to face this scenario.

You can promote your track using a YouTube music ad. Not only will you boost your views, but you will also curb the disappointment of not achieving the desired response from viewers. 

You Want to Grow Your Channel

Perhaps you’re currently only reaching a small fraction of the 2 billion users on YouTube. What if I told you an ad could lead to more people hearing, appreciating, and sharing your music?

YouTube ads are a potent tool that helps musicians reach a wider audience. Therefore, leverage YouTube ads if your channel's growth is stagnant and you're looking for a way to alert users to your music.

You Want to Reengage Viewers

Suppose you have users visiting your website, liking your videos, and perhaps even leaving comments. However, you aren’t seeing as much growth in your subscriber count.

In that case, you can leverage YouTube music ad techniques to target users who’ve interacted with your channel, content, and website. That way, you can reengage them and drive conversions. 

The Top Strategies for Effective YouTube Ad Campaigns

1.   Choose Suitable Ad Formats

Skippable and in-feed ads are the two most common YouTube ads for music videos. This is because they produce the highest ROI for musicians compared to other ad formats.

Each YouTube ad format suits a specific purpose and produces certain results. For instance, skippable in-stream ads are great for boosting video views. They’re also more affordable than other ad formats because you only pay if someone watches your video for at least 30 seconds.

Other ad formats, like non-skippable ads, are ideal for highly engaging video content. So, the last thing you want is to advertise an unappealing video since viewers can’t skip the ad. However, this ad format can be costly because you pay for every view or impression.

The type of ad format you choose will depend on your budget, content, and target audience. However, it’s best to experiment with different ad designs to see what works and what doesn’t.

A target audience that’s too narrow could limit your ad’s reach and result in a lower return on investment.

2.   Set a Budget and Stick to It

Advertising costs can rack up quickly, particularly if you use a costly ad format like non-skippable ads. Therefore, always have a budget in mind before you start running a promotion.

You can set a budget when setting up an advertising campaign on YouTube. A daily budget is best instead of a Campaign Total budget as you’ll have more control over how much you spend.

If you’re running your first campaign as a test run, set a budget between $5 and $10 per day. Then, set the campaign’s end date within seven days. That will ensure you don’t forget about your ad and end up overspending on something that might not work.

3.   Target Specific Audiences and Countries

Targeting ensures your music ad on YouTube reaches users who are likely to take action. It entails singling out viewers based on their interests, habits, and demographics.

For example, you can target users who are country music fans or like artists similar to you. Alternatively, you can focus your campaign on people who interacted with your channel before or visited your website.

Specificity and accuracy are crucial when it comes to targeting. This is because it increases the chances of viewers engaging with your ad and, later on, with your music.

However, there’s a fine line between an audience that’s too broad and too narrow. A target audience that’s too narrow could limit your ad’s reach and result in a lower return on investment.

If you aren’t sure who to target, check out the analytics from your previous videos. YouTube provides a wealth of insights for your channel, including viewer demographics. As a result, you can get a rough idea of who already enjoys your videos and define your target audience accordingly.

Alternatively, use insights from your social media profiles. You can tell from the analytics and data which kinds of people are most interested in your music and brand.

You'll also be prompted to set a location when creating a YouTube music ad campaign. It's best to choose specific countries and territories. If you don't specify a country, YouTube will prioritize showing your ad to countries with the cheapest cost-per-view (CPV). And these could be places where your target audience doesn't reside.

4.   Write a Captivating Headline & Description

Your music ad headline and description count as much as the content. Therefore, put as much effort into crafting them as possible.

A high-converting description or headline is captivating while informative. Since viewers probably never heard of you, adding your artist and track name in the description won’t do much. Instead, add text that entices viewers to click on your ad to learn more.

For example, use headlines like ‘If you like pop music, you’ll love this’ or ‘The best song you’ll hear this summer.’ Then, in the description, you can dive deeper, being specific about how your song is best suited for the target viewer.

The idea is to capture a viewer’s attention, making them stop whatever they’re doing and go down the rabbit hole of your content. If you’re unsure whether your headline or description is captivating, experiment with different versions in two ads.

Note that you’ll only need to add a description to in-feed ads. So make the headline of your skippable ad count.

5.   Lead with Your Best Content

Quality is everything on YouTube. There's no faster way to chase viewers away than with pixelated video with poor audio.

Think of it like you’re stepping under a spotlight on stage. You only have a few seconds to capture your audience’s attention, so you must deliver your best from the get-go.

As a result, always run ads with high-quality music videos or behind-the-scenes content. The same goes for the thumbnail. Choose a high-quality image that puts you and your music in the best light.

6.   Incorporate an End Screen into Your Video Ad

Add an engaging end screen to make the most of the viewer reaching the end of your ad. This final opportunity to engage with your audience can be beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Encourage viewer engagement: Promote other videos and encourage viewers to engage with them. This is especially useful if there’s a follow-up to the video. For example, if your ad is a highlight reel from your last tour, you could direct users to the playlist with the songs you performed.
  • Provides valuable opportunities for monetization: Promote affiliate links, merchandise, or other monetization opportunities. For example, you can link to your latest band merch. This can increase conversions and generate additional revenue.

All in all, incorporating an end screen into your YouTube can increase your visibility, engagement, and revenue.

7.   Use A/B Testing

Not every campaign you publish on YouTube will crush it with your target audience. So, how do you know what’s worth investing a significant amount in and what isn’t? Enter A/B testing.

A/B testing involves running two YouTube music ads concurrently with distinct elements. Therefore, you create different versions of the content, thumbnail, description, and CTA button (if it’s a skippable in-stream ad).

You’ll then monitor the videos to determine which gets the highest impressions and views. The video with the higher results would be the one you spend the most on.

It typically takes trying out different ad formats with varying elements to see what performs best on YouTube. And doing this early is vital. That way, you can know what works, invest in it sufficiently, and let the effects compound.

8.   Learn from Your Wins and Losses

With every ad campaign, you can view specific metrics that tell you how your ad is performing. These Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) include:

  • View metrics: view rate, average watch time, impression, and click-thru rate.
  • Earned actions: shares, likes, playlist additions, subscriptions, views, and conversions.

It’s crucial that you track these metrics because they’ll inform you about what draws in the most viewers and what doesn’t. Now, suppose you review your ad’s metrics a day after publishing it, and the results aren’t as good as you expected. That doesn’t mean you should stop the ad.

You’ll need to give the ad a few days to determine if it’s a hit or a miss with your target audience. It might even take experimenting with different ads to see what draws in the most viewers and what doesn’t.


Done right and approached with practical strategies, a YouTube music ad can transform your reach and visibility on the platform. Couple it with organic YouTube music promotion strategies, and you’ll be on your way to trailblazing success.

Using the proper format, description, and headline for your ad is an effective strategy. If you're unsure about the structure, A/B testing can help you find the most cost-effective yet beneficial option.

Also, set a daily budget with an end date to ensure you don’t overspend on your ad. And remember that promoting high-quality videos is best. Adding an end screen is also an excellent opportunity to promote other content and merchandise.

Advertising your music on YouTube is one thing, but getting it on the platform is another. You'll need to work with a music distributor, like Sugo Music Group, who knows their way around the business. With over 35 years of experience in the music industry, Sugo Music Group has helped musicians across the globe take their careers from 0 to 1. Their music distribution service connects you to over 200 music streaming and download platforms. Contact them today to advance in your music career.

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