Episode 236 – New Markets for Artists / Advanced Targeting

Advanced Targeting

Since Facebook knows its users’ birthdays, hometowns, schools, and interests, your ad can target people with very specific interests and backgrounds, making Facebook something really new and precise in advertising. Never before have so many people so willingly provided so much information that could be accessed by advertisers. For ages, advertisers have been trying to figure out how to better know and target their audiences, and here it is—all the work done for you, all the data collected.

Is Facebook more effective than Google AdWords? I think so, but Google AdWords are also very powerful in another way. Facebook may have millions of registered users, but in order for them to see your ad they do have to be on Facebook. With Google AdWords, all you have to do is perform a search on Google. That’s very effective because it means that people are actually looking for something, so they are more likely to be actively interested in your ad, whereas on Facebook, your ad appears and draws interest, but the people who see it, are not actively seeking what your ad has to offer. If you can afford to experiment with both Facebook and AdWords, that’s what I’d recommend. If not, I would start with Facebook.

Your Campaign: Getting Started

First, take a deep breath and know that this is not a complex process, though it may seem so at first. All you are doing is placing ads targeted to a specific audience on the Internet, so that your art will become more visible and attract buyers. You are doing this instead of placing ads in traditional media like magazines or putting up posters around town because not only do Internet ads reach people worldwide, they can target a specific audience.

The next step is to begin with either Google AdWords  or Facebook. Let’s say you are beginning with Google Ad- Words. Just search for the phrase “Google AdWords” and you’ll find the site very easily. The best way to get started is to call them up on the phone. If you would rather do it all online without speaking to someone, then you have that option as well.

Once you have opened an account, you have a few decisions to make. The main one is how much you’re willing to spend. How much can you afford to spend each month? Your budget is important because it will determine how far your ad will reach, and if you decide to spend less or more in the future, you can see how that affects your results and compare.

Once you’ve made that decision, you can  begin  to create your ad. In the case I mentioned, where I Googled “contemporary art,” the first ad that popped up  in the right hand column of  the Google search page was “Thomas McKnight ORIGINALS paintings, prints and more for less. Official site for Thomas McKnight.”

Let’s examine this ad for a moment. I found this by typing in “contemporary art,” so we know he probably chose these as keywords. The keywords are the words you’ll enter when creating your AdWords account so that people searching for something in particular will find you. Thomas McKnight’s ad mentions his name twice, which is probably unnecessary. He is very traditional in his approach as an artist, and yet he uses Google AdWords to advertise, so they must work for him.

If you don’t have a history like his—he has had artwork commissioned by the White House and has pieces in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian—you might want to take a different approach. If your work is abstract, or figurative, or something else, you might want to say that in your ad. The text of your ad can’t be very long, but you can experiment. You can make four or five ads, run them all at once, and see which ones get clicks and which ones don’t. As for the text, start with something easy, like your name and the kind of work you have for sale, and then create more ads that speak to different parts of your art practice that you think people might be interested in. If you paint landscapes, say that, and if you’re a sculptor or performer or conceptual artist, say that too. The idea is to play with it and experiment.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.


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