- Writer Unboxed - https://writerunboxed.com -

Building a Facebook Ad

Photobucket [1]I promised you a post on building Facebook ads, and this is it. I know, I know, you can barely contain your excitement!

So why Facebook ads? Facebook ads are something the marketing team at Shaye Areheart Books [2] recommended I try, since I wanted to contribute to my book’s campaign. They were easy to set up, they said, not to mention customizable in order to target the right demographics. They could also be an uber inexpensive marketing option. While I contributed to my marketing campaign in other ways, this was one area that would be all me. I would need to set up the ads, establish my price points, monitor everything, etc…

Where to begin? I found this handy guide to setting up a Facebook ad on eHow [3], and decided to time myself. How quickly might I be able to do this?

Beginning time: 9:32 p.m.

The eHow guide says to click on the “advertising” link at the bottom of Facebook’s main page, and then to click the “Create an Ad” button. I do that, and am taken to a new page [4].

Advertise on Facebook
Get started in three easy steps.
1. Design Your Ad

The program asks for info, and I feed it in:

Enter destination URL (http://ThereseWalsh.com [5])
Enter title (The Last Will of Moira Leahy)
Enter body text of the ad in 135 characters

Erk — 135 enticing characters? I skirt the issue of genre, since LWML is like a carnivale with something for everyone, and choose a part of MJ Rose’s quote, which is one of my favorites: “If it were written by a seasoned novelist, Last Will would be a feat. That it is a debut makes it all the more amazing.” – M.J. Rose

But it won’t enter. The text cannot start without a punctuation mark, the system tells me. I argue with my computer, because I’ve already included a punctuation mark. I spend five minutes reentering the text until I realize the Facebook message said, “The text cannot start with a punctuation mark.” I make a mental note to never again attempt constructing a Facebook ad at 9:44 p.m. or after having a glass of wine.

I abandon eHow. Not only is the Facebook platform easy and intuitive but section 2–Targeting your audience–is engrossing. What do I think I know about my audience? I check a few key demographics:

people 18- ?
education – college grad
language –
I type in “English.” It wants me to choose between English (US, UK or pirate). I choose US, though I am mighty irritated that I can’t also choose pirate. Arrr.

A whopping 2,900,000 people fit the profile I selected. I start inputting keywords to narrow the field, attempting to hone in on what my readers might look like–what their favorite things are, etc… These are literally taken from and developed through hundreds of thousands of Facebook profiles. Remember those lists of favorite things you inputted on your profile page (found under the Info tab)? This is what Facebook does with those lists. I enter “avid reader” and “twins” and “magical realism” and a few other plum phrases that Facebook has made available to me. I choose a few of my favorite authors, too — Audrey Niffenegger, Sue Monk Kidd, and look there’s Juliet Marillier as a Facebook choice! The new parameters mean I’ve honed in on 26k potential readers.

It’s 10:15. I had some fun with that last step, though.

Time to deal with money matters. Ads through Facebook aren’t purchased for a set fee. Rather, you decide how much you’d like to bid for either clicks–the action taken by a reader when they literally click on your ad and are transported to your website–or impressions–the number of ads shown throughout a given day. I’d learned that paying for clicks was a better bet for authors, since the number of impressions Facebook will put up to help you get those clicks is tremendous for the dollar. And those impressions can still work for you–meaning that even if someone doesn’t click through to your site, they may still notice your ad, remember your book when they see it in a store, or even go to their favorite book-buying site and look up your novel on their own. I bid 75 cents per click and cap expenses at $20/day. (The Facebook tutorial on money matters [6]–was a great resource as I decided on numbers.)

I finish at 10:25 p.m., and submit the ad for Facebook approval.

Fast forward. Facebook approved the ad within a few days and held it until the start day I’d listed–October 13th, the release date for The Last Will of Moira Leahy. Over the course of a month, the length of my campaign, Facebook posted 1,636,530 impressions of my ad, and 650 people clicked through to my website (the click-through rate varied between .04% and .07%, which I think is decent). That was a busy month for me, so I didn’t toy with my ad during the campaign. But. I did notice that the majority of clicks seemed to occur in the evening, and next time I’ll find a way to use that to my advantage. I’d probably also develop more than one ad next time, see which is stronger, and fiddle with my demographics.

Next time. Yes. I would absolutely utilize Facebook ads again. Big exposure for a fair sum, and doable in under an hour.

Write on, all!

About Therese Walsh [7]

Therese Walsh (she/her) co-founded WU in 2006 and is the site's editorial director. She was the architect and 1st editor of WU's only book, Author in Progress [8], and orchestrates the WU UnConference. [9] Her second novel, The Moon Sisters [10], was named one of the best books of the year by Library Journal and Book Riot; and her debut, The Last Will of Moira Leahy [11] was a Target Breakout Book. Sign up for her newsletter [12] to be among the first to learn about her new projects (or follow her on BookBub [13]). Learn more on her website [14].