Are ads for you? While we recommend them in a marketing mix, certain kinds of clients can be hesitant about spending money on ads, particularly new businesses that seem to have a ‘small’ audience in terms of who their product would appeal to.

So we did a ‘challenge accepted’ approach with a fellow Anchorspace member Ben who owns a newly opened (2 months ago) Etsy shop.
SFF Parts doesn’t have a website or much of a social media presence besides Reddit (and here’s the post that launched the business there)

Our objective was to see if ads could help generate traffic and sales. To make sure we could compare Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, we tried to make as many things as close to the same as possible:
– Same creative (in our case a 15 second video that communicated a lot so only actual potential customers would click, you know, since we were paying per click)
– Same budget
– Same time period
– Same goal/objective
– Same copy
– Same(ish) audience – some of these platforms allow for different targeting and have much different sizes (ex: Facebook had an audience in millions, Pinterest was closer to 400,000)

We found some interesting results, mainly that Pinterest ads had the most reach for the spend (Pinterest only spend part of its budget, I’m guessing because the audience was smaller and it couldn’t serve the ad to more people). Facebook did have the most interest buyers/clicks though.

We do recommend you to make specific campaign URLs if you use your own website so you can pull Google Analytics reports and see what ads did what once visitors got to your website. Google has a URL builder.

What did we learn from spending $100ish across three ad platforms for this client?
– Targeting platforms, even if very small, have a way better return than broad targeting.
– You are going to do the best on platforms you are active on.
– Ads amplify; you can not advertise a bad product/service, bad customer service, or bad word of mouth.
– Ads might not translate into sales right away. Customers take time to consider purchases (here’s an interesting study about that).

Did our ads change this business’ trajectory? Not exactly, things were already going well. Did it give us ideas of where this audience is and some other ideas to test? Absolutely. Did it show which ad platform could be effective for this client and give us an idea of costs going forward? I think so! And here’s hoping if you have a small audience with a niche product you see ads as a tool in your tool belt too now!

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