Using Facebook Ads

I’ve been thinking about what has and hasn’t worked for me when it comes to getting my name out there. Obviously I am not famous, yet, so things are still a work in progress. Maybe tomorrow will be the day I break through, but just in case it doesn’t I’m trying things that might help.

One of those things is using the power of social media, especially where it intersects with the power of money. I went the easy route and used Facebook ads. I have done this twice and the results were mixed at best.

Before I get into the details I just want to say why I’m writing this. Paying for ads was kind of a big decision for me. It feels inorganic and as silly as it may sound as much as I want people to read my work, marketing myself might be the hardest part. And before I decided to give it a shot I tried to google what results real people had found. And that kind of information was hard to come by. Trying to find the results of Facebook ads might of well of been a search for people selling on line marketing guides for writers. So, I’m writing this in the hopes that my experiences my be useful for anyone going down the same roads I venture down.

This first time was during my Indiegogo campaign. Part of the budget of the campaign was to go to ads to try and drum up sales. For one month of ads I paid roughly $200 (or exactly 20,000 yen, which ever you prefer to think about.) The style of add I paid for was designed to send people to my campaign. And it was indeed successful at that. In that one-month period my campaign was visited over 2500 times.

For me 2500 is a lot of clicks for someone at my level. But did any of those clicks actually develop into purchases? Probably not. I can say that every person who donated to my campaign was a friend or someone who I have no more than two degrees of separation with (a friend of a friend for example.) There were no completely unknown persons buying my book.

But still, I can only say “probably” to the ads not leading to sales. That is because over half of my contributors came from Facebook. But I was also posting daily on my personal page and on my Deadly Troubadours page, as well as reaching out personally to almost everyone in my friends list. Now, it is possible that a friend saw the ad and that was what they clicked to purchase. I can’t say for sure. But I can say I don’t feel the Indiegogo ad led to any real increase in sales.

The other time I used a Facebook ad was to gain likes on my Facebook page (which you can like here.) This was more of an experiment to see if likes actually mean much. I can’t really tell if they do or not. This time I budgeted much smaller. 1400yen, about $14, over a week to get likes. I wish I could report the actual amount of likes this generated, but for some reason Facebook’s ad manager is just showing a “–” in the results bar. Still, I think I got about 80 likes during the campaign. Which was kind of neat, but in the end didn’t really do much.

Sure, there are more likes, but there has been no increased amount of interaction and there didn’t seem to be any spike of views on this site. There was a momentary spike of views of my Facebook page, but that fell away within a few days of the ad cycle ending. I’m glad all I spent was the $14 because while it was neat seeing likes pour in at rapid-fire (to me) there also didn’t seem to be much payoff.

From those two experiences there hasn’t been much of a positive result from paying for Facebook ads. Sure, I got what I asked for (clicks and likes) but I did not get what I hoped those clicks and likes would lead to (purchases and a bump in traffic.)

That said, as I write this I do find myself thinking about doing one more test and creating an ad that would just link to this site. Would directing people here lead to an increase in views in the long term? Perhaps. But I also wonder would I need to spend such an amount that I can’t justify the expense?

Anyway, these are my experiences. Your mileage may vary.


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