If you’re familiar with BookBub Featured Deals, you probably know that Featured Deal pricing is relatively straightforward: Advertisers pay a flat price based on the category and discount price of the promotion.
BookBub Ads are different: Pricing is determined by a real-time auction and is constantly changing as other advertisers bid for impressions from the same audience. This model helps advertisers run efficient, targeted, ROI-positive campaigns, but it also makes it impossible to say how much BookBub Ads typically cost.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to the key pieces of BookBub’s auction model so that you can understand ads pricing, optimize your BookBub Ads spend, and accomplish your book marketing goals.
Lesson #1: Setting a budget for your campaign
Whenever you create a new BookBub Ads campaign, you must set a budget. The amount you set as your budget is entirely up to you! You can run a $10 campaign or a $10,000+ campaign (or anything in between). We will never charge you more than your maximum budget.
There are two ways you can set your budget:
- Set one budget for the full span of your campaign, with fixed start and end dates. The minimum total budget for a campaign with fixed dates is $1.
- Set a daily budget that runs continuously until you manually end your campaign. The minimum daily budget is $1.
If you set one budget with a fixed date range, there are two ways to spend your budget:
- Pace your budget evenly. This will spread out your spend across the entire length of your campaign.
- Fulfill your budget as quickly as possible. You’ll win all the impressions for which you’re the highest bidder regardless of your end date (meaning your entire budget may be spent before your end date).
For example, if you create a campaign to run August 1-7 with a budget of $1,000, paced evenly, you will spend $1,000 over the course of that entire week.
On the other hand, if you create a campaign to run from August 1-7 with a budget of $1,000, and you choose to fulfill your budget as quickly as possible, you may win impressions so quickly that you could spend all of the $1,000 before August 7th. However, you will never exceed this amount.
Note: The budget you set will not impact the auction performance — you will not increase your chances of winning impressions by setting a higher budget. Winning impressions depends on your CPM bid and targeting.
Also, it’s possible to spend less than your maximum budget if we cannot serve enough impressions to fulfill your budget. This could happen if you’re targeting too small an audience, or if you’re getting outbid by other advertisers (keep reading for more on bidding and targeting).
Lesson #2: Setting a CPM bid for your campaign
After you set your overall or daily budget, you must enter your maximum CPM bid. CPM stands for “Cost Per Mille,” which means cost per thousand impressions. So your CPM bid is the maximum amount that you would be willing to pay per 1,000 impressions.
If you are the highest bidder for the audience you’re targeting, you will win the impressions for that audience — but instead of paying your maximum bid, you will actually pay one cent more than the price of the second-highest bid for those impressions. So think of your CPM bid as the price you would be willing to pay per 1,000 impressions, not necessarily how much you will actually pay for all of your impressions. This means that you will usually end up paying a lower CPM than you bid.
For example, imagine a scenario where three advertisers are targeting the same readers today:
- Advertiser 1: $6.00 bid
- Advertiser 2: $5.00 bid
- Advertiser 3: $4.00 bid
In this example, Advertiser 1 would win the impressions at a $5.01 CPM (one cent more than the second-highest bid). Now imagine that Advertiser 2 finished serving today, leaving Advertiser 1 and Advertiser 3 competing for impressions tomorrow. Advertiser 1 would still win, but that advertiser would now be paying a $4.01 CPM (one cent more than the new second-highest bid).
How much you decide to bid per thousand impressions is entirely up to you. The higher you bid, the more impressions you are likely to win. To provide you with some guidance, when you set your bid, we will show you a range of what other advertisers are bidding on average at that time:
Your campaign results in your Partner Dashboard will show the average CPM you paid throughout your campaign.
Note: BookBub Ads does not offer pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-click (CPC) bidding at this time. We may consider adding CPC options in the future.
Also, you will not be charged for repeat impressions on the same email. If you win an impression in a reader’s Monday deals email, for example, your ad will appear every time that same reader opens that particular email. However, you will only be charged for the first impression from that reader, and not any repeat impressions of that reader’s Monday email. However, if you win impressions on multiple days, and the same ad appears for the same reader in a different email at a later date — say, Tuesday’s deals email — you will be charged for the additional impression in that new email.
Lesson #3: Setting your targeting
You can choose to target your ad to reach specific readers based on any combination of regions, retailer preferences, categories, and author interests.
- Use author targeting to reach readers who have expressed interest in specific authors. You can enter as many or as few authors as you’d like.
- Use book category targeting to reach readers interested in any number of book categories. Note that combining this option with author targeting means you’ll only reach readers who are interested in both the selected book categories and authors.
If you link to retailer product pages, your ad will automatically target readers in that region and link them to their preferred retailer in order to maximize the ad’s conversions to sale. If not, you’ll need to use regional targeting to reach readers who live in specific countries and retailer targeting to reach readers who prefer specific retailers.
As you adjust your targeting, the dial at the bottom of the page will give you an estimate of your maximum daily reach. This is not the number of impressions you will get — rather, this is the highest number of impressions you could potentially get if you had a higher CPM bid than all other advertisers targeting the same audience, and if your spend didn’t cap out at your maximum budget.
The targeting you choose should be based on your marketing goals. For example:
- If return on investment (ROI) is your primary goal, we recommend using author targeting to reach a very specific audience of readers and maximize your click-through rate.
- If exposure and scale are your objectives, try using fewer targeting options to reach a broader audience. For example, targeting all Contemporary Romance readers in the US will get you a higher maximum reach than if you choose specific romance authors, but your click-through rate is likely to be lower.
Lesson #4: Editing your campaign based on real-time results
With BookBub Ads, you can monitor your results and edit your campaign at any time to change your budget, CPM bid, or targeting. New bids are immediately submitted to the auction, and results are updated hourly in the BookBub Partner Dashboard.
If you’re not getting enough impressions, this most likely means that your CPM bid is too low for the audience that you’re targeting, or that you’re targeting too small an audience for your desired budget. You can increase your bid — or change your targeting to increase your maximum daily reach — to win more impressions.
If you’re not getting enough clicks — or if your click-through rate is low and you’re not getting a high ROI — this most likely means that you’re targeting too broad an audience. Refine your targeting by adding specific authors, categories, regions, and retailers to make sure you’re reaching the most relevant audience. It could also mean that your creative isn’t engaging enough. Make sure that the text in your ad is actionable and easy to read, and consider including the cover of the book in the design and a call-to-action button.
We recommend waiting up to 24 hours to see how a new bid or updated targeting is impacting your overall results.
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