At the beginning of this month (August 2016), I decided to experiment by running a Facebook Ad to sell my debut novel, PEAK CROSSER (EMPIRE OF THE PEAKS BOOK 1). I'd heard a few things about doing that, and I was intrigued by the possibility. So I decided to run an ad for 15 days and see how I did.
First, here's the ad as it appeared on Facebook:
The screenshot is a little blury, so here's the copy. At the top it read: "For fans of Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan, check out a new epic fantasy adventure."
Below the picture it reads: "Discover a New Epic Fantasy Adventure: In an ancient empire covered by a nearly impassable mountain range, factions within and without threaten to topple a thousand-year-old peace. The Empire's survival depends on the unknowing and unwitting. Zornan is a simple man..."
That text is pulled directly from my product description on Amazon. The ad linked to my Amazon product page where users could buy my book in either paperback or on Kindle. Using Facebook's Ad Manager, I targeted fans of Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss and Robert Jordan.
So here are the results from the 15 days:
$ Spent: $69.99
People who saw the ad: 4444
People who clicked on the ad: 141
Cost per click: $0.50
Conversion rate (people who clicked divided by the total): 3.17%
Book sales during the ad period: 6 (all Kindle sales)
Sales conversion rate (people who bought divided by people who clicked): 4.26%
New Facebook likes of my author Facebook page: 6
So how would I judge the success? Using pure math, it's not great. I get about $3 per Kindle sales. so that's $70 to make $18. To use technical marketing lingo, that stinks.
But some of the metrics are positive. A 3.17% conversion rate is about industry average, so the ad did a decent job of getting clicks. That number is even more impressive when you consider that I'm a completely unknown author. I'm taking that number to mean that the image and text of the ad were above average. If I were to do this again, I would likely use a similar image and similar copy; it did its job.
I think I converted decently once they clicked on Amazon, getting 4.26% of those people to buy the book. This figure could be higher, but again, I'm an unknown author and with only 6 Amazon reviews. My guess is that I could have converted those a little better if they'd come to the Amazon page and saw a bigger number of reviews.
I also got 6 new Facebook likes for my author page, which is has some value, but certainly not $70 worth of value, at least not in the short term.
I don't plan on doing any other campaigns like this until my next book. The payoff just wasn't there. But it could be worth it if my sales conversion were higher. Facebook offers very precise targeting, and many authors have used it to generate more sign-ups for their lists and for sales. I'm just not at the point in my author journey where it makes sense for me.