Paying for Facebook Ads does not guarantee book sales.
I have used Facebook Ads a lot over the years.
I started with Facebook ads for my teaching business and found them to be reasonably successful in attracting new local clients over the long term.
But when it comes to advertising on Facebook to help to sell books, I have to say that I have usually been disappointed.
However, I had never taken the time to do a proper check. When I ran a Facebook ad campaign for my books, I always had other forms of promotion in progress. So it was not possible to accurately say my advertising campaigns were delivering sales.
To do as accurate a check as possible, I took the time to carefully arrange a three day period when I had no other form of promotion running.
I had no Kindle free ebooks, no Kindle Countdown deals, no Twitter promo posts, no promo blog posts and no AMS Ads.
By the second day of zero promotion, I immediately noticed that my daily KDP sales were dropping, so I had learned something valuable already.
The promotion I used on Amazon and Twitter does indeed keep my sales and borrows ticking over.
Okay, now to see if I could create a Facebook Ad campaign that could get my ebook sales moving again.
In my Facebook ads manager, I set up my ads to run on the third day of no other promotion and ran a quick $20.00 campaign budget blast of eight ads.
I advertised four titles with the same ad types, with separate ads for Kindle US and Kindle UK. They were timed for afternoon traffic in the US and evening in the UK. I also used my custom target audience settings for age range and interests.
In fact, I was surprised by how successful my little ad blast turned out. 56 clicks to my Amazon book pages, and at a moderate cost of $0.36 per click.
By most normal measures for marketing efforts with paid advertising, this would mean that at a conversion rate of say 10% I could expect 5 or 6 book sales.
So I waited for 24 hours and checked my KDP sales to see if my ad objective had worked.
Yes, look carefully. Zero, zip, nil, none and zilch ebook sales.
I checked 12 hours later, and my dashboard showed the same depressing result. Nought, zero, nothing.
So why did this happen?
I have no definitive answer, except to surmise that people live inside their social media Facebook bubble. Even though they will click out to an external site, they return immediately to Facebook.
Also, when I think back to the success I had with my teaching business in attracting new clients, these came by way of contact from within Facebook by way of messages or email from my Facebook Page.
So in fact, I wasn’t getting clicks to make a sale. It was only a point of contact, with whom I could then directly negotiate.
In preparing this post, I came across an article by Donna Fasano, who documents the exact same experience with Facebook ads and ebook sales, which resulted in the same number of book sales as I got. None.
So, unless anyone can convince me otherwise, I have to draw the conclusion that Facebook Ads, in any ad format or custom audiences, have very limited value in gaining book sales. Apart perhaps from perhaps creating some brand awareness.
The only positive I can draw from this exercise is that the 56 people who clicked on my Amazon book pages will be getting reminder emails about my ebooks from Amazon in a week or two.
Meanwhile, I will immediately go back to re-setting all my book promotion tools that I know do work.