Exposure isn’t just something that will kill you while hiking. For authors, it’s a coveted, elusive treasure. Like Atlantis? Let’s call it Atlantis. It’s well-concealed, no one knows if it’s real for sure, and you’ll most likely run out of air before you find it. Sounds about right.
In the quest for some exposure I swallowed my pride and forked money over to the social behemoth. I decided to go with Facebook for two main reasons. First, it might not be the most effective platform anymore but it’s still one of the biggest, with the largest reach. Second, it has advertising down to a science and makes it extremely user-friendly.
The question is, was it worth it?
Short answer: Yes, but it didn’t translate into book sales.
Longer answer. I do have a publisher, eXtasy Books. They are wonderful to work with, but they are small and the marketing is largely up to the authors. So I googled some tips and then opened up a Facebook business ad account and went for it.
It’s slightly scary how targeted you can make these ads (big brother is most definitely watching), but I went ahead and targeted a big swath of geographic regions and users who read similar kinds of books. I set a budget for the ad of no more than 65$ (USD). And I used the free graphics I had already made on Canva.com to create three separate visuals that Facebook could use on desktop or mobile platforms.
The ad campaign (why do they call it that? Is it like a military campaign?) ran from May 7th-20th.
Here’s the breakdown from the first week of the ad:
- 24,058 different people (or at least their devices) were reached and it cost .02¢ per impression.
- Facebook let me set a budget, which made me feel a lot better, and for the first week I had spent 14.68$.
(I do wonder what would happen if you just let Facebook go wild and put the ad wherever without worrying about the cost per click and budgeting, but I’m not doing that any time soon!)
Here are the stats for the total two weeks of the ad:
The two-week ad reached 103,353 total screens and I spent a total of 63.64$ to do it.
103,353 impressions sounds pretty amazing, sure. But it doesn’t tell you the whole picture. If you read more stats you see there were 267 actual clicks on the links I provided with the ad. That makes a click through rate of 0.26%. Not so impressive anymore! Haha.
When Facebook added total clicks on the ad (as opposed to only clicks on the link? I think? Anyway, all recorded clicks) it was 328 which made the complete click through rate 0.32%. Still not amazing, but that’s 328 more people than I could have reached on my own.
And the final result: when I looked at book sales for the period of the ad, I had sold two books.
At the risk of killing the dreams of any aspiring authors reading, that brings my total book sales up to four (part of why I wanted to try a Facebook ad in the first place). Since those sales happened while the ad campaign was going on, I think it’s safe to assume that out of the 328 total clicks those two sales mean that two clickers were kind enough to make it all the way to the book purchase finish line. Not the most breathtaking result from an ad campaign ever, but hey, it is a result.
- If you’re looking for exposure and pure numbers you couldn’t reach alone, Facebook is worth it.
- The ability to target specific users and set a budget are nice features.
- If you’re looking for a spectacular click through rate you’d better have an airtight call to action on your ad (which I didn’t really have).
- If you’re hoping that click through rate converts into book sales, don’t raise your hopes too high for a Facebook ad. With better targeting and a crazy good add your click through rate might be much better than .32% but it still won’t be, say, 50%.
- (Side note: If your adds have a 50% click rate I would really like to know which god and what the appropriate sacrifice is, thanks in advance.)
In the future I’ll try narrowing the target audience I’m aiming for through Facebook and polishing my call to action until it shines and see if that brings more sales.
I’ll also try completely different forms of exposure, like paying for a book tour or trying to get featured on a booktube channel. There are other websites to try, too.
And don’t worry, there will be blog posts about each one I try, so you can walk into your own book ad decisions well informed.
This is an Author Toolbox blog hop post. To find other amazingly helpful posts, go see Raimey Gallant and her linksy list.