Saturday, February 13, 2016

Cautionary Tale For the Use of Facebook Ads and Boosts from @dochappycamper #WWoW

Welcome to Tammy's Tidbits. This is the feature that morphed from the Writer's Words of Wisdom posts I've done over the last three years. It started out as a group project between four of us that has since fallen by the wayside. All of us have been so busy and have tried to share what we've learned with our fellow authors along the way, but it's been hit or miss. I'm hoping to change that!

If you've been a follower of my WWoW posts, you may recall my advice about trying out Facebook ads and boosted posts. I've shown you that you don't have to go with the recommended budgets that Facebook recommends. In fact, you can choose to boost a post or create an ad or as little as $1/day. With that being said, I've found Facebook isn't so kind to those of us on a tight budget. They don't like give promotional opportunities away for peanuts or free.

Let's face it. Facebook is a business and as such they desire to make money to keep their investors happy. It's why you see so many ads on the sidebars and in your newsfeed. As an author, you too desire to make money. Part of your profits come from what's left over after paying for your editor(s), cover artist, and other fees. Your marketing budget is part of those "other fees" category. Using Facebook and other social media to help promote your work, without being spammy, can be a difficult when faced with the sites in question blocking you from being able to use the ads and boosts.

I write erotic romance and erotica under 5 of my 6 pen names. There's BDSM, LGBT romances and ménage. These topics are not considered "family friendly" according to Facebook guidelines so more often than not, any ad I create will be dismissed because the cover models are showing too much skin, the book promotes "alternate lifestyles that many find offensive" or...get this...the ad has too many words relative to the photo and other elements in the ad.

*blink blink*

Yes, you did just read that. Too many words will get you into trouble as much as too much skin. I've been able to get around most of this by choosing images that feature models with clothes on or objects that can pass by as "non offensive". Unfortunately, my House of Taboo page for my pen name Lia Michaels is BANNED from being able to do any ads simply because of the "promoting alternate lifestyles" bullshit Facebook rule.

I let that go because I'm not changing what Lia writes or promotes on her ADULTS ONLY page. It's set up so only 18 year olds and older can see it no matter who shares it. This doesn't matter in the eyes of the FB Morality Police. Still I let it go until my 89 year old great aunt posted about a post that popped up in her newsfeed from a PORN site showing full on genitalia. She reported it to Facebook as offensive and received a response that blew her mind.

The genitalia post did not violate any of their rules or Terms of Service.

*blink blink*

A photo of a fully naked body showing genitalia is okay to put up in the newsfeeds but not a book cover that has a couple with bathing suits on?

Can you guess why the porn site was allowed to slide past the Morality Police?


They paid the big bucks to be able get those sponsored ads for their porn site to show up in the newsfeeds of 89 year old great grandmothers. To test out if my theory was correct, I agreed to so a Facebook ad promoting my Sassy Vixen Publishing page. Facebook has continued to hound me to do it and even created an ad that I just had to agree to. I chose a budget of $1/day for $10 days. This is 1/5 what they suggested I pay.

I clicked the "promote page" button to finalize the ad and it went live. No review process at all. They simply sent the ad live and waiting for a click. As soon as someone liked the page, they charged me the $1 for the day....and then they pulled the ad.

"Your ad wasn't approved because it doesn't meet Facebook's ad policies by advertising adult products or services. We don’t allow images or videos that show nudity or cleavage, even if it’s portrayed for artistic or educational reasons."

Click HERE to see the "offensive" page.


There isn't anything on that page that hasn't been there from it's inception, and it's the same page Facebook continues to ask me to promote for $5/day. The original logo for my company was of a scantily clad Vixen. She is clothed but sexy. Facebook never had issue with her before.

The new logo doesn't have a human in it at all. The only logical conclusion here is that Facebook wants more money from me and will enforce their rules in order to get it. Meanwhile, they allow blatant violators slide by because of their bribe....errr....higher advertising fees.

Honestly, as a writer of adult fiction, I'm getting used to not being allowed to use marketing tools available to others. Honestly, it's their loss. I cater to a large market of ADULTS who wish to see this content. I follow all of their rules to the letter to make sure my pages and posts are not seen by under aged individuals, and yet still get shoved in the basement away from the eyes of those who may be offended by a photo of a side boob.

My advice still stands for ads and boosted posts. Use them! Don't give them the price they suggest. Start off small to find your target audience. If you write adult fiction, find alternative photos to use. Instead of an ad for your book, boost a post about your blog instead. Any kind of increase in the number of people who see your posts will drive more traffic to your page and to your book.

Don't give up! If Facebook still declines your ads and boosts, ask your friends and fans to comment on the post. Have them share it on their walls too. The more it's shared, the more Facebook shows it to others. I share almost all of my page posts this way. After five author pages share a post, I can go from 11 people viewing up to nearly 300.

Keep trying out different things to find what works for you and your brand. What works for me, may not work for you so don't be discouraged. It takes years to build your brand. Take the time to find out the best way to promote you and your work and you'll be happy you did!

Until next time,


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