Facebook Advertising For Authors : Case Study

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Facebook Advertising For Authors

A long standing client approached us saying that she wanted to sell more books. She wanted to do this with an email list. So she could keep selling more books. Essentially turning her hobby into a career. She wanted to do this using Facebook ads. Could Facebook advertising really deliver an ROI for her as an author launching a new career?

The Result? 33 New Readers at a cost of just €0.86EUR (£0.62GBP or $0.94USD) per new reader acquired. Plus this isn’t just a one off benefit. They are targeted and relevant readers now signed up to her mailing list. The article below explains how it was done. 

“I’ve got some excellent news: 33 signups with the price of €0.86EUR per conversion! Which is a great improvement…And these people are really active, because I saw one reader contacting me on Goodreads. So they didn’t just simply click…when my mailing list breaks 1,000, I’ll send you a bottle of the finest Chianti!!”Katarina West

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We chose to use AdEspresso for the experiment. There are other tools but we found this simple and easy to use.


STEP 1: Advertising Image

We had a range of images created. Initial thoughts were that an advert with a picture of Katarina would be most successful. This assumption was wrong. It was also presumed that a colourful ad would perform well. Again that was wrong. The point here is how important it is to TEST everything! Below in STEP 6 you will see a screenshot of the dashboard which details the Top 4 ads and the worst 4 ads.

Crucial Point: Test Everything!

STEP 2: Advertising Copy

This seemed less important from our tests. Our results showed that the visuals for Facebook ads is the most crucial aspect. The copy didn’t impact upon the performance of the ads that we tested. Of course with all these results it us going to vary from one campaign to another so make sure you are testing. You can see the proof of this again below STEP 6.

STEP 3: Goal – Conversions

This was quite tricky to setup. It involves installing a Facebook pixel. Essentially this is a line of code that allows Facebook to know when the desired action has been achieved. In our case it was every time a new reader signed up to the mailing list. This triggered a thank you page when users have signed up. The pixel was installed on the thank you for signing up to our mailing list page. Facebook has a guide for how to install this which is helpful. This allowed us to adjust the campaign to ensure we are getting conversions and not just clicks.

Crucial Point: Optimise for your specific goal.

STEP 4: Audience Location

No surprises here. We covered the major areas here. USA and UK. They are the biggest audiences for English books so of course we focused our attention here. We also included Canada and India. Why did we do this? Well they are the BookBub countries and they have a good understanding when it comes to driving sales. So we followed their lead.

STEP 5: Audience Interests

This is where the bulk of our time was spent. Testing and more testing.

Witchcraft Couture tells the story of Oscar Pellegrini, a talented fashion designer with a deadly enemy: his own critical mind. He destroys much of what he designs and has been drifting for years, gradually retreating from the fashion business he loves but holding on to his dreams of success. A chance meeting with a former girlfriend triggers a creative crisis so deep that Oscar escapes to Russia. You can read the full description by following the link above. This is really to give you some content on the discussion below.

We relied on Katarina for insight into her target audience. She recommended we initially target fans of ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ as the focal point when it comes to interests. This didn’t produce the desired results. Katarina recommended trying an audience who had demonstrated an interest in ‘Perfume: The Story of a Murderer‘. This is where the breakthrough began. We improved upon this by researching more books that were similar to hers. The CPC (Cost Per Conversion) kept improving.

Crucial Point: Look for similar books to yours that would appeal to the same readers. Target that audience. 

STEP 6: Improving Your Ads. 

The program we have been using demonstrates which are your best performing ads and which are the worst. This gives you realtime feedback on how your ads are performing. You can then readjust the campaign accordingly. Originally we were only achieving 1 conversion per €6EUR being spent. After examining the successful ads we achieved the figure listed above of just €0.86EUR (£0.62GBP or $0.94USD) per new reader. 

This was done by:

  • Focussing the budget on the top ads
  • Revisiting step 5 and adjusting the audience interests we were targeting

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Optimise for your specific goal. Our focus was conversions. Getting people on the mailing list.
  2. This is a powerful way to make Facebook provide ROI. Build an email list of relevant readers. When Katarina releases her upcoming book she has a fan base who are relevant and will buy the next book. And then the next book after that and so on…

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