Carousell is the new kid on the block in the advertising space.
But amidst the different advertisers already in the field, including behemoths like Google and Facebook, is advertising in Carousell worth it?
Starting your ad in Carousell is easy
Just pay money.
First, go to your profile.
Under your profile, you will see the different listings that you have. Under the listings, you will see a simple button called Promote.
Click on it, and that will bring you to a page where you can hand over your precious moolah, and then start having your listing bumped or spotlighted.
There’s no confusing metrics that you need to set up, unlike what you will see in Facebook, where you need to define your target.
Or Google, where you need to figure out the keywords that you want to advertise for.
Bumping or spotlighting? Or shoutout? What’s the difference?
Carousell explains the three different types of advertising here.
Once again, all you need to do is choose one, and move forward.
I would personally suggest that you bump, if you are:
- Still searching for a product-market fit. This means that you are launching a new product, but it’s not too clear exactly where it fits in the market. There’s a subtle difference here. If it’s a pre-existing product category like ‘soap’, people are already familiar with it. But if it’s a new product combination, you might prefer the bump.
For example, recently we launched QuirkBee, a bag of different busyboards for Children to play with. However, this is a relatively new concept as not many parents have experienced multiple small busyboards. Most busyboards are large and bulky.
Spotlight if it’s a familiar product
If you’re a reseller, and you’re selling a product that’s familiar to most, then use the spotlight. It might be an easier way, especially when people already know what they are going to get.
Should you spend on Carousell ads?
If you look at the shifts in the advertising market, it seems like digital advertising is the way to go. Especially when it costs much cheaper than getting a full page ad in a newspaper, or a bus stop, where the cost can go up to thousands of dollars.
Digital advertising offers you the chance to start, just with $30.
But now comes the deeper question. Are Carousell Ads worth the money?
Yes, if you’re a beginner
As someone who’s used Facebook and Google ads, the Carousell ads were very easy to set up.
Just pay the money, and everything would be done for you.
With the cheapest package of $1.33, you can start bumping your listing for 3 days.
Yes, if you’re looking for something cheaper
The cost also seems relatively low compared to what you will get on Google or Facebook. As a comparison, Ice Cube Marketing, which ran $2000 worth of ads on Carousell, found that the CPM was $5, compared to the average of $30 on Facebook.
But no, if you’re looking for results
Ice Cube Marketing, a marketing agency reported that despite the $2000 they spent, they got 0 leads. This might be the nature of their business, which is a B2B (Business to Business) service, focused on providing digital marketing for businesses.
Carousell is largely a C2C (Consumer to Consumer) platform, where most sellers and buyers are often your average man on the street. This means that they may be there to look for a quick bargain, rather than something more valuable.
Carousell also started as a second-hand marketplace, and this may have been a brand image that’s difficult to shake off.
When you think of second-hand you might probably think it’s cheap. Or not new. For sellers who want to sell new things, or more valuable items (here I place a ballpark figure of $50), you might not find many people who would bite on it.
No, also because buyers are looking for bargains
The problem I’ve seen with advertising on Carousell is that you might find yourself stuck with buyers that just want a bargain. They would wrestle you on the price, rather than accepting what you have given.
Carousell is not exactly a shop.
It’s more like a wet-market, where you’re haggling over the price. That’s why for most listings, there’s a bid you can place for the item you want to buy.
This does affect how quickly you can convert the sale, especially when people are looking for discounts.
No, because perhaps online advertising just doesn’t work that well
In 2015, a daring researcher ran an experiment. They found that there was no difference when ads on eBay stopped running on Google.
They realised that this was because of the selection effect, where people who were already looking for ‘eBay’ ended up being served with ‘eBay’ ads.
What does this mean, and why is it important?
It is crucial for advertisers to distinguish such a selection effect (people see your ad, but were already going to click, buy, register, or download)
from the advertising effect (people see your ad, and that’s why they start clicking, buying, registering, downloading).
Basically, it means that you’re wasting money.
I would stop short of saying that Carousell advertising doesn’t work well.
But 3 days after we’ve debuted our ads, we have received no sales.
It’s certainly worrying.
And it’s made us, as a bootstrapped company, think alot about whether our ad spend is necessary the best spend.
Is it worth it for you?
Ultimately, as you run a business, the simplest equation to balance is
Ads can make up a huge number of your costs, especially if you’re not getting a good return on them.
The jury is still out on whether Carousell works, but for us here, we know the verdict.
We won’t be spending more money on Carousell after this. Why?
Simply because online advertising is a zero-sum game. You spend more money, to get more sales, and it’s not sustainable. We’d prefer organic SEO to get long term results.
We will leave the last word to a former Facebook engineer.
“The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click on ads. That sucks.”
Former Facebook engineer, Jeff Hammerbacher
We would rather spend our time on creating better products and content, than figuring out how to make people click more.