SSA #041: I Wish I Knew This About Facebook AdsOct 14, 2023
Read Time: 5 Minutes
If you've been following my content for any length of time, you likely know that I first got started with Facebook Ads (and actually started taking it seriously) in April 2020, when we launched my wife's first book.
What you may not know, however, but you have probably guessed, is that I made a ton of mistakes and learned some hard lessons.
Recently, I've been thinking a lot about what I'd tell myself if I could go back in time to April 2020, knowing what I know now about Facebook Ads, and how differently I'd approach everything about them.
So, today, that's what I'd like to share with you...
The 5 things I wish I knew about Facebook Ads back in 2020...
#1: Detailed Targeting Does More Harm Than Good
This would have been a particularly tough one to swallow for the 2020 version of myself.
Because 99% of the content out there about Facebook Ads (on YouTube, Blog Posts, Podcasts, etc.) reinforces the importance of Detailed Targeting.
And yet, what I've learned over the past 10 months or so, is that Detailed Targeting doesn't do the targeting with your Facebook Ads.
Your Ads do the targeting (based on their content).
Detailed Targeting just limits who Facebook can show your Ads to.
Instead, I would use Unrestricted Targeting, and target solely using:
And I'd forget about Detailed Targeting altogether.
#2: Ad Creative Is What Will Drive Real Results
So many Ads I ran back in 2020 did nothing for me because I was so focused on finding a winning audience (through Detailed Targeting), not a winning Ad.
If only I had known back then that I had got it all backwards.
If I had just spent more time working on the craft of creating better and better Ads, we could have achieved infinitely better results in less time, with less wasted ad spend.
Instead, I was obsessed with testing and finding new audiences with Detailed Targeting; the Ad Creative was just an afterthought.
What I should have been focused on was:
– Creating scroll-stopping Images
– Writing gripping, punchy Headlines
– Crafting enticing, compelling Primary Text
Those 3 parts of a Facebook Ad are what will move the needle.
#3: Account Structure is Over-Rated
There was a time when I had so many Campaigns running in my Facebook Ads Account; just managing the thing was a chore and a massive time-suck.
I had Campaigns for:
– Testing Audiences
– Testing Ad Creative
And I had all of that for multiple countries we were advertising in, which at one point was:
It was one big mess. I did begin to notice that things were getting particularly complex in my account, so I then spent more time than I care to remember searching for the "perfect" account structure.
I tested a lot of different account structures, but they still seemed fairly complex. Better than they were, yes, but still not especially simple.
What I wish I had known back then was that account structure isn't going to transform your Facebook Ads results.
Having a simplified account structure, like I do now, helps significantly when it comes to the management of your account. Plus, Facebook's algorithm loves account simplification, because it reduces audience overlap and means the algorithm doesn't have to work as hard.
It all comes back to creating better Ads (see #2) and not throttling the algorithm with Detailed Targeting (see #1).
#4: Don't Look at Facebook Ads in Isolation
I was terrible for this... I'd pay such close attention to metrics in the Facebook Ads dashboard that I'd forget to look at the big picture.
In fact, worse than that; the big picture wasn't even on my radar.
I was consumed with:
– CPCs (Cost-Per-Clicks)
– CTRs (Click-Through Rates)
– CPMs (Cost Per Mille/1,000 Impressions)
And a bunch of other metrics inside the Facebook Ads Dashboard.
Yes, these metrics are useful and can act as warning signs or red flags, if something isn't working or gelling with your audience.
But ultimately, what I failed to look at was the impact the Facebook Ads were having on the growth of the business, including, but not limited to:
– Total Royalties
– Total Orders
– Total Page Reads
– Amazon Bestseller Rank
– Email Subscribers
– Brand Awareness
I also became so focused on the day-to-day performance, that I didn't pay attention to how things were performing over an extended period of time.
There are going to be natural peaks and troughs in royalties, orders, bestseller ranks, etc. And that's ok.
What really matters is how everything is performing, as a business entity, over 7, 14, 30, 60, 90 days, etc.
I gradually learned to ask myself, are we seeing growth over an extended period of time?
If so, great. Keep going.
If not, and things are slowly or rapidly declining, there's a problem somewhere along the line that needs fixing.
Once I started to look at the big picture, instead of looking at Facebook Ads in isolation, in a vacuum, I could identify what these things were and adjust accordingly.
#5: There is Potential Outside of Amazon
This is a fairly recent revelation, but I thought it was worth sharing as, knowing what I know now, I would love to have been told this back in 2020.
Amazon KDP has no doubt opened up the possibilities for authors around the world to publish their work and get it into the hands of readers everywhere.
As have the likes of Nook, Kobo, Apple Books, etc.; though, it can be harder to gain traction with these other retailers.
When we first started in 2020, we were adamant that it was going to be Amazon all the way. There was no other option.
And Amazon is powerful, I can't disagree with that. The algorithm they have created offers immense possibilities.
But outside of the other retailers, there is one other option...
Yes, you don't have the luxury of an algorithm to drive organic sales, and you can't earn money from Page Reads (Kindle Unlimited), but you can build a loyal following of readers.
You can also collect the email addresses of every single reader who purchases your books and (ethically and morally) use those email addresses to build stronger bonds and relationships with your readers.
You have the opportunity to become your own Amazon.
A lot of your success will come back to building out email flows that drive existing customers back to your store to make additional purchases, increasing customer lifetime value.
And for new customers, you'll use email to offer them something of value (for free) before inviting them to make their first purchase with you.
All of this can be achieved with email. And can also be done automatically based on an individual reader's behaviour on your store.
Naturally, there are a lot of other nuances that will impact how well your books sell on your own store versus on Amazon, but email is going to play a bigger role than you might have thought.
Amazon themselves send millions upon millions of emails every single day.
And all of these emails are personalized based on a customer's shopping behaviour.
With the tools available today, we can do the same with our own stores.
So, whilst Amazon is incredibly powerful and has been supporting Lori's career as an author for three and half years now, there are other options, and you don't need to rely on Amazon to fund your author business. There are other options.
On a final note, as well as selling directly to readers on your own store, I encourage you to think about leverage.
How can you maximize the earning potential of each book you have written?
With Lori's books, we have:
– Direct Sales
– Ingram Spark
– Foreign Rights
– And we're investigating Film/TV Rights
One book. Huge potential. Multiple income streams.
To wrap up... if you're interested in learning about direct sales, and launching your own online book store, I'll be building a direct sales course over the coming months, and details will be posted on the blog in the near future.
Have an amazing weekend.
To Your Success