Facebook ads used to be a consistent, reliable source of return for many authors. But in the last two years, Facebook ads have become extremely expensive and competitive. There are several reasons for this change:
- Saturated ad inventory that requires Facebook to offer less desirable locations to satisfy lower budget runs. This means that your chances of getting seen and getting results in the newsfeed are extremely low for many goals such as email sign-ups and promotion of new or backlist books that are not discounted. However, if you are a known bestselling author with a large platform, Facebook ads may still be a good bet for book launches.
- Competition is driving the price of ads up. Along with saturated ad inventory, this was bound to happen. I used to be able to acquire email addresses with a Facebook ad for less than twenty cents each. That is no longer a reality. Costs per click and per 1000 impressions are astronomically high in the newsfeed compared to what they were just two years ago.
- Better ads and better copy leave the mundane behind. Keeping on top of what works on Facebook feels like a full-time job anymore. As with Amazon Marketing Service ads, they require constant testing and babysitting to make sure they get delivered, let alone work. Fans have little time for boring, “buy my book” ads that look like every other thing out there. Video, eye-catching images, and on-point copy are ruling the day.
It is discouraging to think that what worked just last year isn’t working anymore. And one thing you can count on is more change. Advertising spend isn’t going down on Facebook, it’s going up. Marketing Land data predicts that in the U.S., Facebook ad spending will continue to climb in the next two years Their reported ad revenue in 2016 was over $12 billion. By 2019, it is expected to be almost $24 billion.
A Look in the Crystal Ball
So what does all the folderol mean? It means that authors with large budgets for Facebook ads ($500+ per month) will still be able to find success provided they have a large established audience of loyal readers just waiting for their next book. Despite what others might be saying, I don’t believe regular cold audience Facebook ads are going to work for most authors. Remember, cold audience ads are targeted at people who do not know you from Adam—or your books. Warm audience ads are aimed at people that already have a level of buy-in whether it’s liking your page, being on your email list, or visiting your website. They are cheaper than cold audience ads and have the benefit of increasing engagement on your Facebook page. I have found that regular boosted ads (2-4 per month) will elevate an engagement rate over time and build an email list for less money than cold audience ads.
The list of new Facebook features released in 2017 show a clear bias towards large brands with lots of money to spend targeting huge audiences. The reality of a small brand without a storefront getting in front of a cold audience is low. And look for more ways for Facebook to lower the engagement of unengaging pages. The bottom line in 2018: if your page is holding steady or increasing in growth and engagement organically, you’ll get a break from the Facebook algorithm. If your Facebook page is a wasteland of unengaging “buy my book posts,” your page will continue to fall in engagement.
What’s An Author To Do?
Facebook is still the best social media channel for selling books, but it will never be Amazon. What Facebook does do for authors, they do well:
- The best set of commerce tools to make sales directly from Facebook. It’s Facebook’s goal to keep people inside Facebook for as long as possible so they’ve given you the tools to gather email addresses and sell directly from your page:
- The Shop Tab, if set up correctly, will allow you to sell books, give books away, and sell online classes directly from your page.
- The cover photo and call-to-action button gives you a leg up in helping new readers discover you.
- A top-of-the-line search engine allows people to find you and your books easily.
- Groups allow you the opportunity to give an elite experience to your invested fans.
- Third-party apps such as 22Social and others give you the opportunity to run contests and sweepstakes while gathering emails and more.
- Most email providers integrate with Facebook and have a feature that will allow you to embed a sign-up form on your page.
- Boosted posts let you reach people who already like your page for a lower dollar cost and help you gather emails from people who like your page but haven’t signed up for you list. If used strategically, they can also be a temporary boost to engagement before a book launch or discount promotion. They are still your best bet for most authors on Facebook, in my opinion.
How I Can Help
Starting in mid-November, I will be launching a free video series on where Facebook is going in 2018 and how to adjust your current marketing strategy. The free videos will be delivered in my weekly email until the end of the year—and maybe a few weeks beyond. I’ve made it my goal to help authors navigate the changing Facebook waters in 2018. I want to make sure you have your best shot at being successful there. That’s how strongly I believe that Facebook is still the best social media option we have to sell anything.
I will also be releasing a new couple inexpensive online classes in 2018 to help you dive deep into those changes. If you follow me you know I don’t believe in just giving you the right information—anybody can do that. I believe in giving you the tools and practical guidance you need to make that information work for you. So make sure you are signed up for my email newsletter as the videos will start coming soon and you won’t want to miss any of them. The link to sign up for the videos below is the list for my regular weekly email. The videos will start in mid November but you’ll be receiving a couple follow-up emails when you sign up with other opportunities for awesome book marketing info. You can unsubscribe at any time.
If you would like to get your Facebook page set up to sell more books and build raving fans now, check out my newest online class, How To Set Up A Facebook Page That Sells More Books. It’s $49 and will walk you through the process step-by-step including setting up a Shop tab and embedding an email list sign-up and more. Also included is my proprietary content bucket system for setting up an endless supply of engaging content that your fans will want to interact with. Click here for more information to see if it’s a good fit for you.