Yesterday, I provided a presentation of the overall result from the initial effort to market my novel Promised Land: The Host Rises. The results have been strangely mixed.

I ran ads with Google and Twitter for roughly a month, on the relative (but functional) cheap. Over that time period, I received roughly 3,500 click throughs on 130,000 impressions. That is a number I’m very happy with given that 1% click through rate is considered very good.

As an old cold caller, I can tell you that if I had two to three people out of one hundred let me in to make a presentation, I’m having a good day. For every ten people who let me pitch to them, I usually can get one to buy my product. This is a pretty standard rule, 100:10:1 has built empires.

I understand that the internet is a somewhat different animal, one in which literally billions of people are jumping on and off of every second. The old ratio probably doesn’t work as well. Let’s say we change it from 10:1 to 100:1. That means I should have sold around 35 books or gotten a similar number of crowdfunds for my efforts.

Getting not a single sale was a little bit shocking. Not adding to my Twitter followers was a surprise as well. So what went wrong?

Where’s all the gold?

In my analysis of the numbers, I’ve come to a couple of conclusions. Number one, I think that theĀ  targeted market was just too big and unrefined. There were a lot browsers, people who really didn’t have an interest in buying a book but were at least curious enough to see what the hook in the ad was about. That means I wrote powerful ads that at least got people into the tent.

The other conclusion? There are a lot of ‘bots out there.

That’s probably not what people who advertise with Google and Twitter want to hear. Speaking of hearing, I’ve heard up to a third of click through traffic on both these sites and Facebook are just ‘bots data mining. That may be true and the service providers have a vested interest in neither confirming that number or removing ‘bots that increase their revenues as a byproduct.

Now, not every click through was a cost to me, though.

As we got deeper into the campaign from the Google side, I noticed that the ratio of paid click throughs evened out with unpaid ones. I can only guess that, once again, these were ‘bots data mining searches; or, as my click throughs increased, so did my non-sponsored standing in those searches, and I climbed up the search results ladder.

Another interesting factor is that I had limited my ad efforts to North America but was getting hits from India, Russia, Asia and some parts of Europe. Hmmm…

So, I think more than half of those 3,500 click throughs are bogus. As for the other half? Not my true target market. Hence the results.

Does that mean I’ve completely soured on these vehicles for advertising in the future? Not at all. I believe that Google Ads are probably great when dealing with local, specifically targeted demos such as restaurant or auto repair searches. If someone is in a strange town and wants Italian, I can see an ad for Tony’s Famous Lasagna House working exceptionally well and with an extremely reasonable cost.

Likewise, if I don’t want to sell a specific item but instead want to build my brand, I can see tremendous value in what Twitter offers. That may need to take place one day soon, after my book sales take off and I want to build on that. Not now, though.

Moving forward, I have honed the efforts (and the budget) to a relatively small inlet of that vast internet ocean; websites devoted solely to promoting sci-fi to a small but rabid fanbase. That’s not such a bad thing if small is an average of 400-800,000 looks per site. I’d rather be getting a 1% response from those guys (and selling 8,000 books) than to shotgun my money toward a billion of the indifferent.

Besides, fans love to talk, compare… and recommend.

This new effort begins in a couple of days and I will keep the curious posted as to success rates. I think it will go well. Now if we can just get some reviews in.