I set up my facebook Writer’s page, thinking it would be much the same as my personal profile. But when I posted a blog article, a message popped up. Did I want to boost this post for £3?
I had no idea what would happen, but £3 didn’t seem like much – a couple of coffees – so I did it. I had to select an audience, which was confusing in itself – I could choose anything from ‘the whole world’ to ‘women age 30 living in my postcode with an interest in origami.’ I selected ‘Scotland’ rather randomly and hey presto, over the next 24 hours, I got several hundred additional views. Interesting – and very exciting. View counting is horribly addictive.
I boosted the next post by £3, and the same thing happened. It was like magic. So then I boosted a post by £14, with a tiny voice in my head saying I wonder what would happen if I boosted it by £50…or £100…or…
£14 reached 3,800 people. I know for many blogs that’s small fry, but for a novice like me, that’s heaps. Plus it offers me reassurance that when I eventually self-publish, there is a way of getting my books out there. All the advice says I have to be prepared to spend money on marketing – a book is simply a business product – and I’m prepared for that.
I was curious how it worked. The feedback you get on the money spent is detailed, but I was confused that the money runs down slowly over time.
I read up on it, but I’m really none the wiser. As far as I can gather, if you spend money on a facebook advert or boosted post, you participate in an auctioning process. This is how facebook explains it:
[Warning: a mind-numbingly boring paragraph follows]
‘How the auction works
To ensure that all adverts are evaluated in a consistent way, we assign a “total value” to every advert that competes in the auction. The total value is based on the amount that you bid, how likely it is that showing your advert to a person will lead to your desired outcome, and the quality of the advert, along with how relevant your advert is to the people who you want to reach. The advert with the highest total value wins the auction for the people you’re trying to reach. For example, an advert that’s very relevant to that person could win the auction, but if another advert with similar relevance to the same person is placed with a higher bid and higher estimated action rates, then this advert may win over the first advert.’
What the fuck is that all about?
Facebook adverts, I decided, are like car engines or phones – things I am happy to use without any real understanding of how they work.
If your newsfeed is one day filled with Fiona MacBain blog articles and you can’t click ‘hide all’ quick enough, you’ll know I’ve had one too many glasses of sauvignon blanc and blown all my savings on facebook ads.