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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought I would give a Facebook ad a try over the weekend, and share the results with my fellow authors.  I ran a single campaign with two ads, approx. $.50-$1 per click thru, targeted by keyword to Facebook users who list keywords related to my genre (keywords like fantasy, JK Rowling, Eoin Colfer, Piers Anthony, wizards, dragons, etc).  One ad was linked to my Amazon sales page, the other to my Smashwords sales page.  One ad's text was a blurb from a review I got from Piers Anthony, and the other was a blurb from a review from ForeWord Clarion Reviews.  The ads had around 11,500,000 potential viewers based on the targeting.  I capped the ad at 3 days, with a daily cap of $10 spent.

Over the course of 3 days, the ad had 125,000 unique impressions, with each of those impressions seeing the ad 1.7 times on average.  Of those impressions, I got 46 click thru's, and a total of $32 spent on advertising.

Want to know how many sales I got from these ads?

Nada.  Goose egg.  Which is surprising, because prior to running the ads, 60% of the people who reached my sales page purchased the book.  I would have thought, with targeting like that, a decent (I think) blurb, great customer reviews, and a couple of good high-profile professional reviews, I could have at least maintained 50% purchases.  23 sales over the weekend would have been more than acceptable for the cost of the ads.

I still can't get a handle on this whole advertising thing.  Targeted advertising seems like a good idea, and it might be if you can afford to bid higher and take a loss to gain readership.

Anybody else have any stats on advertising attempts?  I did a similar experiment on Goodreads, with an ad that is still running, with similar results.  Anyone have any success stories to share?
 

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That's really interesting - considering I've thought of using Facebook and GoodReads ads.  It stinks you didn't sell any copies, but at least you didn't have to sink a ton of money into it.  Right now I'm worried about my publisher - slush pile reader.  They are giving away $1,800 in gift certificates to Amazon.  I thought it was a good promotion.  Guess how many sales I have after the first week?  Five.  I'm hoping things turn around for them (and me).
 

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Thanks for sharing that. I know a lot of us consider "what should I do?" so it was really cool of you to tell us. And you, with a blurb from Piers Anthony? Sheesh. I thought about using a facebook add but the unknowable cost stopped me.

Mostly I've just reached out to book bloggers for help. So far I've received three glowing reviews and there's a forth on the way and I'm in line with a handful of others. I think it's really helped. For me, I look for free promotion since I just have the one title right now and very little money. I think the tagging we do for each other has really helped too - good tags are key though.
 
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Odds are the people clicking the ad aren't Kindle users. And paying $13 for a paperback is a bit more of a commitment that might require a little more awareness.
 

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My web hosting account also offered $50 in credit. I found the same thing. My site was getting decent traffic but none interested. I tend to think it's just a hard group to sell to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Julia March said:
The results of an ad may not be immediate.
This is true, and I'll definitely update if sales pick up in the near future... but for an ad of this type, I can't imagine much increase later on. A click thru is a click thru... they're unlikely to have bookmarked for later.

And Kindle users, Kindle, Amazon Kindle, etc. were among my keywords for targeting the ads... but most definitely, that would have only been a small portion of the folks who saw the ad. It's hard to judge, based on a short weekend ad campaign.

I've had a suggestion from a friend to have an ad that directs to the Facebook fan page for the book... that way, if they are interested, they just have to "Like", and then they'll see future posts, including promotions and sales. I might give that a try in the near future. It's far easier to get a like than a sale, I would think...
 

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I've been there too.  I spent money with Facebook and with Project Wonderful.  Got some traffic, hits, etc. but no sales.  It's tricky... because remember an impression doesn't mean someone actually saw it.  I can't tell you what was on my FB page last time I was logged in...

Best advertising is to write the next book, be active in the world of books, and be yourself.

-jb 8)
 

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I did the same thing, with the same results. Nada.

Kindle Nation Daily was the only place that actually produced any measurable (and worthwhile) results.
 

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Advertising is a beast to try and use, but it can produce results if you understand how it works and how advertising works on customers.

Radio for example on average requires a listener to hear your ad a minimum of seven times before they can recall any details (this is average some are worse some are better).  So if your radio ad plays 5 times a day, it will take a minimum of two days to see any results and that is only if a person heard all of your spots,  Chances are they did not.  Even if a person hears it every morning on the way to work, it would take 7 morning commutes to remember it.  Now you are at an easy 2 weeks of advertising to see a result.  Then there are the factors that even if people hear the ad, it is something they would even be interested in.  Just because the radio has 150,000 listeners does not = 150,000 customers.  In your case with Facebook 11+million.

From the information you have shared with us, the obvious problem is that the ad was seen only 1.7 times by those you targeted.  Next, three days isn't going to cut it.  Advertising campaigns take weeks, months even years before they pay off.  Also from what I recall of Facebook advertising, you can get very specific with your demographics and advertising schedule.

I would pony up another $40 and try it again,  This time narrow down to just your state or region instead of the whole US.  Get that 1.7 impressions up,  Keep narrowing it down until you hit about 2million target audience.  Next I would recommend targeting only Tuesdays because that is the day new books are released.  People who buy books know this and that will be the day your ad will get more hits because people are looking for it at that time.  They will see a book ad on Tuesday and already have books in the brain.  They will likely only need to see that ad twice to click.  Saturday on the other hand, they wont even see your ad because they are too busy uploading pictures of the party Friday night and poking their friends.

Next would be to research ads and study why some work and others do not.  Look at car ad's, I don't think I have ever known anyone to go buy a car because of a television ad.  Cars driving in circles in the desert is dumb.  But look how many people buy car insurance with GEICO.  Cavemen, a lizard, and that guy who every week has a new analogy.  In other words, it needs to be an advertisement and not just a picture link to your blog or amazon page.  Cover art is going to be crucial here unless you are using something else.

I am going to dig myself into a hole here, but you said you put quotes from Piers Anthony and ForeWord Clarion to showcase your book.  I am sure for you those are proud moments for your work, but I have never even heard of them...
 

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jimbronyaur said:
I've been there too. I spent money with Facebook and with Project Wonderful. Got some traffic, hits, etc. but no sales. It's tricky... because remember an impression doesn't mean someone actually saw it. I can't tell you what was on my FB page last time I was logged in...

Best advertising is to write the next book, be active in the world of books, and be yourself.

-jb 8)
I'm entirely clueless about this kind of thing. What does an impression mean?
 

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Wow, that's really tough. Sorry to hear about your experience. There by the Grace of God go most of us.

Advertising sure looks full of pitfalls.  SB Jones seems to make a lot of sense in his post - but how many of us have that sort of knowledge...
 

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Yeah I've tried Facebook ads, Google ads and Goodreads multiple times.  I tried broad advertising, really targeted advertising.... nothing worked.  It's a gigantic money suck. 

I figure, the only way you could make it worthwhile is if you had the money to have an ad out for a long time.  Like, you could afford to spend $1.50 a click with a $150 a day budget and have it up for months.  But seeing as most self-published authors do not.... it's not worth it.  There are better ways to go. 
 

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I wouldn't write Facebook advertising off just yet. I really think you need to do it for a longer period of time and I'm in the middle of testing that right now.

I started in May with an ad and my tagline to build impressions of both the title and my name. The frequency was 4.8 for the past week so I think awareness will be fairly high by the time sales start on Aug. 2, when the text of the ad will change again. I'll report back on whether it appeared to make any difference, but I'm doing a lot of other things so it will be hard to attribute a specific number of sales to Facebook ads ...

alex

 

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alexadena said:
I wouldn't write Facebook advertising off just yet. I really think you need to do it for a longer period of time and I'm in the middle of testing that right now.

I started in May with an ad and my tagline to build impressions of both the title and my name. The frequency was 4.8 for the past week so I think awareness will be fairly high by the time sales start on Aug. 2, when the text of the ad will change again. I'll report back on whether it appeared to make any difference, but I'm doing a lot of other things so it will be hard to attribute a specific number of sales to Facebook ads ...

alex
That reminds me...

I did have some success when I put up a facebook ad for my author fan page. I tried it twice. The first time I got 20 people "liking" me. The second time only 2. But that's something.
 

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The way I understand impressions is that each time your ad is displayed on a Facebook page that is one impression.  So with 125,000 impressions, that is how many times his ad was displayed.  On average the same person saw it 1.7 times for a total of 73,500.  That is roughly how many different users the ad was displayed to.  Of the 73,500 people who had the ad show up on their Facebook page, 46 people actually clicked on it and 0 people purchased it.

With a target audience of 11.5 million and only 73,500 people having the opportunity to see it.   So 0.6% of his target audience MAYBE saw the ad, but we know 46 people did for sure.  All in all, not so great.

However, you paid $32 and had 46 people show up to your store, they just did not buy anything.  That does not mean they wont be back, or maybe tell someone else what they saw.  At 70c per person as the advertising cost to get a potential customer in your store, that is damn cheap and most places would be jumping for joy at those results.
 

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SBJones said:
The way I understand impressions is that each time your ad is displayed on a Facebook page that is one impression. So with 125,000 impressions, that is how many times his ad was displayed. On average the same person saw it 1.7 times for a total of 73,500. That is roughly how many different users the ad was displayed to. Of the 73,500 people who had the ad show up on their Facebook page, 46 people actually clicked on it and 0 people purchased it.

With a target audience of 11.5 million and only 73,500 people having the opportunity to see it. So 0.6% of his target audience MAYBE saw the ad, but we know 46 people did for sure. All in all, not so great.

However, you paid $32 and had 46 people show up to your store, they just did not buy anything. That does not mean they wont be back, or maybe tell someone else what they saw. At 70c per person as the advertising cost to get a potential customer in your store, that is d*mn cheap and most places would be jumping for joy at those results.
It's true on a large scale these are good numbers. But the limited budget of a self-published author completely changes this game.
 

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Thanks for this thread.
I considered the Facebook Ads but I wasn't sure it would be worth while, I can see now perhaps I was right to hold off a little.
I will wait until I can afford to spend (risk) the money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
SBJones said:
The way I understand impressions is that each time your ad is displayed on a Facebook page that is one impression. So with 125,000 impressions, that is how many times his ad was displayed. On average the same person saw it 1.7 times for a total of 73,500. That is roughly how many different users the ad was displayed to. Of the 73,500 people who had the ad show up on their Facebook page, 46 people actually clicked on it and 0 people purchased it.

With a target audience of 11.5 million and only 73,500 people having the opportunity to see it. So 0.6% of his target audience MAYBE saw the ad, but we know 46 people did for sure. All in all, not so great.

However, you paid $32 and had 46 people show up to your store, they just did not buy anything. That does not mean they wont be back, or maybe tell someone else what they saw. At 70c per person as the advertising cost to get a potential customer in your store, that is d*mn cheap and most places would be jumping for joy at those results.
Oh, I'm not displeased with the click thru results, or the number of impressions. And as far as impressions, Facebook lists it differently than other places... "unique impressions" means unique Facebook accounts. So 125K+ unique Facebook accounts/users had my ad pop up for them 1.7 times each, meaning my ad popped up 212K+ times. That actually makes my click-thru rate even lower, but it means more advertising time. Goodreads just gives a list of impressions for their ads, but Facebook specifies "unique" impressions, which is good.

I may put the campaign back up with a $5 a day cap for two weeks and see what happens... but that's getting into budget regions that are pretty high for nothing to show for it as far as sales. It's hard to justify, and I don't exactly have a huge marketing budget left.

I will not be using a Goodreads ad again. They have their "premium" ads, which get more screen space, and then the normal ads such as mine get pushed down to the lower half of the page, where you have to scroll to see them... most people don't ever scroll down that far, so even if my ad shows up on a page, there's a very good chance it's not even seen.
 

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Thank you for sharing this. Not everyone would consider giving such valuable information to others.
Just courious, though - it seems to me that someone hit an important point back there. Did you include "kindle" in your keywords?
 
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