Some basic conclusions from playing with FB ads.
- A/B testing is important. It can lower your cost significantly. Using a big ‘image’ (not book cover) seems to work best for clicks. Adding a second, smaller image with a book helps to get the sales / not make people weird out about what your advertisement is (see above).
- Increasing budget means your cost of FB ads is going to go up. I went from $0.18 to $0.32 the moment I went up on budget. I’m assuming it’s just that the targeting got wider. Also, I’ve probably been ‘hitting’ this group a lot too (using same lookalike audience).
- Using lookalike audiences based off your current FB fan page seems to be the best option at the moment, since it widens your audience while keeping the close to home.
Note, I don’t buy likes, the majority of my likes are ‘organic’; so that helps keep it ‘clean’.
I do have to test the difference between a lookalike audience for my fan page and a lookalike audience based off my website visitors (note, you can tag website visitors with a cookie that goes back to Facebook to then use to create lookalike audiences from).
- Make sure you use custom audiences and make sure your custom audiences are done right. Using a saved audience across multiple ad types will mess up ALL those ads at the same time.
- I expanded targetting to the UK and Canada. UK seems to have done well. CA is actually a bit horrid. I will likely expand to AU next and test.
- I can tell quite immediately that sales are going up for Life in the North (SA book 1) when FB ads are on/off. However, I’m spending more to get those sales (pure sales mind you) compared to what I’m earning. KU is obviously not factored in. Read through not factored in. Overall, from what I gather, I’m earning more for SA.
This is a back of envelope estimate. I haven’t released any new SA book since June, so this is a great series to work with. The entire series has been trending down a little in sales due to the lack of new releases, but doing the advertising has pushed up sales. I am roughly earning about 2.5 times what I spend (over and on top of what I consider my ‘base’). Again, that number might be higher (or lower!) depending on specific time and how fast my trend down was.
I should also note, I don’t spend a huge amount yet. I’m slowly amping up $ spend per day. I’m sure at some point, I’ll have to cut downwards.
- Another thing to note. Because I have 7 books in the series, I am looking at overall sales of the series. A single ‘good’ reader will push up sales by a significant amount.
- Because SA has a bisexual protagonist, I’m also seeing the appearance of 1 stars again and other critical reviews. This is a danger when you’re advertising to a wider audience – you might get people who aren’t appreciative of your work or style (or LitRPG in this case). That’s pushed reviews down a little, though not a huge amount thankfully. Just something to note.
- Further note, I am testing advertising on Adventures on Brad. That series is wide, has much, much fewer reviews (and is 4 starred right now for book 1. It’s like 4.2). Advertising in USA has shown minimal increase in sales. I stopped advertising AoB in the USA because there just didn’t seem to be any effects. I will try again in a little bit, after the ‘base’ trendline drops further to see if I can tell.
I am also testing ‘wide’ advertising, targeting Canada and the UK. Thus far, results have been less than spectacular too.
- If something is in KU, you might be better off with Facebook advertising (cheap / $0 reads).
- You are also likely to do much better with books that have higher reviews and are already selling well. Not sure it’s worth pushing a ‘slow’ selling series.
- Advertising in a series is the most profitable method. Even if I’m pretty sure I’m losing money on conversions for Life in the North, the on-going sales and read-throughs from the few readers I do get brings the profit.
HOWEVER, this does mess up your analysis of profitability further since read-throughs can come a few days / weeks later even if they are fans. Just depends on how fast these new fans read.
- I’m waiting for book 3 for my A Thousand Li and Hidden Wishes before I run other tests on the others, will have more data then. But, that’s my initial conclusions.
- Make sure you have the budget to do this. I’ve spent over $500 to test ($15 a day for 4/5 days for each A/B test (images first, then copy. I haven’t tested audiences, but that’s next probably). On top of that, you have the cost of the actual advertising with the ‘best’ version.
- Don’t forget that you get charged at the end of the month for advertising. Even with a credit card, that just adds another 21 -40 days (depending on when you have to pay your card). Amazon is anything from 60-93 days away from paying you the ‘increase’ in sales. If you even get an increase (again, see above failure on AoB).
- Analysis is painful. I can’t tell things like the conversion rates of the product page. I can’t attribute what changes (and I’ve done a few) are due to what aspects. If you an afford to (and aren’t super impatient); it’s worth making only a few changes at a time and letting the changes percolate over a few weeks to get new trendlines. Otherwise, you get what I have – messy, messy data.
Always remember – sales over the long term, without a new release, will trend down. Working out a trendline for your sales when you’re going down (using say, a moving average) will give you a rough idea of what your advertising has done. It might be that all your advertising is keeping you level – but if that ‘level’ is happening 60 days after your last release, that’s probably a gain.
- Lastly, I got a lot of testing left to do. But, for now, I should be writing. 🙂
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