In 2018, thousands of authors and book marketers used BookBub Ads, our self-serve display ads platform, to promote books to BookBub’s millions of readers. As the end of the year approaches, we wanted to share some of the most successful BookBub Ads campaigns of 2018!
There are many ways to define a “successful” ad campaign because there are many different things you can accomplish with display ads. The following campaigns represent a diversity of genres and strategies, but each stood out to us in its own way — some had a high click-through rate, some had a low cost-per-click. Some cost thousands of dollars, others cost $100. One campaign ran for over two years, another for just a few days. But every one of them demonstrates the core elements that make for effective advertising on any platform: targeting a relevant audience with engaging creative that will capture their interest.
We hope these give you some inspiration to run your own ads in 2019!
Kensington, Never Dare a Wicked Earl
Kensington targeted author Renee Ann Miller’s own fans on BookBub, plus the fans of eight other comp authors for this new release campaign. They also limited the audience to Historical Romance subscribers — combining author and category targeting ensures you only reach an author’s fans who are interested in the genre of the book you’re promoting! The blurb highlights the historical period and the tension that will sizzle between the characters, both of which are great ways to hook Historical Romance readers. This book cost $3.99 during the two weeks this ad ran, and with a 3.15% CTR, the campaign drove over 1,400 clicks across all retailers in the US, UK, and Canada.
Leighann Dobbs, Dead Wrong
Leighann ran a series of 13 three-day long campaigns for this book in February and March testing different single-author targets. She reached readers on all regions and retailers, and overall she had an average 4.5% CTR and over 6,000 clicks across all the campaigns. Leighann used CPM bidding, but with her narrow targeting she was able to pay an average rate of only $0.09 per click across the entire series of campaigns. A free deal and a cover that clearly communicates the book’s genre (a title pun, a sassy illustrated heroine, and a cat definitely say “cozy mystery”!) can sometimes be all it takes to get readers to click.
Kristin Morin (Magical Scrivener Press), Salvage Trouble
Kristin has been running a continuous ad campaign with a low daily budget for J.S. Morin’s $3.99 first-in-series, Salvage Trouble, since November 2016. Two years later, the Amazon US-targeted version of this ad has reached over 1 million BookBub readers, and the CTR remains high at 2.86%. Kristin set up distinct campaigns for each retailer she targeted in order to personalize the ad images and have better control over her spend for each platform and region. She’s targeting the fans of over 50 comp authors combined with Science Fiction and Fantasy category targeting. This blurb cleverly communicates exactly how Salvage Trouble sits in between those two genres!
Chelle Bliss, Men of Inked Books 1-3
Chelle has been running ads for this permafree box set introducing readers to her seven-book series since November, testing out different images and targeting. One of her tests delivered one of the highest CTRs of any ad this year—a whopping 14.9%! We’ve seen that both free books and box sets usually generate really high engagement from BookBub readers, so it’s no surprise that they were eager to pick up this deal! We also loved that Chelle quoted BookBub reviewers in this ad image.
Adam Croft, Too Close for Comfort
Adam is one of the BookBub Ads platform’s biggest fans — he even created a BookBub Ads course for Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula platform! This particular campaign demonstrates the power of narrow targeting. Adam set up seven ads for this book using the same image, each with a low daily budget and targeting the fans of a different thriller author on Apple Books, B&N, Google, and Kobo. In the two weeks they’ve been live so far, the ads have driven over 2,500 clicks altogether, and the version with the highest CTR is sitting at 7.4%!
Endeavor Media, A Time for Trumpets
Endeavor ran this ad to worldwide Amazon readers during a weeklong $0.99 sale. They targeted General Nonfiction and History subscribers who were fans of the author, Charles MacDonald, and six other authors who write about historical battles. The John Toland quote perfectly appealed to that audience — the ad’s CTR was 4.82%. Endeavor used CPC bidding, and was able to reach readers at a rate of $0.19 per click.
Melody Grace, Meant to Be
Melody set up four ads for this campaign, using each of the above images to target fans of a single romance author on two different retailers. The campaigns have been live with daily budgets for four months and counting, and so far, over 20,000 readers have clicked on one of these ads. Both images have performed equally well with the audience she’s targeting.
Leslie Chase, Mated to the Alien Lord
Leslie Chase used BookBub’s in-form creative builder to design her ad image, and her snappy blurb drew the attention of over 1,500 Amazon readers in Canada and the UK. She targeted fans of more than 20 science fiction romance authors for a 4.6% CTR. This ad proves that a simple design can be extremely effective when you reach the right readers and let them know your book has everything they’re looking for!
Ian Kharitonov, The Russian Renaissance
Ian’s ad for his $3.99 first-in-series, The Russian Renaissance, had one of the widest reaches of any ad campaign this year, serving over 8 million impressions during its five-month run. He set up individual campaigns for each retailer in order to customize the bid for each one. Ian used CPC bidding, which meant he could target broadly, using only categories, but only pay for the interested readers who clicked on this ad (over 55,000!). We loved Ian’s strategy of comparing his book to other stories his ideal readers might be familiar with — these kind of comparisons can be a really effective way to grab readers’ attention.
Knopf, I Am, I Am, I Am
Knopf targeted readers on all retailers in the US for this campaign to promote the launch of Maggie O’Farrell’s memoir. The ad reached nearly 30,000 fans of nine other authors of memoir and nonfiction for women, and the glowing Ann Patchett quote was a strong hook for this audience, generating a 2.7% CTR.
David Estes, Fatemarked
David has been running this continuous ad for his first-in-series epic fantasy for nine months and counting. He’s targeting Amazon US readers who are fans of 50 other fantasy authors with books in Kindle Unlimited. While you can’t explicitly target KU subscribers on BookBub Ads, between the targeting and calling out the book’s KU availability in the ad image, David has designed this ad to specifically appeal to those readers and encourage them to click. Since he’s using CPC bidding, that means he’s hopefully only paying for the readers who fall into his ideal target audience. Over 15,000 readers have clicked on this ad campaign in 2018!
Bella Andre, Love Me Like This
Bella set up a continuous campaign on this title’s launch day in January. She’s focused on letting her international readers know about this new standalone, targeting just her own fans on Apple in Canada and Australia. 11 months later, her readers are still discovering this new release, and her CTRs remain around 2.5% in both regions!
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