For Authors: Ad Monitoring During a Large Sales Drive

Dear humans,

The chaos has begun. Bookbub’s feature of The Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) Starter Pack has dropped. Cue insanity.

As of the start of writing this post, the female human writer doohickey has sold 1,050 books in the US alone. (She’s rocking back and forth in her chair, possibly crying happily.)

It’s okay, human. It’s okay to cry when good things happen.

(To all humans out there… it’s okay to cry when good things happen.)

(It’s also okay to cry when you’re infuriated and know you can’t kill people because that’s wrong. Crying is definitely better than killing people.)

So, as today is the big Bookbub day, my human has decided to do something moderately insane. First, she is activating ALL ads, even the ones that were floppish yesterday. She is doing this until approximately 5 PM PST. This is to help take advantage of the sales hike the bookbub begins.

She is expecting to take some major hits to her budget doing this. She’s also loading in new ads for some books that have never seen facebook ad time before. (This could work well, this might not work at all. She doesn’t know.)

But, as of 11:22 AM PST, this is what her ad account looks like on facebook:

Statistics are shown for yesterday and today; some of these ads have been running since Thursday to help build rank before the start of the run (which was on Monday.)

Some of these ads are working fantastically well. Others are making my human second-guess every decision she’s made in her life.

But, she’s allowing the ads, ALL of them, to run until 5 PM PST before beginning to turn off the ones that aren’t performing well and adding in new ads.

Let’s talk about why.

First, it takes time for ads to mature. Until the human sees an ad with at least 100 clicks, there’s no way of knowing if it will stabilize. She’s seen an add that got $0.75 CPC out of the gate work down to $0.10 CPC after 100-150 clicks. Yeah. We don’t know what that’s about, either. But it can happen. It doesn’t happen *often* but it does happen.

Also, what the human doesn’t know, mostly because she’s too damned lazy to link to anywhere but vendors, is whether or not the higher CPC ads are converting to sales better than the lower CPC ads.

When you’re testing ads, it’s important to realize an ad that costs $0.15 but converts once every two clicks is MUCH better of a performer than an ad that has $0.03 CPC (cost per click) but converts once every twenty clicks. (The $0.15 ad would have an acquisition rate of one book for $0.30 versus the $0.03 ad, which would have an acquisition rate of one book for $0.60.)

This is part of what makes ads so difficult to monitor and work with.

In so many cases, we just don’t know. Most people prefer to shotgun the ads; they want as many clicks as possible for as low as possible. The conversion is typically considered second.

Because of this, the female has begun adopting a more patient approach; she tries to wait until an ad has 100 clicks before deciding to turn it off. That can hurt, especially when a bunch of budget is pissed away. But, at the same time, she’s watching sales, too.

If that high CPC ad converts really well, it may just be more cost-efficient to run that ad.

In most cases, however, CPC is king, as more clicks means more people are seeing it, but that is not always the case.

So, let’s take a closer look at ad monitoring and things you should look out for when building ads.

We’ll start with this section of ads:

In this collection of ads, there are two definite keepers: the $0.21 and the $0.19 ads. Both are getting a great volume of clicks for an affordable amount. (Please note that the human’s overall target goal is $2 per book purchased, so she can afford to have a higher cost per click if it converts.) So far, she’s hovering around the $2 per book target for her facebook ads. This is good.

Today, it won’t be that much for the facebook ads. Actually, she’s expecting closer to $3-4 per book spent because she’s just hammering out all the ads and letting them run regardless of their performance.

But when she turns off ads, she’ll start with eliminating everything that’s over $0.30 per click first, and then she’ll evaluate every ad after. If she has a $0.25 ad that is getting a loooot of clicks and interest, it’ll probably stay.

So, what happens after all the ‘bad’ ads are pruned?

Well, that’s where the real magic happens.

She takes the budget remaining from all of the ads she cancelled, creates new ads using the successful ads as a foundation point, tweaks them to make it fresh, and starts the process all over again. She’ll load them all in, hit the go button, and wait for the magical 100 clicks mark before trimming the ads down again and repeating the process.

Over, and over, and over, and over…

In the case of this run, she’s going to focus on putting in new ads for books she hasn’t promoted on facebook before, hoping to hit a new audience. She also revitalized a lot of old ads that performed well in the past, hoping to reach the same readers as before, but this time making it clear they can get more books for their pennies.

An important part of running ads is managing expectations.

You want people to perceive they’re getting a good value on a good thing. People don’t want good values on bad things.

The female prefers to use snippets of the books versus descriptions and reviews because if someone clicks, they’ve already been exposed to the writing style. They liked it enough to click. This is the start of a relationship founded on the actual writing. Yes, there are a lot of gimmicks you can use to get clicks. Posting a review from someone might spark interest, for example.

But the relationship with the book hasn’t started until the reader reads.

The female prefers starting that relationship with the words she’s written in the book from the gate. It leads to a more expensive cost per click. People who don’t like the writing style aren’t going to invest in the book.

That’s a good thing. They know they won’t like it, so they don’t waste their time.

It is now 1:54 PM PST, and the female has gotten 1,344 sales on Amazon. It’s been a delightful day, but she’s trying not to think too hard over the state of the ad account.

She might leave ads rolling until midnight PST now. Because she has lost all sense of sanity.

Wish her well, humans. The deep end… she’s exploring it.

In my next post, we will discuss the actual pruning of the ads and how she goes about picking snippets for the ads.

In case any of you want to check the book out, here is a link for your amusement. You’re under no obligation whatsoever to even look at it or anything, and the inclusion of this link is being done because otherwise, people will message the female and ask for a link. (We have learned our lesson from yesterday, humans.)

Apparently, folks like to know what the fuss is about! So, that’s the book that’s on sale. (Eep.)

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