I wanted to do a quick post talking about the two big ads platforms most authors use: Facebook and Amazon ads. There are some major differences between them, and it takes some work to figure them out. This is by no means a big overview, but a few key differences as well as some things they have in common.
A lot of people will debate the merits between one and the other. Usually people don’t champion both, but find one that works for them and then use that. For me, that’s mostly Facebook ads, though I’m starting to see some traction with both.
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Key Differences Between Facebook Ads and Amazon Ads
Facebook will spend your money. Amazon MIGHT.
If you give Facebook a budget of $100 a day, Facebook will spend that. If you give Amazon a budget of $100 a day, your ad may or may not get served at all.
On Facebook, when you say you want them to spend an amount per day, they believe you. Amazon ads are really different in how they’re set up and what that budget means. If you’re setting a higher cost per click on Amazon ads, you might spend that. I know people who set up ads and accidentally put a decimal in the wrong place, spending a LOT of money very quickly.
Be really careful when you’re setting up BOTH kinds of ads, knowing that you could be really losing a lot of money if you’re treating those daily budgets the same on both platforms.
You can’t target all the authors and books you want to on Facebook. You can on Amazon.
Facebook doesn’t have the massive list of available targets that Amazon does. Amazon is a bookseller. You’re able to list the ASIN numbers of specific books and target them, which means you can really nail down a super specific audience to a particular book, author, or series.
Facebook only allows targeting people who like certain pages or interests, and this usually doesn’t include indie authors. There are very few indies that you can actually target, so that might make things harder. It means you might target someone like Nicholas Sparks (along with everyone else targeting him) rather than that indie author friend of yours who sells lots of books but may not be well-known.
Of course, on Facebook, you can target for things like behavior, and obviously, target people NOT reading on the Amazon platform, so there are more criteria you can target for, but creating an audience might be a little different since many of the books you want to target may not be an option.
You’ll need to focus on images and ad copy WAY more on Facebook.
The Amazon ads platform uses book covers for your ads, so you don’t need to worry about images. On Facebook, the image is arguably the MOST important part of the ads, and book covers don’t always convert. This means that you’ve got to do a bit more prep work in setting up your ads by finding the right image.
The ad copy is also a bigger deal. You can run ads on Amazon with no ad copy whatsoever. On Facebook, you not only need some text, but a headline. So, you’re going to need more skills here. You CAN work on your ad copy and test it on Amazon, but you could get started right now on Amazon ads without having to seek out images or write copy.
BIG SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE AD PLATFORMS
They can BOTH sell books for you.
When you figure out how they both work (just in general) and then test what works for YOU, both ad platforms can be fantastic. I know people making great money with Amazon ads. I’ve made money with Facebook ads. (And I’m getting there with Facebook ads too.)
Don’t listen to someone who says only one works for them. That’s true for THEM. And maybe you’ll settle on one that works best for YOU, but don’t think that one is better. They aren’t the same … other than the fact that they can both sell books for you.
They’re both ridiculously hard to gauge results.
The hard part of using the ads is tracking what is actually working. Why is this an issue?
On Amazon, their reporting dashboard is notoriously wonky. So a lot of people don’t even use that dashboard and look instead at their KDP dashboard and sales reports, or look at whatever they’re using for tracking sales, like Book Report.
On Facebook, it’s hard to know because you can SEE the cost per click and lots of data, but you may not be able to tell what sold on Amazon. Some ads people will tell you to use Amazon affiliate links to see what sells, and while that CAN work, it violates terms of service in a few ways. Some people use readerlinks or Books2Read (Draft2Digital’s universal link option) or landing pages or other things, but sometimes FB ads get finicky and they don’t like the links to other places and won’t approve or will shut down the ads. Some people use them just fine.
I always name my campaigns with the ranking on them, because that at least allows you to see how a book is ranked at the start of a campaign and then as they work, but there are sometimes other factors. Like random organic sales, newsletter swaps, readthrough as people read your other books. So many factors.
Neither platform will sell your book if your cover, blurb, and book aren’t solid.
This is just the basics of EVERYTHING. If you don’t have a professional looking cover that’s genre-appropriate, a blurb that hooks readers, and a solid book, you’re going to struggle to sell books. These are things you need to make sure you’re getting RIGHT before you delve into ads. Period.
It can be really hard to tell sometimes. We are biased about our own books. We don’t always see the market correctly or understand the nuances of these sales. If you need help here, check out some of these resources:
SO, WHICH ADS SHOULD YOU USE?
If you’re just starting out, neither. Not yet. I highly recommend starting out with the paid email promo sites like EReader News Today, Robin Reads, and the like. Typically, you’ll have to discount your book for a set period (1-2 days) and can schedule your sales around that. Or keep your book at a lower price for a longer time and stagger those promotions. These sites are more reliable because they have built up massive email lists of people who want books. You don’t have to gauge them the same way and they’re less of a risk.
But, you should be learning Facebook ads and also Amazon ads, testing as you learn and then figuring out what works best for you. Learn as you go, then keep investing more and more into your ads as you find what works.
You can also check out my workshop on Facebook ads that will help you set up low-cost Facebook ads on a budget and learn to gauge your results. I’ve taken a number of Facebook ads courses and workshops, tested a LOT, and tried these methods with several books and genres. It’s the best FB ads resource you’ll get for this price. Trust me on that.
You can join me live on June 16th, or purchase the replay + bonus resources afterward.