If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I’m not a fan of using Facebook pages to sell books (see here and here). That’s because Facebook prevents 80% – 90% of your followers from seeing any free post you create. They make you buy “boosted posts” or “sponsored posts” to reach those 80% – 90%. This is a modern day version of highway robbery.
However, there is another side of Facebook that can be a worthy tool for authors, which is Facebook ads. Why would I recommend Facebook ads while bashing Facebook pages? Because there’s a fundamental problem that all authors face: the need to reach new readers.
A common question I hear from authors is, “How do I grow my audience beyond the limited number of people who visit my website?” If you don’t get many visitors to your website, it’s easy to feel like your growth is stunted. Facebook advertising give authors an affordable way to address this issue.
After running Facebook advertising campaigns for some of my top author clients, I believe it’s a legitimate way to reach new readers. Their platform has unique features, such as a sophisticated targeting system, low prices starting at a $5.00 daily budget, and a ton of data to determine your actual return on investment.
Recently, I had the good fortune to connect with a Facebook employee named Matthew who is part of their expert advertising team. Here are some of the questions that I asked him and the best practices that he shared:
How long does it take for a Facebook ad to start working?
It usually takes 10 days for Facebook’s algorithms to optimize an ad. Yes, that may feel like a long time. But, Facebook has over 2 billion active users and run millions of ads every day. So, it’s worth waiting to let their system optimize your ad. However, if you don’t see improved results after 10 days, then kill the ad and change the ad elements. Experimentation is the key to success.
If a Facebook ad is working well, how do you scale up to get bigger results?
Once an ad begins to deliver satisfying results, here’s how to scale up and increase your ROI. Matthew told me to copy the good ad and make minor changes to it, such as slight adjustments to the marketing hook or descriptive text (keep the picture and call-to-action the same). Copying a good ad allows their platform to generate more positive results.
Can a Facebook ad get stale and stop performing?
Yes, every Facebook ad will eventually burn out and need to be refreshed. Matthew said that most ads work well for 30 – 45 days. Afterwards, results will diminish, because people begin seeing the same ad over and over. He suggested making minor tweaks to refresh an ad, such as changing the ad image or the marketing hook. Then, run the tweaked ad to continue getting results.
What type of ad format works best on Facebook?
Currently, video ads get the best response on Facebook, because they communicate more information and emotion than a static picture with text. A short well-crafted video can be the best form of advertising on their platform. Just keep the video ad brief and make a persuasive call-to-action, such as buy your book, visit your website, or join your email list.
Any other best practices that authors should know about Facebook ads?
Yes, be sure to use an attention-grabbing image in your ad. Since Facebook users are easily distracted while browsing their News Feeds, your image is the best way to make sure your ad gets recognized. Facebook can put your ad in front of people, but it your job to entice people to click on it and take action.
In addition, it’s wise to add a Facebook retargeting pixel to your author website. A pixel lets you target ads to people who visit your website but don’t take action. Pixels are free to create, easy to set up, and help you remind previous visitors about your books.
Is there a recommended budget or spending amount?
According to Matthew, there is no perfect answer to this question. Setting the right budget depends upon the individual’s finances and advertising goals. However, a Facebook ad can be created for as little as $5.00 day ($150 per month). This amount allows authors to experiment with the ad platform and determine the elements that get the best results.
During a recent Facebook campaign that I managed for an author client, the cost of acquisition to get new email subscribers was around $5.00 – $6.00 per subscriber. If you’re just trying to sell one book, that amount is too high. However, if you have a series of books or an expensive video course to sell, that acquisition cost is quite low. Success depends on the overall goal that you are trying to achieve.
If you feel stuck trying to reach new readers and build your audience, consider using Facebook ads. You can experiment for a small amount of money and increase your budget as results occur. It’s a much better option than wasting money on boosted or sponsored posts.
P.S. – Besides talking with Matthew the Facebook Ad Expert, I’ve learned additional secrets from other authors who have maximized their Facebook advertising results. I teach these best practices as part of my Book Marketing Master Class. Or, you can request a 90-minute consultation with me and get your personal crash course on mastering Facebook ads. Call me at 770-887-1462 or contact me here for details.