Facebook Ads

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by neodoering, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. neodoering

    neodoering Master

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    Last year I took out a $20 facebook ad that was targeted at fantasy readers. It was to promote a collection of fantasy short stories I had just self-published. The ad reached several thousand people and got 60 "likes," but I only sold 2 or 3 books.

    Anyone else try FB ads? Did you have success? How much did you invest, and how long did you run the ad?
     
  2. Ed Ryan

    Ed Ryan New Member

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    Hi Neo,

    Facebook ads can be tricky. I struggled with them as well. I did however find Joanna Penn has done a few podcasts and has some info on her site regarding them. Check her our at thecreativepenn.com - She also has links to Mark Dawson and some other folks who have FB ads down to a science.
     
  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    You should search the forums for this one because I know there's a few places where we've talked about this in-depth.

    A good ad campaign is about building credibility. It's better to get three different ads in front of 500 targeted people than to get one ad in front of a few thousand. That's because the first ad viewing will have a buy-through rate of near-zero, but it goes up a bit with each subsequent ad - even with viewings of the same ad. Especially with facebook, where you can decide exactly your target audience, go narrow and hit hard instead of shallow and wide.
     
  4. neodoering

    neodoering Master

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    Both you guys had good information; thanks! I like the comment on the Penn site about having your covers be yellow. That made me laugh, because my latest cover is yellow.

    The bit about three ads to the same targeted group is very interesting. I'll give that a try. I have friends trying out FB ads, but it's hard to see, on the micro level, what works and what doesn't. You need a series of experiments over six months or a year.

    Still, FB ads are cheap, and you gotta love the targeted audience. Now to play around and try to increase sales...
     
  5. Russ

    Russ Istari

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    Facebook ads are fairly overused at the moment, and the information I am getting is that their response rates (for books anyways) are decreasing.

    Also, $20 doesn't take you very far in terms of data or recognition. There are threshold levels of saturation and spending requiring to create much of a dent and any staying power.

    I expect to have a whole bunch more hard data on how FB ads work in the next few months and will be happy to pass along what I glean from it.

    Goodreads ads apparently are producing some pretty good results at the moment.
     
    KC Trae Becker likes this.
  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Here are two threads where we've talked about this before.

    https://mythicscribes.com/forums/ma...crease-your-sales-enough-make-worthwhile.html

    https://mythicscribes.com/forums/marketing/7754-how-facebook-ads-work.html#post101114

    Most of what was discussed won't tell you whether or not facebook ads will be worth the money, which beyond an anecdote or two comes down to data we just don't have, but it should give you some idea of how to do better with an ad campaign if you decide you want to try it.

    I personally feel that if you gave me a $200 budget to advertise a book, I probably wouldn't even consider buying ad space, and instead spend it on supporting material for content that I could try and distribute myself. Actually that is what I've done - I commissioned art for my Trope Reboot article series here on Mythic Scribes (much less than $200, though, and I don't have anything for sale). If I had the budget just for advertising, I would probably do more in that same vein.

    Also, you said this was for an anthology? Those are just tough to sell at all. The market for short stories is shrinking and just doesn't support new entries.
     
  7. neodoering

    neodoering Master

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    Trying Another Facebook Ad Strategy

    Okay, MS members... I read your advice and read some other people talking about FB ads, and so I took out another ad and tried again. This ad was for a collection of contemporary fiction stories, some of which border on speculative fiction. This time I ran the ad for 2 days, $20 a day. It reached 600 people, and I got about 40 "likes." One (1) person followed the link to Amazon's page for the book I was promoting. That was all the response I got.

    Following the advice of someone I read on the web, I am going to repeat the ad in 3 weeks and see if that brings in more traffic. People swear that repeating the ad really works, so we'll see.

    While I'm at it, I spoke with a friend, who is impressed with a service called Books Butterfly. Has anyone heard of this? I looked it up, and it looks legit, but my question is, I already give away some free books on Smashwords. Why should I *pay* Books Butterfly to give away some free books?
     
  8. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    I would take that $20 and put it towards Instafreebie to build a mailing list instead. It doesn't sound like you're getting even a modest return/breaking even. Instafreebie is a great place to put freebies as a way of getting subscribers, which will be to your benefit in the long run (a more targeted list than Facebook). My 2 cents.
     
  9. neodoering

    neodoering Master

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    Okay. I ran the ad for the second time, two weeks after the last ad. Spent $20 for a one-day ad. Here are the results: I reached 600 people, got about 45 likes, and 1 person clicked on the ad to go check out the book I was promoting. In other words, pretty much the same results as the first time I ran the ad. So far, this experiment shows that Facebook ads, at least those with a small investment, do not give much ROI. Or, people are not interested in books by authors they've never heard of.

    At this point I'll point out that the book in question is a collection of short stories, and not fantasy but contemporary fiction. So this is the voice from another county. Still, it's interesting to see how Facebook members respond to collections.

    If you try taking out FB ads for fantasy novels, story collections, etc., post the results, so we can all see what happened for you!
     
  10. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Would you be willing to link to the ad you hosted?
     
  11. neodoering

    neodoering Master

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    Here's the content from the ad:

    Announcing my new collection of contemporary fiction short stories, "Active Shooter and More Stories." A soldier comes home wounded, and his young daughter gets some scary ideas about how to show him her love. A Japanese-America woman is looking for a special man, and has she found him or not? Three men see something out of the ordinary one night at a street festival, but when they get together to discuss what they saw, they can't even agree if it was criminal activity or just poor judgement. Available as paperback and e-book.

    This collection is about 95,000 words, and you can find out more about it here:
     
    Devor likes this.
  12. Russ

    Russ Istari

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    The industry average for click throughs on FB and GR ads is about .1%. If my math is right your ad is performing pretty normally.

    But your numbers are so small, it is hard to draw any real conclusions.
     
  13. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    I still think the OP is wasting money doing Facebook ads when his work isn't even targeted to the right audience. He may as well throw water down the toilet. The reality is, that if he's getting downloads but zero sales, or his work isn't being received well by his intended audience, then why keep bashing that same audience with ads?

    OP: I know you probably won't listen to me and have no incentive to, but you're not going to teach anyone here anything by spending money on ads for the wrong audience. It's not helpful to folks on MS if they're seeing the results of a FB ad completely done wrong. Just my 2 cents.
     
  14. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Grandmaster

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    Who was the targeted audience for the FB ads for the contemporary fiction story collection? I don't know if that was stated.
     
  15. neodoering

    neodoering Master

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    Here was the audience. I just went with what FB recommended, which was pretty broad:

    Location: United Kingdom or United States
    Interests: Amazon.com, Short story, Contemporary Fiction or Fiction books
    Age: 18 - 65+
     
  16. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Grandmaster

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    When you list multiple interests, could someone be targeted by the ad if they are interested in any one of the listed interests, or do they have to be interested in all of them?
     
  17. neodoering

    neodoering Master

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    Good morning, Michael;
    I went back to the original ad and looked, but it doesn't specify (all 4, or each interest separately). You can set certain interests when you set up the ad; if you don't, the interests will be determined for you by keywords in your ad and on your FB page. I just went with whatever FB offered. Next time, which won't be until year's end, I'll set parameters myself, and we'll see if that works better.
     
  18. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Grandmaster

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    Hey, neo.

    They might do some kind of weighted formula, where they are more likely to show the ad to someone who has all the listed interests than someone who has interest in only some or one of the listed interests. So, using an interest such as "Amazon.com" in targeting your ad audience might be less useful than, say, "Kindle". But even using "Kindle" doesn't help that much to narrow down the target audience if FB isn't using a strict "AND" between the listed interests to determine who they show your ad to.

    Determining the target audience for your ad based on keywords or interests isn't that dissimilar to searching for products based on a bunch of search terms. I've been in situations where I just couldn't find the kind of book I was searching for no matter how I varied the search terms, and no matter what site I performed the search from. This is a situation where I'm actively searching for what I want to read, and can't find it, so consider how much more difficult your problem is, trying to put your book in front of the right readers.
     
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