A woman I know, Mira Wooten, recently published her first book, Welcome to Love. Wondering if she could use Facebook to sell copies, she placed an ad. Here’s how she tells it:

“I tried using FB Ads to promote my new book, Welcome to Love. It's a romance book based in Austin. I targeted the demographic to women in Austin who had reading listed as an interest. According to FB, it got over 64,000 impressions over the two days I had it live. A total of 133 people clicked on the ad that took them to my Amazon web page. The cost per click varied between.79 -.93 per click. I spent a total of $103.48. I sold zero books during that time period. The cost per click seemed to vary depending on the day and time. Weekends were cheaper. I wouldn't do it again.”

Her experience reminds me of a story that NPR’s Planet Money reported about two guys who own a small pizza place in New Orleans. Recently they decided to dip their toes into Facebook advertising. I spare you the details, but it's a good story. The bottom line is this: They ran a Facebook ad campaign. It cost them $240. The result? One new customer made a $10 “donation” to the restaurant.

“That return — $10 on a $240 investment — isn't much. Maybe at some point, the new Pizza Delicious fans will show up and buy some pizza. But social advertising is so new that nobody knows for sure. It's still unproven, untested and largely unstudied.”

Facebook AdClearly, this isn’t enough data to draw any definitive conclusions, but it does make you wonder. Can Facebook advertising work for small businesses? Is there a better approach to Facebook for small businesses than using it for advertising?

I need to learn more about how other small businesses are doing with their Facebook ads. And whether or not Facebook ads are the answer, I certainly believe in the effectiveness (and necessity) of online marketing for small businesses like restaurants and wineries.

Note: Graphic borrowed from a blog post on Entrepreneur.com: "Facebook Ads: Worth the Money?"