Monday, June 18, 2012

The Facebook Ad Experiment

I decided to try a small Facebook ad campaign to try and boost sales of Special Offers.  Setting up the ad was not particularly intuitive, and I'm still not certain I did what I intended.  I wanted an ad that, when clicked on, went to a post on the M.L. Ryan author page that described the book and gave info on where to buy it on Amazon or Smashwords.  But when I created the ad, there wasn't a preview available so I could see exactly what it would look like.  I never actually finalized the ad, so I tried again but still got no preview. This created a snafu that eventually resulted in my ad manager being shut down.  It took a couple of days to get it up and running, and then I re-did the ad and "created" it.

The ad went live, but I still never saw a preview.  Yesterday, I happened to be on my personal FB page, and my ad came up.  When I clicked on it, instead of going to my author page, it sent me directly to Special Offers' Amazon page.  Which isn't terrible, I suppose, but I'm confused nonetheless.  In four days, the campaign has reached almost 6,000.  I assume that means the ad was posted on 6,000 peoples FB page.  And apparently 40 of those people clicked on the ad.  And in that time frame, a bunch of people have "liked" my author page.  Which makes me think their click took them to my page, not the Amazon site.  So what's with that?

And with all that clicking - which isn't a great ratio, 40/6000 - I've only sold 1 book!  And I don't even know if that sale was a result of the ad or not.  This is all getting quite frustrating.  The book has 13 great reviews on Amazon, 10 of which are from people I don't know at all.  But still, my sales are pretty dismal; around 100 since it was published on February 12.

To add to my angst, a review that was supposed to be posted on June 4th wasn't (don't know if it is just postponed, or if the reviewer hated it so much, she decided not to post a review - hope to clarify that soon), and another reviewer emailed me to say that, while she found the book well-written, she just couldn't connect with the story, so she would not be reviewing it. Does that translate to "I hated it, but I'm a nice person so I thought I would spare you the trauma of having me rake your tome over the coals in print" or "I'm just not that into it so I have neither good nor bad things to say"?  Either way, I've gotten sale's boosts every time a new review comes out, and now there's going to be two less than I thought.  Of course, if the reviews sucked, there wouldn't be a sales bump, so I suppose it's all a wash anyway.

But I digress. I'll let the FB ad go a while longer and see what happens.  If sales don't pick up, I'll probably stop the campaign and try to re-work it in a way that will be more successful.  Problem is, FB doesn't give much help with exactly how to create a successful ad.  There's a lot of "try something and see how it works for you" rather than any usable hints or guidelines.

If that's the best they can do, I can see why the whole IPO thing was such a debacle.

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