Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Does Paid On-line Advertising Work? My March experiment.

I have been selling my art on-line via Etsy for almost 2 years now.  I have been building this art blog, my presence on Twitter, and my Fan Page on Facebook.  I have tried selling in other venues such as 1000 Markets, but find that maintaining two stores is not easy nor managable with the time I have available to spend on the computer.

One of my main goals is to be able to spend more time creating and listing new items in my Etsy shop, and less time driving the traffic to my store.  So, I had a good sales for the month of January and February, and I took some of that money and invested in some on-line advertising for March.

First, I chose a smaller blog that I discovered on Twitter.  It cost $15 for a spot on the side of the blog, the image was probably 175 x 175 in size, and selected by the blog owner.  When I signed up for the campaign, I suggested that the owner look at my "sold" items, to get an idea of what people are buying in my shop.  (I would have picked a popular print or one of the nude drawings, both of which sell very very well).  I was a little surprised, and dissappointed, to see that they had selected one of my Angel paintings - not that I am not proud of them, but they do not best represent what is in my shop.

When I contacted the blog owner, they explained that they felt their "readers" would like that item the best.  When I asked if it could be changed, they said "no". 

For the month of March, my Google Annalytics show that 21 visits to my shop came from that blog.  Each visitor spent an average of 1:52 minutes on site and looked at 5 pages per visit.  I do not know if any sales directly resulted from those 21 visits (which is approximatly .0019% of the monthly viewers on the blog). 

My other experiment was with a very high-end, high traffic blog.  A 125 x 125 advertising spot on the side of the blog was $250 for the month.  This blog guaranteed a certain number of "impressions", or views, of my ad.  I believe my ad bought 1,100,000 impressions.  One thing the ad staff let me know, was that an industry standard "click thru" rate was about .1% (POINT one percent) So what is that...if I get the industry standard of click thru...1100 clicks.  But according to my Google Annalytics for the month of March, 226 visits came directly from the blog ad.

Again, I can't tell if any sales came directly from the ad.  About 31% of the visitors from the blog were new to my shop, a stat that surprised me. I was hoping that it would bring a lot more new visitors to my work.

So...what do I recommend to those testing the blog advertising waters for the first time?

*make sure you get to pick what item you want to promote.  You know your clients, you know what sells in your shop.  It's your money!

*have a great looking ad if you are going to invest money in the ad space.  I think I fell short in this category on the expensive blog...but unlike the smaller blog, the large blog was willing to change my ad from the first one I provided to a second one I created which looked better half way thru the month.

*pay attention to when you are getting sales and how people are getting to your shop - my biggest traffic sources are my blog, facebook and Twitter.  And I can always tell when I have been actively promoting on-line - because the sales follow shortly after.

I'm not sorry that I invested $265.00 in this advertising experiment.  I had the money to do it, and I wanted to know if it would work for me.  For now, it seems like I should keep doing what has worked best for me so far - keep making art, make sure I talk about it on my blog, and promote it to my fans and twitter followers.

(A note to my fellow Etsy sellers...I did not renew at all for the month of March.  I only listed new items or re-listed prints that sold. )

And a note about Karma...I was incredibly grateful that Etsy published my story about my success on Twitter in the Etsy Blog on March 10th.  It meant a HUGE boost of traffic to my shop, and it helped me to not sweat the fact that I had invested this money in advertising! I had a great month of sales on Etsy and I am so thankful for the exposure.


Unknown said...

WOW! I needed to read this right now, I have been trying to re-do things so that they get more traffic and trying to follow all of the "rules." I have been tempted by these ad spots but I think I will wait for now:)

Orion Designs said...

Thanks for sharing these results. I've often wondered how paid blog ads would work for an etsy shop. I've never done them, mainly because I never click on the ones I see!

Lrc said...

I am happy that you are doing well...i am still trying to increase my profile by tweeting my new blog posts and new art work. I am doing an AdSense ad but don't know how its going yet.

Christina Vollstedt said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I was wondering about doing some advertising, but think I will work more on my blog and some of the other things you mentioned first.

Krystyna81 said...

I am glad that my feedback has been helpful. As you can tell, I did not name specific blogs, because I think everyone needs to test out what works for them!

Art is so subjective, and perhaps doesn't have the broad appeal that other products may have. (Shoes!) Plus, many people consider it a luxury item, and I sell nudes...so my audience is pretty limited (although I'm always hoping to change that :)

So you may have a product that may appeal to a different audience! But at some point, we all need to pay attention to what is working so we can use our time most effectively.

I would also love to hear success stories, too!

StormcrowNaturePreserve said...

That was very helpful and honest! It's a bog world with a million advertising possibilities... It's hard to know what to do, but this is great information.

Unknown said...

Brilliant thanks for this!
I too have been toying with the idea of paid ads.. this is great feedback . I have signed up for a month spring showcase on a blog . I'll see how that goes!
Congrats on your etsy spot..that's how I found you!
Chers , Helen

Susan - said...

Just found you through Twitter. This post is great! Thanks for sharing your experience with paid advertising. I too have toyed with the idea. I checked out a few sites, but found that the cost was too much for me right now. Something I have done for exposure, is to participate in a give-away on blogs. It brought traffic to my shop and is more affordable.

Unknown said...

Thanks for such a lovely article, it is an eye opening.
I really to improve on myself blogging and making a fan club in facebook.

Thanks for your response to my email.

Krystyna81 said...

I'm so pleased that you are finding my experience and feedback helpful!

It's hard to know if a little can go a long way when it comes to advertising, or if you have to take a big PLUNGE and pay a lot of money for the right exposure!

Whatever you decide, make sure you budget for it, don't beat yourself up over it if it doesn't work, and then learn from the experience.

Best of luck :)