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A/B Testing Facebook Ads for Authors

GUEST POST by the uber talented, Eric Z of  Zbooks.co

Did you know that Facebook ads are the most effective way to test, improve, and market your book?

AND…did you know that it is ridiculously inexpensive!?  

Even if your Facebook ads aren’t that good, you will still have subscribers from the “bad” ads (when you use Facebook’s new seriously awesome LEAD ads).

So why A – B test?

Well…Recognize this?


Yes, it’s Tim Ferriss’ number one book the Four Hour Work Week.

And the cover is the result of extensive A-B testing!

He tested his cover with Google Ads first (there were no facebook ads back then) and the winning cover, the one you see above was his LEAST favorite!

This leads us to our KILLER MAXIM:


This has been so effective for my book campaigns that I am now standardizing it, and so should you.

In this article, you will learn

  • Why you should try facebook ads for your book and why they are so great
  • A super simple 4 step  benchmarked process
  • A KILLER secret exclusive tip just from my course (never seen anywhere else!)

Also, if you aren't too familiar on Facebook ads for books, then make sure to check out Dave's article on how to setup Facebook Ads for books.

What the Heck Do We Test?

Did you know that a simple change of a word can make the difference between profitable and costly? One picture could be the difference between a bestseller and a hopeless book?

Now imagine if you had all of the perfect parts that made the perfect Ad….talk about major ROI!

The good news is that we don't have to guess at what picture is better or what word is going to accelerate conversions.   We'll test em.  But to do this, we need to look at what parts we should test.

Below are some of the key components to a good ad:

  1. The Ad Graphic
  2. Headlines + Description
  3. Call To Action (the button)
  4. Audience Demographics
    1. Age, Gender, etc.
    2. Countries
  5. Interests*
  6. Everything and anything else

Imagine if you had the perfect everything all in one ad…

So, How Do We Actually Test?

Okay, great.  We now know what to test, but how do we get Facebook to ACTUALLY test?

Don't worry, you don't need to be a guru for this because Facebook will AUTOMATICALLY A-B test when  you make more than one ad in the same Ad Set.


That means once your ads are running, Facebook will automatically figure out which ad is better and then it will start directing more traffic to that ad, and less to the other.

Facebook automatically does this because….well, they want more money.  They only get paid if people click your ads and people only click your ads if they are interested.  Therefore, Facebook wants to show the ad that gets more clicks…so that they make more money.  Simple, right?

Oh, and it also means the customer is happier with what Facebook is showing…but I'm sure that's not the number one motive 😉

So, all you have to do is setup different ads in an Ad Set, and Facebook will figure it all out for you.  But organizing all of this so you can rock?  Well, that's what I'll cover next.

The Good Stuff: 4 Simple Steps to Facebook AB Testing

Below is an infographic outlining the overall steps.  Immediately after that, we'll go into detail for each of the four steps and get you rolling into A/B testing like a master.

Remember to refer back to Kindlepreneur's previous article on how to setup an ad.

STEP 1 – the Ad Graphic

In this step we want to figure out what is the best graphic for our ad.  So, under your books Ad Campaign, create an Ad Set as our base. Remember, all ads inside of an Ad Set will automatically be A/B tested by Facebook.

So, within your “Ad Set” begin by setting up your “A” ad.

Remember that this ad is to test the graphic, so keep the other variables consistent and use a specific “interest” and a specific Call To Action button.

I always use simple one line headlines at first, and target a broad audience, for example, all English speaking countries.

Killer TipIn the INTERESTS section, target “people who like *BIG GUN author of your choice* e.g. “Asimov”

You should start with AUTOMATIC bidding, and set your campaign budget to $5, or better $10, since you will be A-B testing ads and you want to allocate $5 to EACH ad.


When you are done it is super simple to set-up an A-B test, you will be prompted after finishing your ad, just “Create Similar Ad”:


When you make your second ad, change only ONE metric. For this step, we're looking at changing the graphic.  So, for your duplicate of the first one, now our Ad B, change the picture and leave the rest.

This is the CORNERSTONE of all A-B testing, NEVER change more than one metric. Always change only one thing. Otherwise, how are you going to know what made the difference?

Killer Tip from my course: Just keep going and do not change a thing! YES: Make 2 EXACTLY the same ads. This gets Facebook's automatic A-B testing algorithm really cranking and you get FAST results: The fastest and easiest way to lower CPC!

Once you have two ads or more running, your ads dashboard should look something like this:


Those “Copy” ads are A-B tests! Notice how I used 3 ads, or A-B tests, to get to the results of the top ad at THREE cents per click! Also, notice that I spent the lion share of my money on that ad, after testing it against 3 different versions; copy, copy2, copy3.

Once your first ads are approved you should let them run for 24 hours, BEFORE making any decisions. This lets Facebook's Algorithm get it right. Then after 24 hours you should look at the performance of the 2 or more ads, one of them should be a clear winner.

Then TURN OFF the “bad” ad with the little slider on the left and proceed to step two.

Step 2 – Headlines and Descriptions

You now have a clear winner for your ad graphic from the A-B test in Step 1.  It's time to test the headlines.

For this step, take your winning ad from Step 1 and do it again by clicking “Make Similar Ad” with that tiny little pencil icon in your ads manager:


Now when making your “B” ad, or better said “D” ad, try a different headline.

Let ad “A” and ad “D” run against each other for 24 hours.. Repeating the process, check your results one day later and TURN OFF the lower performing ad.

AD A – Short headline and description:


AD B (long copy):


Note: In Facebook the description appears ABOVE the headline. In the ads above I only changed the description (long vs short) — remember ONLY change one thing at a time!

Results after 24 hours:


Looks like the Long Copy won this time!

Step 3 – CTA

Now we are at step three – TEST your CTA, our Call To Action, a.k.a. The button.

Repeating the process, make a similar ad, and change the button text:

  • Download
  • Sign up
  • Learn More

Let the 3 ads run for 24 hours.

I have found “Download” the best for us authors, especially when we are offering something for free, like the first book in our series!
We are now down $15 dollars (3 steps) or $30 if you have chosen to splurge.

Our benchmark at this point is 15 cents per click.

If you are running a lead ad we should be BELOW 40 cents per lead.

Facebook's lead ads are AWESOME and they are a topic in themselves (for another article which comes out next week!) Long story short, if you want email leads to grow your list, use Facebook Lead ads!


255 new email leads at 24 cents per lead: That’s INTERNET GOLD my friends!

Notice again how simple it is, after one day, just turn off the “bad” ad with the slider on the left!

Step 4 – “Linear A-B Testing”

Note: In step Four, we are not going to set up two ads running simultaneously anymore. Instead, we are going to make fine adjustments to the SAME ad, wait 24 hours and then compare the before and after.

I call this LINEAR A-B testing for want of a better word.

We are testing day 1(A) with day 2(B).

We have now gone through THREE rounds of A-B tests, and we have tested the most important parts:

  • The Ad graphic,
  • The Ad’s Headlines and/or Description
  • The Call To Action (button)

Therefore, we are already on target and want to “run deep” with this ad now.

If you are hitting in the 20 cents range or below you are doing VERY well! Don’t be discouraged if you are above 20 cents. Again, I want to stress your target audience can be very different.

Remember, depending on your market you may actually have a higher cpc, we will find that out more about that in the next “linear” test. The coolest thing about this phase is that:

Ads for Authors is a comprehensive guide to everything there is to know about marketing books online. Whether you’ve written one book or twenty, no matter your chosen genre, this course from bestselling author Mark Dawson will teach you to master the three biggest advertising platforms and send your book(s) soaring to the top of the charts.

Buy Now

Free Facebook Professionals on their way!

Once your ads have been running more than 24 hours, you will start getting notifications in your Ads dashboard, or on your smartphone, if you have the app installed ( I highly recommend using the app!).

Make those changes to your ad! You just have to click (“tap” is now replacing “click” on mobile devices) on the link and Facebook will take you there:


Make the changes suggested by Facebook:


I like to use the mobile facebook app once things are running, it’s much simpler and faster.

Don’t worry about that “narrow” range, 18 – 24 year olds. Even though I have the audience restricted, people outside the 18-24 year range will still see the ad! — just not as much as the 18-24 year olds. It’s not an absolute filter in Facebook.

And now comes the UBER-Cool part, if FB says your ad’s cost is lower for that age range, it’s a pretty safe bet that your CPC will go down. Logical eh?

Make the change, then let your ad run for 24 hours and SEE if it worked.

If it did, CONGRATULATIONS — You are now running deep! That means you're getting more clicks, more engagements, more EVERYTHING for LESS cost per click. AWE-SUM!


Now, there are times where the OPPOSITE happens. For example, if you narrow your audience your CPC can also go up.


In the example above I removed several countries because I was launching a book in Amazon.com. A narrower audience sometimes means you have to pay more to get your ad noticed. This is HIGHLY variable. For example in the ad above, once I removed Brazil, Japan, Canada, India etc.. My CPC shot up from 10 cents to 20 cents!

I guess the USA clicks are more expensive than Brazilian clicks!

Um..no… I KNOW the clicks in the USA are more expensive because I just tested them!

This is why you must have a crystal clear goal before you start every campaign.
Seriously, before every campaign, ask yourself,  “Self, what is my ONE goal for this campaign?”


  • Get visitors to my website
  • Collect leads
  • sell my book
  • get downloads of my free book

Then concentrate on THAT ONE metric, and decide if your campaign was a success or failure ONLY according to your chosen metric!


As I was targeting all of the Amazon stores in the world, my CPC was going down and I was getting awesome engagement and clicks and everything on my ads. As I narrowed my audience further, according to Facebook’s suggestions about which age and gender were more responsive, my CPC went DOWN AGAIN.

I was getting “Ad High”, everything was working so well! But…

BUT, and this is a BIG BUT, does that help my book launch in the Amazon.com store?

What EXACTLY are my requirement for this campaign? If I am launching a book in Amazon.com then I will gladly pay the 10 cents more per click, because right now I don’t care about Amazon.br.  and Amazon.de and the others, do I?

The answer to my question was “Launch this book in Amazon.com.”

So I cut out the other countries and gladly paid the higher CPC to reach my goal in Amazon.com.


  • To ensure we have the right ad to increase conversions, we tested the following in series:
    • Ad Graphic
    • Headlines and Description
    • Call To Action (Download Button)
    • Audience Languages
    • Audience Locations
    • *Interests (Remember we chose an interest like “Asimov” in the beginning.)
Always run two Facebook Ads for your book...always!Click To Tweet

There you have it my friends.  I hope you see how easy it is now to get good results at 5$ per day.

Also, it should be obvious that there is no big risk, it’s actually fun! So, what’s holding you back?

Supplemental Resources

Want to kick it up a notch?  Then make sure to check out the below articles.  Here are some supplemental links that should help you understand Facebook Ads more, and also where I started:

Facebook Ads vs. Amazon Ads

Listen to my podcast episode with Johnny Andrews, where we discuss the pros and cons of Facebook Ads and AMS Ads on Amazon for authors.

Podcast Episode – Facebook Ads vs AMS Ads

What’s the worse thing that could happen?

You spend 5$ and sell MORE books and get more EYES on your website? …Darn!

I hope you enjoyed this if you want more tactics on Facebook, then be sure to get your FREE training here, watch how I set up a super effective ad, THIS is the very first ad you should make as an author!
Click Here to Get Started!

So, let me know what you think and drop some comments below about anything you've noticed when creating your A/B tests and Facebook book ads.

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17 thoughts on “A/B Testing Facebook Ads for Authors

  1. Jon Galt

    Hi Dave,I wanted to check, how do you measure ROI for the FB ads? We used to be able to use Amazon Associates, but not anymore.Do you measure clicks and hope it works, use a landing page in between, make a casual relationship between sales.and clicks etc.Jon

    1. Dave Chesson

      Hi Jon. I’m not a fan of FB ads direct to Amazon sales page – some are though so I’m not saying it cannot be done. What I like to do is get them on my email list, and then work to either convince them to buy my book, or click on an affiliate so taht I get some money back. I use GetResponse and track the clicks and goals, so i the end, I know how low my CPC needs to be in order to break even.Some of the affiliates I use is:
      -Amazon associate – I direct them to a page where they can follow instructions and sign up for Audible and get any 2 audio books free
      -Kobo: If they sign up with a shopping account in Kobo, they get $5 towards a book purchase and you get $10 towards a purchase (not money but we authors do spend a lot on books)
      -Udemy: Affiliate link to pertinent courses on the subject (better for nonfiction)
      -Other affiliate links dependent on the subject, genre, etc.

      1. Jon Galt

        Super.. thank you Dave.. immensely helpful as ever! And keep up the good work (particularly with the KDP Rocket.. love it! 🙂

        1. Dave Chesson

          Awesome and glad to help!

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