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Session: Advanced Facebook Advertising and Marketing Strategies For Authors

Ricardo Fayet, Co-Founder of Reedsy,  gives an instructive and insightful look at Facebook advertising. The possibilities for authors on Facebook are now richer than ever. But the competitive space has tightened too — which is why it’s even more important to know the right ways to use the platform. If you want to up your Facebook ads game with established strategies and new ideas, then this workshop is for you. Reedsy’sRicardo Fayet has years of experience running Facebook ads for authors and will be teaching some of the advanced Facebook ads targeting,creatives, and placements that have brought him success. On the menu: canvas ads, video view retargeting, pixel retargeting, and creative A/B testing.

Format: Video

Audience: Advanced

This post is part of London Book Fair Self-Publishing Advice Conference (#SelfPubCon2019), an online author conference that showcases the best self-publishing advice and education for authors across the world — harnessing the global reach of the Alliance of Independent Authors’ network. Our self-publishing conference features well-known indie authors and advisors, for 24 sessions over 24-hours, in a one-day extravaganza of self-publishing expertise straight to your email inbox. We hope you enjoy this session. Let us know if you have any questions or input on this self-publishing topic. Visit our Facebook Group and join in the conversation there, or leave your questions and feedback in the comments section below.


Hi everyone and welcome to this ALLi Self-Publish Conference presentation on Facebook ads. So I’m Ricardo Fayet. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m one of the founders at reedsy.com and I’m also doing most of the marketing for Reedsy. You might have seen me at a bunch of conferences and I’ve also been running Facebook ads for Reedsy for several years now. And as a side project recently, also started advertising for private clients, authors and for a few author friends of mine as well cause I’m really passionate about Facebook ads. Like it actually, there’s actually fun to me to set up campaigns, check how they’re doing and stay up to date about all the new things that Facebook keeps rolling out on their advertising platform. It’s ever changing and I personally find it really interesting. Um, so yeah, I thought I’d be talking a little bit about Facebook ads on this presentation.

But first if you don’t know anything about Reedsy it is my duty to tell you a little bit about what we do. We were basically an international community of top publishing professionals, editors from developmental editors, copy editors, and proofreaders, I think also designers, cover designers, illustrators, we also have book marketers, book publicists and ghostwriters, and recently added author website designers for your author website. So pretty much any kind of freelancer you would ever need to hire through your author career. And the particularity of Reedsy is that we’re very, very picky about the freelancers we let on our marketplace. We only accept around 3% of the professionals who apply to be listed. So you know, you can basically trust the people you hire through Reedsy.

Now we won’t be talking a lot about hiring freelance help in this session. I’ll just touch on it at the very end, but we will be talking a lot about Facebook ads. So first I’ll start by addressing the kind of everyone’s concern the recent years is how Facebook ads really become more competitive. That’s something that I hear a lot. And so I want to kind of debunk this myth and also explain where it comes from. Then I’ll give you some tips, some very actionable tips on staying ahead of the competition. So it’s really things that you can go implement right away after this presentation, open your ads manager and start making changes. That’s my goal with this, that you get away with at least two or three ideas to test, right away. And then I’ll be talking about read through because I think a lot of authors kill campaigns too early when they’re actually making them money thanks to read through. And finally we’ll touch on whether it makes sense to hire professional help, because that’s a question I get all the time. Can I just hire someone to do ads for me? Yes, you could, but in most cases that might not be the best idea. So, I’ll be talking about that a little bit.

Let’s get into it. Have Facebook ads become more expensive? Well, yes and no. And to explain why it’s important to understand how authors are actually using Facebook ads, how do authors use Facebook ads nowadays?

We basically target the same kind of audiences. For example, if we’re writing thrillers, I might target a fans of Lee Child and fans of James Patterson and people who like Amazon and Amazon Kindle. And guess what? Every thriller author out there is going to set up the exact same kind of audience to target, people who are interested in Lee Child and who are also interested in James Patteson and who are also interested in Amazon Kindle. That’s a big enough audience, already 65,000 people to start testing. So this kind of audience narrowed by interests and further narrowed by Amazon Kindle, often sticking to Facebook feed placements. Four or five years ago there were maybe 10 indie authors who were targeting that kind of audience and a handful of publishers. So great times. But nowadays a lot of people have given this advice and I have given this advice countless times, targeting big comp authors in your genre. What happens? Well, there are now hundreds of indie authors and a lot more publishers targeting this same audience. Everyone who’s going to advertise a thriller is going to think of some variation of this audience. So obviously this increases the cost of reaching this audience because Facebook is a bidding platform. So the more people are bidding, the higher the bids that you get.

More importantly, you’re not just bidding against other indie authors. I touched on that, but big publishers are running Facebook ads as well. So this is just taken from some random examples from Penguin Books and Dan MacMillan’s pages. I’ll show you later on how you can actually spy on all their Facebook pages running ads. But you can see all major publishers nowadays, they run ads and they generally have a bunch of other brands under them. Like Macmillan has tor.com, for example, that they can run ads under. So they actually have big brands. Dan MacMillan can have their tour page run ads for their Sci Fi authors. That’s super powerful. So if there’s, for example, a big release coming up in your genre from a big publisher, you can expect that publisher to spend a lot of money promoting the preorder and the launch.

What that means is the audience’s they’ll target, which are probably the same audiences you target might become more expensive. So if you have a new audience getting inexplicably more expensive, the frequency is still low and nothing’s changed. It’s just getting more expensive. Just lower the budget. Don’t kill it off. Maybe lower the budget, check if there are any other big release in your genre, any other big competitors who might be advertising heavily, spending a lot of money because that’s one thing publishers have. They have a lot more money, lot bigger advertising budgets. They don’t spend those budgets for a lot of authors, but when they do, that’s serious money that they throw at Facebook. So yeah, if you have this kind of audience getting expensive. Don’t kill off the campaign. Just lower the budget to dollars a day, let it run and see if it gets better. If it doesn’t, kill it, but it might get better suddenly. It’s happened to me in the past and then you’d just reactivate the audience.

All that to say, Facebook ads themselves that aren’t getting more expensive but audiences do get more expensive as more and more people target them. So what do you want to do? You want to find your own audiences. You want to differentiate yourself through audience. So I don’t know if you’re familiar with the concept of blue ocean marketing, but I thought it’d be a great slide to include because it’s a beautiful picture. And also because this concept applies really well to Facebook ads. And the idea behind Blue Ocean Marketing is that in marketing there are red oceans, red seas and blue oceans. in these Red seas there a lot, a lot, a lot of fishing boats competing for the same fish. So it leads to basically less fish. And also it makes it harder for every fish in that ocean to get any results basically.

Whereas blue oceans are these magical places where you’re alone on your boat, there’s no one else in the blue ocean, so all the fish are for you and you just have to throw your net and you catch a bunch of them. So obviously it’s kind of a Utopian kind of idyllic place. But again, this concept really applies well to Facebook ads. If we translate it to Facebook audiences, well the red oceans are basically the obvious interest audiences I explained before. Everyone’s going to think about targeting these two, three big household name authors and their around. So it’s a red sea because everyone’s going to go there. And then you’ll have some kind of Purple Seas as I’d call them, that are less obvious interest audience. That’s not the two, three big hustles names. It’s maybe some big indies who are big enough to have their audience on Facebook or smaller trad pub authors who have a small audience or kind of creative audiences that are not related to authors in books, but that you can mix and match with other interests to create a relevant audience that a lot of other people won’t, a lot of other authors won’t have thought about.

So these are what I call less obvious interest audiences. So they’re purple oceans cause you’re going to find less authors targeting them, but you might have other industries, other players, targeting them. And finally you’ve got the proper blue oceans, which are audiences you create yourself, custom audiences and lookalikes. So I already explained what the red oceans are. I’m going to go next into the purple ones. How to find less obvious interest you target. Now there’s a technique I generally use to find as many interests as possible to target when I start working for a new author. And that involves Amazon’s also boughts and Facebook’s audience insights. I’m going to give you a quick demo how I do that on this book by an ALLi indie author. I hope she won’t mind. So if I were to try to find audiences to target to promote these books, obviously Sci Fi, some kind of space. There’s some space opera with a circus in there. It’s a great book, actually. I read it and I loved it. So, if you, like, get a book, definitely grab it.

And so what I, what I do is I open the books page and I go to the also boughts. So thank God Amazon has reinstated also boughts on most book pages. So that’s really great for us marketers. So I tried to find in the also boughts, names that are big enough to have an audience on Facebook. So for example, if I take this, Jeanetta Penner here, I’ve never heard of her and so I’m guessing that she won’t have an interest in Facebook. Sorry, Jeanetta. However, Cory Doctorow, well, I can bet that he has an audience on Facebook as you can see, I can find them here. Sorry, I didn’t explain what this was. This is Facebook audience insights. So when you are in Facebook ads manager, you can open this little burger here and go to audience insights here.

And this basically gives you a lot of info about any audience here. I’ve selected the US and have selected, I haven’t filtered my search by any kind of demographic and I just want to use this to test whether these names exists as interests on Facebook. So Cory Doctorow obviously and his book exist as interests. Now what’s interesting with audience, Facebook, what it’s insights is going to tell you what this audience looks like. So it’s 58% men and it’ll tell you about their relationship status and education level, which is not that interesting. And then what they’re interested in. And then if you go to the second top page likes, you can see people who like Cory Doctorow what other pages do they like. So it’s For The Win, which is a page about sports. It’s not that interesting. It was Boing Boing which is good, kind of makes sense. But I mean if I want to advertise a space opera, it might make sense for me to target Cory Doctorow it’s worth testing. But it’s certainly what makes sense for me to target fans off for the winner Boing Boing. So, sometimes you’ll find interesting stuff in here and sometimes not.

Obviously you’ve got to trust your instincts on that. Cool. So I found Corey, Corey, that’s nice. I’m going to try to find more. I don’t think any of those will be available as audiences on Facebook. So next step, what do I do, I open this book’s page and I’m going to go into the also boughts of this also bought. Cory Doctorow is obviously a household name. So he’ll have more household names or at least like prominent authors in there that I can target.

Isaac Asimov, I could try, it’s not totally relevant but obviously if I look at Isaac Asimov, he’ll definitely have an audience in there. I’m not going to plug him in. And for now cause it’s kind of Sci Fi classics. Robert, sorry, Robert, are you available as an audience? I believe you are. Yes, he is. So here by combining the two, we’ve got 10, 15k monthly active people. It’s not a lot, you probably want to find more people like that. Nick Webb’s really big in Sci Fi but I don’t think he’s available now. Last time I checked, you should check regularly by the way, because these tend to change pretty quickly. Neil Gaiman. Neil Gaiman is obviously available, but he’s not, he’s a very versatile authors. So if I target Neil Gaiman with a space opera it’s probably not going to work that great, but I mean, it’s worth a try. You can always try it. Who else can I try, Patrick? Nope.

There’s a lot of trial and error obviously on this. You’ve got to go through a lot of people. You’ve got to know your genre as well. Here, Andrew Norton, for example, he’s available, and it’s still small. So this is something you can do and then you can check the page likes. We’re still got for the win there, so it’s not great, but you can go through more authors like that and try to find more interests to target. Time consuming. I haven’t really found a work around for that, but it’s almost every time it’s allowed me to find some authors I didn’t really know had an interest audience on Facebook. And if I didn’t know, if it wasn’t obvious to me, probably it wasn’t obvious to other authors. So it’s probably authors that aren’t targeted, that often, by people running ads.

Another thing you can do is instead of checking also boughts like this, it’s checking also authors that can go a little bit quicker. So you go to an authors page and you go to customers also bought items by, which I call the also authors. And here we can find, so Neal Stephenson, again, not really ideal for a space opera and Martha Wells probably would be. So I’m going to try if she, nope, she hasn’t, Ernest Cline, makes sense, could make sense. At least for testing. Ernest Cline, he is available, he’s available and boom, we found a pretty big, potential comp author to target. Obviously it’s not totally space opera, but I think these two could be interesting audiences to target at least. The further you’re going to go into so into kind of also boughts, also boughts, also boughts. The further you’re going to dilute the relevance.

So if I look at also author from Ernest Cline, I’m going to get into hard Sci Fi by Andy Weir, actually definitely worth targeting. I’m going to get into Stephen King where it’s like, yeah, through horrors or veering away, especially if we’re talking household names, we’re going to veer away from, the actual niche we want to target. So that’s one way to find other authors who have interests. Now, authors are not the only interest you can target. Obviously this is not like Amazon ads or Bookbub ads where you really want to stick to kind of author names and book titles. This is Facebook ads. You’ve got more interests, you’ve got more things to try. If I plug in space opera, which is an obvious interests to target, I can start looking at the page likes. So I’ve got Star Wars, okay.

Pretty obvious, but I’ve got Firefly. Firefly is actually a great audience, if you’re targeting, you’ve got a bunch of them actually. If you’re targeting Scifi to writing Sci Fi, Firefly’s actually a pretty cool audience and it’s slightly harder to find intuitively than like Star Wars, you know, and so on and so on. So this is the idea as well. If I plug in *inaudible* Sci Fi, I can find more ideas in here. It can try Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, et cetera, and we find our Firefly in here as well. So we can find a bunch of ideas. And obviously you should, if you’re targeting something that’s not author related, not book related, you should always narrow down by something book related. So, I’ll go into some examples later. But if you’re doing a cross promotion you can narrow down by Bookbub audience, Bookbub interest, sorry. If you’re targeting an Amazon book and that’s in Kindle Unlimited, narrow down by the three kindle interests. Amazon kindle, kindle and kindle store. If you’re targeting a book on ibooks, you can target it by ibooks, et cetera, et cetera. So narrow it down, especially if you’re using interests that are not immediately book related.

Alright. That’s it for kind of finding interest based audiences. As I said, you should always narrow and expand. So for example, here is an audience that’s pretty obvious, but thanks to the kind of narrowing maybe it’s going to be slightly, it’s going to be a lot more relevant. Basically, if I’m writing an epic fantasy book and I’m running a price promo on it, then this audience makes a lot of sense for me because it, I target the intersection of two of the biggest epic fantasy authors narrowed down by the bookbub and ereader news to date interests here. So some interest to try out as I mentioned for a price promos, you’ve got ereader news today, you’ve got Pixel of Ink, Ebook Lovers, Free Ebooks or Free Kindle Books. All these are available audiences. A lot of these are small and on top of the obvious Bookbub one that I haven’t put in there cause cause it’s obvious not because I forgot it.

All of these are small, but if you put them altogether incrementally or create a big enough audience for each target. And then if you want to advertise books outside Amazon, cause we don’t really want to throw more money at Amazon now do we? Especially if you have big, high priced box sets on iBooks or on Kobo, you should, you really should, you can target, they all have available audiences. So Kobo has Kobo, Kobo Inc, Kobo ereader. So try those. Barnes and Noble has Barnes and Noble and Barnes and Noble Nook and Ibooks, apple has Ibooks Ibook, maybe they have Apple Books now as well. And what I really recommend you do is, narrow down by devices. Apple owns iPhone. And also when you set up your ads, actually you have, when you set up ads on mobile, you can restrict on which devices your ad shows. So if you’re targeting, Ibooks audience, if you’re sending people to an Apple Books page, make sure you only advertise to people who are browsing on their iPhone or iPad. If you make sure you only advertise to people in the Apple ecosystem because other, that will drastically reduce your costs.

As I said, actual advice that you can implement right away. So these were purple oceans. Remember, like less obvious interest audience. Now we’re going to be talking about blue oceans. Blue oceans are basically custom and lookalike audiences. So audiences you create yourself. Now, there are a lot of ways to create an audience, but one of the best ones, actually I can probably talk more about that. But one of the best ones is to use the Facebook pixels. So I’m going to go in here and if I go to audiences here, there are lots of ways to create custom audiences, so create custom audience. I can select either customer falls, so if you have a main lists, I can use your website traffic. So we’re going to be talking about that in a second. It’s the Facebook pixel. I can use app activity unless you have an app that’s not open to you. And I can use engagement and engagement, customer *inaudible*, website traffic, are the main ones we’re going to use. Engagement is awesome. You can target all the people who interacted with your Facebook page in the past, Facebook page, everyone who engaged with your page.

Video. Anyone who watched your video in the past. Lead form, if you are using Facebook lead ads, Instagram business profile, if you’re linked to your Instagram account, you can target all the people who engage with your Instagram business page in the past 365 days. So that’s a bunch of custom audiences you can create. Custom audiences are usually super small unless you’re big author already. They’re usually small, but they allow you to create lookalike audiences off of them. And those are big. And more importantly, when customer audience has become a little bit big, for example, you have a mailing list of 20,000 people or more, that’s definitely an audience you can already target, retarget rather, when you have a new launch coming out because it’s people who are already familiar with your brand, who have interacted with your brand in the past, so they’ll be really good audiences to target for full price books or new releases, typically. They’re warm audiences already.

Cool. So back to my presentation. A pixel is worth a thousand interests. One of the best decisions you can make right now is to place your pixel everywhere. Your Facebook Pixel. The Pixel is basically Facebook’s tracking system that allows Facebook to know when people visit your website or book funnel. And that allows you to retarget those audiences afterwards.

If you go to your events manager in Facebook, you can create a Facebook pixel. And once it’s created, you’ll have the pixel id here. So fetch the pixel id, copy it somewhere, then go to your book funnel page if you have a book phone page for any reader magnets and add the Pixel id in the advanced settings at the bottom of this giveaway page. And then name your events, you have two events. First event is when people land on the giveaway page. So I’d recommend a page view or view content event there. And then, a second event when people actually enter, have entered their email address and have redeemed the book. Then you can have a complete registration event there. So you can set up the Facebook Pixel on book funnel with two different events. And that will actually tell you the percentage of people who land on Book Funnel and actually download your freebie and sign up to your list so that your conversion is there. And it will also allow you to retarget not only all the people who sign up to your list, your book funnel, but all the people who lands on your book funnel page. So it’s going to be probably a much bigger audience. And the bigger the customer audience, the easier it is to create a look alike and to retarget.

So right away after this, if you use Book Funnel, make sure that you go place your pixel in there. It doesn’t cost anything and it will allow you to start generating custom audiences right away. Another great way to great customer audience, is using video. Video is not just great because Facebook is known for pushing video and giving you lower costs, lower CPMs for video and all that but because if 10,000 people view your video, that’s a 10,000 custom audience that you can create and retarget at any point and that you can create a look alike off. So here’s an example from our good friend Mark, one of his ads that he actually, yeah, I’ll show you how to find those. But, that actually came up in my feed and that’s a video. That’s a video. And I really like this tactic and I’m actually done it for some clients of mine and it’s to run kind of book trailer ads like this one.

So it’s targeting a wide audience. So you take a big look alike or a huge interest audience and you throw them a video announcing a book launch. You’re not so much interested in them clicking learn more and buying the preorder cause it’s a cold audience. So they’re probably not going to buy your book, but you’re going to generate a lot of impressions. You’re going to generate awareness basically. You’re going to begin to generate awareness in your genre around your upcoming release and you’re going to get people to view the video. You’re going to generate video views and some sales and during launch week if you’ve accumulated maybe, I don’t know, ten thousand, twenty thousand, thirty thousand video views, it doesn’t cost a lot of money to do that. I mean it does require some budget, but it’s not as huge as you would think. You can retarget all the people who viewed 10 seconds or 25% or 50% of your video with your buy my book ad basically, and you can get those people to buy a book at full price because they’ve seen your video, they’re familiar with your brand. They knew that they had a book coming up and they bothered watching certain percentage of your video so you knew that it’s a somewhat qualified audience and so you’re buy my book ads are going to be a lot more effective.

Another example, this is for a reader magnet from an author, free prequel, so nothing crazy. Here’s something a lot of you are doing, free prequel novella set up on book funnel and she’s advertising it through a video, why a video ad? Because that’s a huge retargeting machine. That’s a huge custom audience making machine because you’re going to have a lot of things happening here by promoting this kind of post. First, you’re going to get video views. So same idea as before, you can retarget all the people who view, who have viewed your ad. Then you’re going to have people who click on Book Funnel. They’re going to click on Book Funnel. You have the Pixel on Book Funnel, so you’re going to re target all the people who view your Book Funnel page. And then a percentage of those is then going to subscribe to your mailing list. And your mail list is obviously custom lists. So it’s another retargetable audience. So you’re going to be able to generate three kinds of custom audiences. One that’s going to be very big, video views. One is going to be slightly smaller, Book Funnel pixel hits. And then one that’s even smaller, which is mailing list signups. Now with an ad like that, I’ve been able to generate signups to a mailing list that under 20 cents per signup. So first it can grow your mailing list very quickly and very efficiently and create additional audiences to retarget and create lookalikes off of.

So I’m really, really positive on video, I know everyone’s talking about video, but I definitely second that. There are a few tools that you can use. You can use Lumen5, which is paid but it can basically help you turn texts into video very, very easily. So you just kind of write a little script. If you’re promoting a thriller, “When was the last time you screamed reading a book? Get this new release by the USA Today bestselling author, blah, blah, blah.” And you can pick some kind of a free video footage to go along with it. So you pay for a license, usually in Lumen5, but then you can use a lot of, they have a lot of free video footage in there, and a really, really easy way to create a video. There’s not all of customization possibilities, but it’s very easy to use. Very intuitive. Werble is a phone app that allows you to create a little animated image just like this one where you’ve got like some sprinkles going on, things like that. I also use another app called, I haven’t put it on the slide but I use Pixel Loop as well. There’s a bunch of those. There’s a bunch of apps like that for kind of turning images into videos, animating images.

And a really cool website that Mark Dawson told me about, so all credit to him and that one is Pond5, which is basically Getty images for videos. So you can find a bunch of stock video footage that’s paid. And there’s a lot of really good stuff on there, especially for Sci Fi. There are some amazing spaceship videos on there.

Great. So we’ve talked about how to create custom audiences, every time I’ve said you can create a lookalike off of that. For those of you who don’t know what lookalikes are and have been like puzzled for the past few minutes. A look alike is basically a taking a customer audience, so people who have viewed your video or your mailing list and telling Facebook, okay, try to find people in the United Kingdom or in the United States that are similar to this audience of mine. And that’s generally expressed as a percentage of the population. So in the US, it’s going to create audiences off around 1.2 million people if you stick to a 1% of the country, which you should in the beginning. So always stick to 1%. So guidelines for winner look alike audience because everyone wants to create lookalikes, but most lookalikes are not going to work if you don’t, if you’re not a little bit patient first, I really recommend successful custom audience, test your custom audience first. I’ve had some video views, I’ve had videos that gathered hundreds of thousands of views. And I created a lookalike of that and I was like, “Great, it’s going to be a great look alike because it’s a big audience.” And the lookalike didn’t work. So I was thinking, “Okay that’s weird.” So I actually tried remarketing, retargeting, that video views audience and it didn’t work either because it just wasn’t a video that was relevant enough. So obviously first use videos that are relevant, that showcase your books, or that clearly express your genre.

And then test your custom audiences, try retargeting with a very small budget to your custom audience, see what the response is and if your customer audience works and it and it is big enough, then create a look alike. What is big enough in my experience, two thousand, three thousand people, anything below that you’re lookalike’s probably not going to be great. Anything about 5,000 the look alike’s probably going to work.

I’ve had some Facebook marketing partners, so people from Facebook, advisors telling me that it’s best if you have 10,000 people in your custom audience. But I’ve had great lookalikes with 3000 people. So yeah, test basically. Alright. That’s differentiation through audiences. How to find other audiences. Now I’m going to get into creatives cause obviously if everyone targets Lee Child and James Patterson who’s going to win? The person with the most interesting and creative and relevant ad.

So if you have never done that before in Facebook, I highly recommend split testing audiences and creatives. So when you set up a new campaign, you can select split test here and now it’s actually available in a bunch more places. And you can split test the creative. One great thing is once you’ve created a bunch of different ads to split test, when the split test is over, Facebook tells you the percentage of chances of the winning ad being the same if you were to run the test again. So for example, here that a 60% chance that I’d get the same winter, it’s not a huge percentage, but it’s big enough for me to believe that this is really the best ad. So if this is your first time targeting advertising a new book a or testing a new audience or really getting into Facebook ads, make sure that you split test ads unless you go straight into dynamic creative ads, which we’re going to talk about in a second.

A great way to get inspiration is to spy on your competitors. So this is a real neat trick if you have never heard of that, you’re sure you’re going to like it is you take the Facebook page, which you’re not even have to like of someone, a big author in your genre who you suspect is running ads. And then you go to the sidebar here of the page and you go to Info and ads and then you can see all the active ads from this author, she isn’t running any ads in my location, which is Spain, which kind of makes sense and I’m a bit disappointed. Like you do have readers in Spain as well, Bella, but she’s running ads in a bunch of other places. She’s running ads in the states. So I’m going to check, “Ooh, I have my romance that I really want to promote on Facebook.

Bella Andrew is a big comp author of mine. So what kind of ads are working for her?” I’m pretty sure she’s been able to do a lot of tests so I can check all the ads that she’s running. I can immediately see that she’s using a lot of ad copy. It’s basically built on characters. It’s most character focused than plot focused, not surprising for a romance book. Interesting use of stars as emojis, little review and she uses free on Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Unlimited here. So these are probably things that are could replicate on my end. I’m not saying copy this, cause copying is never great but do get inspiration from it. Here she is including a lot of links so you could try that as well and you can basically spy on any other author or publisher out there.

That’s how I found these publisher ads I showed you earlier in the presentation. So a little trick to basically spy on everyone. This is actually a bit worrying that you can spy so much on what other advertisers are doing, but it’s all there. So I want to showed you. There you go., Which also means that other people might be spying on you by the way, but that’s how you get inspiration. Cool. I want to spend a little bit of time on the text and images thing because if you’ve read the book by Michael Cooper, Help My Facebook Ads Suck, which I really recommend you read and I am actually promoting it later on this presentation I think, he says to never use your cover or any form of text in your ads. In my experience I wouldn’t be, I wouldn’t really say that, I wouldn’t really advise for that, but I get his logic and his logic is that Facebook limits the reach of your images as soon as it sees texts. They don’t want to see text on images.

So since your image is without texts and covers, obviously have text on them. Cause if you have a cover without title and author name, then I really think you should rethink your cover. So covers have text on them, ads with covers on them, or ads with text on them, images with text on them so they’re going to get a limited reach. And limited reach means higher costs generally. Now in my experience in my tests, that’s true for a Scifi and fantasy a lot of the times, not every time, but a lot of the times, so I’m going to give you an example here, one ad has a cover on it and another ad that doesn’t have the cover on it and the ad without the cover has a substantially higher CTR. These aren’t great, but these are quick tests I ran and it is true that most of my tests were Sci Fi and Fantasy images without the cover on them have higher click through rates.

My hypothesis for that is that it’s easy for Fantasy and Sci Fi to find images that are very compelling that tell you immediately about the genre, and that are also going to draw real people to click. Now what I would test is the conversion of those eyes using an Amazon affiliate link, which is technically forbidden but we still do it. So that’s a conversion because what I found often is that on images that don’t showcase the cover that the conversion afterwards on the Amazon page was lower because some people click through not knowing that this is actually promoting a book. They see the image “Oh, cool image” and been buried out of *inaudible*, oh that’s an awesome new Netflix series, no wait, it’s a book? Gah! I don’t read. So you can get into issues like that. So always check your conversion. It’s not all about CTR. Give you another example. This is cozy mystery. It’s a lot more difficult to come up with an image that conveys cozy mystery. So in this case, I’ve three or four different ads, I’ve split test four different ads to promote this box set that was discounted to 0.99 and which one had the highest CTR? The one that had not only the covers on them, not only the price, but this week only on it, the one that had the most text on it, the one that had the most limited reach by Facebook.

So reach is not always everything. Sometimes adding text in there actually further increases your chances of getting a good CTR and a lower cost per click.

Alright. Now I’m going to talk a little bit about dynamic ads. Dynamic, a lot of people are talking about dynamic ads. I think if you’re one of Mark Dawson’s students he’s gonna include dynamic ads in his next iteration of the ads course, which I recommend as well, by the way, And a lot of people are talking about dynamic ads. I not a big fan of them myself, but they’re definitely working for enough people that I think you should give them a try. So dynamic guys are basically, you telling Facebook, here are 10 images, here are 10 headlines, here are ten descriptions and newsfeed descriptions, play with them, have fun, and find out which one’s, which combination is the best and for which format as well, whether it’s for Facebook, Instagram stories, et cetera. So you select, what’s important to know is you select the dynamic creative option in the ad set, not on the ad level. At the ad sets level. When you creating a new ad set, you select dynamic creative here. And then on the ad creation level you have the option to enter up to five headlines or I said 10, but it’s five headlines, five newsfeed link descriptions, you can add in five images as well. And you can also add more calls to action. So for example, a lot of people wonder whether learn more is better than download is better than shop now is better than signup. Dynamic ads are a way to throw a bunch of things in there and see which ones work best. So instead of running split tests, as I was always showing earlier, you could just set up all your options in here the dynamic ad and then let Facebook optimize.

For me, again, for me when I’ve tried this, it hasn’t worked better than like, the best ads I was running after split testing. But for a lot of authors they are working much better. So again, test and see what works best for you, for your book, for your genre. One cool thing with dynamic ads though is that you can check which headlines, images and texts are performing the best to do that, just select your ad in the ads level, go to breakdown and in the breakdown in the , sorry, in the dropdown menu under breakdown, you can select by dynamic creative asset and Facebook’s going to break down the results. You can view combination is basically the winning combination. And then you can also view, the performance of your different texts, headlines, description, traction, et cetera. So you can actually see which assets of yours are working the best.

So identify the best performing assets. Once you’ve had, you’ve spent like a couple of days or weeks advertising that ad and you have a big enough data sets, identify your best performing assets and then try to create additional assets similar to your best performing ones, then replace your worst performing assets by the new ones. You just create it and just keep iterating and improving like that. Just, like, identify what’s working the best, stop what’s working the worst and replaced what was working the worst by similar or alternative versions of what was working the best. It’s pure logic, but I believe that’s a good way to keep improving your dynamic ads and basically feed Facebook with more and more good stuff for them to mix and match. Also, think about all formats. Don’t hesitate about keeping using square videos or other forms, square images and other formats of images, even portrait mode because especially if you select like a stories placements or Instagram placements, Facebook’s automatically probably automatically going to use the right images and dimensions for the right placements.

Alright, so this was clearly something on dynamic ads and if you’re not doing dynamic ads and even if you’re doing them, I also want to be talking about non, about changing the way you do ads. A lot of people are going to do even dynamic ads, single image ads. So one image, headline description and that’s it. And we’re, I think there’s some kind of a reader fatigue on Facebook feed about seeing the same kinds of ads every time. So you can try new formats, I personally have, I’ve had a lot of success with depending on the genre, always, with carousel and collection canvas or now they call it instance experience ads. So this is a carousel ad basically. It works really well if you’re promoting a series, these are two examples, basically four or five book series and you create one image for each book, and you have four of them in the carousel.

This is a little bit more attractive. Also, Facebook is trying to push the carousel format, so you get slightly better reach and slightly lower CPM on those. But more importantly for readers, it’s stresses the idea immediately when they see this in their feed that we’re talking about a series. So you’re immediately going to attract series readers. Now in most cases you’re only going to get clicks and purchases on book one because again, you’re reaching people on Facebook who don’t know about you yet. They haven’t read your books so it makes sense for them to start in book one. So you’re not going to get a lot of sales on the following books. You’re going to get some maybe, but not a lot of them. But the purpose of showing the other books is to again, stress the idea that this is a series and this is what makes carousel ads for series oftentimes more powerful than a single image ad. Now you can take the carousel and bring it to another dimension, which is the instant experience ads as Facebook call them now instant experience is basically you show either a video and a headline like this in your ad or video headline and then carousel below, with always some description above.

And then when people click on it, it doesn’t go straight to Amazon. It opens an instant experience within Facebook and this in the instant experience, you can show more things, you can show more texts, show another video and create a whole landing page for your books. Basically you can put buy buttons to all the different stores. So on the one hand it adds one step in the buying process. So a lot of people are not going to like it because of that. It adds an extra step in the process. But what I found is that can actually be helpful and I’ll explain why just in the next slide. But what I also want to stress is that this is really big for retargeting because it generates video views.

If you have a video to open the instant experience. So video views are retargetable audience. You can include your reader magnet as well. So it’s a retargetable audience. All the people who open your instant experience, they can be retargeted as well. You can create a custom audience based off people who open an instant experience and also drive sales. And again stands out cause not a lot of authors are running these kinds of ads. Not all publishers are running these kinds of ads either. So when you see this format in your feed, you’re like, “That’s weird. What kind of ad is this? What kind of even boost is this?”

Alright. So as I said earlier, it’s not all about cost per click and click through rate. A lot of authors are just focusing on this metric when running ads and it makes sense. You want to get the cheapest possible cost per click. But clicks mean a lot of different things on Facebook. When you just get the normal Facebook dashboard, you just get the clicks all and cost per click all. These are the things you usually see. And this can be very, very low and Ken and be like error inducing. Because here, for example, we’ve got a collection which is an instant experience and we’ve got, we’re getting a lower cost per click, but this is people who click on the ad and open the instant experience. So obviously it’s a lower cost because Facebook wants to encourage people to use instant experiences. But what you’re actually interested in is how many people click go to Amazon or go to retailers after seeing the instant experience, sorry, and this is measured by unique outbound clicks and this is a very, very important metric that you can only view if you customize your reporting dashboard on Facebook. So here I can see that 84% of people who click on the ad viewed the instant experience, and 269 out of those 940 clicks, go to Amazon.

This is a carousel, so there’s no instant experience. When people click on a carousel they go straight to Amazon. So out of these 483 people clicked on it, there were 302 unique outbound clicks. This is probably because same people click twice or there were some clicks on like page or on on the page or on like or on things like that. So these are counted as clicks as well, but they’re not outbound, they don’t go to the retailers. So you want to measure the outbounds. So here, I could think, “Okay, this instant experience is working better because it has a lower CPC. So I’m going to kill the carousel as I did. But if I look into actually unique outbound cost per click, I can see that the cost per click is much, much, much higher. It costs me 24 pence to get a reader to click through to the retailers is after seeing my instant experience, where it only costs me 15 pence for one reader to go to Amazon after seeing this carousel. So I should actually stop the collection and keep the carousel going. Except there’s a last I mentioned, I was talking about that earlier. It’s like the conversion on Amazon page. I monitor that with an Amazon affiliate link. And what I found out is the carousel I set up two different tracking codes. And what I found out is the carousel traffic actually converts at 10% on the Amazon page.

Whereas the traffic from the incident experience, because people have watched an instant experience, have learned about my book that they interacted with my brand and they’ve made the decision to click a second time to take them to the retailers. That conversion was twice as high as the one from the carousel. So, all in all we’ve got a cost per click that’s higher for the collection and the Carousel, but we’ve got an Amazon conversion that is higher on the on the instant experience then on the carousel. In the end, the ROI was similar, but why am I keeping the collection going instead of the carousel? It’s because I care more about conversion than I care about clicks.

Remember, if you’ve read David Gaughran’s awesome newsletters and books, you’ll know that Amazon rewards conversion. If you have a book that if you get like a thousand clicks on a book and no one buys it, Amazon is just going to kill your book because they’re going to think this, like, I’m never going to promote this book because when I sent it to people, if I send it to people, no one cone’s going to buy them. And I am interested in actually selling boats. So if you manage to send traffic to Amazon that converts, that’s probably going to help your book a lot more than if you send traffic to Amazon that doesn’t convert. So be wary about tracking conversion and try, don’t hesitate to qualify your audiences more by running instant experience ads or ads with an intermediary landing page even if that reduces the amount of people who land on Amazon if it gives you a better conversion than that’s actually better.

Now, a last word on mathematics because I know it’s, I know we all love that. Don’t forget about read through. If you’re already familiar about read through then I’m sorry for the next few slides, but if you aren’t, this is probably going to change the way you think about ads so it’s really important. I like to use this example for an author who has a first book at $0.99, a second book at $3.99. So the first book is perma $0.99 so they only have a 35% royalty on Amazon on it. Now your Facebook ad campaign has a cost per click of 10 cents per click and your Amazon book page converts at 10%. So it clear it costs you 10 cents to bring one a reader to Amazon and only one in 10 readers, but actually buy your book. So each sale costs you $1 basically. Now one sale costs you $1 and only makes you earn 35 cents. Cause again, you’re on the 35% royalties. So you’re can think, “Okay, I’m losing money here. I’m going to kill this campaign,” which is actually a really, really, really good campaign and a campaign that’s actually making you money. Because even just, even if just 25% of the readers who buy book one, buy book two, you’re actually breaking even in the formula below. But basically your cost per sale is $1 and your earnings per sale are at least 35 cents on the sale of Book One plus the 25% probability that they’ll buy book two and the earnings of book two are $3.99 times 70%. So that all in all amounts to $1. Now if you’ve written a good series, a good first book, you’ll probably see a read through, of more than 25%.

And what I call, read through is this percentage here, the amount of readers who will make their way from book one to book two and from book two to book three and from three to four, et cetera. And so if you factor in, read through in your ROI calculations, it can actually help you keep Facebook campaigns that you thought were losing you money when they’re actually making you money. So how would you calculate read through? It’s simple. You just look at your latest book report over a sizable period and you divide the number of sales off book two, three, four, etc. Sorry, there’s a typo here in your series by the sales of book one. Unless you’ve run huge promotions on book two, three, four or if you’ve had a new release or something like that, which are going to skew the data, you should see a lot more sales on book one, book two, more sales on book three because people make their way through your series, basically. So readthrough is expressed as a percentage. So 50% of people who buy book one will read book two. Basically sales book two divided by sales book one, 50% and when estimating, read through when doing this, using your book report, make sure you use a significant data set. So at least at a 90 day period. I’d say, and ideally a 90 day period in which you haven’t had any promotions, free promotions, price promotions, new releases on any of the books in the series.

I’ll give you a relatively clean read through figures and then you just basically calculate how much a sale of book one is worth to you to understand how much you’re right to spend on ads. So for example, on a five book series with book one price of $0.99 and all the following ones $3.99 if you see that you’ll have a read through of 60% for books two to five. So like 60% of people who read book one read, book two and then three, four, five. Then you just create a little formula. Okay, how much am I earning if I sale, if I managed to get a sale of book one how much is that sale going to earn me throughout the lifetime. It’s going to earn me the earnings on sale of book one obviously and these earnings are going to be immediate. $0.99 times 35%, then it’s going to earn me the earnings on sale off books two to five multiplied by the read through. So there’s 60% percentage that this sale is actually going to earn me a sale of books two to five are worth, four times, obviously four books, four times $3.99 times 70%

So all in all, a sale of book one is worth $7 to me. So any ads that I run where my cost per sale is under $7 are making me money. Now this money is not immediate, obviously, because it takes time for readers to make their way through your series. So you should be conscious about that. Just don’t start spending crazy amounts of money that you can’t afford because you’re not going to make that money immediately. Your only going to make that money as they make their way through your series. So do be careful about that.

Then there are other factors to take into account before stopping a campaign that you think is the losing your money. There’s read through, but there’s also if your book is in Kindle Unlimited, I’m not going to get into Kindle Unlimited calculations, but if you read Michael Cooper’s book, he’s got a great first chapter about read through and Kindle Unlimited.

Do keep in mind though that there’s a high, if you mentioned Kindle Unlimited as we saw Bella Andrew does in your ad image and your ad copy, you’ve got a higher chance of people who click, of people clicking on your ad buying or getting the book for free on Kindle Unlimited cause your ad is naturally going to appeal more Kindle Unlimited readers.

So the ratio of the probability of people, of readers clicking in your ad and getting the book through Kindle Unlimited rather than purchasing it is much, much higher than if you didn’t include Kindle Unlimited in your ad creative.

Also if you’re targeting is narrowed by Kindle interest, that’s also going to make it more likely that people who click on it are in Kindle Unlimited. Is your ad accumulating a lot of video views and interactions? I’ve actually kept ads that weren’t necessarily at the cost per result that I wanted just because they were getting a lot of interacts and video views and these are things that allow me to create customer audiences and retarget. So I kept those going.

Are the sales contributing to ranking improvements? Obviously you might have a campaign that’s generating a lot of sales for you with an ROI that’s slightly negative, but you think, you may think that these sales are enough for your books to rank well and that will bring other sales that you are not accounting for in your ROI calculation. So I’ll keep the ads going. And finally, something I touched on before, are your ads negatively or positively impacting your Amazon page conversion. If you have ads that are working super well in terms of cost per click, but are converting very, very poorly on Amazon. You’re basically sending a lot of traffic to Amazon that doesn’t convert and you’re signalling to Amazon that your book is a loser. You don’t want to do that.

Similarly, if you’ll have an ad that’s converting very well on Amazon, but that’s really high to get clicks on, like it costs you a lot of money to get clicks, but these clicks convert very well. You might want to keep that ad because it signals to Amazon that your book converts well. Should you hire a professional marketer? I promised I would get into that because I’m thinking at this point you’re thinking, can I just get someone to do all of this for me because I want to write my books. I don’t want to go into all these Roi calculations and ads and all that boring stuff and you like Facebook ads could you do it for me? Well, yes, there are some people running Facebook ads for authors, but there’s not a lot of them out there. We do have some people on reedsy but again, not a lot of them.

And more importantly, I think it makes sense in some cases to work with someone on your ads. But only if you meet certain criteria. First, you should know the basics of advertising. You should understand the presentation that I just gave, CPC, ROI, et Cetera, because when the advertiser’s going to give you a report on how the ads went, they might be telling you, “Yeah, you’re making a lot of money,” but if you don’t, actually, if you’re not actually able to look into the data, you won’t know whether they’re actually making you money or not. Ads work best, especially on Facebook, if you want to advertise a series with a solid read through for all the reasons I explained above, it’s hard to advertise all the things in series and if your series has a bad read through, then you shouldn’t really try advertising it on Facebook.

If you want to try a new marketing channel, if you’ve never tried Facebook ads, but you understand the basics of advertising, then yeah it could make sense to hire someone and the real case in which it makes the most sense. If you’ve been running semi successful ad campaigns and you just want someone to scale them, and outsource it to someone, then that makes sense as well because you’re going to be able to verify whether they’re doing the job properly or not. When does it not make sense? If you have a standalone or a series of books with no crossover because it’s very hard to get ROI on just one book. If you haven’t invested in professional editing and design. I refuse clients on a daily basis because their covers are horrible. It’s impossible, like, to advertise a book with a horrible cover.

That’s, yeah, doesn’t need further explanation. If you don’t know who your target market is. Obviously you, we talked a lot about audiences. If you don’t know who to target in terms of audience interests on Facebook, then you’re advertiser is not going to come come up with that for you. Like you should know who your target market is. And if you don’t know anything, or don’t want to learn about advertising. So you again, you want to be able to check that they’re doing their job well and in order to do that you need to know the basics about advertising and Facebook ads.

So where can you find a good advertiser? We have, well, first you can ask other authors, obviously as usual, use Facebook groups and use the ALLi directory, but we also have book marketers and book advertised on Reedsy. So if you login to Reedsy, you go to marketing and you filter, choose a service, advertising, you’re going to find a number of people who can, who may be able to run ads for you. And ensuring the importance of knowing the basics about advertising before you hire anyone. Honestly, on Reedsy we make money only if you hire people, but whenever I talk to authors, I prefer funneling them to our free courses when it comes to marketing because I think it makes more sense for you to learn about marketing and than to hire someone to do it for you.

So, check out Reedsy Learning. We have a series of like 44 free courses. A lot of them are on craft, but a lot of them are in marketing as well. So go to reedsy.com/learning, marketing and then you’ll see courses on Facebook ads. Of course on Amazon ads that I just rework, of course on growing your mailing list, they’re all free. There’s 44 of them not 35. They’re all free. A lot of them have been written by myself and I keep updating them. So it’s email, it’s all delivered by email. They’re written lessons. You receive one a day for 10 days or 11 or 12 days. 11-12 days for the Amazon ads course.

And it takes just five minutes a day to go through them. So it’s very light format. It gives you the basics. It’s definitely lean, not a substitute for paid courses. Like it’s got nothing to do with paid courses. There’s no videos and there are little walkthroughs in there, but it does give you the basics of each advertising platform and how it’s set up and where your author mailing list and also points you to further resources. So I think they’re really good place to start if you don’t know a lot about Facebook, Amazon ads or other marketing topics.

And as I said, I want to give you as many resources as possible to learn on your own. So if you haven’t gotten that one, this is an awesome deal. Amazon Decoded by David Gaughran and you can get it for free by signing up to his newsletter, which is actually an amazing resource as well. So two reasons to get Amazon Decoded. Help My Facebook Ads Suck, Beat Book by Michael Cooper, a really good intro to Facebook ads. I disagree with quite a bit of stuff in there, but whenever you hear advice on Facebook, or whenever you watch a presentation like this one, always take it with a grain of salt, people are going to talk about what works for them. I’m talking about what works for me. I tried to remain as objective as possible, but everyone’s going to be talking about what works for them. So try all the things that people tell you to try but don’t think, “okay. That’s the only way to do it.” It is not. So yeah, definitely read the book if you haven’t and you want to run Facebook ads, but don’t take everything in there for granted. Like you shouldn’t take everything for granted in this presentation. Mark Dawson’s Ads for Authors course, I talked about it before. It’s not cheap, but it’s definitely worth it. And if you want to do Amazon ads, then the reference book is Mastering Amazon Ads by Brian Meeks. So these are all the ads resources I really recommend. So that’s it. Thank you for watching this presentation and I’ll try to make the slides available to you. And as I said, you’ve got my email address ricardo@reedsy.com if you have any questions and yeah, feel free to reach out. I hope you enjoyed this and have a good day and a good ALLi Self Publishing Conference.

Advanced Facebook Advertising and Marketing Strategies For Authors https://wp.me/p9MsJE-P0 via @RicardoFayet @indieauthorALLI #SelfPubCon2019 #indieauthors Click To Tweet


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