Marketing is important. I’ve been mulling overdoing a blog about this for a while after reading Chris Symes’ article about Facebook ads (Why I Am Cutting Back on Facebook Ads). If you haven’t been following the news, they are essentially running out of ad space for Facebook Ads… this makes them less effective in terms of cost. FB still has some of the most powerful tools to help reach very specific target demographics. However, because the demand for digital real estate has increased (especially given Facebook’s announcement that they will even be reducing what has been available in the past) the cost per conversion is increasing well beyond that of feasibility for the average author trying to sell their books.
In her article, Symes says:
Right now, it takes a pretty healthy budget, a higher click bid, and some fancy targeting to have success with cold audience ads on Facebook. Remember, those are people that haven’t discovered you or your books yet. People who don’t know you from Adam. Most of the people I’ve talked with are spending upwards of $1,000 a month to get a return. Some more established authors and brands are spending as much as $5,000 or more each month. And they are making a profit. But how much profit? I know we see “income reports” from a number of different authors, but most of them are established bestselling authors.
She points out that NYT bestsellers are already selling well. Facebook ads are just a part of the overall ad package. In her own right Symes is an online marketing guru (I’ll be purchasing her marketing book for authors soon to glean info I may share in future posts,) and has some good advice for crafting a marketing plan for those of us without massive ad budgets and publicists that get us lattes while on hold with Oprah. (I tried to train my dog for these tasks, but she’s a terrible barista).
I recommend checking out her article. Some of her advice includes some practical outlets for advertising dollars that may be more cost effective alternatives to sinking money in targeted FB ads. They include Amazon Marketing Service and Bookbub (she didn’t mention it, but Bookbub is now experimenting with CPC ads like you could get on FB, except you know everyone seeing them are already looking for books). She recommends trying other sites such as Bargain Booksy, EReader News, and others (I’ve used some with varying success but would recommend avoiding the services that merely blast your ad to its millions of FB/Twitter followers… those are rarely successful and the discount services should have some kind of following on email in conjunction with their social media.)
I’ve shut down nearly all of my FB ads since January; they stopped producing and even cost me more than I was making. Work smarter and try to keep as much of your money as possible! For now, it seems like Zuckerburg has made Facebook a financial black hole for authors. You may be a marketing genius and able to do better than I can with Cost Per Click ads and are still seeing great returns. If that’s the case, contact me! I will straight up hire you to be my marketer (giving you full control over my SEO and whatever you need to replicate proven success,) and let you write a guest blog here. In the meantime, the smart money is to use FB only sparingly and with other objectives in mind than direct sales.