Google Advertising for Artists

To my disappointment, Google advertising, adwords, is not a good solution for most artists.   After hearing an “art coach” tout the merits of adwords, a friend and I decided to give it a whirl.   The advertising is very expensive.  Unless you are selling an expensive piece, you’ll lose money.

Here is what we found:

  1. Google adwods staff is excellent, helpful, and free.   You don’t need to hire someone to set up google advertising for you .
  2. Google advertising is expensive.  We found that most clicks cost us .60 to .75 cents and one click cost as much a $1.87 before we found out we could put a cap on the cost per click.   You can also set a daily budget.
  3. Many people pin and not so many buy.   We found a direct correlation between the time the ads were running and the notifications we were getting from pinterest that people were pinning our images.

We ran our experiment for about a month and made 7-8 modifications to the ads in an effort to improve results and cut down costs.  While it is possible to set the cost per click as low as a few cents, that doesn’t mean it will be shown by google.  Your ad competes with other ads for space.  We tested 10 cents, 20 cents, 30 cents, 40 cents, 50 cents, 60 cents and got 0 impressions.

Your ad can show as a text ad or as an image.   Image ads which google refers to as “display” ads are more expensive than text ads.   Since you are selling ads, it makes sense to buy the image ads.  We found that we got more clicks per views on the image ads over the text ads.

We were primarily interested in selling posters.  Right now our art is on Fine Art America.   Given the cost of the ads, Google advertising is not cost effective for artists and photographers selling posters and art prints.   You may make $20 or $30 per poster but you can quickly spend that and only get a handful of views.

Based on my conversation with the google staff, I found out that most artists who advertise spend several hundred dollars a month.

If any of you have tried google adwords we’d love to hear your experience.