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How to leverage user intent
Marketing is about changing behaviour rather than hacking algorithms.
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Let’s dive into today’s topic:
How to leverage user intent
Understanding what people try to achieve when consuming content might give artists a strategic advantage.
Why it matters
Today’s music industry demands that artists possess a degree of marketing savvy. For emerging artists with no marketing background, it’s tempting to learn how to hack algorithms and run advertisements, as these concepts are relatively easy to digest and commonly evangelised by music marketing gurus.
However, marketing is about changing behaviour rather than hacking algorithms. I believe that non-marketers can excel at self-promotion when they apply the basic concepts of human behaviour to their strategies. One of these concepts is the idea of user intent.
How it works
User intent represents knowing what people try to achieve when they consume media or use certain apps. Understanding why people listen to an artist’s music or why they scroll endlessly on TikTok can provide insights into opportunities for behavioural change. For example:
Encouraging actions: Rather than urging Instagram or TikTok followers to stream new music immediately, prompt them to listen the next time they open Spotify. Since people are already consuming audiovisual content on social media apps, the likelihood of them engaging with audio-only content is relatively low. Help them remember when they intend to consume music later.
Measuring success: Instead of tracking lower-intent metrics such as monthly streams, which may encompass streams by passive listeners, focus on higher-intent metrics like playlist additions, Shazams, or music sales.
Leveraging user searches: Make use of a user's intent when they search for music. Emerging artists can include search keywords like artists, playlists, events, and moods they'd like to be associated with. Here we are back at hacking algorithms, but now rooted in behavioural understanding.
Most interactions between fans and artists involve lower intent, such as background music listening. The true essence of the relationship between artists and fans is defined by higher-intent interactions, such as attending live shows.
Paradoxically, industry gatekeepers may focus on lower-intent metrics like monthly streams when assessing the success of emerging artists. Artists should not disregard lower-intent interactions entirely.
Take action now
Artists could brainstorm ideas to enhance the volume of higher-intent interactions.
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