When running BookBub Ads campaigns, the click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of impressions that turned into clicks. Your CTR is a good indication of how appealing your ad is to your audience, as it captures what percentage of them clicked! And when you’re running cost-per-click (CPC) ads, the higher your CTR, the better chance your ad will have of serving.
But what should you do if your BookBub Ads campaign’s CTR drops? 😱
In this post, we’ll share different strategies you can use to try to catch readers’ attention more effectively and boost that CTR back up!
First, a word of advice: A/B test your new variations!
Before jumping to make sweeping changes on any of your existing ad campaigns, you may want to test each change you make by running an A/B test. This can help you isolate what changes positively (or negatively) impact the CTR.
If you don’t test two or more ads simultaneously, other variables could influence changes in CTR — day of the week, other content in the email your ad appears in, and other ads targeting the same audience at the same time (which constantly fluctuates). So if you make a drastic change without comparing a new ad to your existing campaigns, it’s hard to know for sure what helped!
Alright, let’s dive in! Here are a few different things you can try to boost your BookBub Ads CTR when it drops.
1. Try fixing these common ad design mistakes
If your click-through rate is low, your 300×250-pixel ad design might not be effectively catching people’s attention. Design is extremely subjective, so this could take a bit of trial and error to get it right. First, try to assess your ad designs from the perspective of your ideal readers, or get some opinions from your street team, fellow authors, or friends. Ask them to keep an eye out for any of these common mistakes:
- The design is too busy. You might be trying to cram in too many design elements!
- There’s too much text in too little space. Verbose copy can make a design less appealing.
- The font is too hard to read. If the font doesn’t contrast well with the background, or is too small, people won’t pay attention.
- The book’s genre isn’t obvious. If the imagery doesn’t align with the target audience’s interests, it probably won’t catch their eye!
Here are a few ads we spun up as examples of… er, lacking designs.
And if you’re not a professional designer, here are several design tools that could help make designing an eye-catching ad easier.
2. Try adding specific design elements
If you can’t pinpoint anything wrong with your ad design, it’s still a good idea to test different design elements to see if any might resonate better with your particular target audience.
Here are a few design elements you can try swapping in:
- A discount price. If the book you’re promoting is on sale (or is perma-free), try advertising that low price point right in the design. BookBub readers love a good deal — in fact, 95% of them have purchased a book by an author they hadn’t heard of before because of a discount.
- The book’s cover. Many advertisers include the book’s cover in their ad, or use images from the cover in the ad’s background. If this doesn’t help boost your CTR, you may want to think about whether the book cover needs a redesign.
- A call-to-action (CTA) button or banner. Include a short phrase like “Read now” or “Get this deal” to prompt readers to take immediate action. Many advertisers put their CTA on a high-contrast “button” (even though the whole ad is clickable) to encourage clicks.
- Bold, relevant imagery. Try using imagery with genre elements or tropes that appeal to your ideal fan base. Readers are often seeking specific tropes in the books they buy, so tell them what they can expect to find in yours!
Here are a few articles compiling ad designs that had relatively high CTRs:
- 20 BookBub Ads You HAVE to See for Design Inspiration
- 20 Top BookBub Ad Designs Readers Want to Click
- The Best BookBub Ads of 2018 (stay tuned for a 2019 roundup!)
3. Try swapping in new ad copy
While there’s not too much space to work with — and you shouldn’t use too much copy — the text you include can make a big difference. Try swapping in different copy to see if it increases your CTR.
Here are some different copy elements you could test, based on A/B tests we’ve run on our Featured Deal blurb copy in the past.
- Quotes from publications or other authors. BookBub readers trust recommendations from authors they love! Including quotes from recognizable authors or publications increased clicks 23% on average in our Featured Deal blurb A/B tests.
- Mention the book’s genre. Including copy like “If you love thrillers, don’t miss this action-packed read!” instead of “An action-packed read!” increased clicks 16% on average.
- Include the book’s review or star-rating count. When a book has at least 150 five-star reviews on Amazon or Goodreads, including the number of five-star reviews in our blurbs increased clicks 14% on average.
- Mention awards or accolades the book received. We’ve seen blurbs that named prestigious, genre-specific awards boost CTRs by up to 25%, with an average increase of 5%.
Note that even the copy you use in the call-to-action button can drastically change the CTR, so remember to A/B test that copy as well!
4. Try different targeting
There are four targeting options available: author interest, category interest, retailer preference, and region. You can use any combination of these on a single campaign. Remember that the broader your targeting, the less relevant your audience might be, and therefore the lower your click-through rate might be.
Finding the right balance of relevant targets while still getting a good amount of impressions can feel a bit like rocket science, but here are several different ways to target readers that you can try:
- Target readers interested in you (or the promoted book’s author). Note that when you target by author, the potential audience includes BookBub readers who have clicked on that author’s previous Featured Deals, bookmarked their books, or otherwise expressed interest in that author.
- Target readers of an author who blurbed the book. Include a blurb from an author in the ad image and target that authors’ fans for a personalized message likely to catch their eye.
- Target readers of comparable authors. Targeting fans of similar authors can let you reach a large audience while still focusing on readers most likely to click. The authors who appear in your also-boughts on retailers are a great place to start!
- Use a combination of author and category interest targeting. If you were targeting by category interest to reach as broad of an audience as possible, try adding a few popular subgenre authors to your targeting. This will keep the audience on the larger side but let you refine the targeting to reach more relevant readers — essentially, you’ll now reach readers interested in both the authors and categories you specify.
- Target by retailer preference. BookBub Ads is one of the only advertising platforms that lets you target readers based on the retailer where they prefer to purchase books!
5. Try aligning the ad’s copy and targeting
We’ve mentioned this above… but if you’ve received blurbs from multiple authors, or if your book is comparable to several different books or authors, try creating multiple ad designs to showcase each blurb, or each comparison, and then target each ad to that author’s readers.
This hyper-targeting strategy could help you reach the readers most likely to click on a book an author they love is recommending (or is compared to!). But creating many campaigns at once can be time-consuming — so start with two or three variations and monitor your results before committing to managing a lot of campaigns.
How have YOU successfully increased your BookBub Ad campaign’s click-through rates? Share your tips with fellow authors and advertisers in the comments below!
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