Targeting BookBub Ads by author interest is the best way to reach an engaged, relevant audience of readers. One of the most common questions we get about author targeting is how many authors to target with each ad campaign. In this post, we’ll walk through the benefits and trade-offs of using a single author target or multiple author targets — and tips for making the most of each strategy!
Author targeting basics
Targeting by author interest lets you reach BookBub or Chirp readers who are fans of a particular author. We use a number of different signals from readers to determine their interest in an author, including:
- Following that author
- Clicking on that author’s Featured Deals (or Chirp Deals, if you’re targeting Chirp members!)
- Saving that author’s books to their wishlist or other book lists
- Clicking on a BookBub Ad for that author’s book
This means that authors who are active on BookBub are more likely to have large audiences to target. But a large audience isn’t always the best audience — in fact, we see that authors with 25k or fewer readers in their audience deliver higher click-through rates (CTRs) than authors with bigger audiences. You can find more tips on choosing which authors to target here.
Targeting a single author
Using just one author target for an ad campaign is a great strategy for testing targets, isolating your results, and controlling how much you spend on each target. The biggest benefit of single-target campaigns is they deliver clean, easy-to-interpret results. On the other hand, it can be time-consuming to set up and monitor dozens of individual campaigns for each author you want to target.
I target one author per campaign. If you use multiple, you won’t know which author is giving you the best cost-per-click or cost-per-impression. One might be costing you $0.20 per click while another is $0.80, but all you’ll see is the average.
—Ernest Dempsey, USA Today bestselling author
Consider using a single author target if:
You want to control how much you spend or bid on that target’s audience. One reason it might be important to control how much you spend on each target is if you’re testing different targets to compare results. Creating multiple campaigns, each targeting a single author, and allocating an identical bid and budget to each one is the best way to ensure that you spend the same amount on each test campaign. There are also situations where you might want to set different budgets and bids tailored to each author target — for example, you may need to bid higher to reach the fans of more popular authors, or you may want to spend more when targeting your own fans.
You want to test another campaign element, like ad creative. When testing a particular campaign element, you want to keep every other element across test campaigns exactly the same in order to get reliable results. Using a single author target rather than multiple author targets will give you the cleanest test results across campaigns when you’re comparing other elements of your ads.
You want to tailor each ad image to a unique audience. With single-target campaigns, you can customize each ad image to appeal to a particular author’s fan base.
You’re promoting a preorder or a new release and you’re targeting your own fans! One of the best opportunities to tailor ad images to a single author’s fan base is to promote a new book. An author’s existing fans are their most engaged audience, so it can be worth the time to craft images designed specifically for them.
Targeting multiple authors
When you add multiple author targets to a campaign, the audience will include all readers who are fans of any of the individual authors. It’s faster to set up one campaign with many targets, and you can still view the individual results for each author target included in a campaign, so this strategy can be a great choice if you prefer speed and efficiency. The biggest risk of using multiple author targets is that you can’t regulate how many impressions you serve to each author’s audience, so you trade convenience for control.
We typically target multiple authors unless we’re running a specific experiment to determine the effectiveness of specific authors. We will run “individual author + single ad creative” combinations to determine how well an ad is resonating with the given author’s audience. Then we bubble those results back up to our primary ad, removing any ineffective author targets to leave “the best of the bunch” on our primary, longer-term “set it and forget it” ad.
—Kristin Morin, Book Production & Marketing at Magical Scrivener Press
Consider targeting multiple author targets if:
You want to save time setting up your campaigns. It’s much faster to create one campaign with many author targets than many campaigns with single author targets. And we’ve recently added a new feature to make it even easier: You can now save groups of authors to quickly add or remove multiple author targets to a campaign all at once, rather than adding author targets one by one each time you create a new campaign!
The authors you want to target have small audiences. If many of the authors you want to target have small audiences of readers, combine them into a single campaign so you can get the total number of targeted readers up to a good size. You can add as many author targets to a campaign as you like, but the total number of authors you’re targeting is less important than the total number of readers your campaign could reach — so keep an eye on the Max Daily Reach estimate to make sure your audience isn’t too big or too small.
You want a faster (but slightly less regimented) way to test author targets. You can view the breakdown of stats by each author target when you add multiple author targets to a single campaign, so it’s easy to compare results between authors on the ad details page! However, there’s no guarantee that your campaign budget will be spread evenly among multiple targets, so you may end up with an uneven distribution of impressions depending on how competitive each author’s audience is in our auction. For example, you may win 1,000 impressions for one author’s audience before winning any impressions among other author targets. So if you want to compare results between author targets in a multi-author campaign, we’d recommend regularly checking the stats and removing any targets from the campaign that have already served enough impressions.
You’ve already tested the targets and you’re confident they’ll deliver good results. If you have a group of author targets that consistently work well for you, save them as an author group to use for future campaigns for the same book or series.
For more information about choosing author targets, read these tips from 10 successful advertisers (including how many authors they target with each campaign!) or review six common targeting mistakes you should avoid.
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