Why Music Marketing is Leaning Into Late Night

While 2020 brought much uncertainty for the entertainment industry, one unexpected positive was that late night musical performances we got did not disappoint. In fact, they got even better. In a year where fans were begging for any form of live music, late night performances gave us the chance to hear our favorite new tracks live, indulge with new content as we aimlessly scroll newsfeeds, and provided an outlet for artists to voice their creativity from their bedrooms. 

In the marketing sense, what were once brief television performances have now often become alternate music videos, and these pieces of art should be supported by proper advertising to engage core fanbases and reach potential new fans. 

It’s 2021. Why should we care about TV performances?

The long-lasting benefits of a traditional TV appearance are a tale as old as time. Just look at Future Islands. But in the past year, with lockdowns forcing artists inside for their performances, the new format for late night has given us even more reason to amplify these moments. Specifically, the late night switch-up has given younger, independent artists the opportunity to compete with the mainstream and deliver interesting content deserving of mass attention. 

Not only have opportunities arisen for independent artists in a creative sense, but the logistical aspects of booking performances has made it easier for artists abroad to have their music heard on American programs. Julie Gurovitsch, music booker for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, explained to Vice, “We’ve had access to artists that maybe we wouldn’t normally have had if this were a year ago because artists around the world can do a performance for us from their home country.” 

While the pause of live music has closed doors to independent artists throughout COVID, late night performances have provided an entryway into the mainstream, and should be amplified whenever possible, even as the world slowly re-opens. 

Where can we help?

After these appearances are booked, digital marketing should be utilized to provide supplemental awareness to the performance. Across platforms, there are a variety of methods to capitalize on increased attention generated from a late night performance, and the below recommendations only scratch the surface on prolonging a piece of content’s moment in the digital age.

  • Hit TV Tune In Audiences when they’re on socials

Twitter’s unique targeting capabilities offer our most direct method of reaching viewers of late night programs, with the fastest set-up. Here, we can target users most likely to be watching, and retarget them with ads showcasing the performing artist. For rising artists, this is a great method of ensuring a name is remembered after the program ends.

On Facebook and Instagram, we can overlay television and host interests on top of existing targeting to make sure we’re not only hitting users interested in your artists’ music, but also those who are interested in these programs. Especially for music fans actively looking for recommendations from late night, utilizing Facebook’s targeting gives us another opportunity to make a worthwhile impact.

  • Drive incremental views and awareness of the performance on YouTube.

TrueView InStream and Discovery ads allow us to drive efficient views and impressions of performances to potential new fans. Here, we can efficiently get the performance in front of users likely to be interested, giving them a host-read endorsement of their material, with no ad copy necessary!

  • Utilize Third Party Audiences

Using third party audiences from platforms like LiveRamp gives us another opportunity to identify and target late night viewers. From the broader “late night television viewers” level to the more specific viewers of individual programs like Fallon, Kimmel and Colbert, third party platforms give certainty that the right groups are being included in targeting. While these audiences require additional funds to purchase the data, their impact is evident in their increased ad efficiency.

  • Use video from the performance as ad creative.

Retargeting previous viewers of our ads with new video content from the late night performance could be the difference in encouraging them to click-through to listen. As we look for new ways to engage potential new fans, this creative shouldn’t be underestimated as an entryway into a fanbase. If the creative isn’t available, calling out the performance in ad copy would be a great start!

  • Employ ACR technology to target known TV viewers

With automatic content recognition (ACR) technology, companies like Nielsen offer the capabilities to monitor user viewing habits and deliver real-time targeted ad placements across smart TVs. This is a seamless viewing experience to the user, and would give us the opportunity to retarget known viewers of late night performances down the road with related ads on CTV or programmatic display. 

Throughout an incredibly difficult year for the music industry, the impact of late night appearances in an album and single’s rollout has endured. While the wide audience might not be tuning in to traditional television past midnight nightly, your artist’s biggest fan could still be out there waiting for the performance to get them hooked. With digital, we should emphasize these moments to help increase the odds of making that happen.