Build A Simple, Profitable and Sustainable Author Business

Hi, I'm Matt Holmes, and I help self-published authors build a simple and profitable business without the "hustle".

I spend 60-90 minutes per day building my wife’s six-figure author business.

And in my FREE daily(ish) newsletter, I’ll share real-time, real-world, actionable insights to help you do the same.

I’ll also send you my FREE Facebook Ads For Authors Masterclass as soon as you sign up.

SSA #025: These 2 Facebook Ads Metrics Matter Most

Jun 24, 2023

Read Time: 4.5 minutes


Among the myriads of data and metrics available with Facebook Ads, such as CPCs, CTRs, CPMs, although important, there are just 2 metrics that I pay attention to the most.

And they aren't even available in the Facebook Ads dashboard.

They need to be calculated outside of the dashboard, in a tool such as the Facebook Ads Tracking Tool I've built in Notion.

These 2 metrics are:

– Conversion Rate

– Cost Per Sale

Let's dive into these metrics a little deeper to understand why they matter so much.


Conversion Rate


The conversion rate of your Facebook Ads is telling you, as a percentage, how many clicks are turning into sales and/or borrows if your books are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.

If you're not already, I would highly encourage you to start using Amazon Attribution to track the number of sales and borrows of your Facebook Ads. I've recorded a full video tutorial of how to set up Amazon Attribution for your books here.

If a Facebook Ad of yours had 100 clicks, to keep the numbers simple, and 5 sales, that would be a 5% conversion rate.

The calculation looks like this:

(# Orders and/or Borrows / # Clicks) x 100

 
In our case for the example above, it would be:

(5 / 100) x 100

 
Now, you may think that 5 sales from 100 clicks is a terrible conversion rate!

But even with the impulse buy type products that books are, with their relatively low price tag (especially Kindle books), a 5% conversion rate is actually pretty good.

Clearly, the higher the conversion rate, the better, but don't go into Facebook Ads expecting to see 50% or higher conversion rates. It's just never going to happen, no matter how great your book or your offer is.

The best conversion rate I've had with Facebook Ads is around 30%, for a 99¢ box set of 10 books. An absolute steal for readers, so it sold like hot cakes, resulting in a great conversion rate!

Personally, when tracking my Facebook Ads and analyzing the numbers, I like to see a conversion rate of at least 2%, at an absolute minimum.

Any lower than this, and I'll turn that specific Ad off, for a couple of reasons:

#1. I know that Facebook Ads are capable of much better results than a 2% conversion rate.

#2: I have other Ads within my account that have a higher conversion rate, and I'd much rather put more budget behind those Ads.

#3. A conversion rate of 2% is just not good enough and would, most likely, result in a negative impact on overall royalties.

If you're sending traffic from your Facebook Ads to your book(s) on Amazon and very few people are actually buying or borrowing your book, that's going to send a bad signal to Amazon's algorithm.

It's going to tell Amazon that very few people convert into sales/borrows on your book, and therefore, they'll stop giving your book as much exposure. Rank will drop, visibility will drop, sales and borrows will drop, and ultimately, royalties will drop too.

As I wrote about in a recent edition of The Saturday Self-Published Author, you can, and most likely will, experience Trojan Horse Facebook Ads.

These are Ads that look great in the Facebook Ads dashboard (low CPCs, high CTRs, low CPMs, etc.), but fail to convert into sales or page reads.

These types of Ads are utterly useless! And could, in fact, be damaging to your overall marketing and advertising efforts.


Cost-Per-Sale


This metric tells you how much it is costing you to acquire a new reader from your Facebook Ads.

There's no hard and fast cut-off point for what your Cost-Per-Sale should be, as it's going to vary on so many different factors, such as:

– Number of books in your series/catalog

– Your readthrough numbers

– The price of your books

– The format of your book(s) (e.g. Kindle, Paperback, etc.)

– Your goals (e.g. profit, audience building, etc.)

– And more data points besides

If you have a lot of books in your catalog, for example, or a deep, long series, you can afford to spend more money to acquire a new reader, because there are more books for them to buy, if they enjoy your work.

On the other hand, if you only have 2-3 books published, as an example, and your goal is profit, your Cost-Per-Sale is going to need to be relatively low (ideally, below $5 if you're advertising the Kindle versions). Any higher, and you could become unprofitable.

The calculation for Cost-Per-Sale is relatively straightforward:
 

Amount Spent / Orders + Borrows

 
To put this into context:

$57.98 / 18 Orders + 5 Borrows

 
This particular example would result in a Cost-Per-Sale of $2.52, which, for me, I'd be very happy with, as we only have the 4 books published, so need to keep Cost-Per-Sales low.


Don't Forget About Organic Sales and Borrows


The unique side of Amazon that other retailers lack, is their algorithm.

If you're anything like me, you'll be watching the Amazon Bestseller Ranks of your books like a hawk! (Yes, it is a little addictive!).

The better your rank (i.e. the lower the number of your rank), the more visibility Amazon will give your books.

And with more visibility, comes more organic sales and borrows; these are sales and borrows that don't come directly from the Ads, and are instead a result of the rank you have achieved.

Organic sales and borrows are the goal for every author with books on Amazon – or at least, they should be, because they are essentially free sales!

So, even if your Facebook Ads are converting at 3% for example, you're going to benefit from a few built-in Amazon features as a result of the traffic you're sending their way:

#1: If someone clicks on your Facebook Ad, but doesn't buy or borrow your book there are then, Amazon may email those people within 1-2 days, reminding them of your book and driving them back to Amazon to purchase it.

#2: For every sale or borrow of your books (organic or otherwise), your rank will improve, leading to more organic exposure, sales, and borrows.

If a sale or borrow doesn't come directly from a Facebook Ad, it won't be attributed to your Facebook Ads. Even if the first interaction a reader had with your book was through your Facebook Ads. The attribution will go to the last click before a conversion took place.

All that to say, never look at your Facebook Ads in isolation. They are purely a tool to drive awareness and visibility of your books. Your book needs to sell your book.


Wrapping Up


Facebook Ads are an incredible tool for authors, but if you're not tracking the right numbers, they can quickly and easily become a money pit; a black hole where money goes in and nothing comes out.

Yes, it's important to keep an eye on metrics such as CPCs (Cost-Per-Click), CTRs (Click-Through-Rate), etc, in your Facebook Ads dashboard, as these tell the story of the type of Ads people are resonating with.

Ultimately though, you also need to be measuring how the Ads are actually performing from a Conversion Rate and Cost-Per-Sale basis.

Also, understanding the incremental impact specific Facebook Ads are having on your overall author business is going to be critical to your success.

This is somewhat more difficult to track, but it is possible, and something I will be covering in a future edition of The Saturday Self-Published Author.

For now though, that's going to wrap up this week's edition.

Don't forget to download the Facebook Ads Tracking Tool if you haven't already.

Thank you for reading, and I'll see you back here again next Saturday. 

To Your Success
– Matt

 

Build A Simple, Profitable and Sustainable Author Business

Hi, I'm Matt Holmes, and I help self-published authors build a simple and profitable business without the "hustle".

I spend 60-90 minutes per day building my wife’s six-figure author business.

And in my FREE daily(ish) newsletter, I’ll share real-time, real-world, actionable insights to help you do the same.

I’ll also send you my FREE Facebook Ads For Authors Masterclass as soon as you sign up.