Google and Facebook Ad Update

Here is a comment I posted on Goodreads.com:

I found Google AdWords really bad. They have an automated system that checks that the site your ad links to is relevant to the keywords you choose. I linked my ad to my book’s page on Amazon, using keywords that I know very well to be relevant.

After some initial success ( a few clicks, although no sales) Google stopped showing my ad and marked it with a low quality score – its algorithms did not think my keywords relevant because the algorithms are not clever enough to actually read through my book!

I am very suspicious of their cost model. They act like a drug dealer: they get you lots of clicks really cheap at first, then they coerce you into raising your bids to retain the same rate of page impressions.

I found Facebook much fairer. They have a similar cost model and will raise prices if your ads do not generate a good click through rate, but they do not try to be too clever like Google and start spidering the site your ad links to. With Facebook it is also possible to make small tweaks to your ad and then it will give you another chance and give you lots of cheap page impressions before it ascertains the quality score. This actually helped me to improve my ad’s quality, because I was able to experiment with the ad’s target demographic. You can also show your ads to specific groups such as “people who like reading” or even “people who like Australia or aliens”.

However, as I mentioned, the adverts generated clicks but not sales and so it extremely difficult to measure whether they are worth the money.

All in all I thought this was a great experiment and I’ve learned a lot. I am a little embarrassed at my former optimism (see earlier posts!) but it was to be expected. There is definitely no quick and easy way to success.

My focus now is simply to get people to read the book, preferably people who have no connection to me. And I cannot expect people to pay to do me this favour, so I am going to organise a book giveaway through GoodReads.com.

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