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 clicks or 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 (CPM campaigns) or clicks (CPC campaigns) for which you’re the highest bidder regardless of your end date. This means 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 or clicks 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.
Lesson #2: Setting a CPC or CPM bid for your campaign
After you set your overall or daily budget, you must determine which bidding strategy you’d like to use: cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM). With both bidding options, you’re bidding against other advertisers on the platform who are trying to reach the same readers that you’ve targeted with your ad.
With CPC bidding, you choose how much you’re willing to pay for each click you receive on your ad. CPC bidding is a lower-risk strategy for advertisers than CPM bidding. Instead of paying for impressions that might turn into clicks, you only pay for actual clicks. For that reason, CPC can be preferable to advertisers seeking a positive return on investment. (The downside is that if your CPC ad has a low click-through rate, it might not serve.)
CPC is also advantageous to advertisers who run effective ads. The higher your click-through rate, the easier it is to consistently win impressions because the platform will more regularly show ads that readers are actively clicking on.
Your campaign results in your Partner Dashboard will show the average CPC you paid throughout your campaign, as well as the average CTR, which can help you determine whether further optimizations are needed.
With CPM bidding, you to choose how much you’re willing to pay per 1,000 impressions, where one impression is one opened email. You will win impressions for the audience you’re targeting if you are the highest bidder for that audience (your ad’s click-through rate won’t affect the number of impressions you win). For that reason, CPM bidding can be preferable to advertisers looking to increase a book’s exposure to a specific audience (e.g. as part of a branding exercise).
How much you should bid
How much you bid per click or per thousand impressions is entirely up to you. The higher you bid, the more clicks (CPC) or impressions (CPM) 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:
Why your bid isn’t necessarily how much you’ll pay
For both CPC and CPM bidding, instead of paying your maximum bid, you will only ever pay one cent more than the next highest bid in the auction at the moment your ad is served.
For example, imagine a scenario where three advertisers are targeting the same readers today:
- Advertiser 1: $6.00 CPM bid
- Advertiser 2: $5.00 CPM bid
- Advertiser 3: $4.00 CPM 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’s campaign ended today, leaving Advertiser 1 and Advertiser 3 competing for impressions tomorrow. Advertiser 1 would still win, but would now pay a $4.01 CPM (one cent more than the new second-highest bid).
This bidding model is advantageous to advertisers because they can bid the maximum amount they’re willing to pay, knowing that they aren’t likely to pay that full amount — and they’ll never pay more than they’re willing to spend for impressions or clicks. Of course, it is possible that there is another bidder willing to pay close to the same amount as you, so there is always a chance you do pay your max bid. Given that, advertisers should not bid more than they are willing to pay.
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 or CPC bid, or targeting. New bids are immediately submitted to the auction, and results are updated hourly in the BookBub Partner Dashboard.
If you’re running a CPC campaign and you’re not getting enough impressions, this most likely means that your CTR is too low. One way to improve your CTR is to refine your targeting by adding specific authors, categories, regions, and retailers to make sure you’re reaching the most relevant audience. Another is to try improving your creative. 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. Also keep in mind that if a CPC ad isn’t serving many impressions, this could indicate that your bid is too low, so consider increasing your bid if refining your targeting and creative doesn’t work.
If you’re running a CPM campaign and 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 to spend your full budget. You can increase your bid — or change your targeting to increase your maximum daily reach — to win more impressions.
If you’re running a CPM campaign and you’re not getting a high ROI, consider running a CPC campaign instead. This will minimize the risk of paying for impressions that don’t turn into clicks — but keep in mind that ads with higher CTRs garner more impressions, so A/B test your ad’s creative and targeting to achieve the best results possible.
If you’re running a CPM campaign and you’re not getting enough clicks, 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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