Marketing Stats - Web Advertisement on Facebook

Budget: $35.00 ($5.00/day for 7 days)

People Reached: 1055

Page Likes: 32

Cost per Like: $1.09


Facebook advertising is extremely cagey about presenting its stats in a standard advertising way, which doesn't inspire much confidence in me. However, the response results weren't terrible:

My response rate was 32/1055, which translates into 3%. Compared to Reddit and Google, there's definitely a lot more engagement per impression.

Unfortunately, almost 90% of those engagements came from Mobile users, which means that if you're going to use Facebook for a webserial, make *absolutely* sure that your site works well on mobile devices.

User demographics were particularly revealing:


261 Impressions

$1.19 Cost per Like

$5.95 Total Spent


242 Impressions

$2.18 Cost per Like

$6.55 Total Spent


263 Impressions

$1.04 Cost per Like

$7.26 Total Spent


168 Impressions

$0.93 Cost per Like

$8.34 Total Spent


121 Impressions

$0.86 Cost per Like

$6.86 Total Spent


Gender Breakdown:

Female: 22 Likes, 709 Impressions, Cost per page like: $1.09, Engagement 3.1%

Male: 10 Likes, 336 Impressions, Cost per page like: $1.08, Engagement 2.9%


Country Breakdown:

Canada: 1 Like, 134 Impressions

United Kingdom: 3 Likes, 257 Impressions

United States: 28 Likes, 665 Impressions


All 32 engagements were on mobile devices. No Likes at all occurred on PCs. 25 of the 32 likes came from Android smartphones!



The numbers provided are of a limited and low-confidence sample base. As such, some interesting artifacts of data are easy to dismiss as error bars, while other insights provide reliable feedback on the performance of Facebook ads.

The biggest surprise to me was the gender disparity in engagement on Facebook. More than twice as many women as men are clicking on From Winter's Ashes, despite the advertisement being deliberately as gender-neutral as possible.

Age of engagement wasn't as surprising: Facebook appeals to an older demographic, and that shows. While they're more likely to have disposable income, they are less likely to engage in modern payment methods, such as PayPal and Patreon. Of the 32 Likes, only two resulted in conversions to Patreon clicks. None of them became Patrons.

Of greater value in this advertisement, if not financially, was that 32 people with Likes on Facebook are 32 people who see each update notice posted to Facebook.

Demographically, engagement was especially high with Christian women of color ages 40-65, with notable spikes in engagement in Alabama and Ohio.

Monetarily, the higher expense of a Facebook Like will only trade off if you're using Facebook effectively to engage your audience. Your content will definitely matter; Facebook demographics overall are skewed towards women ages 35+. If you believe your content would appeal to that demographic, Facebook might work for you.

Overall, I'm not sure that Facebook's high cost-per-engagement is a fit for From Winter's Ashes, or most webserials. I'm wondering if most of my readers are, in fact, engaging the story with mobile devices. (If so, then designing for mobile presentation is critical.)

Comments, questions, insights? I'm glad to help however I can.

That's kind of what I expected (albeit I'm not a marketing person so I'm not versed in the lingo).

I was contemplating making a facebook page for my serial some time ago but I figured that Facebook skewed older than my typical haunts (twitter and tumblr), and that at large its userbase had less engagement with web culture stuff outside of facebook itself. If I was advertising an ebook where they just had to click an amazon link and buy a thing from amazon (something that's generally common and understood by almost everyone nowadays), that would be a different matter. But since the path is actually facebook page -> my wordpress page -> actually reading and/or -> Patreon. Seems like a real longshot to get an older professional demographic on-board with all of that.

Especially for a weird story about gay communists and 1940s maneuver warfare.

Thanks for the post, it was pretty interesting!

Of greater value in this advertisement, if not financially, was that 32 people with Likes on Facebook are 32 people who see each update notice posted to Facebook.

Sadly, that would be true if Facebook actually showed all your updates to all of your Likers, but it doesn't. You'll reach maybe 20% of them, total. I don't have links to hand but there's been a number of detailed breakdowns on how little FB does for you, such as only sending updates to people who frequently 'engage' with your page, and how generally useless FB has become for small-time independent content creators. There should be some easy to find on YouTube.

That's disappointing, but good to know, thank you Ryan.

Overall, advertising with Facebook certainly doesn't feel like I'm engaging with an advertiser that wants to treat my money honestly. And with their very high cost of engagement on the cost-per-like, it's hard to justify their expense even before that limited reach.

As Dennis pointed out, part of the problem is that the monetization path for a webserial has a lot of steps.

Hm. Does anyone know if there is a widget for PayPal or Patreon that would let them directly tip without leaving the site? I'm envisioning a simple amount box with the PayPal button beside it, something that they could fill out without leaving the page behind.

Yeah, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, it's just that so many people don't know. It's the same deal for your regular FB posts, they only reach less than half of your friends, because Facebook decides they don't need to see it.

Next week: I report back with stats from Twitter advertising. Stay tuned!

Yeah, I kind of suspected as much. Facebook has been dying for a few years now, from what I've heard. You also can't really target your adds like you can on Reddit.

4chan... not that I even want to touch 4chan, but how do you think that would work out?

I think the combination of age demographics and technical heritage (and browsing habits!) of the folks using 4chan would mean that they would probably be using adblockers a LOT.

That being said, what very little answers about efficacy of advertising on 4chan seems to be positive, with a 3x engagement rate of Reddit. So that would suggest approximately a 1% CTR. Even half of that would be a pretty big bump in traffic for a webserial.

Factor in the demographics; 70% of 4chan users are under-34 and male, so you'd want to make sure that your content would appeal to them. I don't know that From Winter's Ashes would, but I might consider it for Laika Dosha, as that's a video game, and there's a strong cultural link in Visual Novel Games and the japanese cultural focus that 4chan was founded on.

So: 4chan is probably not a great fit for FWA, but if your story would mesh well with the site, you're probably looking at a high traffic pipeline that comes fraught with peril of the userbase.

Apologies if you've already tried it out and made comments, but any luck or experience with Project Wonderful?

I'm actually trying project wonderful right now. It worked out very well in the beginning, but has fizzled out. I think if I move my ad it might pick up again.

Huh, Laika Dosha looks interesting. Checked out your blog and the Patreon, but at the risk of derailing the thread I have to ask: how'd you end up writing for/with HTBH Games?

Billy: Jon "Bane" Fini of HTBH put out an open call for game story pitches for visual novels. I pitched him a very simple version of Laika Dosha, which initially was just "These are the adventures of a genehack dog named Laika who does search and rescue in space."

But once we sat down to talk about the project, with great trepidation I admitted to him that I'd vastly soft-shoed the initial pitch into something easy and approachable, and asked if he'd like to hear the much more ambitious pitch. Turns out he's a huge fan of Peter Watts/Paolo Bacigalupi bleeding edge hard science fiction, and so when I told him the whole thing, his response was simple: "Oh my god, make THAT."

So now I'm kind of putting together my dream sci-fi project into a game. :)

For those curious:

Emma: Please, by all means, post statistics to the forum. I'd love to see how Project Wonderful performs.

I will definitely post the statistics tomorrow or Wednesday. It's a bit to type up and I won't have time tonight. Gotta rip up some carpet. I just didn't want you to think I was ignoring you or anything.

It looks very cool, Patrick. Congrats!