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Instagram vs. Twitter Advertising for Indie Authors

28 March 2016

From Bookworks:

[W]ith over 284 million active monthly users you might also think about using Twitter to advertise your work.  But don’t stop there, because Instagram is in the fight for your advertising dollars as well.

Social Media in general has added a new dimension to the marketing game, not just for the big brands, but for small-to-midsize [SMBs] as well.  In the case of indie writers, this holds a lot of weight when you consider our usually less-than-beefy budgets.

. . . .

Indie authors who advertise on Instagram alone have the potential of 400 million users – and by utilizing Facebook’s ad technology, writers can easily choose whether or not to advertise on both platforms.

James Quarles, Head of Global Advertising at Instagram, said: “Having 200,000 advertisers gives us an ability to better tailor the ads that people see to their likes and interests.”

“The Facebook relationship has helped us grow our user base and attract advertisers,” Quarles continued. “People can be creative in using the two together and run things across both platforms. That really hasn’t existed much in the marketing world.”

. . . .

Facebook makes it fairly easy to set up a campaign on the photo app, as long as users have already created a “Business Facebook Page” and are using the Google Chrome browser.

On your “Business Facebook Page,” click Settings on the upper right of your page.  A drop-down within Settings will appear in a column on the left side of your page.  There you will see “Instagram Ads.”  To start, simply click on this tab and connect your Instagram account to your Facebook page.

As the next step, it’s important to note that instead of using “Facebook’s Ads Manager,” you download their “Power Editor” tool instead.  It is found at the top of the page, under the Ads Manager platform.

From that point forward, Facebook will prompt you through all of the remaining easy steps that are necessary to create your campaign.

. . . .

Many indie authors are already on Instagram and are self-promoting their work for free by simply posting regularly and building a following of fans.  So, why start spending money advertising?

Mainly, because Instagram ads are inexpensive and can generate targeted traffic to your website.  But there are other reasons, too.  For instance, Instagram posts don’t allow a website link in the body of your posts.  But Instagram ads do.

With a minimal $100 a month budget, you can easily test the waters.  Just make sure you set clear goals and always include a “call to action” – whether that’s to sell books, build mailing lists or promote a new discount that only Instagram followers can benefit from.

A Salesforce report last October revealed the following stats:

  • The overall click-through rate on its clients’ Instagram ads over was 1.5 percent, versus Facebook’s first-quarter-2015 figure of 0.84 percent.
  • Instagram’s global cost per thousand impressions was $6.29, about 90 percent higher than Facebook’s first-quarter CPMs.
  • The cost per click was $0.42 for Instagram and $0.40 for Facebook.

Link to the rest at Bookworks

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17 Comments to “Instagram vs. Twitter Advertising for Indie Authors”

  1. Quite a bit of good information, but one key piece is missing. How many additional books will you likely sell? The probable answer is, none. From the linked PW article:

    “For Fasano, who says she didn’t see much of an uptick in sales, the program was still worthwhile. “Although the ad didn’t sell any books, 21,934 Twitter users saw my ad, which included my name, my cover image, [and] my photo,” she says. “And 252 of those people engaged with the ad in some way. I’ve read that a consumer must see a product three times before feeling compelled to buy. I feel a lot of people saw my book; I’m satisfied with that result.”

    I’m not sold on the effectiveness of any social media marketing platform. Word-of-mouth, yes, but people are tuning out internet advertising just as they TIVO past television ads.

    • I wasn’t sold on FB ads either until I heard one successful coach describe how she used them with great results. She has spent $900,000 on ads because they make her millions.

      I started looking into the options (see my comment below) and realized that I didn’t know enough about how they worked to know if they would work for me…..

      • ” She has spent $900,000 on ads because they make her millions.”

        Sadly these things don’t always scale worth a darn, as in me spending $90 won’t get me hundreds …

        • Yeah, that’s the trick of it isn’t it? She sells a $2,200 course and gets hundreds of signs ups each time. She has it dialed in for sure.

          We all start somewhere with it…..

          It’s not a simple process. I watched her video about how she does her ads and I didn’t find it that easy to follow. The course I linked to in another comment was MUCH easier for me.

    • “I’ve read that a consumer must see a product three times before feeling compelled to buy.”

      I’ve seen that “statistic” but applied to pre-Internet advertising. Nowadays, seven or eight impressions are allegedly needed.

  2. I’ve been doing some research into FB ads. So far, this free course has been the most helpful in getting set up. It’s WAY more complex than I initially realized. I watched the first four videos and then life got really busy. I do plan to watch the rest and act on this.

    I’m non-fiction and have lots of non-book offerings so I think that’s an advantage in finding a product that connects via ads.

    The thing that I really liked about this course (so far) is that it showed me how to set it up so that folks that have visited my site will be the ones shown my FB ads. It’s all rather Big Brother feeling, yet I suppose if you are going to be shown ads on FB, it’s nice to have them be for things you are likely to be interested in.

    https://lptraining.leadpages.net/facebookadvertising/

    • Interesting course. I’ll have to grab some time and check it out.

    • Mark Dawson also offers a course. He has a spy series (think the latest James Bond series as an example) and the few samples I’ve read are pretty good.

      I admit I haven’t tried it so I can’t personally recommend it, but I heard about him through the Author Biz podcast and it sounds like he knows what he’s talking about.

      (BTW, I highly recommend the podcast. It goes in-depth into the subject, and you get a lot of information, including about sales and money.)

  3. OMG. No Instagram. No Twitter — although, in a moment of weakness, I did get a Twitter account. I’ve never used it.

    Guess this Baby Boomer is showing his age. There are limits to the amount of time I’m willing to spend on Soc Med. And these two don’t make the cut. (Cost v. Benefits!)

    OK, I’m on FB quite a bit. But most of my Soc Med time is spent here on TPV. Addiction is not a pretty thing! 🙁

  4. $100 a month? Are they bloody serious? That would wipe out my earnings for that month unless someone guarantees me $200 in revenue.

    • The idea is supposed to work better when you have a series. You’re trying to reach the bookaholics who get into book one for 99 cents, then buy the rest.

      This amortizes the cost of the ad over the series.

  5. At a social media discussion the other day someone commented,”You won’t find anyone under 25 on Facebook, and that’s pushing it.” My response was, “What’s your audience?” I already know that my audience skews older. I don’t think advertising on teen-heavy media would help me.

    • That’s why the targeting is so important and FB let’s you go insanely deep in targeting. Like I said, I had no idea just how far down the rabbit hole this goes. You can be SO specific about who sees your ads on FB and I suppose Instagram as well.

      • I saw one guy say that the key is to target fan groups of books similar to yours. So — ahem — Sherilyn Kenyon would target her ads to Cassandra Clare’s fan groups, and vice versa.

        • yes, you can target the fans of specific pages on FB.

          You can load your email list to FB and it will create a group of people who “use FB like the people in your list use FB.”

          The one I plan to use is the “show ads to people who have liked my page.” I have thousands of people who have clicked “like” on my page yet don’t see my posts. I can tell FB to focus on showing them ads. Since they already expressed interest in my work then perhaps an ad will get them more engaged.

          The other thing you can do is to create a group of people who have visited a specific page on your site (examples are those that have hit your thank you page after a purchase or who visit a sales page on your site) and then target ads to those people when they are on FB.

          For example, I’m currently gathering a group that have looked at my private consultations page. Once the group is large enough, I will create an ad about private consultations specifically for that group. It can take time to build up enough people to make a campaign viable so I started the process of gathering those folks even though I have no plans to do an ad soon.

  6. Barbara Morgenroth

    I like FB ads. Turned one on this morning and within a couple hours had 2 signups to my mailing list. If there’s no one under 25 there, good, that’s not my audience.

    You can do ads for $1 a day and for as long as you like–1 day, 2 days, 150 days. I think it’s reasonable.

    Twitter, when I checked it out, was incredibly expensive.

  7. Goodreads reports a click through rate of .05% for book ads on a site devoted to readers. So Instagram is reporting a click through rate that is 30 times better than Goodreads and Facebook is reporting a click through rate that is 17 times better than Goodreads? Somebody is feeding us a load of crappolla here…

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