Monday, 4 March 2013

Facebook Ads: Do They Work?

The short answer: No. They don't. And although this sentiment has been echoed by authors everywhere (a quick google search can attest to that), I was under the naive (and overly optimistic) impression that I could do better. That, somehow, despite the warnings from authors far wiser than myself, I could accomplish what they couldn't: I could make facebook ads work. And by all means, if you're as stubborn as I am, give it a shot. But believe me when I tell you, they are an exercise in futility.

One of the "advantages" of facebook ads is that you can target a specific group of people who may be part of your book's intended demographic. For example, in my case, I chose to target individuals who live in Canada and the US, who are 30 years old or younger, and who "like" Jersey Shore. I set my budget at $50 a day and paid $0.54 per click.

Have a look at my stats (click to enlarge):

68,280 unique individuals saw the ad an average of 6.5 times each. 114 people clicked on the ad on the day I had it running. Unfortunately, this only yielded a grand total of 1 sale, and it wasn't even for the book I was advertising, but my short story, so I can't say for certain if that sale was the result of my ad campaign.

You may be wondering why I paid $51.23 if my daily budget was $50. Well, it caught me by surprise as well. I was under the impression that facebook considers a "day" to be 24 hours since the ad first started running. I was wrong. For facebook, a day ends at midnight, regardless of when you started your campaign. For example, if you set your daily budget to $50 and start your campaign at 11 PM, that budget only applies for the one hour until midnight, and then resets to zero for the next "day". Luckily I caught on and stopped the campaign before they could rob me of another $50.

Don't waste your money.


  1. This was something i was considering too!I'm glad i read this...

  2. Perfect timing on this post Adrian! I was just watching videos on how to run a facebook ad. I'm sure that if you were to spend $50 a day for a month, you might actually see more sales. But would you see $1,500 in sales? It's a gamble.

    What I'm curious about is whether or not you gained any new "likes" on your Facebook author page?

  3. I actually don't have a facebook page. From what I've read, facebook pages aren't as useful when it comes to marketing, compared to twitter and goodreads. But I could be wrong!

  4. The video I was watching today was talking about getting more likes on your facebook page from your facebook ad. More of a long term approach to brand building. If you want to watch it (tons of good info) it's here:

    There's several parts to the entire video.

    I imagine the long term goal is to create a fun facebook author page that readers actually enjoy visiting, and will EVENTUALLY purchase your book if your page is entertaining?