We run a large number of websites for a wide range of musicians at Amp Music Marketing from gospel choirs to synth-rock bands, global stars to breakthrough artists. This broad approach often gives us a unique insight into trends in the wider music industry that might be apparent to a solo artist or small record label. While there are certainly marketing techniques, practices and styles unique to each genre or individual artist, there are many more which work well across the spectrum. We're also huge believers in using data to drive our marketing efforts, constantly reviewing and analyzing the results of one album launch and incorporating them into the plans for the next.
With those points in mind, we are hoping to make this the first in a series of posts in which we share our data and insights with the wider community - specifically the data we feel is applicable to artists of all genre and size. The ultimate goal is to make this a collaborative effort with anyone else who wishes to run similar experiments and share their data, resulting in a set of industry "best practices" which can help us all improve our direct-to-fan activities.
Consume This Album?
The first such experiment we ran was a rather simple one on the home page of several artists. The call to action was pushing visitors from the home page towards a place where they could purchase the album. Each of the home pages would randomly show new visitors one of the following 3 variations: "Get The Album" "Buy The Album" "Download The Album"
This was run on 4 different websites, on broadly different artists and with different styles. For example, on one site the 3 variations were in big buttons (used in the screenshot) which linked to the store page on the band's site. On another site they were used in plain text links, which directed fans to iTunes to complete the purchase. Despite the variety of presentations, the performance of each of the keywords was remarkable consistent. This is the reason we're using this experiment as our first case study, because the results should be similar for you regardless of your set up.
Not only were the results consistent, they were also quite surprising (well, for us at least!). A big mistake that we often see made online is trying to hook people in with false promises, for example a link might proclaim "Get Loadza Songz FREE!!!!1%@" to entice a large number of clicks, but they rarely result in anything more than annoyed fans. Because of this effect, we expected to see "Get" performing much better than "Buy", because it encouraged much more clicks (even if that didn't lead to more sales).
What we found, however was exactly the opposite. "Get The Album" was the worst performing of all 3. Across all the sites it averaged a 5.9% click through rate (CTR). "Download The Album" was slightly better, with an average CTR of 6.3%, which is 6% more clicks than "Get." The best of the bunch was "Buy The Album" with a remarkable 10.9% CTR. That's a 73% improvement on "Download" and a whopping 84% improvement on "Get".
Just think, if these clicks lead to a store which is generating consistent income, a simple word change could increase your sales by over 50%. Although the actual click rate varied from artist to artist, the improvement from changing "Get" to "Buy" was consistent throughout. For example, where they were text links the CTR jumped from 2.47% to 4.83%. When they were large, prominent buttons the CTR jumped from 19.8% to 33.4%.
Because this experiment was run with a large number of fans on a diverse range of websites we'd be confident in saying that any musician currently urging fans to "Get" their album would have a 50%-100% better chance of succeeding by suggesting they "Buy" the album instead.