Do Facebook Ads For Ebooks Help You To Sell More Books?

Do Facebook Ads Help Sell Books

Paying for Facebook Ads for ebooks does not guarantee book sales.

I have used Facebook Ads a lot over the years.

started with Facebook ads for my teaching business and found them reasonably successful in attracting new local clients over the long term.

But when it comes to ebook Facebook ads to help to sell books, I have to say that I have usually been disappointed.


Advertising on Facebook

However, I had never taken the time to do a proper check on the success or failure of selling ebooks on Facebook.

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 that my Facebook 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. I had learned something valuable already.

The promotion I used on Amazon and Twitter did indeed keep my sales and borrows ticking over.

Okay, now I wanted to see if I could create a Facebook Ad campaign that could get my ebook sales moving again.


Run a Facebook Ad

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.

The result?

Facebook clicks for ebook ads

The success of my little ad blast was pleasantly surprising.

I got fifty-six clicks to my Amazon book pages at a moderate cost of $0.36 per click. That is cost-effective advertising.

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.

amazon sales after Facebook Ads campaign

Zero ebook sales

I checked 12 hours later, and my dashboard showed the same depressing result: naught, 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.

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. She documents the 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 conclude that Facebook Ads, in any ad format or custom audiences, have very limited value in gaining book sales.

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.

But you shouldn’t ignore Facebook marketing because it is still important for creating brand awareness for your author name and your book titles.


Use a Facebook Store

Did you know that you can promote your book on Facebook in a much better way?

It is possible to set up your own Facebook Store if you have a Facebook Page. You can add your books with a direct link to Amazon.

After you install it, it is a great way to promote your ebook and give your contacts a way to buy your book directly from your Facebook page.

Best of all, unlike Facebook ads, it is free for you to use and will be working for you twenty-four hours a day.

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent writing and blogging, as well as testing and taming new technology.

Avatar for Derek Haines

18 thoughts on “Do Facebook Ads For Ebooks Help You To Sell More Books?

  • Avatar for Shelley Young
    November 29, 2017 at 2:12 am

    I love this article, because it’s honest and it lets authors know from someone’s experience what can happen if they were thinking of doing the same thing kind of promotion. I have spent good money on Facebook Ads and like everyone else, have not seen any results or can confirm that any of my sales came through these particular ads (in the days that followed). What I can say is I have done KDP Ads and have sold books through them. How many? 3 – 5 within one week. I count that as a success, especially when my eBook is $6.99 and the cost was $.022 per click. What I find successful with KDP Ads are the keywords. You can use, I believe, as many as you want. This means anytime anyone uses those keywords, an ad (maybe yours) will appear. 3-5 books isn’t much, but it’s better than what’s considered average in ebook sales. I also noticed a jump on Kindle Unlimited pages read for this particular title. I would like to think that this jump also came from the ad, but it’s hard to say because I have 14 books and many times my sales come from readers who read one book and jumped online to purchase another. Marketing isn’t hard. I think we all have learned some cool marketing tricks. What’s hard is reaching ‘true readers.’ Avid readers buy books! How do we reach them? Once any of us can figure that out, our problem with sales will be solved. But as of now, online companies are making good money off of indie authors promoting their work. Is this a bad thing? Well, let’s just say that after I post this I will be running a new ad. The potential is there for indies to sell books, so I encourage you all to continue and hopefully that you become successful.

  • Avatar for jon wayne faust
    November 26, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    The moral of the story is forget about being an author to make money! I put 20k and 20 years into my Prince Harry superhero book and got zilch! Best to find a 9-5 job or business you can tolerate for the 30 years!

  • Avatar for David Pyle
    July 14, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this article. I was considering spending some serious cash on a Facebook campaign. Several weeks ago I tried using a “professional” service to run a 90-day campaign on Twitter, It was a moderate outlay of money considering I used their medium priced, value service.
    I had EXACTLY the same results as your Facebook experience. I did not sell ONE single ebook or print copy of my 6 published novels.
    Yes, I watched tons of Twitter posts blurting out to 120k+ supposed subscribers and readers. Had a few clicks, Not a single sale from my investment in 90 days!
    After my disillusioned phase, I created a Facebook store and slowly began to see results in actual sales. It was hard work and honestly, I’ve spent too much time with social networking, causing harm to my writing schedule. My ROI was negligible, and the resultant harm on my productivity was terrible.
    If in the future, you do find some creative avenue which won’t break the starving artist’s bank, please let us know.

  • Avatar for Brad McCormick
    January 27, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    I spent 500 bucks on a Facebook ad for my book. I hit my specific genre (horror/comedy) and tweaked it with authors, readers, eBooks, Fanboy sites, etc etc. I even included an awesome video spot for the book that everyone seemed to love. Blood and music at 100 mph! Tons of clicks, tons of likes, shares and 24,000 plus organic views, and you know how many books I sold? Zero. I don’t think Facebook ads work when you are trying to sell your book straight out. There’s one more approach I will try with a budget of around 100 dollars, just because I’m curious if it’ll work this way. If it doesn’t I will move on.

    Next time I will load the video directly to Facebook and stick to the United States only. (Avoid Indonesia. The clicks come fast and you use up your ad money quickly.) I will also stick to just the book buyers of the world. And last but not least I WILL USE A GIVEAWAY TO ADVERTISE! Apparently giveaways are a great place to get exposure in the first place. People seem to love to click on a chance to win. You can even have them have to follow one of your home pages in order to enter. I’m thinking with a ten book giveaway I can get some exposure that counts. We shall see!

    • Avatar for David Pyle
      July 14, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      I tried an Amazon giveaway, promoted it on about 6 reader outlet websites, achieved several thousand books “sold”.
      Afterward, was a bit of a sinking feeling. I waited for a mass of reviews to pour in and didn’t get any. I’m guessing that those copies of my novels are still sitting idle on everyone’s Kindle, unread. Yes, it produced exposure, but not the resultant sales I had expected.
      A well-known book marketing manager once gave me some invaluable advice.
      He said to look at CocaCola. Their main volume of drinks sell for under a dollar, yet they spend millions in advertisement campaigns. Sadly, that isn’t possible for beginning authors.

      • Avatar for Derek Haines
        July 14, 2017 at 4:21 pm

        There is a lesson to take from your CocaCola example and that is to view advertising and promotion as an investment. It probably won’t pay back initially, but it will help build recognition and, fingers crossed, a boost in sales rank. At the end of the day, selling books is all about getting and then maintaining a high sales rank.

  • Avatar for Olga Núñez Miret
    June 19, 2015 at 10:40 am

    I’ve read some posts about Facebook clicks, etc, coming from people who just click and are not the target audience (whatever Facebook say) so that might explain the results. I haven’t come across anybody saying Facebook helps sell books, but like your scientific approach to it (most people have so many things going on at the same time that it’s impossible to know if anything by itself has an effect).

  • Avatar for Donna Fasano
    June 7, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Derek, thanks for mentioning my blog post! I’d love to read an article on promotional tools that DO work! :)

    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      June 7, 2015 at 9:51 pm

      Hi Donna. I have had some relative success with KDP Ads. At least with these PPC ads, you get ads on Amazon book pages for real book buyers to see and you get feedback data on real sales. It’s a bit new, slow and clunky at present, but even with that said, it is miles ahead of FB Ads. So far I’m about equal with ad spend and sales, so not too bad. Mind you, I just sent a message to them as I discovered that I can’t edit one of my ads, as they say I should be able to do. Like I said, it’s still very clunky, but it has potential, so I’ll persist.


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