Jesse Lawson

Software engineering, artificial intelligence, writing, and open-source tools

Apr 30, 2018 - Blog

Don't use Facebook Ads to sell your book

Are you thinking of using Facebook Ads to sell your book? Don’t, unless your goal is exposure and not sales.

I have a bestselling book on Amazon that I was thinking about running Facebook Ads for. With a campaign targeted toward a broad audience, I opted to calculate the maximum possible likelihood of conversion based on past ad performance, other articles around the internet of people talking about how Facebook Ads worked for them, and Facebook’s best guess as to the minimum and maximum clicks the campaign would receive.

The type of ad I created was a pay-per-click, with a variable CPC bid that I let Facebook control. The lifetime budget of the campaign was set to $300.

The target for the campaign would be the book’s page on Amazon, and while yes I would include an affiliate link, I am not incorporating the potential affiliate earnings herein. In my experience, they don’t factor in that much.

With these numbers, Facebook estimated that I would receive between 13 and 80 clicks. Using that estimate, I broke down the conversion rate required for me to maximize my return on investment:

{% codeblock %}

Budget: $300
Low Click Est: 13
High Click Est: 80
Royalty: $5.43

    Low Click Est   High Click Est

10% Conv $7.06 $43.44 25% Conv $17.65 $108.60 50% Conv $35.30 $217.20 75% Conv $52.94 $325.80

{% endcodeblock %}

So basically, I would have to have a ~75% conversion rate just to recoup my advertising investment. If you don’t know, the industry standard for ad CTR is about 2%. This doesn’t even account for the conversion rate, which is unknown since we don’t know how many people who click on the ad will turn into book purchasers–but I am confident that the number is far less than 100%.

So unless you’re looking for pure exposure, don’t use Facebook Ads to sell your book.

But don’t take my word for it.