My last post was a diatribe in which I said that I wouldn’t create a Facebook page due to the fact that I attempted to create a page (twice) and both times, they disappeared. Despite dutifully filling in the text box on the ‘Report Pages that Disappeared‘ page, I hadn’t seen a reply from FB to say, “Yes, our algorithms are overzealous.”
However, I still wanted to try out Facebook Ads to see if they worked or not. So off I went on my little marketing adventure, skipping down the forest path like Little Red Riding Hood.
First hurdle – Facebook wouldn’t let me create an ad without a page. (Sigh.) I did their bidding and created the page, but only went as far as giving it a title and a profile picture (which was my cover art for the book). I saved the page and before I knew it, Facebook had taken it upon itself to create an author’s page for me AND an Instagram account. WTF? Apparently FB would display my ad in all sorts of exciting ways, including displaying it in Instagram, even though I have zero interest in Instagram.
Then it wanted the ad image uploaded. The image has to be 1200 x 600 pixels to correctly display. Did I have anything even remotely suitable? No. Could I make it suitable? No. Did I wind up using Canva? Yes. (BTW, Canva is pretty handy for this stuff, and free if you use your own images.) After crossing the hurdle of creating the and loading the ad image, FB then took it upon itself to whizz off to Amazon and grab the copy from there, rather than letting me create any new copy.
Final hurdles included deciding on the type of audience and the geographic location of the audience. Apparently the entire planet is too big so they encourage you to whittle it down a bit. Then there were choices to be made around the type of interests people had selected on their FB page and trying to figure out how to match interests to the people who might want to buy the book. Here’s my first piece of advice: All ages, all genders, in every location on the planet, who enjoy reading is not very specific according to the meter thing FB displays in an attempt to be helpful.
After jumping over the hurdles and through the various hoops, I set a budget. There’s two options: per day and lifetime budget. I decided to set a lifetime budget. I was a bit reluctant to set a per day limit just in case I forgot to set a short end date and wound up spending a ridiculous sum of money. I let FB decide on everything else.
On the positive side, FB provides some very good statistics so it’s really easy to see what sort of age range and gender are clicking on the ad and which device their using. You get a break down of how many people viewed the ad and the amount of people clicking through to Amazon. I can then check if there’s been a sale in KDP. So it’s very easy to get an idea of how effective (or not) it’s been.
Conclusion: I am grudgingly willing to admit that advertising on FB could be a good idea and the page might be okay too.
Oh, and I got around my problem with the title of my short story by loading a photo of the cover, and making sure the link to Amazon excluded the title. Phew!