SSA #002: The 5 Facebook Ads Pillars For AuthorsJan 14, 2023
Read Time: 9 Minutes
Ever since I can remember, I've always worked (and enjoyed) the challenge of keeping things simple, lean and as minimalist as possible, in all areas of my life:
- Less "stuff" in the house
- Clean and clear worktops in the kitchen
- Preventing the dining table from becoming a dumping ground
- Tidy, clean floors
- 30-40 minute minimalist workouts (not 2+ hour burnouts!)
- Clean and tidy car (inside and out)
- Organized and tidy bedroom (with the bed made each morning)
- Clear, empty and dust-free desk, with just the essentials on there
Simple is just better, in my opinion.
And, as the saying goes... tidy house, tidy mind - something I whole-heartedly believe in and live by every single day.
Granted, it's a little more challenging now to keep things clean and tidy with 3 under 3's in the house, but still very possible.
And, to quote Chinese Philosopher, Confucius:
"Life is simple. We just insist on making it complicated."
I'm sure you're wondering by now, why this email has talked of nothing else than my cleaning habits and how it relates to the topic of this email, Facebook Ads.
I believe many authors overcomplicate Facebook Ads (something I was certainly guilty of in the beginning), but hey, we don't know what we don't know, right.
So, today, I'm going to break down Facebook Ads into the 5 fundamental pillars that actually matter and truly move the needle.
These 5 pillars are relevant to every single authors running Facebook Ads, whether you're spending $5 per day or $500 per day; each pillar still applies.
Facebook Ads are an incredibly powerful tool for authors to drive book sales, build your brand and ultimately, create a long-lasting, sustainable career as a self-published author.
However, I also know that many authors really struggle with Facebook Ads:
- High Costs
- Low/No Sales
- No System
- Unclear About Optimization & Scaling
All culminating in nothing more than frustration and overwhelm.
Today, my goal is to change all that and show you how I use these 5 pillars to:
- Drive 100's of sales per month (directly from the Ads)
- 1000's of organic sales every month
- 100'000's of Page Reads (directly from the Ads)
- 1,000,000 - 2,000,000 Page Reads per month, organically
- Build a loyal following of readers
- Introduce books to new readers every single day
Now, you still need a solid book product page, as your book sells your book. The Facebook Ads (and any form of advertising or marketing for that matter), is purely there to drive relevant traffic.
It's on the book product page itself where readers decide to buy or borrow your book.
If you need some help with this, check out this Twitter Thread I wrote a few months back that walks you through how my wife and I transformed her book product page:
And if you'd find it helpful to receive daily tips, insights and advice on all things book marketing and advertising, you can follow me on Twitter here.
With that said, let's not delay any further... Here are the 5 Facebook Ads Pillars that will transform your results:
Pillar #1: Ad Creative
By Ad Creative, I simply mean the Ads that readers see on their Facebook News Feed.
In short, scroll-stopping Ads:
- Lower Costs
- Engage More Readers
- Increase Click-Through-Rate
- Improve Overall Ad Performance
Ad Creative, along with Pillar #2 (Targeting), are the 2 biggest levers you can pull with your Facebook Ads.
Within Ad Creative itself though, there are 5 elements that make up a Facebook Ad:
- Primary Text
- Call-To-Action Button
You can see all of these in action below.
The 2 most important elements of a scroll-stopping Facebook Ad are the Media and Primary Text.
Regarding Media, you can use images or videos. From personal experience, I see little to no difference in conversions when using videos compared to images.
So, at this moment in time, I don't feel it's worth the additional time and money investment in video. Images convert and perform just as well; better in some cases, even.
When it comes to the Primary Text (the main body of text above the Media, there are many different ways to go about writing this, such as:
- Excerpt from your book
- Reader Reviews
- One-line teaser
- A compelling hook
- The list goes on...
There's no right or wrong way to write your Primary Text. The important thing is to test what works for your books and double down on it.
If you need some guidance, inspiration and ideas, my Facebook Ads Monthly Templates For Authors can help.
I'll send you 3, proven and tested fill-in-the-blank templates on the 15th of each month directly to your inbox
Inside January's templates (which go out tomorrow), I'm including 2 BONUS templates that I've used to run book promotions.
The most important thing with Ad Creative is to really speak to your ideal reader, and make your Ad so enticing that just have to click it and visit your book product page to find out more about your book.
It's also critical that there's some resemblance between your Ad Creative itself and your book. Without any resemblance, readers will wonder if they've landed on the wrong page when they click your Ad!
Pillar #2: Targeting
Relevant Targeting is the second biggest lever you can pull with Facebook Ads - and for good reason...
With irrelevant targeting, you'll be showing your Ads to people who will never (or at least be very unlikely to) buy your book.
Yes, you could hook them in with a great Ad, but once they click your Ad and land on your book product page, they're just not going to convert.
You're also going to seriously confuse the Amazon algorithm, which, will have a negative impact on your:
- Amazon Bestseller Rank
- Organic Sales and Borrows
- Also Boughts (if you're making sales to the wrong readers)
- Sales History
- Amazon Ads (if you're running those)
The reason being, that Amazon will see a lot of traffic coming to your books, but very little in the way of sales and borrows (i.e. conversions).
Much of Amazon's algorithm and its recommendation engine (where it will recommend books to readers who may enjoy your book based on their previous purchase behaviour), is based on sales history.
But if you don't have much in the way of sales history, Amazon is going to be less likely to recommend your book to new readers.
So, how do you solve this? How do you target relevant readers?
- Who your readers are (demographically)
- Your Comp (Comparable) Authors (Hint: look on your Amazon Author Page for these)
With Facebook Ads, I've found the best-performing targets are generally other Authors (traditionally published).
You can target other interests such as:
- TV Shows
But Authors just tend to convert best from my experience.
I would also encourage you to narrow your targeting to focus Facebook's algorithm on finding readers who read books from Amazon. You achieve this by using the Narrow Audience option and choosing:
- Kindle Store
You can see the Narrow Audience button highlighted in the screenshot below. Once you click this, you'll be able to search for Kindle Store and Amazon Kindle.
From the $100,000+ I've spent on Facebook Ads, the bigger your audience, the better your Ads perform. Facebook Ads' algorithm just seems to prefer bigger audiences.
With that said, I have found that there are some minimum audience sizes to keep in mind when creating your Facebook Ads:
- USA Targeting: 100,000
- All Other Countries: 50,000
You can find your Estimated Audience Size in the Audience Definition box in right-hand column of the Ad Set screen, as shown in the screenshot below.
With your Targeting and Ad Creative in place, it's time to look at Campaign Structure...
Pillar #3: Campaign Structure
The last thing you want your Facebook Ad Account to be one big hot mess! Trust me, I've been there:
- 20+ Campaigns
- 50+ Ad Sets
- 100+ Ads
It's not pretty. It's not productive. And ultimately, it's not effective either.
Keep things simple.
“Less is more.” — Mies van der Rohe
For me, here's how I structure my Facebook Ads:
- One Campaign Per Country, Per Series/Book
- All Ad Sets for that Country and Series/Book are in that 1 Campaign
- Add Ads are within those Ad Sets
So, if you have 1 Book or 1 Series, your Facebook Ads Dashboard might look like this:
I have 2 Campaigns for my wife's books; 1 for the USA and 1 for the UK. That's it.
- All the USA Ad Sets are in the USA Campaigns (Testing Audiences, Ad Creative & Scaling)
- All the UK Ad Sets are in the UK Campaign (Testing Audiences, Ad Creative & Scaling)
This structure makes things so simple to manage; I know exactly where everything is located and don't need to spend 5-10 minutes looking for a specific Ad or Ad Set.
Time is our most finite resource; you shouldn't be wasting it looking for something in your Facebook Ads Account, when there is a solution; re-structuring and simplification.
When it comes to Campaign Structure and Targeting...
Target 1 Interest (Author, Genre, TV Show, Movie, etc.) per Ad Set, when testing.
Once you've identified some winners (i.e. proven audiences) stack them into a single Ad Set together that you can scale up (this becomes your scaling Ad Set).
You shouldn't be stacking a bunch of unproven audiences into a single Ad Set.
However that Ad Set performs, good or bad, you have zero idea which Audience was doing all the legwork and which ones were pulling the performance down.
This is why I ALWAYS test one Audience per Ad Set to begin with.
Pillar #4: Budget
Budgeting is something that only YOU can decide on. However, if I were to make any recommendations, it would be this:
Only budget what you can afford to lose.
There are no guarantees in advertising. None.
If you put $10 into Facebook Ads, there is a possibility that you will not make that $10 back in royalties.
Of course, there is every chance that that $10 could make you $20, or more.
To begin with, if you have no idea how much to spend on Facebook Ads, I would suggest a minimum of $5 per day, per Ad Set.
Any less than this and it's just going to take far too long to gain any form of statistically significant data.
If you can up that to $10 per day, great. But $5 per day at a minimum.
Personally, I spend £10 ($12) per day when testing new Audiences, and anywhere from £100 - £200+ ($120 - $240) per day on my Scaling Ad Set, in the USA. I have additional budget for the UK Facebook Ads.
But don't let that number startle you if you're just beginning Facebook Ads. I started at $10 per day and gradually scaled up over 12-18 months.
Pillar #5: Optimization
The final pillar of Facebook Ads is optimization.
In short, I see optimization as:
Focusing on what is working and reducing wasted ad spend on what isn’t working
Conversions (i.e sales and page reads) is the key metric I'm tracking with all forms of advertising, including Facebook Ads.
To track your Facebook Ads, I highly recommend the free Amazon Attribution Tool. If you're not sure how to use Amazon Attribution, you can check out the video below where I walk you through, step-by-step, how to set everything up.
Watch The Amazon Attribution Setup Video
N.B. This video is taken directly out of my Jumpstart Facebook Ads For Authors course.
You should be focusing in on the 80/20 - i.e the 20% of Ad Sets and Ads that are driving 80% of your conversions. That's how you get more from Facebook Ads.
I like to optimize my Facebook Ads once per week. Any more than this and you'll be over-optimizing, not giving the Facebook Ads algorithm chance to work its magic.
- Discover the best prospects for your books
- Find out when the best time of day is to show your Ads
- Identify more of the people who are resonating with your Ads
These tasks that Facebook is performing is known as The Learning Phase. And it typically takes 1-3 days to exit The Learning Phase.
Even once your Ads have exited The Learning Phase, however, performance will continue to improve over time.
Facebook Ads are like a good wine or a good cheese; they mature with age!
You will send your Ad Sets back into The Learning Phase if you do any of the following:
- Make BIG changes to your budget ($10 per day increases/decreases are generally ok)
- Adding a new Ad Creative
- Adjusting the Target Audience
- Adjusting the Placements (where your Ads appear)
Despite only working on my Facebook Ads once a week, I don't just let things run without being monitored!
I do a daily check-in for 2-5 minutes, just to make sure there are no red flags or anything that needs my attention there and then.
And regarding the specific tasks I'm doing each week to optimize my Facebook Ads, here's what that looks like:
- Turning off poor-performing Ads
- Creating new Ads to test
- Turning off poor-performing Ad Sets (i.e Audiences)
- Testing new Audiences (i.e Ad Sets)
- Adjusting budgets (up and down, depending on performance)
Without optimization, your Facebook Ads will run away with your money. Every. Single. Day.
You need to cut any wasted Ad Spend to maintain your profits and put your money into what's proven to work.
Ultimately, metrics such as:
- CPC (Cost-Per-Click)
- CTR (Click-Through Rate)
- CPM (Cost Per 1,000 Impressions)
Are a good benchmark and can signal any potential issues with your Ads.
But, it's the conversion data that truly matters.
You can have great-performing Facebook Ads (low CPCs, high CTRs, etc.), but if they're not converting into sales and page reads, it's a colossal waste of money.
So, optimize, but don't over-optimize.
TL;DR (Too Long Didn't Read)
Pillar #1: Ad Creative
Pillar #2: Targeting
Pillar #3: Campaign Structure
Pillar #4: Budget
Pillar #5: Optimization
That's going to wrap up this weeks edition of The Saturday Self-Published Author.
Thanks for reading and see you next weekend.
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