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SPQ 065: Facebook Ads: 5 Ways to Target Your Ideal Book Reader

Written by Steve Scott on April 3, 2015. Listen to SPQ: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Feed
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Hands are making indecision signals

The Question

Tim asks: Do you have any good advice for using Facebook ads to promote your book?

Biggest Takeaway

Steve’s Answer

This is a great question. It’s impossible to cover everything about Facebook ads in just one episode, so Steve is going to cover five strategies he’s currently testing on the Facebook advertising platform. He’s not an expert in Facebook advertising, so try some of these strategies on your own to see what works for you.

Tim is talking about the advertising platform available on Facebook. There are several challenges associated with using this platform, especially for authors.

You are selling a low-margin product.

If you’re selling a book for $0.99 or a few dollars, it’s hard to make your money back. However, Facebook advertising can help you build your list.

It’s difficult to track your advertising efforts.

The only way to track individual campaigns is to create Amazon Associate links. Steve isn’t sure you are allowed to use affiliate links in your Facebook ads, so this is kind of a gray area.

Facebook ads create cold traffic.

If people who see your ad have never heard of you, they’re not more likely to buy one of your books.

Steve is currently testing five strategies.

  1. Interest-Based Targeting

This is the easiest strategy, but it’s the worst for generating long-term results. You find people who are into a certain genre and then run ads targeting those people.

Steve recommends starting small. Spend about $3 to $5 per advertisement until you know if the ad converts. Create a new advertisement for each specific interest. Someone who writes mysteries or thrillers might write an ad to target Stephen King fans and another ad to target people who like J.A. Konrath.

  1. “Like” Campaigns

Steve is doing this for the SPQ show. You run an advertisement to try to get people to “like” your page. This is a great tactic for anyone who publishes content consistently. It works for Steve because he publishes new episodes three times per week.

Some people argue that Facebook is ineffective because of reduced organic reach. Not everyone is going to see your Facebook content, but not everyone reads your emails, either. That doesn’t mean email marketing is ineffective.

Steve is spending about $15 to $20 per day on his “like” campaigns. The average is about 35 cents per like, but he has a few campaigns that are around 21 cents per like. This is right in line with industry averages.

As an author, you may not want to follow this strategy unless you plan to build a strong Facebook page.

  1. Re-targeting

Steve is the most excited about this area because it seems to have the most potential. It is a bit technical, so you might need to do some research before implementing this strategy.

Re-targeting involves adding a tracking pixel on your website. It targets every basic page on your site and tells you where visitors go. Then you can create targeted advertisements based on user activity.

You can target people who have subscribed to your email list as well as people who did not subscribe to your list. This strategy also allows you to target people who have visited your sales events pages. This is great because you know these people are generally interested in checking out your books.

  1. Look-Alike Audience

You can upload your email list or a list of pages to create a website custom audience (WCA). Make sure it is a current list so you don’t upload the information of people who have unsubscribed from your mailing list.

This creates a similar audience based on about 200 data points, helping you figure out who might buy your books. Then you can run advertising campaigns to these people.

  1. Build an Email List

Steve is using data points to build a list of people who might buy his books. Email marketing has been his top strategy, so he is investing about $50 per day on this tactic. His conversion rate is currently $1.05 per subscriber. This tactic could help you build a life-long asset for your business.

Steve recommends learning about Facebook advertising by experimenting with it. Start small and spend a little money to test things out. The way things are going, this advertising platform is going to do amazing things.

Resources and Links

SPQ on Facebook: Check out the Self-Publishing Questions page on Facebook

Tactics Time: Tim’s website helps chess players improve their game

Facebook Advertising: Get started with advertising on Facebook

Amazon Associates: Create tracking links with your Amazon Associates account

  • Steve,

    Thanks for being the guinea pig on FB advertising for indie authors. I haven’t dove in just yet, but I look forward to updates from you on your journey. I did do something on FB today and that was like your page!

  • Yeah, it’s not really been all that successful so far. Still working on unlocking FB, but it’s not easy to do when the margins are small like they are with Kindle books.