Facebook Lite Has 100 Million Monthly Active Users After Just Nine Months. Great News For Indie Authors Using Facebook Targetted Advertising To Grow Our Global Audience.
Most of us in the rich west use the internet with scant regard for how much data we consume. A typical plan with our ISP will be “unlimited”. We don’t have to worry about how “big” a site is, or avoid sites with video or fancy graphics because it will eat up our credit in a few minutes.
But in many parts of the world the only affordable way to by data is in sachets – x-megabytes at a time – and when it’s used up we need to go buy some more.
That was a big problem for me here in West Africa not so long ago, and while I now have “unlimited” access to a 4G network and can download what I like, it costs me more per month than most people here will earn in half a year.
Facebook Lite is an app that lets data-conscious internet users access Facebook without having to worry about how much data that attached image or is going to use up, because the Lite app adjusts content to minimise the data needed device by device.
It works great for 4G, 3G and even 2G networks.
The top countries where Facebook Lite is used are Brazil, India, Mexico, Indonesia and the Philippines. By happy coincidence all priority markets as recommended by me for internationalist indies looking to find new audiences.
Facebook Lite means it’s that much easier for authors to connect with people in those countries, and particularly worth bearing in mind for those of us using paid, targetted Facebook ads to reach new audiences. Facebook Lite countries obviously have better potential reach.
In India, for example, Facebook has 142 million active monthly users (69 million accessing FB daily!), but 133 million of that 142 million use the Facebook Lite app.
That’s a lot of people we could be letting know we have books available.
But a gentle reminder here that targetted global promotion needs to go hand in hand with targetted global distribution.
Last year I watched with mild amusement as one author ran targetted ads aimed at the Philippines to promote their ebook on Amazon and then complained bitterly that he’d seen no upturn in sales.
Mild amusement because I’d said to this author time and again that Amazon blocks downloads to the Philippines and most of Asia.
I’ll cover targetted global promotion in detail soon. Here just to note some observations on those top Facebook Lite countries, Brazil, India, Mexico, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Indonesia and the Philippines are both blocked by Amazon and Apple. Nook of course is only a player in the US now. Luckily Kobo and Google Play are available in all five of the top Facebook Lite countries. Kobo also has a partner store in the Philippines – National Book Store.
Brazil and Mexico are catered for by four of the Big 5 retailers, but be aware you’ll only get 35% from Amazon unless you are in Select. Brazil and Mexico both have Kobo partner stores as well as access to the Kobo store itself.
India, bizarrely, is both the largest market and the least well catered for, and here probably Amazon is indeed the best bet. No Nook or Apple, and Kobo and Google Play only have a token presence.
In each country there are domestic ebook stores available, but none are easily accessible, and are best left only to the most serious of internationalists.
Of course all these countries also sell print books, and in far, far,far greater volume than ebooks.
But again, no point in promoting a title unless it is actually available there.
Targetted global promo can get good results. Even better results if using cheap paid-promo like Facebook and twitter ads.
But targetted global promo, paid or free, is pointless if our titles are unavailable or unaffordable in the targetted country.
This post first appeared in The International Indie Author Facebook Group 10 March 2016 (LINK)
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New Undersea Cable To Link Brazil And USA in 2018.
Submarine cables are the key to our international internet reach.
While futuristic social infrastructure projects like Google Loon (internet balloons) and Facebook Aquila (internet drones) are soon to join satellites in making the internet available globally, it is submarine cables that will continue to be the mainstay of our globile (global mobile) future.
Spain’s Telefónica is behind the new BRUSA (Brazil-USA if you’ve not yet had your morning coffee) cable, which is going to significantly improve not only existing 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity between the USA and Brazil but also give Brazil a firm foundation for the imminent arrival of 5G.
This in turn greatly accelerates interest in and take up of mobile devices for consuming digital goods.
This new cable link from Telefónica is in addition to its existing Pacific Caribbean Cable System (PCCS), a consortium submarine cable which links Florida, USA with the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Curacao, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador, and the Unisur cable connecting Uruguay and Argentina, and the SAM-1 submarine cable system which forms a 25,000 km ring linking the USA, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
Latin America is already a lucrative market for our digital content, and is just going to get bigger and better as we wind down this decade, move into the era of 5G and the Internet of Things, and move inexorably towards 6G and the Internet of Everything.
The market for digital content is global. It’s driven by mobile.
5G will arrive whether we like it or not, and while it won’t destroy print, it will radically alter our prospects as digital content providers in the future.
Huge opportunities ahead. But also huge challenges.
We all have the option to look the other way and pretend the globile future isn’t happening. But it’s happening anyway.
I’m embracing the globile future.
How about you?
This post first appeared in The International Indie Author Facebook Group 10 March 2016 (LINK)
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“Amplifiable Content” – A Digital Publishing Buzzword That Might Just Buzz.
When it comes to business buzzwords, they are usually great for comedy, but not much else.
But the term “amplifiable content”, which got the spotlight at DBW this week, is worth a second look.
The tagged report from BookBusiness notes,
“Although social media, in particular Facebook, is often at the top of publishers’ audience growth strategies, organic search is still the top traffic driver.”
That alone is worth pondering.
There’s a common belief in the indie world that the only way we can possibly sell a book is by marketing it to death, spamming everyone day in day out with promo and paying for advertising.
Well, promo certainly helps, of course. If done right. But spamming people isn’t doing it right, and the big question I would be asking is, if our book can’t build its own momentum, do we need maybe to revisit the book?
I’ve sold, to put it mildly, a fair few books over the past half decade. Yet I’ve never run a Bookbub ad, have maybe ratcheted up a dozen promo tweets and FB promo posts over the past year and generally do very, very little promo.
I prefer to just put titles out there and let them find their own way.
No question I’d have sold more if I was more active with marketing, and probably a ton more if I went for (and was lucky enough to secure) a Bookbub ad.
But organic growth is more meaningful than blip-driven growth in the long term.
I see some authors who buy a big ad, race up the charts, and a week later are back in the wilderness and need to do it all over again just to stand still.
That’s blip growth. Instant gratification, but like your average takeaway / carry out meal, you feel hungry again an hour later.
A big ad only pays off long term if backed by plenty of quality content available where the readers are.
If we have that, then organic growth kicks in and big ads and promo can become a supplement to our careers, not the only thing that keep us afloat.
When I hear authors, who have been on the circuit for several years, saying “we can’t sell books unless we promote them non-stop” and “the moment I stop tweeting and FB-ing my book my sales stop”, I can’t help but wonder what they are doing wrong.
Discoverability is a big issue for unknown, new writers just starting out, of course, or for an established author going incognito under a new pen-name, or kicking off in a new language.
But if we’ve been on the circuit for many years using the same name and the same branding and churning out the same books and we still have no organic momentum and are reliant on promo for our next sale then just maybe we need to take a step back and address the underlying problems.
To return to the DBW post, where SEO expert Rand Fishkin discusses “amplifiable content”:
“On average, Google drives 7X to 10X more traffic than Facebook does,” says Fishkin, adding that for ecommerce sites, search traffic is still the top referrer.
“Although publishers should invest time and energy in identifying valuable keywords, optimizing search snippets for articles, and building a network of links back to their original content,” says the DBW report paraphrasing Fishkin, “SEO success really comes down to understanding on a deeper level one’s audience and creating content that they will not only love, but will also share.”
That is, “amplifiable content”.
If we have to spam people just to get our next sale then we don’t have “amplifiable content”.
We don’t have organic growth.
And we don’t have a sustainable writing career.
This post first appeared in The International Indie Author Facebook Group 09 March 2016 (LINK)
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This Island Earth.
As I reported here at the start of the year, residents of Easter Island, the furthest flung inhabited island on the planet, may have trouble getting hold of print books, but they will, if we’ve made the effort to be available, have access to our ebooks.
A couple of days ago Easter Island’s LTE (4G for all practical purposes) network was activated, giver Easter Islanders even more reason to buy a smartphone that they could be reading our books on.
Also this week comes news that Kiribati is soon to get an advanced internet connection through the satellite service O3b Network, in conjunction with SpeedCast International.
Earlier this year 03b and Speedcast Int. began new operations in Papua New Guinea and on Christmas island.
Elsewhere in the Pacific O3b teamed with local telecoms to expand advanced internet reach to Palau and the Solomon Islands.
Back when the “ebook revolution” began in 2009 reach for indie authors was pretty much a one-country affair, and consumers needed a computer and an expensive e-reader to engage,
In the globile (global mobile) world of 2016 it’s hard to find anywhere on the planet we cannot reach, or anyone on the planet who does not have access to an affordable device that could be used to download our ebooks.
And not just our ebooks, but our audio, video and any other digital content we might care to make available.
But that’s down to us. The consumers are out there. The means to reach them is available to us all.
But if our titles aren’t available where they are… Our loss. They’ll just buy another author’s works instead.
This post first appeared in The International Indie Author Facebook Group 11 March 2016 (LINK)
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The International Indie Author.
Looking at the bigger picture.