Online Ad budgets for T-shirts/Hoodies/Apparel sellers...

16 0 1


I am using Google Shopping, and also FB and even Pinterest ads and they are all working to some degree.  I am selling gear now, just hit 101 orders yesterday -- but I'm not selling profitably. 

Until this weekend I was spending $30-$35 a day on FB/Google & Pinterest, but I've scaled it back now to $20 a day.  About half of that is FB.  Then $5 a day on Google Smart Shopping and another $5 a day on Pinterest.  I might scale back FB even further, will see.

None of them are profitable by themselves, but I do get sales from all of them.  

At least I know I have something people want to buy, and I know how to target that audience.  Just need to do it way more cost-efficiently.



I am able to use video ads with relative success to DRIVE TRAFFIC to the shop but the more I do this, the more my conversion rate suffers.  I can routinely get clicks for 5 to 9 cents per click.  So sure I can get cheap traffic but unless I can capture them through retargetting that won't work.  Lately (having watched the second course by Ezra F) I have started to move away from traffic objective and start using CONVERSION objective, still using these video ads.  Early days yet but FB can get my and 'add to cart' conversion for about $2.  Data suggests about half of those will convert - or close to it. 

Right now I have $5/day on the TRAFFIC ads and I have another $5/day budgeted for these conversion ads.  I might ditch the TRAFFIC ads completely for a while and see what happens.

Also I have the Shopify FB dynamic shopping campaign going as well.  That WAS set up around $20 a day but I have reduced it down to $5 now, and I've put in some Bid controls.  That isn't getting my anything and it isn't really even spending my budget.  Wondering if I should just turn this off and set it aside for now.  I could instead build my own FB retargetting campaign, using regular ads.


There was a time earlier this summer when I was doing OK using ONLY Google smart shopping.   I'd gotten my ad cost down to $4-$5 per sale and I was earning about double that in margin on a regular t-shirt sale... so it was generating a small return. 

And using this method, I was converting well!  Shopify showed me some indication that I was among the higher converting shops for my segment (apparel).  I see that I managed to get up to 2.99% conversion for the second quarter. 

Then I tried to double my spend on Google smart shopping and it triggered that whole learning phase all over again, and it just didn't work.....  Had to scale it back down, then turn it off.  Now I've restarted it, and I think maybe now it is starting to improve again.  Will see.


I get a few hits organically off Instagram, using TAILWIND (I use this for both IG and Pinterest) and maybe I will get a one-off odd sale that way.  There is also some IG ad spend mixed into my FB ads.



Tested conversion ads and their idea of conversion is just clicking.  So I went with TRAFFIC ads and I get 50 clicks a day, every day, for $5 a day.  10 cents per click.  And oddly, I note that for 250 visits from Pinterest, I'll sell about one $25 order, and for 1000 visits, I'll sell about $100.  Of course, that's top line revenue and not margin, so Pinterest is not a net gain on its own. 

Like the traffic objective with FB, the idea was that I'd drive a bunch of people in certain affinity groups to my page and then retarget them, get them on an email list or whatever.  


So here are my two questions:

1.  Are there any really good recommendations for ad spend budget in the early going? 

2.  Is it a total fallacy to even think that driving good well-targeted TRAFFIC will even work for e-com sites?

3.  Are there any economies of scale or 'minimum volume requirements' where doing these kinds of ads just is not ever going to work?  People on this forum swore that Google smart shopping would not work until I had more volume, but after a couple weeks it started really showing improvement and then it generated profitable sales.

4.  Any advice for scaling profitably?


Actually just forcing myself to sit and write all this out, for public view, was a useful exercise in itself.  It has at least given me some things to consider.

Could you please share the URL of the store?
Shopify Partner
460 10 85

Google Shopping or actually Google Ads is big and complex. It's great to see you have had successes, make sure that you take advantage of every area.

1) A small budget will hamper you from succeeding, if you only spend $5 on Shopping and the budget is exhausted by lunch time, you are then missing out on the rest of the day. My minimum for my clients would be $30 to $50 depending on what they sell. But even then $30 is for very small shops.

2) Never change something more than 30% ie budget, roas, etc... This because it will trigger a learning process when you go over 30%

3) Make sure your remarketing code product id matches the data feed product id. If they don't match Google can not use remarketing effectively. Smart shopping targets both shopping ads and display ads. Hence why remarketing needs to be accurate. You can check the audience source details to validate the ecomm_prodid or id (depending on if you are using the old or new code)

4) Consider using standard shopping campaigns, this allows you to control and manage everything. However, there is nothing wrong with smart shopping, just not a great option with less than 25 conversions in Google ads for the last 45 days.


There are many more tips, but this should get you moving a bit more.

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist & a Google Ads Platinum Product Expert (Only a hand full of Platinum experts in the world!)
Need a Premium Data Feed Management Tool? Get in touch. (DIY/Managed)
16 0 1

Some additional thoughts:

I love the power of video, and I love that I KNOW I can cheaply drive traffic to the site.  But I just need to be a little more careful on how much I and how often I turn that on.   I cannot afford to just turn it on and let it run, without sales to support the cost.  Maybe when I get my landing pages more refined and/or some other little trick, I can use this as some kind of TOP OF FUNNEL system to get them in the door and onto my mail list. 

I didn't mention that I just recently started really using Klaviyo as my email list and I'm trying to get better at merchandising (offering specials but only selectively) and I really got a lot from that training course by Drew Sanocki.  Really good stuff there.  I'm going to need to strengthen my cart recall game as well as marketing to list subscribers and past buyers.  I do have a handful of guys that have ordered 2-3 times now.  This is super cost effective and that extra revenue should allow me to scale slowly.

I did also try to do my own Google retargeting campaign and it did work, just not well.  Maybe I didn't let it run long enough.  But I don't have the budget to run 3 or 4 experiments in parallel.  Need to get one dialed in, and only them move on to the next one.

I have almost everything off now.  No more Pinterest, and only $5 /day for GOOGLE smart shopping (like I had in June when it was working so well) and only $5/day for FB. 

That FB spend is the conversion campaign, suing the same video ads that were killing it for me as traffic campaigns.  I may go back to experimenting with FB shopping ads later, but I'm not going to let the Shopify app manage them.

Gotta grow really slow, I think.


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Somebody asked about the store - just using standard template, but it seems to work OK.

Recently started using some custom landing pages, with an app called LayoutHub.  No sales off it so far (at least nobody has used this discount code yet), but I'm driving FB traffic to these right now - have been probably for about a week.  

I would consider it a win if I could get enough of them onto my email list, with just an occasional sale to help offset the $5/day cost.

Might just pull the plug on the paid marketing for now, save some traffic flow.  Going to focus on working the email lists, improving landing sights and SEO, for now.

Maybe a referral program would go a long way for me...