Advertising-Promotion-Marketing

Facebook Custom Audiences

23 February 2019

PG hadn’t heard of Facebook Custom List Audiences before. Here’s a simple description from Facebook:

A Custom Audience from a customer list is a type of audience you can create made up of your existing customers. You can target ads to the audience you’ve created on Facebook, Instagram, and Audience Network.

You upload, copy and paste or import your hashed customer list, then we use the hashed data from it to match the people on your list to people on Facebook.

Link to the rest at Facebook

PG hadn’t heard about Facebook Custom Audiences of any sort (there are a variety of different ones) before.

Basically, you send your customer list (or, maybe your email list, PG hasn’t checked to see what Facebook will accept) to Facebook (I know, I still don’t trust them either.)

Facebook identifies which people on Facebook and/or Instagram are also on your customer list and creates a one-of-a-kind advertising audience for your advertisements (for the book you just released, for example).

But wait, there’s more!

In the process of exploring Facebook Custom Audiences, PG discovered Facebook Engagement Custom Audiences as well. What are they?

An Engagement Custom Audience is a Custom Audience made up of people who have engaged with your content across the Facebook family of apps and services.

“Engagement” refers to actions like spending time viewing your videos or opening your lead form or Canvas. Using Engagement Custom Audiences, you can target ads to people who’ve taken these actions. You can also use it as a source for a Lookalike Audience, which will let you find people who are similar to those who’ve engaged with your Facebook content.

Here are the engagement types available, broken down Engagement Custom Audience type:

. . . .

 When you create an Engagement Custom Audience, you tell us how many days you want us to go back when collecting engagement. This means that if you tell us to look back 30 days and someone has engaged 29 days ago, that person will be in your audience. However, if they fail to engage in the next day, they will then be removed from it. Anyone new who engages within the time period you choose will be added to the audience. This means that the audience is constantly being refreshed, so you don’t need to edit or create a new Engagement Custom Audience unless you want to change the time period or the type of engagement.

PG didn’t look at the costs involved with advertising via custom audiences but expects it’s greater than zero and probably higher than just buying a Facebook ad.

PG understands why some authors might not trust Facebook with their mailing lists. He deleted his personal Facebook accounts several weeks ago in response to Facebook’s privacy shortcomings/failures/abuses.

Advertising on Facebook may fall into the Doing Business with the Devil category for some people. However, some people are willing to use the services of those whose values differ from theirs. PG is willing to walk into a store owned by people he wouldn’t invite into his home.

Has anyone used any of the Custom Audience features on Facebook?

If so, what was your experience and what were the costs?

Ai Learning Algorithms Find Your New Target Groups

23 February 2019

From ReadWrite:

Although artificial intelligence does not replace human marketing teams, it does support employees in controlling campaigns or even in content marketing. In the future, AI could increasingly displace a popular means of expressing branding: emotions.

The AI threat is becoming a different game. Companies have decided to restructure a number of processes to protect against this perceived menace.

One change will be to localize marketing measures, even more, pushing to make the distribution of content production decentralized; accompanying this action by an organic reduction in personnel. Eventually, however, algorithms will replace only part of the marketing efforts.

Although the news about AI has far less impact than previously thought, AI will dramatically change marketing. A recent McKinsey study shows that regarding the various business functions in companies, there is the most significant potential of AI in marketing. It is believed that there will be close to $6 trillion in value-added potential. Interestingly, at present, there’s a minimal number of successful AI applications in marketing.

. . . .

Intelligent support allows AI to analyze competitors, audiences, and trends automatically. Marketers can use these insights to develop or adapt their strategy. These insights enrich decision-making processes with relevant information. The actual decision is not automated and depends on the operator’s choice.

. . . .

Artificial intelligence can gather over about 10,000 data points on the Web about companies or consumers. Besides this massive amount of data, AI can determine and profile new target groups via deep learning algorithms.

In the B2C area, for example, this can be implemented well with Facebook custom audiences. AI is also playing an increasingly important role in content marketing. Algorithms help to semantic conceptualize content. For example, the word-to-vec algorithm automatically forms content as vectors that formalize the actual content abstractly. This representation is much more potent than the typical index of content. On this basis, automatically similar or complementary content can be found on an analytical level.

Link to the rest at ReadWrite

Social Media for Indie Authors

22 February 2019

PG is interested in hearing about the following:

  1. What are the best social media practices or systems for an indie author? Speaking generally or with respect to specific social media services – Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
  2. Among indie authors, who is doing a really good job with social media (PG understands this is your opinion). Feel free to provide links to the accounts in question.
  3. What are the biggest mistakes/most useless practices of indie authors in using social media?

Share your thoughts in comments. Feel free to include links to examples.

Book Marketing Insanity

14 February 2019

From The Book Designer:

Authors often don’t want to hear what works to sell books.

John Kremer, marketing expert, often responds when an author asks, How long should I market my book? with How long do you want book sales?

If you want books sales, doing repeatedly what doesn’t work is book marketing insanity. Successful book sales need some type of book marketing campaign behind them.

. . . .

What holds authors back?

  1. Many don’t like marketing.
  2. Many would rather be writing … not marketing.
  3. Many didn’t realize that they must do marketing.
  4. Many tried marketing, but what was tried didn’t work; therefore, the belief that nothing will settles in.
  5. It takes time.
  6. It takes money.
  7. Or, if they had cost overruns in creating the book, they refuse to do anything to support/market their book once they have all those books sitting in the garage.

. . . .

  • What’s next is educating yourself—learning what other authors are doing that works …and doesn’t. Following the best-selling authors and top influencers in their blogs and social media and studying what they do and mimic where appropriate.
  • What’s next could be getting help. Virtual assistants have become the right hands, eyes and fingers of many authors. Get one.

. . . .

I’m tired… Welcome to the club. The creation of a book can lead to Book Fatigue Syndrome—you want a time out. Do it—take a week or two off … but then, it’s back to work.

I’ve already committed so much money, I can’t put another dime out… What were you thinking in the first place—that if you just held a copy of your finished book that the world would flock to the stores, the Internet, your website, your front door, you, to get a copy? That would be a rarity. You need help … starting right now. This is where “hanging out” with other authors helps—what worked for them (and didn’t)? Would it work with your book?

I just want to write… Get over that one, too. Yes, keep writing. You get better; and you need to have “new” books forward. In a recent podcast I did with agent Michael Larsen, he revealed that for fiction authors, it’s book #5 that opens the door.

. . . .

Wise authors work in projects, get help where they need it and get that it’s not an all or nothing basis. Effective marketing can be in nibbles. What needs to be consistent and a plan behind it.

Link to the rest at The Book Designer

Book Shopping on Amazon? Don’t Be Duped Into Buying a Summary

7 February 2019

From The Wall Street Journal:

Summaries of popular books have long been a staple in the publishing business. Now they are often hard to tell apart from the real thing.

Authors and publishers say they are concerned about a recent surge in summaries available on Amazon, some of which have covers that copy or mimic the original’s art and use the author’s name. Some consumers are mistakenly buying those summaries instead of the original works, they say, hurting their sales.

Summaries of top-selling self-help and business titles appear at or near the top of recent searches for the books on Amazon, a Wall Street Journal analysis found. In some cases, the covers of the summary and the original book were very similar—aside from a “summary” label at the top.

. . . .

After the Journal contacted Amazon.com Inc. last week, the company said it would remove the works from its store that violated its rules and subsequently pulled a number of summary titles highlighted by the Journal.

Amazon, much like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc., has come under pressure to do a better job policing inappropriate activity on its platform. The company has struggled to entirely weed out makers of counterfeit products, as well as sellers who are finding new tricks to outsmart Amazon’s automated product-ranking system. Its sponsored-item advertisements have come under criticism for looking similar to regular listings and appearing in unexpected spots such as people’s baby registries. The book summaries, typically self-published using Amazon’s tools, are the latest challenge.

Publishers say the current offering of summaries—which retail for a fraction of the original’s price—differ from past ones such as CliffsNotes, which often had generic covers that looked nothing like the original, and ranked lower in search results.

The new breed of summary publishers have used Amazon’s powerful advertising platformto their advantage, buying up keywords that ensure their products appear above those of nonpaying sellers—albeit with a “sponsored” tag above the title. Sometimes, the summaries even carry a “best-seller” label.

. . . .

Amazon said in a securities filing last week that it may not be able to prevent sellers “from selling unlawful, counterfeit, pirated, or stolen goods, selling goods in an unlawful or unethical manner, violating the proprietary rights of others, or otherwise violating our policies.”

An Amazon spokesman said the company required that book summaries “be sufficiently differentiated to avoid customer confusion.”

. . . .

Among the titles removed by Amazon last week after the Journal inquired were several summaries of Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

. . . .

Summaries that use the same covers or mimic the covers of the original books may constitute unfair competition under state and federal laws, Mr. Brown added. Distinctive covers have value, he said, and those rights holders are protected. “It is really about causing confusion in the marketplace,” said Mr. Brown.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal

PG admits to being surprised that Amazon’s policing of this type of book has been so lax. Can it really be that difficult to build algorithms that highlight “books” that are designed to free-ride on bestsellers?

Welcome to the Bold and Blocky Instagram Era of Book Covers

2 February 2019


.
From Vulture:

If you’re looking for the most anticipated books of 2019, chances are your search will start with Google and end at Amazon. Chances are even better that one book cover will consistently jump off the screen: Marlon James’s Black Leopard, Red Wolf, its graphic white title entwining with a writhing, jewel-toned print of a shape-shifting beast. This first book in the Booker Prize–winning author’s Dark Star trilogy, a queer, Afrofuturist fantasy series, has already been called the “African Game of Thrones.” (Another tagline: the literary Black Panther.) It’s clearly being positioned by publishers and booksellers as a cultural icon, with a blazing cover to match.

Scroll on through the best-of lists and other titles will pop just as loudly: The title of Pitchaya Sudbanthad’s Bangkok Wakes to Rain gleams in gold letters over a drippy green abstraction of leaves. Helen Oyeyemi’s Ginger Bread shouts in bold yellow against a lightly ombré coral backdrop, its plane broken by a black crow grasping a gleaming tangerine. And Kristen Arnett’s Mostly Dead Things features a twisted, hand-drawn flamingo on a field of avocado green, with the title scrawled over it in what appears to be a fat white sharpie.

None of these titles is available yet, but anywhere you find them online will likely direct you to preorder on Amazon. [Ed.: Guilty.] In fact, their covers are designed to ensure that you will. At a time when half of all book purchases in the U.S. are made on Amazon — and many of those on mobile — the first job of a book cover, after gesturing at the content inside, is to look great in miniature. That means that where fine details once thrived, splashyprints have taken over, grounding text that’s sturdy enough to be deciphered on screens ranging from medium to miniscule.

If books have design eras, we’re in an age of statement wallpaper and fatty text. We have the internet to thank — and not just the interface but the economy that’s evolved around it. From the leather-bound volumes of old to lurid mass-market paperbacks, book covers were never designed in a vacuum. Their presentation had everything to do with the way books were made, where and how and to whom they were sold. And when you look at book covers right now, what you’ll see blaring back at you, bold and dazzling, is a highly competitive marketing landscape dominated by online retail, social media, and their curiously symbiotic rival, the resurgent independent bookstore.

Link to the rest at Vulture and thanks to DaveMich for the tip.

On-Trend Design

1 February 2019

This is a bit different than most of the topics TPV addresses, but one of the tasks of a successful indie author is to promote the author’s books.

Newsletters and social media are likely the most common tools for these promotions (although PG would be happy to hear about others). However, standing out in an inbox or on an Instagram feed is not simple.

Images are one means of standing out. Colors are another.

From Shutterstock (All images are from Shutterstock with additional information about each image in the OP):

Looking to refresh your work with the most popular new color combos? Revamp your designs for the new year with these three on-trend neons.

. . . .

With influencers and tastemakers looking to neon as the next big color trend in fashion, it makes complete sense that analysis of the Shutterstock search data revealed these three energetic hues as the colors that Shutterstock users are most excited about right now.

. . . .

This flouro green takes natural influences and exaggerates them, throwing them into a digital sphere. Think The Matrix, Flubber, and the iridescent scales of geckos and chameleons, and you’re on the right track.

UFO Green strikes the perfect balance between nature and technology, making it the perfect color to bridge the gap. Use it to create designs that are at once peaceful and reviving, as well as forward-thinking.

. . . .

UFO Green is the younger, more fun-loving sister of nature-inspired greens like sage and forest. Enhance the natural tropical tendencies of UFO Green by enhancing your photos with flouro green filters.

..
. . . .

Neon typography is an eye-catching way to evoke a nightlife mood, and works especially well on events flyers and posters. This neon font has a classic, vintage-inspired style that evokes Parisian absinthe bars.

Link to the rest at Shutterstock

PG understands that not all the ideas in the OP will suit a particular author’s taste, but climbing out of an appearance rut may improve visibility and engage readers and prospective readers better than only updating the written message in new promotions.

Book Tours Are More Than Just Showing Up

26 January 2019

From Publishers Weekly:

In the abstract, a book tour looks like it might be tremendous fun: packed houses of adoring fans, expense-account dinners in fancy far-flung restaurants. I’ve now promoted three books across a couple dozen states and 10 countries, and my experience has looked much more like bleary-eyed airport breakfasts at one end of the day and modest register tallies at the other, which begs the question, was this worth it?

But that depends on the answer to a different question: what’s the goal?

A dozen years ago, before I’d started writing books and was still publishing them, I asked my brilliant boss, Peter Workman: Why do we expend such a huge effort producing seasonal catalogues? Why do we run around like lunatics to finalize covers, on-sale dates, point-of-sale promotions, and everything else—such a frenetic outburst of redesigning, numbers crunching, consensus building, and decision making—all just to produce this printed marketing item? Who cares?

Peter put things into perspective. All that work, all those decisions—that was the real point; the catalogue was the impetus to get it all done.

I look at going out on the road through a similar lens. I do, of course, want to achieve the obvious immediate goal of selling units of the new title, just as we did, of course, need to get the catalogue to sales conference. But selling those hardcovers is just one component of my goal and my publisher’s too, and the booksellers’ too—we all have bigger long-term priorities: the next book, the one after, all the future books in all the years ahead, keeping the lights on.

For my part, I want to write better and better books, published better and better, making for a satisfying and successful career. And I think it’s the lessons learned, the experiences had, and the people met on the road that can make this achievable. On book tours, I go places I’d otherwise never have visited, I’m introduced to readers I’d never have met, and I make friends and fans and important contacts who’d otherwise be strangers.

I’ve learned about contemporary bookselling over dinners in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Austin, Tex.; about the evolving roles of libraries in Stamford, Conn., and Rockport, Mass.; about the terrific mystery conferences in Albany, N.Y., and Toronto; and about honing elevator pitches for radio in Amsterdam and Dublin.

. . . .

Touring has been my MFA plus my MBA, too—establishing a professional network, understanding the marketplace, polishing creative output, and even inspiring me to generate an entire book.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

As PG has mentioned before, with respect to the value of book tours by authors, he believes it’s no longer 1972.

Do book tours sell some books? Undoubtedly.

But what is the cost per book sold, particularly if an author values his/her time? Had the author not gone on a book tour, could he/she have spent the time and energy doing something that was ultimately more profitable with that time and energy (particularly considering that a great many authors are committed introverts)?

If publishers really believe that face-to-face contact between an interesting and persuasive salesperson and a reader who is willing to come to a bookstore to listen, why not hire a skilled salesperson to do the book tour?

Just like writing talent, the talent for selling products or services, particularly on a face-to-face basis, is not evenly distributed throughout humanity. If you have ever been in the presence of someone who is skilled in face-to-face sales, you will immediately notice the difference between a talented salesperson and a typical author squirming at a book signing.

PG has often thought that James Patterson’s success in selling a lot of books derives in significant part from his pre-writing experience of twenty-odd years as an executive working at the largest advertising agency in the world (where he ended up as CEO). Patterson knows far more about how to advertise and sell products than any employee at any publisher and has used his talent to sell far, far more books than he would have had he permitted his publishers to handle all his book promotion and advertising.

In response to the question, “Who better to sell a book than the person who wrote it?”, PG suggests the rational answer is, “Someone who earns his/her living by selling things.”

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