Many authors have received pitches from Facebook or Goodreads about buying advertisements and wondered how well those work.
The most common type of ad FB or GR offers is called a Cost-per-Click ad or CPC. Your ad appears all over the place, but you don’t pay unless someone clicks on your ad and is connected to wherever you decide to send them to learn more about (and hopefully buy) your book.
So, if 100 people see your ad and one clicks on it, you pay 25 cents (or whatever price) for that click and nothing for the 99 people who didn’t click. Your “clickthrough rate” would be 1% in the example.
Commercial advertisers love CPC ads because they only pay if someone comes to their site. Passive Guy hasn’t been in the clickthrough business lately, but the cost-per-click amount can be very high for popular terms. For example, on Google, the king of CPC, “insurance” and related terms are the highest-cost ads. One recent report says “insurance” by itself can cost up to $54.91 per click. If you write a book about insurance, Passive Guy recommends you don’t advertise on Google.
Average clickthrough rates across all types of terms are an overall indicator of how effective a given site is as a venue for advertising. An effective site for advertising will have, on average, high click-through rates for everything from McDonald’s to Harry Potter.
A CPC guru recently analyzed clickthrough rates for Facebook ads and he says they suck:
Well, the overall number of clicks compared to impressions above give their own story – response rates are low – around than 1 in 2000 page views results in an ad click2 No surprise since banner clickthrough rates are low and we’re mostly online to socialise.
. . . .
[Here's a breakdown on Facebook CPC rates by age - draw your own conclusions on the age of your readers]
Link to the rest at Smart Insights
The guru’s observation that people go to Facebook to socialize is very important. If they’re looking for the latest party pictures or baby pictures, they’re not clicking on anybody’s ad. However, if people go to Goodreads to talk about books, is a Goodreads CPC ad a productive use of your money?
Mrs. PG is involved in a Goodreads CPC campaign right now and PG has been surprised at how low her clickthrough rates have been. On the other hand, since her campaign started, she’s seen a big increase in the number of people who have added her book to their wishlists.
It remains to be seen whether being on a wishlist translates into sales, but if Mrs. PG were to calculate a cost-per-wishlist rate, she’s barely paying anything to Goodreads.
PG would be happy to hear about results from anyone who has conducted an online ad campaign for their books with Facebook, Goodreads or anybody else.