Facebook Ads & Vintage Rats

Results of my free promotion

Last week, I ran a free promotion on Tied. I did a lot of preparation and had high hopes. As promised, here are my results.

Free Tied Promo #1Over two days, a grand total of 85 copies were downloaded. The highest point on the Top 100 Free Young Adult Fiction books I made it to was #41. I must admit that I was expecting better performance than this, but am not surprised. Hell, when I released Noah’s Noodles and did a free promotion on it, I received 712 downloads over five days. But that was three and a half years ago and a different demographic. Everything is a learning process, and here’s what I learned.

Posting multiple times to Facebook and Twitter doesn’t work. I ended up cluttering up both feeds. I checked my Twitter and Facebook analytics and it showed almost 0% engagement across the board. I don’t have a huge number of followers. These kind of tactics may have worked better if I had many thousands of followers, but I’m not there yet. It was a lot of work cuing up the social media posts and it really did nothing. Part of me (well, a lot of me) really dislikes spamming a message out there like that. I doubt I’ll take that route again.

As things progressed into the second day of the campaign, downloads began to dwindle. I decided to boost my Facebook post for $20. It was hard for me to do because I was opposed to giving Facebook any money. My reach increased by 1,000 people, and resulted in four new subscribers. That’s very expensive lead acquisition. It was more of a last grasp for more downloads. The takeaway here is boosting posts is a waste of money. However there are better ways to advertise on Facebook, as I soon discovered.

My Facebook and Twitter ad images were terrible. I don’t know what I was thinking. I packed so much into the image, no one would want to look at it, much less read it. I think that was my insecurity coming through. Take a look at the image I used for my first free promotion (before) and the one I’ll use for the next one (after). I’m sure you’ll agree that the second one has more impact. Heck, my retweets and likes are double and the new ad image has been live for less than 24 hours. The takeaway: less is more.

Before (BAD):


After my promotion ended, I discovered Facebook’s Ad Manager. If I had realized how powerful Facebook’s Ad Manager was, I would have used that instead of boosting a post. The Ad Manager and Power Editor allows me to target people with extreme precision, even more so than boosting posts. For example, I could choose a demographic representing all women eighteen years and older, with iPhones, living in the United States, that speak English and have an interest in vermin 😉 and exclude desktop platforms. I was able to whittle down 290,000,000 people to 40,000, and from that I knew 640 – 1,700 people use Facebook and 330 – 870 people use Instagram each day. In addition, the ads would be seen only by people who have a genuine interest in vermin. That’s really powerful. My next promotion will be through Facebook Ads. A huge hat tip goes to Mark Dawson and his Self Publishing Formula. He goes into great depth about Facebook Ads. Be sure to check out his site.

Photo by Boston Public Library

Since 1992, Lee has worked within the visual and dramatic arts landscape as a graphic designer, illustrator, visual effects artist, screenwriter and author.

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