ReverbNation Launches the First Vertical-Specific Self-Serve Facebook Ads API Tool

Music marketing software suite developer ReverbNation yesterday launched Promote It, a self-serve Ads API tool that lets musicians create automatically optimized Facebook advertising campaigns and landing pages for as little as $25. Musicians simply choose their spend, enter some similar artists, and pick a song or Facebook Page to promote, then ReverbNation targets, buys, and manages the campaign, optimizing for gaining fans and news feed shares.

Promote It appears to be the first vertical-specific self-serve Ads API tool targeting the long tail of advertisers. It could inspire similar tools aimed at retailers, local businesses, small game developers, and other advertisers who have too little spend and expertise to qualify for most Ads API tools and services aimed at bigger brands.

ReverbNation offers a comprehensive suite of email marketing, CRM, analytics and other business solutions for musicians. It includes Band Profile, the second most popular Facebook Page tab application for musicians looking to promote themselves and stream their music behind RootMusic’s BandPage. It also recently released Venue Profile which offers similar services to concert halls and bars.

Without Promote It, most musicians have had to manually buy Facebook ads to attract new fans for their Pages. At any scale, Facebook’s manual advertising interface doesn’t provide sophisticated enough A/B testing or bid management features to allow users to maximize the performance of their campaigns. Even if it did, most musicians and their teams wouldn’t have the know-how to optimize their campaigns or build compelling landing pages that convert clicks into fans and shares.

Promote It takes care of all these problems, asking musician simple questions and converting their answers into ad campaigns and landing pages. To attain the same outcome, musicians would have previously needed to spend many thousands of dollars a month with a managed spend Ads API service and thousands more for development of landing pages.

To use Promote It, musicians choose Here’s how Promote It works:

  1. Which song or Facebook Page to promote
  2. Five similar artists whose fans their ads will be shown to
  3. Whether they want new local, domestic, any English-speaking or global fans
  4. If they want to add any of their own ad copy or images to ReverbNations automatically generated ad creative variants
  5. What Facebook account to sync the account with
  6. How much they want to spend on the campaign, as little as $25
ReverbNation converts this data into targeting criteria, ad creative, bids optimized for attaining new fans and shares, and slick landing pages that stream or let fans download the musician’s music and encourage sharing and Liking of their Page through Facebook’s social plugins.
Since the ads and landing pages are integrated, artists can view analytics on the performance of their campaign including a funnel showing impressions, clicks, fan interactions, and shares.

One drawback of Promote It is the lack of transparency in ReverbNation’s margins on ad spend. Rather than using a traditional cost per acquisition or percentage of total spend model, musicians don’t any goals for their campaign’s budget, and ReverbNation doesn’t cite how much it spends some on ads and how much it keeps.

The company’s COO Jed Carlson tells us that this is because the “quality of an artist’s music and photo is highly deterministic of what we pay for conversions”. Early tests of Promote It showed artists end up paying around $1 per new fan, though a catchy song and ad creative can significantly reduce this. Still, some musicians might not be comfortable allowing ReverbNation to decide how many new fans they deserve for their spend, even if the service is a big improvement over running the ads manually.

ReverbNation currently has 1.7 million total clients, and 250,000 more use its competitor RootMusic’s Facebook service. Promote It could therefore turn into a huge revenue stream for ReverbNation, as well as a key selling point for attracting musicians seeking to score new fans for their Facebook Pages.

Perhaps even more significant are the implications for the Facebook Ads API and advertising world as a whole. If similar tools for other verticals proliferate, smaller advertisers could gain access to the same performance-enhancing capabilities that major brands use to get the most for their spend. With Facebook recently opening the Ads API after years of private beta testing, developers could help level the playing field for advertisers in specific industries while taking healthy cuts of spend for themselves.