The Targeted Tee Hustle

As someone trying to peddle t-shirts online, I've come across a lot of interesting tee shirt hustles and scams.  In this post, I'm going to give an insider's look at the bizarre targeted tee business on Facebook.

What are they?

If you've never seen one of these tee adscongratsthat probably means the Facebook algorithm doesn't think you're the type of hick idiot who would actually buy one these monstrosities.  Here's an example of what they look like:

Notice the tattoos and manly salt and pepper scruff.   Wait, does he have the same tattoos and rings on both hands?  Anyways, only a dad with a daughter born in March could be this fucking badass!

How do they target?

If you don't already know that Facebook essentially sells all the data you give them, you you probably own some of these t-shirts I'm writing about.  However, you may not have seen an inside look at how this data manifests itself in Facebook's (and Instagram's) ad audience creation tool.  Voila:

According to Facebook, there are 175 million badass, American men that are over 35 years old and born in March.  The entire population of America is 328 million.... 

How do they make the shirts?

Well some of the shirts are so shitty that they don't even have any graphic elements on them at all, and those could be designed in MS Paint at the library.  However, a lot of these shirts have cutesy words and images on them and you might wonder where they come from.  Do the people hawking these lame shirts actually have tiny a bit of illustration talent?   No, of course not.  These are mixed and matched from packs of vector image files sold online for cheap.  Here's an example of 1700 of these hideous images for sale on Etsy for $7.  This is all you need to start your own targeted tee business!

Are they actually making any money?

Assuming they print the shirts on demand (like I do), the only significant cost for their businesses is advertising.  They probably pay ~$7 for really low quality shirts and sell them for ~$15.  They pay ~$0.25 per Facebook ad click.  So how does this math add up?  They would need around 1 in every 30 people who click their ads to buy a shirt to break even (aka a 3.3% conversion rate) .  A 3% conversion rate is actually quite high for apparel, so it's unlikely these targeted tee entrepreneurs are making much money, if any.

Where can I see more of these shirts?

There's a whole highly entertaining subreddit community devoted to sharing targeted tee ads! 

Check out some untargetted tees here

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