SSA #039: How I'd Spend $20 on Facebook AdsSep 30, 2023
Read Time: 6.5 Minutes
When I started running Facebook Ads for my wife's books, back in 2020, there's no better way of describing what I was doing...
I was winging it.
I had zero clue what I was doing.
I was only spending around $10 per day, and to be honest, I was just hoping for the best.
There was no strategy, no system, no rhyme nor reason as to what I was doing.
In essence, I was throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what stuck.
I call this Hope Marketing – or Hope Advertising, to be precise.
Since developing a strategy for our Facebook Ads, results (i.e. book sales, revenue, audience, etc.) have gone through the roof; far beyond what we could have imagined just 3 years ago.
And whether you're spending $5, $50, or $5,000 per day, I 100% believe you need a strategy for your Facebook Ads.
Running Ads without a strategy is like driving a car without a steering wheel and a destination; you will be out of control and have no idea where you're heading and why you're heading there.
So, today, I'm going to walk you through how I'd spend $20 per day on Facebook Ads (which is the minimum daily budget I'd recommend).
Focus on Cold Traffic
There's a lot of talk in the author community, and the advertising community in general in fact, about the topic of Retargeting.
If you haven't heard of Retargeting, in short, it's a way of showing specific Facebook Ads to people who are already familiar with your books or your brand.
I used to run Retargeting Ads myself, but haven't done so since 2022.
Because Facebook is retargeting for you anyway!
In your Facebook Ads dashboard, look at your Frequency column. If the number in this column is more than 1.0, Facebook is taking care of the retargeting for you.
Retargeting Ads may look great in your Facebook Ads dashboard and drive some sales, but it's low-hanging fruit.
And what's to say these folks wouldn't have bought your books anyway, without a specific Ad that is retargeting them.
In my opinion, there is no need to run a specific Campaign for retargeting; especially when you're only spending $20 per day.
You're much better off spending every dollar bringing new readers into your world.
Selling books on Amazon?
Amazon will likely email people who click on your Facebook Ad, and look at your book, but don't buy, a few days after the fact.
Selling books on your own store?
Have an email capture form in place to build your email list, and nurture these people who don't buy with a pre-written email sequence (autoresponder).
I now see Retargeting with Facebook Ads as a colossal waste of money.
Choose A Campaign Objective
There are several Facebook Ads Campaign Objectives to choose from. But the choice for which one to use is very simple:
Sending traffic to Amazon?
Use the Traffic Objective
Sending traffic to your own store?
Use the Sales objective (just make sure you install the Facebook Pixel and Conversion API on your store first).
The One Campaign Blueprint
This is my secret sauce.
I keep things incredibly simple with my Facebook Ads, for 2 main reasons:
Reason #1: Facebook loves account simplification
Reason #2: It makes management, optimization and scaling more efficient and effective
One Campaign, Per Country, Per Book
The One Campaign Blueprint works whether you're spending $20 per day or $2,000 per day (or more) on Facebook Ads.
It's a highly scalable strategy and suitable whether you are sending traffic to Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, etc, or your own store to sell directly to readers.
With each Campaign, I am:
– Targeting ONE country
– Targeting ONE demographic (e.g. Women, 35-65+)
– Advertising ONE book
All my testing and scaling takes place in this ONE Campaign.
Inside each Campaign, I have:
– 1 Ad Set for winning, proven Ads
– 2 Ad Sets for testing new Ad Creative
At any one time, there are just 3 active Ad Sets in a Campaign.
The Ad Set containing the winning, proven Ads is ALWAYS on.
The Ad Sets testing Ad Creative are on for a week at a time. If these Ads fail, they get turned off, and I launch a new test.
Here's a visualization of my account structure:
Test Ads With Dynamic Creative
Facebook offers a feature that is highly underused by advertisers, especially authors, called Dynamic Creative.
In short, Dynamic Creative allows you to fully harness the power of Facebook's machine learning and AI (Artificial Intelligence), by providing it with several images and pieces of Ad copy (text).
The algorithm will then mix and match these images and Ad copy to find a winning combination that you can then scale up.
Dynamic Creative puts the testing of Ads into the hands of Facebook and allows it to do the heavy lifting, rather than you testing ads one by one, which is the traditional way of testing Ads, and a thankless task, let me tell you.
Use Advantage Campaign Budget
With Advantage Campaign Budget, you set your daily budget at the Campaign level, rather than the Ad Set level.
Setting the budget at the Ad Set level is best practice, but I choose to ignore it because I get far better results setting the budget at the Campaign level.
This gives Facebook full rein over which Ad Sets within a Campaign to spend your budget on - and it has been an absolute game-changer for us.
My advice to you would be to start by setting a daily budget of $20 per day, then let things run for 7 days.
Once you have 7 days' worth of data, I would come in and increase or decrease the budget by 10% - 20%, depending on performance.
If performance has been strong over the past 7 days, increase the budget.
If performance hasn't been too great over the past 7 days, decrease the budget.
It's as simple as that.
Choose Your Placements
Facebook offers a bunch of different placements where you can show your Ads, such as:
- Facebook Feed
- Instagram Feed
- Facebook Reels
- Facebook Stories
- Facebook Messenger
- And many more besides
If you're sending traffic from your Facebook Ads directly to your book on Amazon, my advice would be to only show your Ads on the Facebook Feed.
If you're sending traffic to your own store (i.e. direct sales), I have found better results by letting Facebook decide where to show my Ads; this is achieved by leaving the Placements setting as the default, Advantage+ Placements.
Use Unrestricted Targeting
I haven't used any Detailed Targeting audiences since 2022; and I have no intentions to use it ever again because our results have been transformational since turning away from using Detailed Targeting.
Detailed Targeting allows you to "target" people who have an interest in something specific, such as Stephen King, Crime Fiction, Amazon Kindle, etc.
Instead, I use something I call Unrestricted Targeting, which simply uses the following criteria in the Audience section of your Ad Set:
As you can see below, the Detailed Targeting section is completely blank.
Using Detailed Targeting is cannibalizing your results and restricting the Facebook Ads algorithm from working as it was intended to be used.
The Facebook Ads algorithm is being throttled and prevented from working at its optimum when you use Detailed Targeting.
And putting all the drawbacks to Detailed Targeting aside, when you're working with small budgets, you're much better off spending your money on testing Ad creative than audiences (Detailed Targeting).
Ad creative is what will move the needle for you. Not Detailed Targeting.
Yes, Unrestricted Targeting goes against all the best practices out there, but it works and offers the most stable, profitable and scalable Facebook Ads strategy available to you.
Optimize Once Per Week
Optimization is how you reduce your wasted Ad Spend. It's how you make your money go further with Facebook Ads, by spending it on Ads that are proven to work.
I optimize my Facebook Ads once per week; here's what I'm doing when I'm optimizing:
– Turning off Ads that don't work or aren't financially sustainable
– Launching new Ads to test different ideas (but I do so strategically)
– Scaling up proven Ads to reach more readers (i.e. spend more money)
– Track the performance of every Ad to make informed, confident decisions
It takes me 60-90 minutes per week to run the Facebook Ads for my wife's books.
The reason I can do it in so little time?
I'm not wasting time (and money) testing audiences or fiddling with all the bells and whistles available in the Facebook Ads dashboard.
I'm focusing on the fundamentals and the needle-movers – the Ad Creative itself.
As I mentioned right at the beginning of this newsletter, keep things simple.
Not only for your own sanity but also for the sake of the Facebook Ads algorithm, which, as I mentioned, loves account simplification.
Remember that the biggest lever you can pull with your Facebook Ads is your Ad Creative (i.e. the Ads people see on their Facebook Feed).
Personally, I test 2 new Ads (using Dynamic Creative) every single week. And I would recommend you do the same.
Not only will you gather more data this way, but your skills as an advertiser will ten-fold in just a matter of months, even weeks.
So, focus on creating better and better Ads, forget about Detailed Targeting (let Facebook handle that), and your book sales will be like night and day in as little as 30-60 days' time.
This Doesn't Just Work For Me
I'd be doing you a disservice if I was sharing this strategy with you and I only had evidence that it worked for me.
But I receive emails every single week from authors who have taken my Jumpstart Facebook Ads For Authors course and have transformed their author business by following this strategy.
Authors who have been struggling with Facebook Ads for months, even years, and it has all finally clicked for them, and they're not getting traction, making consistent daily sales.
Authors who have gone from $100's per month in royalties to $1,000's per month in royalties.
Even authors who have gone from earning four figures per month in royalties to five figures per month in royalties.
These results are within your reach, too.
You just need to embrace working with the Facebook Ads algorithm, rather than resisting it – or winging it, like I did in the beginning.
The roadmap I've laid out for you in this newsletter can help you get there.
You got this.
To Your Success