Google’s Adwords program (www.google.com/adwords) is an advertising network where you can bid on clicks for your ads. You do this by designating keywords that you want your ad associated with, and you can also target geographic locations and other demographics. For example, if your book is about caring for a puppy, your keywords might include “how to care for a new puppy” or “what to feed a puppy.” Then, when a user searches Google for a similar phrase, your ad would appear at the top of the search results in the advertising section. If the user clicks on your ad, you will be charged for that click.
Bids for clicks can range from $.25 to several dollars PER click. Popular search phrases, like topics in the real estate or legal industries, can be quite expensive. However, less popular key phrases can cost far less.
When you set up an ad campaign, Google will show you suggested keyword phrases along with their popularity and estimate cost per click so it’s easy to research your options. Google also maintains a content network, so your ads can appear on websites that display Google ads. That means that your puppy care book could potentially get featured on websites about dogs and puppies.
You can set virtually any budget you like with Google, so for as little as $50 you can test out an ad. I have yet to hear of any major author success stories with ads like these, but if you have a niche book topic and you’re careful with your ad placement, these could produce some decent results for you. I would also recommend that you link your ad to a sales page on your own site so that you have control over the content that the user will see. Make sure you write a really compelling sales page to capture the interest of the buyers you have targeted.
It is also recommended that you try split testing, which means that you create multiple ads and multiple landing pages to test out which perform the best. This requires quite a bit of extra effort on your part, but if you think ads can work for you then it may be worthwhile.
Ads on the other search engines work in similar ways and can also cost less due to less competition so you may also want to test ads with the other search engines:
Similar to Google ads, Facebook ads (https://www.facebook.com/advertising) can be purchased on a pay-per-click basis, based on keywords and demographic information. Ads appear on Facebook users’ pages, in the right sidebar, and include an image that you specify (such as your book cover).
Facebook ads can also be pricey. Depending on the size of the market you want to reach, suggested bid prices can range from $.75 up to $2 or more. The nice thing about Facebook ads is that you get a lot of impressions (views of your ad) before you have to pay for clicks. Your ad might get served up on 5,000 or 10,000 pages before someone actually clicks. That’s a lot of visibility for you book cover and you only pay for the clicks.
Like all forms of advertising, you won’t really know if it works until you test it out. If you can afford a budget of $50 or $100 for a month, this may be worth a try.
Because Facebook only displays your individual posts in the timelines of just 10% to 20% of your followers, each post you share misses out on a lot of visibility. In my opinion, Facebook did this on purpose to force small businesses to invest in promoting their posts, which ensures that more of your audience sees an individual post.
Under any given post on your Facebook business page, you will see a button for “Promote.” You can choose to promote the post to people who like your page as well as to their friends. You can set a budget of as little as $5, which will ensure your post is seen by around 1,000 people in their timelines. The more you spend, the more visibility your post will receive.
Facebook has a lot of quirky rules around advertising with promoted posts. For example, the image that is included with your post cannot contain more than 20% text. If you post a logo that is text-based, your ad will likely get declined. So far it appears that books can still get approved under this system, however.
These ads can be effective in raising visibility for your book and other promotions that you feature on your page, and because the cost is low, it’s worthwhile to take them for a test drive.
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