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Does advertising on a Facebook increase your sales enough to make it worthwhile?

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by TermiteWriter, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Jessquoi

    Jessquoi Troubadour

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    So far as I can see a Facebook fan page only becomes popular if your public hears of you from another source. For example for a music band, people would go and Like their page after having seen that band at a gig or heard from them from somewhere else like browsing on Spotify. People don't really just come across your page on Facebook. I definitely don't pay any attention to those ads on the right-hand side!
     
  2. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    I don't even use Facebook any more for anything except looking at photos of my cousin's children. The only person I know who has increased her use of Facebook recently is my sister, who started working for Facebook in October so that's why.

    I find the majority of my clicks to my website come from three sources: here, where I've got a link in my sig; Twitter, where I tweet most of my articles and my followers occasionally click; and Reddit, where I link my articles in either /r/writing or /r/fantasy if there's a relevant thread or I've written a blog post that will interest the readership. My biggest spikes have all come from Reddit - between 40 and 60 visits a day on the day of the post and the day or two afterwards, compared to an average of 4-8 a day.

    Now this is clicks on a website, not sales of books, but I think it can translate. I agree with Devor that the followers to sales ratio is probably closer to the lower end than Ankari has estimated. My understanding is that in webcomics it's 2-5% of readers to merchandise buyers and I don't think it'd be far out for book purchases. The way you get more sales is to increase exposure, sure, but it should be targetted exposure. Facebook has everyone on it. And sure, some friends might decide to buy it to support you, but you want to target readers of fantasy, and the way to do that is to post in places where readers of fantasy gather - Goodreads, boards like this one, /r/writing or /r/fantasy.

    Let's put it this way. Here in the UK I often see movie adverts on the sides of buses, but I don't see book adverts there. People who see bus adverts are just out and about in the city. They're doing things. Maybe they're with friends, and seeing the movie advert will inspire them to say to said friends "shall we go and see that?" - movies are social things, seeing them in cinemas is a social event. But books are not, and so you wouldn't get the same reaction to seeing a book ad on the side of a bus, because they're solitary things.

    But I do see a lot of book adverts in train stations. In train stations, people are waiting for the next train, there's usually a WHSmith in the building, between entrance and platform (there certainly are in Wolverhampton and Leicester, and I'm pretty sure I've seen them in Birmingham New Street, Euston and St Pancras too). Train users are travelling long distances (generally) and might see a book ad and think "I could read that on my two hour train journey down to London - it'll give me something to do". So they pop up to the WHSmith and buy the book and read it while they're on the train.

    The marketers know their market. They target the public location best suited to selling the product. Both are still in public locations related to transport, but they're targetted at what the potential customer is doing and thinking and what they will take away from the advert. Posting a book ad on Facebook is like putting one on the side of a bus: not best targetted. Find the reading audience and advertise there.
     
  3. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Chilari,

    I found this interesting:

    While I had vaguely heard of the site before, I didn't really know what it was. I Googled it and now have some clue, but could you give a little primer on how to use it and what has been successful for you on it?

    Thanks!

    Brian
     
  4. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    Reddit is a massive forum where basically anything can be posted. It has topic subreddits like /r/writing which is, predictably, about writing, and /r/funny here people post mildly amusing or occasionally actually funny images. You can subscribe to subreddits looking at topics that interest you, and there's a lot of subreddits, basically one for everything anyone on there is interested in talking about. On /r/writing people post links to news stories, blog posts and other contnet on the intenet that discuss writing topics - there was one linking to the comic The Oatmeal about the meaning of irony, and someone posted one the other day linking to the Seven Flawed Characters front page article that was up last week (or maybe that was on /r/fantasy). Redditors can them comment on the linked article or item in the comments thread.

    Then there are self-posts, which are more like forum threads here someone asks a question and others respond in the comments. You can respond to specific comments and it creates a reply tree. And you can upvote or donvote comments, theoretically based on relevance but probably more based on enjoyment or agreement.

    Basically, when I've posted something on my blog that I think a subreddit would be genuinely interested in, I've either mentioned it in a relevant thread or created a link for it. Most recently I linked my Exiles of Arcadia: Legionnaire review in the thread where the author created a discussion on getting reviews, and I also in the same place linked to previous reviews I'd done. From those I get a surge of links of people being interested in what I've said and clicking through. If people like it they upvote my comment or thread, and if they don't they downvote it; if too many people donvote it, it won't get seen, though generally the only threads that get downvoted heavily are spam and chances are not getting seen is about not getting as many upvotes as other threads being posted around the same time. If it's not relevant to the subreddit it will also get donvoted, or if it's transparently trying to get people to look but lacks real interest or content.

    I've found I've got a lot of hits and a lot of visitors, in general, but not many followers or likes, which probably means most people who click through from reddit read a paragraph or two, get bored and press X, and a few read to the end of the post and look at another recent post. I have had a couple of likes and maybe a follow or two from it though. But generally the spikes are empty - my average daily hits doesn't go up once the spike has gone, I don't have any extra followers.

    So while I get visits spikes from posting on reddit, most of my followers are people with suspiciously familier names to anyone who posts frequently here on MS. But I think over the long term I will get a lasting benefit from reddit. I've been posting responses to threads, as I do here, making links with other writers over there, etc, building up a bit of reputation, as Michael Sullivan has already done, so my hope is that once I've got a good reputation and people are used to associating my name ith content they find interesting it will translate to follows and likes on my blogs and possibly ultimately to sales when I have something to sell. All of my follows and likes from redditors clicking through have been in the most recent spike, so maybe it's already happening, or maybe it's that author whose book I reviewed and his wife.

    Apologies for any missing Ws, I play too many games where W is forward and the key is wearing out.
     
    BWFoster78 likes this.
  5. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Cool. These are solid ideas. I may try it out!
     
  6. MongrelChuck

    MongrelChuck Scribe

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    What you need to do is look into optimization. Join a few groups, spread the word, provide your information on various websites. That optimization can then help drive readers looking for topics you have optimized for to a source of your choice. Facebook is good, but of course you probably have your own website and/or blog to link to the Facebook and then receive links back to.

    Look up basic Search Engine Optimization and you'll be set in no time.
     
  7. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    Update

    So far 68 people have clicked on my ad. Of those, 7 people have liked the short story. Of those, two people have liked the page. Total cost, $22.

    Again, I'll wait until I've spent $50, then switch to a visual ad to compare the results. I should have some dragon artwork ready by then. Everyone loves dragons.

    In a month or so, I'll do the same thing with Google ads. I use Google Ads for another business I manage and get some pretty decent results for the investment. I'll let everyone know how that goes.

    I'm open to trying various forms of marketing. If you have another idea for me to test, and I can afford it at that time, please share it with me.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
    BWFoster78 likes this.
  8. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Ankari,

    Thank you very much for sharing these results.

    The only tip I've read is that ads on Goodreads seem to be pretty effective (comparitively speaking) at selling books. Makes sense, really targeted audience who are looking for books to buy.
     
  9. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    More information has come in that is useful to this discussion:

    2,769 people have seen my post about the short story. From the number of people who have clicked on the ad (now 89), 21 have clicked on the post on my facebook page. This means they stayed and looked at my facebook page long enough to find the post and then click on the short story. That is the best number I can derive to represent the number of people who have read the short story and saw my name.

    The number of likes I've received on this post is now 10

    From that, 345 unique people have seen my post show up on their timeline (when you like a post, your friends see it).

    The information is a bit off. Facebook gives you real time information on the number of people who have clicked on your ad, the likes to your page, and the likes to your post. It delays giving you the other information (number of people who say the post in their timeline, the number of people who have seen your ad, and the number of people who have clicked on a post).

    I'll post again when I can share significant updates.
     
    Nihal likes this.
  10. Nihal

    Nihal Vala

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    I think your visual ads will fare better, the artist you're working with is really good. I'm far from being an expert, I can't talk about written ads but I know a little about artwork.

    I've never used paid ads on Facebook, I have only some little data from my page. I'm a lazyass and my reach is really small, but I'm able get higher conversions rates. If you pair a beautiful visual ads (your enchanting bait) + good content it can work well.

    The main thing about social networks is that your content must engage your visitors. You want to keep them returning after clicking on your ads, you want them sharing your updates and talking about it. Frequent updates are one part of it, if you stop updating some of your efforts will be undone, even if people keep following you. The other is to be able to release something more engaging from time to time.

    In terms of artwork I can say: Timelapse. My best combos were doing a good illustration + selecting some good close-ups + creating a timelapse. I've never recorded a video of my proccess but I'm pretty sure it would work really well, better than a timelapse.

    It's one of the "engaging contents" I'm able to create as an illustrator, I guess the writer's equivalent would be provoking an good discussion about some subject or sharing some of your knowledge of your field. And don't forget to involve yourself with groups related to your area!


    P.s.: If you got artwork related to your project don't forget to try Tumblr too. It can go viral so easily it looks like magic!
     
  11. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    Update 2

    As of this moment my ad campaign has cost me $39.59

    17,238 people have seen my ad, $0.02 per view.

    193 have clicked on the ad, $0.21 a click.

    I've had 28 total likes for the short story I'm advertising. $1.42 per like.

    From that, 1163 have seen my post in their timeline. $0.03 per story generated.

    From that, another 140 people have clicked on that link and read the story. $0.28 per click.

    Hope this makes sense. Another $10 and I'll switch to the dragons :) I love dragons.
     
    BWFoster78 likes this.
  12. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I gotta say that these results are pretty positive. I understand the objection - that clicks and likes don't necessarily translate to sales, but it is nice to have confirmation that you're actually reaching a lot of people.

    Thanks again for the detailed info.
     
  13. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I guess this one's the question. How many likes do you figure will transfer into a sale? If you estimated 10%, or 1 in 10 likes = sale, then you're spending $1.42 * 10 = $14.20 a sale.

    Do you know if those same 17,238 people be seeing your dragon ad? The basic theory is that the first ad makes people more receptive to the second one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  14. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    There's no way of figuring that out. Facebook doesn't give that kind of data.

    By the way, going by my last ad run featuring art, I got over 275K views of the ad. The number of "likes" were higher as well. But, as you suggest, there isn't a way of knowing the quality of "likes."

    I'm doing this to create brand awareness. All of my books (God willing), will be branded with the CoH logo. If I'm going to self publish, I want to make it as professional looking as possible.

    I think I'll be switching to the art ad by tomorrow. I keep you posted.
     
  15. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    Well, it looks like my story promotion doesn't have enough funds in it to generate another click. It's stuck at $49.58 spent.

    Here are the numbers for the Story of Jobe Ad campaign:

    18.923 people saw the ad: Just under $0.03 per view

    242 clicked the ad (to read the story): $0.20 per click

    36 total likes on the post: $1.37 per like

    1204 saw my story in their timeline: $0.04 per view


    Numbers from Then Came Dragons Ad Campaign:

    Tota spent (so far) $7.62

    3712 people have seen this ad: $0.002 per view

    493 clicks on the ad: 0.015 per click

    15 people liked the post: $0.51

    4 people liked the page: $1.91

    112 people have seen this post in their timeline: $0.07 per view.
     
  16. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    I'm a little surprised by my current ad campaign. No numbers to report yet, but I will say that in the same time frame as my Story of Jobe ad used all its funds, this one only used $17.78. That means that I got more clicks (more traffic and exposure) from offering a story than some pretty nice looking art.

    I think authors are missing on the power of facebook ads. I guess the fact that people are getting a free story to pass the time is worth the trouble.
     
  17. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    Here are the numbers for the "And Then Came Dragons" ad campaign.

    Total spent: $30.32

    16,607 people have seen the ad: $0.002 (yes, that low) per view of ad

    20,363 people have seen the post: $0.0014 per post view (includes views of ad)

    1,012 clicks on the ad: $0.03 per click

    38 post likes: $0.80 per like

    24 page likes: $1.26 per like

    I have a little less than $20 left in my budget for this ad campaign. So far, this is trending to be as successful than the "Story of Jobe" Campaign.

    Inspired by BWFoster78, I'm going to try another ad campaign after this one is complete. I'll offer my novelette to all facebook fans when I reach a certain number of likes (I want to double it, so probably around 400). All I'll ask is for the people interested to send me an email with their preferred format (epub, mobi, iBook, pdf).

    I'll get two things out of this:

    1) More likes.

    2) A solid start to an email database.

    I hope to also get some virality as well. I'll keep everyone posted on the success of that campaign when it goes live.
     
  18. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Thanks for sharing all this data, Ankari. Sometime this summer I intend to do some modest advertising campaigns of my own, and I think I'll try to follow your example and share whatever results I get.
     
  19. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Please do. This is a fantastic help.

    We all have different ideas of what might work. Seeing actual results is the absolute best learning tool.

    Thanks!
     
  20. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    This is essentially the bottom line, and I have some pretty big doubts about whether this is a good number. For instance, my last article in Mythic Scribes had 94 likes and 124 tweets. So do many others. In some ways that's an unfair comparison, but in others it's somewhat telling. I think you should look into other options for your future ad campaigns.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
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