PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Facebook Advertising redux

You may recall that I wrote a review of my experience advertising on Facebook last November. My advertising budget was $150 and I only made around $70 in direct sales – ouch. I concluded:

I love that you can specifically target the people who are your potential customers. But the advertising costs are just too expensive for smaller businesses to justify… Personally, I won’t be advertising with FB again unless I can find another promotional voucher for free credit – it’s just too expensive for my budget.

Well, now I have just that opportunity – a promotional voucher for $25 of Facebook ad credit, so I thought I’d try another FB advertising test, using what I learnt from last time, and trying to tweak things to give me better results. And once again, I’ll share my results with you, so you don’t have to waste money to discover what I’ve already found out!

The Ad Setup

(If you’re interested in advertising on Facebook, I recommend you read my previous report first, and then come back here – it gives a good overview of the FB advertising experience which I’m not going to cover again today.)

advertisement on Facebook
This is what an advertisement on Facebook looks like – I’ve circled the ad in purple

With only $25 (which I know from prior experience is very easy to blow through in a single day!) I set my daily budget at $12.50, so I could try different things on 2 days and compare the results.

I chose a CPM (pay per thousand views) bid, not CPC (pay per click), as I found that much more successful last time round.

Last year’s ad was a Christmas ad, so I had to change the image this time. That means I can’t directly compare the results to the previous experiment, as I’m sure the choice of photo plays a part in my success (or lack thereof).

PlanetJune Ad 2 on Facebook PlanetJune Ad 4 on Facebook

L-R: the old ad and the new one

I also excluded people who are already a fan of PlanetJune on Facebook, as the goal of this test is to see if I can attract new customers with this advertising.

Phase 1
I targeted all crocheters (around 150,000 people). I checked realtime stats in my shop throughout the day, and I could clearly see that customers who actually completed a purchase clicked all over my site and typically viewed 20-80 pages before completing a purchase. The Facebook clickers, however, typically looked at only 1 or 2 pages before leaving.

Phase 1 verdict: $12.13 spent, 99,000 views, 51 clicks, 0 sales.

Phase 2
I targeted only people who had listed amigurumi as an interest. This gave me a far more focused target, but only 2000 people have amigurumi listed as an interest. Could I get them ALL to click through? Or would anyone who lists amigurumi as an interest already know me, and not bother clicking?

My money went a lot further in phase 2, because I was targeting so few people. I actually managed to advertise for 5 full days using my remaining budget! A higher percentage of people clicked through (again not surprising, as many people who list crochet as an interest aren’t interested in amigurumi/toys) and people looked at an average of 5 pages before leaving.

Phase 2 verdict: $12.89 spent, 120,000 views, 207 clicks, 1 sale.

Conclusions

Targeted marketing
By focussing on only people who like amigurumi instead of crochet in general, I saw a 20x improvement in the number of people who clicked my ad. Assuming each person only clicked the ad once, over 10% of my potential audience clicked through! Targeted marking is a powerful tool. But it still didn’t lead to sales.

Saturation
In Phase 1, 150,000 people could have seen my ad – it could have potentially been seen by a different person each time it was displayed. In Phase 2, however, only 2000 people (at most) could see my ad, so that means that each person, on average, saw my ad 60 times! By day 5, the clickthroughs had dropped from about 50 to only 19, and that doesn’t surprise me: if you’ve seen an advertisement 59 times and chosen not to click each of those times, why would you click after seeing it for the 60th time?!

Return on investment
As before, I made less money in direct sales than I ‘invested’ into the advertising – here, a $10 return on $25. (Although, also as before, this doesn’t account for new people who may have found me through the ad and may become customers at a future date.)

Casual clickers vs shoppers
The one big thing I’m taking away from this experience is that Facebook users appear to be casual clickers; that is, they may click on an ad out of a vague curiosity, but not be interested enough to really explore my shop or make a purchase. This is a very different behaviour from people who find me through a google search and are actively looking for crochet patterns: these shoppers are in a ‘buying’ frame of mind and while they may come to my shop looking for, let’s say, a “sea turtle crochet pattern”, they tend to look through my entire shop before buying, and often end up buying far more goodies than they were originally searching for.

Of course, I could have seen more success if I’d managed to create a more appealing ad, but who knows?! Maybe I’d have seen more clicks, but the fact is that the people who did click didn’t follow through and make a purchase, so I could have multiplied the number of clicks with a better ad and still seen the same result.

Based on this, I’m really not sure there’s any value in my paying for advertising. People who are prepared to buy something can easily find me through Google, and that costs me nothing. I’ll stand by my conclusion from last time: it’s just not worth the money.

Over to you…

What’s your experience? Have you tried advertising, on Facebook or elsewhere? (I also tried a $100 Google AdWords advertising experiment – would you like me to report on that experience too?) Have you found something that actually works for you? I’d love it if you’d share in the comments!

36 Comments »

  1. Hello June,
    Thank you for sharing you experience on advertise for facebook.It’s very helpful. I have been ads on etsy and ravelry too and not get any luck with sale. However I will try again on ravelry.
    Anyway I love your tutorial on amigurumi help and your designed very cute.

  2. Etha said

    Great breakdown of your advertising experiences, thanks so much πŸ™‚
    I think in the “crafting business” just to put this in a general category, word of mouth (keyboard) and personal connections are still the best to go. It may have more effect if I crochet something from your pattern and have it on my blog with a link than an ad banner somewhere. Its more like that ohhhh, I want that too effect πŸ˜‰
    And a second thought: people are just not buying like they used to. With all the patterns floating around some people get very pampered with “free” stuff and “share” too much. I am always glad when I can buy and download a pattern that I* know took a lot of work to produce and test rather than hunting for hours to find something that I need that may be free but may also have tons of problems attached….

    • June said

      I wish everyone thought the same way as you, Etha – I think a lot of people don’t realise how much time and effort goes into making a quality pattern, and how much easier it is to use a good pattern than to go through the frustration of a free pattern that may be full of errors and/or unclear instructions! (Of course, this doesn’t apply to all free patterns, just as not all paid patterns are high quality.)

  3. Nickie said

    Hey June!

    My name is Nickie and I have designed a goldfish pattern. I would love it if you sold it on your site! I will email you the pattern and picture if you agree. You can have it for free! I would never find a use for it. Please respond!

    Nickie

    • June said

      Nickie, thanks very much for your kind offer! I only sell my own designs here at PlanetJune – I think it would confuse people if I started selling other people’s designs too. But I really appreciate your generosity – thank you πŸ™‚

  4. Hi June,

    Your article was so great. How do you use BOTH sides of your brain so well?

    I had an idea. How about using the possibility of being added (advertising on if that is the only choice) on to a KNITTED animal and toy site. I mean somepeople go to those sites and wish and wish they knew how to knit but only know how to crochet.

    I know it may sound silly but I find often other fiber artists like to help other fiber artitsts. Let’s face it, times are tough right now. Everyone needs to help at least two people a week. Karma.

    Linda Welcome
    Ellington, CT

    • June said

      Why, thank you, Linda! Well, I do have 2 science degrees and a technical writing background, so I have an analytical mind by nature! The creative stuff actually came as a surprise to me – I never saw myself as very artistic until people started telling me that I was πŸ˜€

      Your knitting idea is interesting; I really hadn’t considered that at all. I know when I (as a non-knitter) go to a crochet site and find that the prettiest things on there are knitted, I feel cheated, and that makes me wonder if knitters, on seeing my ad on a knitting site and then discovering my patterns are all crocheted, would feel equally cheated..?

      I definitely agree that we should all help each other out. I’m blown away by the generosity of some of the people I’ve met online (and I hope some people feel the same about me too!)

  5. Robyn said

    I found you through Etsy too. I was looking for amigurumi Boston terriers. That’s when I found your pattern for the Boston Terrier and I was a fan ever since. I think I have looked at pretty much everything on PlanetJune. Hope this helps. πŸ™‚

    • June said

      Thanks for letting me know – that’s very helpful!

  6. Cora Shaw said

    I actually make sure I have a link back to your website on my blog. As you know I love your designs πŸ™‚

    Cora

    • June said

      Thank you so much, Cora! I think that personal recommendations like that are far more effective and valuable than any ad I could create and pay for.

      Now, anyone else want to write something nice about my designs on their blog? It could be my next experiment πŸ˜€
      (And seriously, I bet it would be way more successful than the FB ads!)

  7. Andee Graves said

    June,

    Thank you for the thoughtful posts about Facebook advertising. I think you may have hit the nail on the head about small businesses and advertising budgets.

    I did “time” in the world of corporate advertising & marketing. One thing that is really the point of advertising is to develop name recognition, not generally to see a marked increase immediately in direct sales.

    Advertising as a method for that when you are a small business without a large ad budget can be prohibitive. Though you may be surprised that a few months from now your business is growing because of your earlier efforts.

    Often time it takes a long run game to see name-recognition advertising paying off. A thought would be if you did the 5 days of intensely targeted advertising per Phase 2 of your experiment for 6 months running.

    Say the 3rd Tuesday of each month you ran your ad for however long your $12.50 lasts. Would be interesting to see what would occur then. Now you just need $75 of vouchers for that experiment. ;o)

    • June said

      The problem with trying these experiments is that I can’t really tell for sure how effective they are – other factors play a part too (daily and seasonal fluctuations in sales, exposure on other websites, when I sent my last newsletter, how often I’ve been blogging or tweeting)… all these intangible things that could contribute to additional sales, or lack of sales, at the same time as I’m running the ads.

      I think you’re right, and name recognition is definitely something to aim for, but I’m thinking that FB ads may not be the best way for doing that! I hope that when my amigurumi book comes out in October, that will lead to more exposure (positive, I hope!) and greater name recognition… We shall see!

  8. idadown said

    Thanks for taking the time to share June. Thinking about it, it doesn’t really suprise me that FB people are clickers, not shoppers, as I suspect many only look at ads out of boredom….perhaps waiting for crops to grow…ie they are flicking through as one might flick through a mag whilst waiting at the doctors…

  9. Andrea said

    See I didn’t even realize FB had ads until I was using my husband’s computer for something (I use Firefox with Ad-Block) I think things like etsy, or Ravelry, or other craft-centered things would be more useful. I’m insane and have and do go through everything on Rav listed as “amigurumi” and fav things. Then when I have money I can go buy patterns.

    • June said

      Very good point – I never even considered ad-blocks! And yes, listing my patterns on Ravelry (for free!) seems to be much more effective for me – and has longer-lasting benefits than a day or a week or paid advertising.

  10. Lynne said

    I found you through Ravelry. See keep the projects coming as I do feel you’ll get business sent your way there too.

    • June said

      That’s the feeling that I get too: that just by having a presence on Ravelry, I’m finding new customers, and that doesn’t cost me anything! (Plus I get to find new friends like you, which is lovely – I don’t want to give the impression that all I care about is the money!)

  11. Stacey Trock said

    Hi June!
    I love this article πŸ™‚ It’s really helpful!
    I haven’t paid for advertising yet, but I have put ads up using a site called ‘Project Wonderful’… it’s an interesting concept. It places the value of the ad based on bidding… so on ‘less popular’ sites, you can get an ad for a day for free.
    I was able to get ad spots on some amigurumi sites, as well as some general crafting sites. Like your facebook experience, none of the clicks lead to sales, but since the ads were free, the ‘additional exposure’ (i.e. more people ‘liking me’ on facebook or subscribing to my blog) was worth it… I think πŸ™‚
    I’m going to write it all up in a blog post, soon…

    • June said

      Thanks for the info, Stacey! I’ve used Project Wonderful from the other side (we have PW advertising available on FoldingTrees.com). I have noticed that the free/very cheap opportunities tend to be on sites with very little traffic – at our FT peak, people would bid up to $4/day to advertise with us, which is certainly more than I can justify paying at my current income range.

      The more I think about it, the more I find advertising (at all) to be a bad fit for me. I’d much rather my reputation grows through word of mouth than me trying to force my designs down people’s throats with ads. Although, I need to grow my business somehow to be able to justify remaining self-employed… Hmm…

      • Stacey Trock said

        I totally agree… since it’s a bidding system, most of the sites you get free ads on are low traffic, so it takes some work to find the right low traffic but still targeted sites. I had a couple lucky combos where I got a fair number of click-thrus… but I wouldn’t rely on it to drive my business.

        I haven’t yet figured out why/how people decide to buy my patterns- there are so many different factors. I get big spikes around the holiday season, and I can see where people who purchase my patterns come from (i.e. they googled for amigurumi patterns and found me), but those ‘predictable’ purchases only account for a small percent of the overall purchases. And, until I can really sort out how people find me/move through my site, I don’t suspect I’ll have much luck with advertising, either πŸ™

  12. Thea said

    I tried a few project wonderful ads for a very short while, but nothing came of it. I will probably try it again though, since it wasn’t really for long enough to really tell.

    I’m surprised nothing came of your ravelry ad though, those are just about the only ads I’m ever interested in.

    • June said

      I only tried advertising in the banners at the bottom of the forums; all the other options seemed too expensive for my tiny budget. If they made back far more than I spent, that would be okay though – it’s just hard to justify spending my funds on ads when I’ve had so little success in the past! I may have to explore Rav ad options some more though πŸ™‚

  13. FishRockette/FairIsleFish said

    As a buyer I find patterns through Ravelry almost exclusively now, and if I like a pattern on there I click over to that sellers site. Also when I was on Facebook I ignored the ads pretty well.

    If I was a knit/crochet designer I would want my ads on Ravelry or KnittingHelp, or something of the like. Not facebook…

    • June said

      I’ve actually tried advertising on Ravelry too, without much success there either.
      I do get sales through Ravelry as all my patterns are listed there (which doesn’t cost me anything – yay!) but, although I got more clickthroughs when I ran Ravelry ads, almost none of them led to any sales.

      I am seeing a pattern here! I suspect I may have a similar result with any type of advertising…

  14. I am always wondering about these advertising opportunities so I thank you for doing all this research and thoughtful analysis! I have advertised in a national magazine, been in books and been on TV – national and local, but the most traffic (and purchases) I ever get come from local sources, ie: the city newspaper, local TV. I don’t know if that’s true for everyone, and maybe it’s tied to my company name, that I’ve associated myself so strongly to my town, but I have now decided to concentrate my avertising to the local area.

    Yes, please tell us about Google adwords!!

    • June said

      Liz, I can see that local advertising is a very smart idea if you sell physical products, as you do! But my products are primarily virtual/digital, so my location is pretty much irrelevant.

      That’s very interesting that your book and TV exposure haven’t led to a big jump in sales. My Detail Stuffing Tool was featured in this month’s Crochet Today magazine. I expected to see a dramatic increase in sales as a result, but that hasn’t happened at all!

      Okay, I’ll write up my Google AdWords experience too – it was quite a different experience, so I think worth discussing πŸ™‚

      • Right, I see what you mean about digital downloads. But I sell worldwide through my Etsy shop and still didn’t see increase in sales from being on national TV. Nor in magazines, so I’m not surprised (but I’m sorry) your Crochet Today exposure didn’t do anything. But you never know who will see you and lead you toward another opportunity down the line. I realized after all my experiences, it’s not always sales that result from exposure, but other good things can come of it. Thx for all this great info!

        • June said

          That’s very true. I guess the ideal situation is to get great exposure from a variety of sources, which serve as free advertising, and are probably far more effective than paying for an ad anyway!

          And you’re definitely right that exposure can lead to other great things – my book deals, your Martha Stewart appearance – and maybe (fingers crossed) those will have knock-on effects too… πŸ™‚

  15. Laura said

    I spent 100$ in Google AdWords and all I get was more traffic to my site, but I think that for your purpose is better Google than FB, where you are playing around more than looking for something specific.
    Great article!!

    • June said

      That’s a good point, Laura! At least we already know that Google users are definitely looking for something, so they’ll be more receptive to buying!

  16. Kristin said

    I agree with Molly. I’m much more likely to go through a button on a blog I like than to click on an ad on Facebook because I never click on Facebook ads. I found you through Etsy while on a shopping search for patterns and now when I want to do an animal, yours are the first I go to. Thanks so much for sharing what you learned!

    • June said

      Thank you, Kristin! Maybe I should try advertising on some craft blogs instead – it sounds like people trust those ads more than on a big site like FB..?

  17. Molly said

    I agree that Facebook is not a great forum for advertising through paid means – I never ever click on or even look at ads there. Groups, fan pages etc are more likely to get traffic. The only advertising I’d think about paying for is a button on someone’s blog or site (of related interest) or Google AdWords. πŸ™‚ i found your shop because someone posted a picture of your amigurumi discworld crochet on Tumblr! πŸ™‚

    • June said

      Thanks for your input, Molly. I have to agree: as a buyer, I never ever click ads, I don’t trust them, and I try to ignore them. That’s why I don’t run advertising here on my blog – I don’t want to subject people to those ads that I find so annoying (even though the added income would be very handy!)

RSS feed for comments on this post

Leave a Comment for Laura

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment here! I read and appreciate every comment. I only respond to questions here on the blog, so please return to this page to see my reply, or check the box below to subscribe to new comments by email.

Please note that I can only answer questions related to PlanetJune patterns and tutorials (see details), and I can only respond to questions or comments written in English. Thank you :) - June

Leave a Reply to Laura Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Welcome to PlanetJune!

    June Gilbank

    Hi, I'm June. Welcome to my world of nature-inspired crochet and crafting. I hope you enjoy your visit!

    If you'd like to get in touch, you can contact me here.
    crocheted Canadian flag by PlanetJune
  • Follow me

    RSS FeedSubscribe to my blog by EmailFollow me on TwitterFollow me on Facebook
    Friend me on RavelryWatch me on YouTubeFollow me on PinterestFollow me on Instagram
  • Browse Blog Categories

  • Blog Archives

  • Support PlanetJune!

    Want to say thanks? You can send me money in seconds at paypal.me/planetjune or send me a donation through my shop.

    Or simply click one of these links before you shop at Amazon or Etsy, and I'll make a small commission on your purchase, at no cost to you: Thank you for your support!
Back to top