Facebook is rolling out a new ad platform called Collection that allows advertisers to display a collection of products in a catalog-like format. Similar to Canvas, Facebook Collection ads were specifically designed to increase product browsing on mobile phones. I got asked if these new ads are good for selling collections of books, so thought I would give you my two cents.
The first thing to understand about the new Facebook Collection ads ads is that Facebook’s goal here is, again, to keep people within Facebook as much as possible to mine user behavior data. Now, instead of having people click on an and go to an outside website, people click on an ad and stay within Facebook to browse the “product catalog.” Canvas and Collection ads are designed to mimic a website landing page allowing advertisers to use multiple videos and images within an ad.\The positive side Facebook gathering more user data is that down the line it should give us better targeting options in all ads. But we’ll see.
Facebook is also making a big deal about the fact that these ads, being in-house, load faster and make for a more seamless buying experience. I doubt it.
What’s In It For Me?
To answer the original question, I don’t believe these ads are good for books.
A Facebook spokesman said, “Brands aren’t able to sell products within the ads but can include links to product pages that will open up a mobile site.” So what is the advantage of that? People still have to click away to buy. This ad actually adds one more click to the buying process and one more possibility people will not complete the buying cycle:
“Clicks to Website” ad funnel process:
- Click on link in newsfeed ad and land on Amazon’s (or other) book sales page.
- Click on buy button
“Collection” ad funnel process:
- Click on ad in newsfeed to open full Collection
- Browse and click on link of desired product
- Go to landing page and click buy button
One more click…one more chance to adandon the sales process.
My Recommendations for Facebook Ads
Facebook ads for books are currently best for:
- email sign-ups with a lead magnet
- occasional boosted posts to reach your fans with an important post like a book launch
- page likes (cheap way to build a targeted fan base)
- announce short-term book discounts.
These are the only four goals I am currently recommending for Facebook ads. Also, I highly recommend changing your Facebook author page (not personal profile) to the new Shop template and put that template module at the top of your page. You can list all your books for sale there in a “product catalog” style with covers and buy links.
According to my research and in talking with authors in my two Facebook groups,Facebook ads are now more expensive and less effective than they were just six months ago. They are still effective to reach your audience in particular situations (see above), but it’s important to keep up on changes in audience targeting options and new types of ads. I recommend keeping an eye on the following resources to stay up to date on all things Facebook:
- Facebook’s blog
- Facebook Blueprint training center
- Rick Mulready’s Art of Paid Traffic podcast
- Mari Smith blog
- Jon Loomers blog (intermediate to advanced users).
I do believe Facebook Collection ads are great for targeting products in similar groups such as products for mothers of newborns or gear for extreme hikes, but not for books.