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 Chris Harrison
    November 1, 2020 at 11:20 am

    I just started a Facebook ad campaign. As soon as it started Facebook stopped it and closed my ad account. Apparently they don’t allow ads for digital products including downloadable material, so I can’t understand how anyone has managed to advertise an ebook in the past unless Facebook recently changed the policy.

  • Avatar for Brad McCormick
    October 16, 2018 at 2:28 am

    In the end, I just decided to give my book away for free. I refuse to publish through amazon again and the truth of the matter is all the promotion in the world will not help a self published author sell much of anything. Amazon and promotional pages are the only ones that will profit from your work. And the more people self publish, the more junk floods the market. So, not only do people generally not read anymore, but they stay away from self published books. I wish everyone the best of luck in their writing, but self publishing to me is a scam for dreamers.

    • Avatar for Ilana Stankler
      November 21, 2020 at 10:54 am

      From my experiences, unless you’re a celebrity and in the public eye, you will find it hard to convince literary agents to pick up your work. I have one book published and am due to publish again next year with my second book in July 2021. In the end I went the ‘hybrid route.’ I also have and run a successful website @thecpdiary which supports my work, which I have been blogging on to for some 10 years now. I have sent out 200 letters to literary agents on my first run and did get some replies, all positive telling me to continue to find a home for my work, but it wasn’t for them. With my letter I sent out a synopsis which included my book details and the first three chapters of my book. My blog is a mental health and lifestyle blog. It has over 19,000 comments and is very successful. It continues to support my writing. Long story short, people will support you if they are interested and in a position to do so. Would I change anything of what I’ve done? No, it’s a massive achievement. The book industry has also been hit by Brexit and the pandemic, but never give up trying.

  • Avatar for Just Me
    October 15, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    It is extremely rare that someone will get a direct sale from a Facebook Ad. This is just not how people function. You can have the greatest ad and the greatest offer, but if it requires people pulling out their credit card, it will not work. Guaranteed!!! And this is what you did…you posted an Ad and then just sat down and waited for sales to pour in. Ah, if this is how it worked, we would all be millionaires. You guys might be great authors but you have zero experience and intuition when it comes to people’s buying process. Here is what you should all try:

    1. Create a Facebook Ad offering people who click the Ad, a free chapter of your book on your website. Just post the chapter there and do not ask for money or emails.
    2. At the end of the free chapter, have a link to a gated content…lets say Chapter 2. To get to this chapter, the reader will have to submit their email address.
    3. Once you have acquired the email address, create a retargeting FB ad, saying something like “I hope you enjoyed the first 2 Chapters. Get the remaining of the book for $1.99 (was $4.99) now – offer valid only for the next 24 hours”. You will need to budget for this “price drop” upfront by having your book on amazon for $4.99 – even if you know nobody will buy at that prices. It is just to make your discount in the future look substantial.
    4. Now, you can expect sales!

    • Avatar for Stephanie
      October 17, 2019 at 1:02 pm

      Best comment ever coming from a Creative Director within UX/UI with a major concentration in Marketing for almost 20 years. This is why people need those the understand SEO, Targeted Marketing, Conversion Funnels, on and on. The first thing I asked myself when reading this article was “why did they shut down all other avenues of promotions?” Create funnels, campaigns, events, labels, optimize Tag Manager and you could have seen exactly how each channel/promotion is doing, find out where the user is abandoning. Should also be running proper A/B Tests and Multivariant Tests to tweak and course correct where needed. There is a reason why there are experts in the field and frustrates the hell out of me with those that just dabble and provide skewed results that are inaccurate due to not understanding the complexity of the industry. If you had laid out a true strategy commenting on actual data and metrics I would say to post the information. But just as said in this great comment, you do not plop up an ad with a photo and expect people to purchase. That approach in itself is ridiculous- “I paid $20 dollars to show off a photo and Facebook targeted ads are useless because it should magically create conversion.” Sigh.

  • Avatar for ZGottlieb
    March 3, 2018 at 8:59 am

    I had poor results with FB also. But seemed to do well when their was an email list.

  • Avatar for Victor Will
    March 3, 2018 at 2:07 am

    Thanks for this honest review. The point i take is that people are in a Facebook bubble.
    I have ran all kinds of adverts and the successful ones are the likes on fb, andything outside is a tough sell

    • Avatar for Stephanie
      October 17, 2019 at 1:03 pm

      This is a skewed review and misinformed.

  • Avatar for ZGottlieb
    January 26, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    In addition to poor results from facebook, I have had poor results from Gorilla books or KindleDailyNation, which I foolishly though were part of Amazon. After a $105, I made 17 sales of a .99 cent book. There was no contact with me after that. However, I have found Fussy Librarian and Hippo Books moderately inexpensive and successful.


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