Many of our partners drive hundreds or even thousands of audiobook sales when they run Chirp Deals. And for those looking to boost sales during this promotion even more (or to promote other Chirp audiobook discounts), BookBub Ads offer another way to promote discounted audiobooks to Chirp members.
Author K. Patrick Donoghue combined BookBub Ads campaigns with a Chirp Deal to sell over 2,000 copies of the audiobooks in his science fiction series in a single month! 35% of those sales came directly from the ad campaigns. These combined promotions generated enough revenue to earn back more than half of what he invested to produce these three audiobooks. Here’s how he did it.
Patrick released the audio editions of his Rorschach Explorer Missions series in June, which included two novels and a novella.
I sought the Chirp Deal in order to aid in rapidly recouping the audio narration and production costs for the three books. This was a tall order since I invested in a pricey narrator.
When Skywave, the first book in the series, was selected for a $2.99 Chirp Deal in the Science Fiction & Fantasy category, we recommended that Patrick set up limited-time discounts on the other books in the series to encourage more follow-on sales from Chirp members — a tactic we’ve seen have a significant impact on partners’ total sales and revenue during their Chirp Deals. Patrick discounted the second book Magwave to $4.99 and the prequel novella UMO to $1.99, so listeners could get the entire audiobook series for less than $10 during September.
To further boost his sales during the Chirp Deal, Patrick set up multiple BookBub Ads campaigns for Skywave. He started out by using a single author target for each campaign, using authors who had been effective targets for his ebook ad campaigns.
I only saw success with two of the five authors I tested originally (I think one of the reasons the other three didn’t generate impression volume is that their books are Audible exclusives, so their “listeners” are likely not Chirp users). When impression volume began to fall off, I then tested an ad targeting Science Fiction listeners. While the category campaign’s click-through-rate (CTR) was lower than the two author-targeted campaigns, I still saw a good sales activity and I was able to scale up the budget at an acceptable ROI.
Patrick used cost-per-click (CPC) bidding for his campaigns. He settled on a $0.20 bid after running test campaigns before the Chirp Deal started.
About two months prior to the Skywave Chirp Deal, I began testing single-author campaigns for the audio edition, using the $0.20 mid-point of the suggested $0.10 – $0.30 bid range. While I didn’t receive any sales given the discount on Chirp at that time was only 10% [a $22.45 purchase price], I did see strong CTRs on several single-author names and very low actual CPC ($0.03 – $0.07), so it led me to believe $0.20 was a good starting point for the Chirp deal campaigns.
For his ad creative, he tested a few different background images, always highlighting the book title, genre, and limited-time deal. Mentioning a discount price in an ad image is a highly effective way to boost clicks and conversions. The image on the left proved to be the most successful.
Once the Skywave ads were consistently driving sales, Patrick tested campaigns to promote the $4.99 discount on the second book in the series. He started by targeting himself to reach the Chirp members who had already clicked on Skywave, but once again found that targeting all of Chirp’s Science Fiction listeners delivered a greater number of impressions. Patrick noted that the CTR of his Magwave campaign wasn’t as high as he’d like with the wider targeting, but said, “it’s delivering decent sales and a profit given the higher $4.99 discount price.”
Skywave sold over 1,400 copies during the month it was discounted. Of those total sales, nearly 40% came from Chirp members who clicked on the ad campaigns. Magwave sold over 300 copies, with 20% of sales coming directly from ad campaigns, and the novella had over 250 sales from organic discovery alone. Patrick spent over $400 on all of his ad campaigns and generated an 80% ROI. He also received over 100 new reviews on Chirp for the audiobooks in this series.
I’m pleased with the outcome. The net royalties from the 28-day Chirp Deal and my own ad spend during the deal will recoup more than 50% of the combined audio production costs of the three books. I anticipate recouping the remaining portion of the production costs in the next 2–3 months, meaning a total payback period of 5–6 months for the three audiobooks. The Chirp Deal played a significant role in making that possible.
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