Many partners use BookBub Ads to continuously promote first-in-series books. Because you can run ads on an ongoing basis, you can introduce a consistent stream of new readers to book #1 and drive sales for the whole series.
Eva Pohler doubled daily sales for her $3.99 first-in-series supernatural suspense by running a continuous BookBub Ads campaign. She increased sales across different retailers and regions, and over the past month, her campaign has been ROI positive. Here’s how she did it!
Eva’s primary goal for this ad campaign was to drive sales of book #1 in her Mystery House series in the lead-up to the launch of book #3.
My goal for this campaign was increased sales. I began the campaign for Secrets of the Greek Revival a month before the release of the third book in the series, French Quarter Clues, with the hope of prepping new readers for the third book. I immediately saw an increase in sales of book #1 and #2, and I believe my release was positively affected by both the ad campaign for book #1 and a Featured New Release for French Quarter Clues.
Eva designed her ad image using tips she’d seen on our Partners Blog.
My mistake in past graphics was trying to fit a one-line synopsis, which cluttered the visual. I learned from a Partners Blog post that I could help readers know what the book was about with images rather than cluttered text. I also used to make the book cover the most prominent part of the ad — taking up at least half of the graphic. After viewing images in the blog post, I learned that the book cover could be made smaller so that a line of text could fit along the top or bottom of the ad, making the ad look more cohesive.
Eva ran a number of tests before settling on an ad that targeted her own fans on BookBub plus the fans of 20 similar authors. She included links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, and Google Play in all worldwide regions where each retailer is available.
I tried targeting just genres, just authors, and both genres and authors. I found the ads that targeted only authors performed the best. I’ve also found that my ads don’t always start off with a bang. They take time to perform well. I think this may be because the ad needs to be seen once or twice before a person will finally click on it.
BookBub makes it easier than Facebook to target specific authors, because many of the authors I use are not available as targets on Facebook. I chose the authors by looking at the top sellers (on Amazon) in the genre of whatever book I’m marketing.
Budget and Bid
Eva set up a continuous campaign with a daily budget of $10. She chose CPC bidding and set her bid above the average range we display to ensure that her ad would be competitive in the auction.
When deciding on a budget, I consider things like the length of the series, the sell-through rate, the price of the first book, the effect on rank, my overall marketing budget, and my return on investment. The third book in the series just released, and as the length of the series increases, I hope to increase the ad spend depending on the sell-through of the later books.
I chose to pay per click rather than per thousand impressions because the former gives me valuable feedback about which readers are responding to my ad. For example, most of the people clicking on Secrets of the Greek Revival are Barnes and Noble readers or readers from Canada (at both Amazon and Kobo), whereas most of the people clicking on my ad for another book, a YA paranormal, are US Kobo readers.
I chose a $2 CPC bid because I want to win the best bids, and I rarely end up actually spending that much per click. My average cost per click is more like $0.66. While that may seem high to authors used to paying less per click on Facebook ads, BookBub leads are much ‘warmer’ because your targets are already wanting to find books. I think it’s reasonable to have to pay more per click for warmer leads. And, ultimately, the ROI is what matters more than anything. I make more on the ad per day than I spend. As long as that continues, I will keep running the ad.
When analyzing her results, Eva was primarily focused on comparing the cost of the ad to the sales she could credit to it. Since she wants to drive sales for the whole series, she has links to purchase book #2 in the back matter of book #1 and calculates her ad’s profitability based on the total series sales (not just book #1 sales!). Eva estimated her series sell-through by dividing book #2 sales by book #1 sales within a given time frame and multiplying by 100 — 22% of the readers who purchase book #1 in the Mystery House series go on to buy book #2.
BookBub Ads increased the sales of Secrets of The Greek Revival from two or three a day to five or six a day (sometimes more). Although the CTR is important, I’m mostly concerned with this: how much am I spending per day versus how much am I making per day (on sales that can be attributed to a given ad).
I’m able to measure the effects of my BookBub Ads on my sales because they are the only marketing I do for readers who use retailers other than Amazon. I’m investing more time and money in BookBub Ads because I feel that the people seeing these ads are looking for books, which isn’t always true with Amazon and Facebook. I use Amazon ads and Facebook ads to target Kindle users, but I’ve found BookBub Ads to be better than Facebook at targeting Nook, iBooks, Kobo, and Google Play readers. I can also see an increase in Kindle sales with my BookBub Ads, but it’s just more difficult to measure.
Eva has also run ads for her first-in-series books in other genres and has gleaned some interesting insights about the impact of genre, price, and platform on her ad performance by comparing the results of her campaigns:
B&N sales have increased the most with this ad for Secrets of The Greek Revival. When I compare the results to an ad I have for a YA paranormal novel called Vampire Addiction, also priced at $3.99, I find that Kobo readers are responding really well to that one. The CTR at Kobo for that book has been close to 5%.
The Gatekeeper’s Sons, the first in my longest YA series based on Greek mythology, has given me the most grief. I’ve been experimenting with pricing after it was permafree for five years. Because Secrets of the Greek Revival did so well at $3.99 with BookBub Ads, I tried to do the same with The Gatekeeper’s Sons. However, it did not sell well at $3.99. I recently changed it back to free, and now that ad is doing really well, especially at Kobo. Even though The Gatekeeper’s Sons is free, I spend $15 per day for that book on BookBub Ads because it’s part of a long series, and I make money on the sell-through to the other books, which is at a rate of 33%.
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