Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Twitter Ads, Book Sales And Promoting Birdkill

You know I've got a new book out, right?


I've been playing about a bit with analytics and Twitter ad campaigns. I'm a big fan of Twitter and thought it would be interesting to see what I could get up to in terms of promotions and generally try a couple of things out. I've run Google adwords campaigns in the past and was particularly interested to see how Twitter stacked up against Goog.

Twitter offers a pretty powerful set of dashboards allowing you to analyse your tweets, as well as run promotions to audiences you select. There are a number of ways of slicing and dicing this, by behaviours, interests or contextually based on actions. You can also target other people's followers, which is a bit 'Google' - at the same time mighty handy and also a little creepy.

Generally, book promotion tweets invite lower engagement rates unless they mark real milestones or events or contain some element of wit, news or opinion. Nobody would be surprised to know that 'buy my book' doesn't really cut it.

Timing is also... everything. First thing in the morning, elevenses and evening tweets tend to do better. And so do book tweets that follow a wider non-book tweet, typically an interesting content share.

I ran a campaign over the past weekend which targeted a range of key words, principally 'read' and 'book'. I limited it to the UAE, US and UK and ran it over two days with a total budget of $100. The campaign was based around two tweets and two 'cards', which are a graphical element with a link displayed. Here are those very cards:

Each card graphic is 800 x 320 pixels. So each ad gives you a call to action opportunity with a tweet, a graphic and a clickable link. It's quite a neat wee package. The above turned into the below when I'd finished with 'em:

 The above got $79.29 of my spend, generating 25,970 impressions and 126 clicks.

This one got just $20.71 of my spend, but generated 13,690 impressions and 35 clicks.

Both ads performed similarly, costing around $0.60 per click. So in total my two-day campaign generated 39,660 impressions and 163 clicks to my Amazon page.

What happened? I hear you asking. How many books did you sell over this period?


And I can't even be sure that one came from Twitter, because Amazon doesn't offer the same sort of analytics to authors. It shouldn't really come as a surprise, it's pretty consistent with McNabb's Law of Clicks actually.

I'm running a second campaign now, which targets a number of local UAE handles connected to reading, literature and culture with a much wider selection of creatives. That's costing more per click but getting more clicks per impression. Generally, I found Twitter easier to get my head around and more diverse than Google, but to be honest I'm not really a dashboard kind of boy...

And I'm clearly just playing around here, but there's room to explore a great deal more, leveraging different routes to find, attract and convert readers. That all costs money, of course, and at $100 for one book sale, I can see the route to bankruptcy is not only paved with gold, but also quite comprehensively greased.

Are the messages wrong? The creatives goofy? The targeting atrocious? These are all subjective and yet the dashboards available mean you can refine these, testing what is working and what isn't, increasing your success rate with each iteration. What fascinates me is how 163 people clicked on a link to Amazon and didn't click on 'Buy now'.

Anyway, it's been interesting and I'll continue to play around with it all. I hope the above is useful to someone, somewhere. And if you have any comments, views or insights, you know where to find me: @alexandermcnabb...

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