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Some Marketing Data for Indie Authors

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I’ve been running Facebook and Amazon ads for my book and wanted to offer some marketing data for indie authors. Let’s start with Facebook ads. My caveats include that this is preliminary data based on a week of experimenting. That’s not a lot, but I’m hoping it will be helpful to others.

My Facebook ads have performed incredibly well, with click-through rates (CTR) of up to 5.14% over 40,000 impressions. More specifically, 41,000 impressions and 1,117 clicks. More on those numbers later.

I ran two different during the preorder phase, then ran an A/B test with a new campaign after the book shipped. That’s the campaign I really want to talk about. I ran these two videos in the A/B test (the text in my IG captions was not in the ads):

And this as the other ad:

I like the first one the most. Krisztian’s animation is incredible and that smile that Miranda eases into at the end is wicked. It’s also the ad that has performed the best with women across all age demos—though clearly both ads find men to be the most resonant audience. The second hasn’t performed well with women at all, though overall it has performed slightly better than the first one.

Marketing data for indie authors - a chart showing age and gender distribution for my first Facebook ad
The Age and Gender Breakdown of My First Facebook Ad

Please note that I don’t think this marketing data for indie authors applies to every author, every book, or even for SciFi on the whole. I just wanted to share some results from my experimentation so far.

I mentioned more on my overall numbers: the 2.7% CTR in my overall numbers included my first ad (not shown) that performed at 1%. The new ads (shown) have been consistently 5.xx% performers.

CTRs Don’t Necessarily Result in Book Sales

While I’ve had an excellent response to my FB ads, those click throughs haven’t necessarily resulted in many sales. As of this writing, I’ve had 36 sales on Kindle and 19 sales on Apple Books. With Kindle having 7-8 times Apple’s share of the market, I’ll take that kind of ratio. I assume that some of my over performance on Apple Books is my history in the Apple-related space, but I can’t swear to that.

I’ve had no sales on Barnes & Noble, a service I went with mainly for the hard back book with dust jacket option. I’d love to have some Nook readers get into Mason’s story!

Also, I’m offering somewhat of a soft pitch on the sale itself. Rather than directing clicks directly to Amazon Kindle (or Apple Books), I’m bringing people to my site where they have to then click again to buy the book. This decision sits better with me than funneling people directly to a single retailer’s site, even though I’d probably more sales sending people directly to Kindle.

Also, those who have clicked through to the book page haven’t much checked out more of my site. This also isn’t a surprise. I’m a first-time fiction author and folks are busy. I’m glad they stopped in to read about the book!

Amazon Kindle Ads

Amazon does things differently, at least with the Kindle ads I’m trying. You pay when they click—not for the impression, and so far I’ve had no click-throughs on a whopping 78 impressions. Amazon uses a bidding system that encourages publishers (and indie authors) to pay MOAR for ads to get an impression.

I started my ads out at $0.75 per click (and got almost no impressions), upped it to $1.00 and got a few, and am currently sitting at $1.50. My impressions have seen an uptick with the new pricing, but I’m this close to canning the entire experiment. Amazon Ads are very much feeling like a rich person’s playground, for indie authors, at least. To be fair, it’s still early.

More notes: these Amazon ads are essentially still images. There are some other packages on Amazon, but I haven’t dug into them yet.

I’ll follow up with another post if I find anything interesting. If you have any ideas or feedback, please drop a note in the comments.

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