These Facebook Ads Are Perfect for Authors

Plus a Case Study on Boosted Post Performance


Facebook ads are a huge part of growing your fanbase online. And they're practically unavoidable. If you have a Page dedicated to your #authorlife (which you definitely should), you know it's much harder to get organic engagement there than on your personal Facebook profile.

Yes, it sucks that you basically have to pay Facebook for them to spread the good word about your book and other author-related posts. But on the upside, Facebook ads aren't going to break the bank if you use them wisely. Here's a rundown of the Facebook ad types you can use, when to use them, and how to boost posts to reach more potential readers.

Facebook Ads

Facebook has a built-in ad manager where you can create a number of ads depending on what you want to get out of them. The ads I use most frequently involve sending people to a website, promoting a Page, and increasing conversions on a website, but you can choose from many other ad campaigns.

As an author, you'll most likely want to:

  • Send people to your website
  • Promote your Page
  • Increase conversions on your website
  • Raise attendance at your event
  • Get people to claim your offer

Here's when and why to use each type of ad above. For each campaign type, you'll be able to set a number of parameters, like how much you'll pay per day or in total for the campaign, and target demographics (e.g. age, interests, and location, among others).

Send People to Your Website

Use this ad campaign when you want to direct people to your website or a retailer site like Amazon. In the Ads Manager, you'll be able to see how many people saw your ad and how many clicked through to your website.

Promote Your Page

When you're just starting out, it's hard to get likes on your Page from people who aren't your friends and family. This campaign is a great ad to run for as little as $5 a day. Be smart about targeting to get the best results. For example, if you're writing fantasy novels, target people who like popular fantasy books or authors from the genre.

Increase Conversions on Your Website

Increasing conversions is a great campaign when you want to track email newsletter signups or direct-to-reader sales on your website from your ads on Facebook. To do this, you'll need to have access to your website's HTML so you can add Facebook's tracking code called a pixel. Unfortunately, you can't track sales from ads on Facebook to Amazon or other third-party stores, so this is basically only useful if you have an online store and/or know how to work the backend of your site.

Why track conversions? It's not the be-all-end-all of advertising and marketing yourself and your book online. But it's helpful to know where your sales are coming from if you're running an ad campaign, so you can know where and how readers find out about your book AND make a purchase. Then you can readjust your advertising strategy accordingly.

With that pixel, Facebook can track when a consumer goes from seeing your ad on Facebook to purchasing your book directly from you. Read more on Facebook about how this works.

Raise Attendance at Your Event

If you have a book signing or some other promotional event (wine bar meet and greet, anyone?), this is a great way to get more eyes on your event. First you have to set up the event and invite as many people you're already connected to as you can. Then in the Ads Manager, choose which event you'd like to promote.

Boosted Posts

Although you can access boosted posts in the Ads Manager, the easiest way to boost a post is right on your Page's wall. All you have to do is hit "Boost Post," and you'll have access to everything you'll need, including targeting demographics and budget. You'll want to boost posts that you think your audience (people who already like your Page) or people you select through targeting will be most interested in.

Case Study on Boosted Posts

When we launched Published Magazine, I boosted two posts. One was an article on writer's block, and the other was about annoying things you're doing on social media.

I put $20 behind both of them, and I used the same target audience. By looking at the statistics on our Facebook Page, you can see that the Writer's Block post got more likes than the Annoying article. However, the Annoying article reached more than four times as many people. Additionally, when I checked our pageviews in Google Analytics, Annoying had 153 unique pageviews versus Writer's Block’s 17 after the ad sets had ended.

You can't trust Facebook likes and shares as the only way to measure success on posts that you boost—that's why it's so important to know how to use the different Facebook ad objectives and how to measure results.



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Katie Bolin

Katie is a social media & advertising strategist.

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