Adventures in Advertising

In an effort to help raise awareness for RainbowCon (July 6-9, Tampa, FL), I’ve been dipping my toe into social media marketing. I’ve already got some experience with it since it’s part of what I do for my day job, but I hadn’t had a chance (until now) to run my own marketing campaigns and see the performance for myself. This is what I’ve learned:


This is the one platform that I have had experience working with since I also ran an ad previously for BishounenCon (March 3-5, Providence, RI). I followed the same strategy that worked with BishounenCon and created an event on the RainbowCon Facebook page and then promoted that event.



For pretty much all of the ads, I started with a low budget (mostly because I’m still paying off some home repairs) and targetted people who are interested in the LGBTQ spectrum/genre. Overall, the campaign saw really good engagement, with around 600 impressions and 8 actual engagements. One change I’d like to make for the second run is to make the text more concise. It feels too long to really catch attention. I think with a higher budget, we could get a lot of benefit from Facebook advertising.


For Twitter, I went for impressions overall with an audience targetted toward followers of popular authors, book review sites, and LGBTQ news sites such as @LogoTV and @huffpostqueer. I definitely got what I paid for. I had a higher budget here ($40 versus $20) and impressions were amazing.

The big difference here is that you have to have good content before you can run a good campaign. Twitter operates ads off of promoted tweets, so you have to have tweeted something worth sharing. In this case, I went with the most recent post promoting the awesomely diverse schedule. If/when I run this campaign again, I’d like to attach some UTM tracking to see how many people do click through to view the schedule. Until then, I need to work on crafting some good tweets to promote.


This one’s been the real disappointment out of the three ad platforms. I had thought that since RainbowCon is a heavily literary convention that it would do well on the most literary of social networks. Wrong! I failed to take into account the fact that Goodreads ads are so easily overlooked. They just hide out in the corner of the page where your eye isn’t going, as opposed to being inserted in your timeline like Twitter and Facebook. What’s worse is that you have to pre-load your ad with money that may never get spent if your ad performs poorly. That’s where I’m sitting since I went all in for $50 and have yet to spend a dime.

I originally started off with the same strategy that had such high success on Twitter—targetting views based on authors that either will be attending the convention or have a similar audience as those who might attend the con. Nothing. In the ten days that ad has been running, its highest daily views is a whopping 6. Wow. Glad I paid all that money for that. So I did some digging, read up on how to fluctuate the cost per click bid and how you can run multiple ads on the same campaign.

I created a second ad that targets based on genre instead of specific authors and that one’s doing better but still has only seen 69 views on its highest performing day. There will be more tweaking and editing in my future but given the much cheaper and better results from Facebook and Twitter, this is not a platform that’s going to be getting any ad money from me in the future.




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