A tentative foray into the bold world of Facebook advertising…

iStock_000013528921XSmallAfter receiving advice at RT that paying to “promote” one’s author Facebook post was a good use of resources, I decided to try it.

When Long Shot, a Corbin’s Bend spanking romance novella, debuted last week, I announced the release on my personal Cara Bristol FB account, and on my business Cara Bristol erotic romance author page. I paid $5 to boost the latter  post over a three day period.

What were the results of paying to promote? Here are the stats:

  • My post achieved a “paid reach” of 535 (“reach” defined as people who saw the post). My business page only had 392 likes and only 25 or so people see any given posts. So a reach of 535 was good. I don’t mind paying 5 bucks for that. But let’s drill deeper:
  • 12 actions resulted from the boost. FB defines action as the “number of people who have liked, commented, shared or clicked on this post.” I had 8 post likes, 1 share, and 3 clicks on my Amazon buy link as a result of the promotion (according to FB). So after paying $5 to have 535 people see my post only 3 of them clicked on the link.

As a short-term investment–this is not good. Even if all three people who clicked on the link bought the book (which I doubt), my royalties on their sales wouldn’t pay for the cost of the ad.

However, the jury is still deliberating on the long-term investment potential. Most of what one does as an author involves keeping an eye on the future rather than the short-run. You build name and brand recognition so that when your next book comes out, or the one after that, or the one after that, somebody says, “Oh, I’ve heard of that author, let me try her book.” It’s the drip approach to marketing–and it takes a lot of drops to fill the bucket. So 535 people saw my name–about 500+ who wouldn’t have ordinarily have seen it.

I know that I am reaping the benefits now of things I did two and three years ago. Will the Facebook ad pay off? I don’t know. But it’s worth a shot. I plan to do a few more and watch what happens.

The pros and cons of author pages

On a Facebook personal page, you are limited to 5,000 friends. After that, no more friends can be added. As an author, you will eventually exceed 5,000 friends. You will have no way of connecting with those people through your personal page. A business page solves that problem.

The downside of a business page, it that while there is no limit to the “likes” you can garner, FB only shares your posts with a small number of those who like your page. And, the person clicking like also has to click “get notifications” or they won’t see your posts at all. But you can pay to “promote” your post (or page) to extend your reach beyond those who have liked your page.

Find me on Facebook

Friend my personal page 

Like my Author Page (click “get notifications” if you’d like to actually see my posts.)

Have you paid to promote a post or page on Facebook?

What were your results?


Long Shot, a Corbin’s Bend spanking romance 

Abby Delaney moves to Corbin’s Bend to work at her aunt’s antique store to recover from a painful divorce. She gets more than expected when she meets sexy, charming Harris Montgomery, a local businessman and tennis pro, a man who seems to be the exact opposite of her ex-husband. Through Harris, she discovers her submissive side when he introduces her to spanking good times, and she begins to trust herself again.  But when the relationship progresses to a deeper level, she discovers Harris and her ex share more in common than she’d thought. With future happiness on the line, can she risk surrendering her heart on a long shot?

Amazon buy link ♥ Blushing Books ♥ Barnes &  Noble



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8 Responses to A tentative foray into the bold world of Facebook advertising…

  1. I just clicked ‘get notifications’ on your page (which I already liked) but I wonder how the ads work as I live in Holland which is not an English speaking country – so would I even see your ad here?

    I’ve run 2 FB ads and I’ve had the click throughs and additional page likes and spent a total of $40 or around there on them. Have I sold books through them? I can’t be sure as the link I used is also a link I use from my website and just because someone clicked through, doesn’t mean they clicked ‘buy now’.

    I will most likely do another FB ad but I haven’t seen any huge jumps in sales or anything, but maybe you’re right – maybe it’s a long term thing. You know what I feel like sometimes? Like I’m sitting here wanting to spend the money on promotion but at an absolute loss as to how to do it.

    Thanks for your post.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      That’s a good question–whether you would see the ads or not in another country. I don’t know.

      I’m pretty certain that one FB ad (like I did) isn’t enough. I think advertising in general needs to be “big” and frequent to be noticed above all the other advertising that people have a tendency to tune out.

      My husband and I can watch TV and a commercial will come on that catches his or my attention. We’ll say, “That was interesting. Did you see that?” And the other says, “no, what was it?”

      There is so much advertising, most of it is just background “noise.”

  2. J. J. Lore says:

    Interesting post, Cara. I have contemplated ‘boosting’ my FB posts, and several authors reported results similar to yours, so I haven’t taken the plunge yet. Advertising is so much background noise, and I don’t want my money to be the static in someone else’s ear.

  3. Cara, I did the same thing as you. I “boosted” my announcement post for my Corbin’s Bend cover and paid $5.00. It was on my author page, not my profile page. According to FB 1,029 people saw my post. From that there were 29 actions. 23 photo clicks, 2 link clicks, 4 post likes. The link took readers to my blog. None were related to buys, since it isn’t available, yet. I plan to do it a couple more times for some excerpts I’ll be doing for the book and at least once more when it is released. I think the exposure can’t hurt, but I’m not sure how much it does to increase actual sales. Also, I believe when I selected my demographics, I chose USA only, but I’d have to check that. Thanks for all you do to increase author awareness.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I think boosting the cover is great idea. The more people who can see it, the better. And it’s only $5. I don’t know what demographic I checked either! Guess I’d better pay more attention the next time.

  4. Livia LB Grant says:

    Great post, as usual, Cara. Very interesting data. I had heard several people discouraging spending money on the ‘boost’ at RT, but I don’t think it is a black and white decision. As you pointed out, I think you are laying the groundwork for your name recognition that will help down the road.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I think a lot of people resent having to pay for what they used to get for free. (Every time I pay my ginormous satellite TV bill I think about how TV via antenna used to be free. But of course I you only got 13 channels).

      It used to be that everyone could see your business page posts. Now it’s limited (not sure FB decides who can see what). But FB is a business, and they’re trying to make money. I understand that. So am I!

  5. Thanks for this Cara! Facebook ads are always an investment I’m studying to see their effectiveness. It’s early days and all that. But equally, as you say, about awareness too. And that’s long term.

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