A book trailer added depth to my author platform. But as an advertising tool for attracting sales, it fell flat on its face.
In my prior article I discussed the basics of producing a cost-effective book trailer. I'll further the subject by detailing my various attempts to gain video views for driving sales.
Immediately following the initial launch of my book trailer for The Magician's Horses, I turned to my existing group of followers on social media. The response was amazing. I received tons of positive feedback from friends, family, and fans. Those who'd read the book assured me the video was true to the novel. Great! Those who hadn't read the story thought the video was awesome and praised my creativity. Nice! The number of book sales spawned by the trailer? Zero.
Within a short time frame of somewhere between a few days and a week, the initial blitz of video views peaked, then dropped off completely. Everyone in my circle had either watched the trailer or had no interest at all.
Enter Google AdWords.
As the proud administrator of the new VireoPub YouTube channel, I was presented with the opportunity to promote my video for a nominal fee. The suggested method for building such an advertising campaign was Google AdWords. My video views had stagnated, so I gave it a whirl.
Within a matter of hours, I had selected my target audience, adjusted my promotion wording, and designated my budget limit. This was a trial run in unfamiliar territory, so I started small - very small. I opted to dangle my video in front of as many people as possible for a buck a day for only two weeks.
Over the course of my two week campaign, the video was presented to potential viewers a total of 975 times. AdWords called these viewing opportunities impressions. Of those 975 impressions, 105 people chose to view the video - or at least thirty seconds of it. Of those 105 views, three people went on to click through for more information. That wasn't a lot of clicks, but the short campaign offered a lot of insight for just fourteen bucks.
Fast forward to Facebook.
Months later, I received a $10 coupon from Facebook Ads Manager. I'd made a reasonable attempt at gathering views on YouTube for The Magician's Horses trailer, but my trailer for Misplaced had gone neglected. The free coupon seemed a perfect chance to boost views for my second book, so I gave Facebook a shot. Similar to AdWords, I created an advertising campaign quickly and easily. I set the duration for one week, a time period that would cap at $8, just under my coupon's budget.
I wasn't sure what to expect, but the week passed by quickly and silently. Sure there were notifications of the ad's progress as dollars ticketed away from my coupon's credit. And when my ad was ready to expire, I received plenty of suggestions to continue the campaign to reach more viewers. But throughout the week, post likes where non-existent. My author page saw no new followers.
By the end of the campaign, Facebook Ads Manager reported a post reach of just over 600 Facebook users in my target audience. Of those, 206 people actually viewed the video. Considering I had targeted complete strangers, I was okay with those numbers. And since the ad campaign was free, I didn't sweat the fact that no book sales were generated. What disturbed me, however, was Facebook Ads Manager's nifty metric for weighting my post's relevance. Based on a number of factors, my relevance score clocked in at a 2 on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being most relevant. Bummer!
What's the point?
My low-budget advertising campaigns were small, but basic math made it clear that scaling up was a losing formula. I could easily have blamed the low performance on the quality and content of my videos, but forking out more money on a big budget video production didn't seem likely to tilt those numbers into positive cash flow. Short of a video going viral, there seemed no prospect for turning a book trailer into a revenue machine. No shocker there.
I didn't despair. As I'd been told, being an author was all about branding. Having video trailers that represented my works favorably added much needed depth and character to my platform.