Looking for a simple way to improve the performance of your BookBub Ads campaigns? A/B testing your ad designs is a great place to start. By following the basic steps outlined below, you’ll be able to identify the creative that best accomplishes your goals and generates the greatest return on your marketing investment.
How to run an A/B test using BookBub Ads
Before you start any ad testing, it’s important to be clear on your campaign goals. If your goal is to drive traffic to a product or landing page, A/B testing can be very helpful. An A/B test can reveal which of two ad designs generates a higher click-through rate (CTR). Essentially, you’ll run two different ads simultaneously and compare the CTR for each. The variation with the highest CTR is the winner — with the winning ad, more of the impressions you purchase result in clicks.
To run an A/B test on BookBub Ads, first create two different ad designs to test. For example, you could test whether including a blurb in the creative drives more clicks than a short synopsis.
Once you have the creative you want to test, pick one of the ad designs and create a BookBub Ads campaign for it. The overall budget you set is entirely up to you. Keep in mind that for each ad variation, you should set a budget large enough to get enough impressions, but small enough to leave plenty more budget for a new campaign using only the winning ad creative.
Once you create your first ad, save it as a draft, then duplicate it by clicking the copy icon. This will let you carry over all your settings from the first ad:
Next, set up a second ad to run at the same time with different creative. You can replace the first variation of your ad design with the second variant by clicking “Choose File” and uploading the second design.
Everything about the second ad should be exactly the same — timing, budget, CPM bid, targeting, and click-through URL — except for the change in creative that you’re testing. When two ads run with the same targeting and CPM bid, the BookBub Ads platform will randomly choose which ad any given user within that targeted audience will see. This means that you should get a similar number of impressions for each version. Running both versions simultaneously ensures that you’re testing the impact of the design change, and not another factor like timing or day of the week.
Once you create the second ad, make both ads live. When the campaign is over, you can see which version had a higher CTR — that’s the winning design!
Note that A/B test results other advertisers yield may not be consistent with your results. Like everything else in publishing, ad creative can be highly subjective, and best practices and trending tropes can differ by genre. Testing your ad designs can help determine what works best for a particular book and its unique audience.
How to create different variations of ads to test
What types of design changes should you test? There are a couple different approaches you could take:
Option 1: Test drastically different designs
This may be a good option if you’ve never run an ad for the book you’re promoting and aren’t sure what readers will respond to best. For example:
Option 2: Test incrementally different designs
Once you’re happy with the overall design scheme, you can test one variable of the design at a time. For example:
Here are some common elements you could potentially test:
- Copy (e.g., blurb vs. synopsis, or author blurb vs. publication blurb)
- 3-D cover vs. 2-D cover
- Call-to-action text (e.g. “Read It Now” vs. “Learn More”)
- Call-to-action format (e.g. button vs. full-width banner)
- Font face
- Font size
- Color scheme
- And much more
Other ways to compare ad designs
If you’re running ads with BookBub for the first time and are looking for a way to get qualitative feedback on ad designs, consider running an opinion-based test. This usually means polling your audience to gauge their reaction to your ads. This can be particularly helpful when you’re focused on the branding impact of your ad.
Option 1: Use PickFu’s polling software
PickFu makes it incredibly easy to test two variations of any kind of design. You can get results quickly since PickFu has an established testing audience. Additionally, survey respondents need to say why they made their selection — this way, you can see respondents explain how they reacted to your ad.
PickFu isn’t free — you can purchase polls a la carte for $20, and you’ll get 50 max responses per poll. Or you can pay $49 (three polls) or $99 (seven polls) per month, depending on how many responses you want per poll.
Option 2: Run a preference test with UsabilityHub
UsabilityHub is another great testing tool that lets users create preference tests. You can show your test to 20 users for free, or purchase individual credits for additional responses. If you’d rather not pay at all, you can also earn free credits by taking other users’ tests.
Option 3: Run a poll on a website or blog
You can also run a simple poll using free tools like Playbuzz. Playbuzz lets you embed a poll directly on a website page or blog post, and there’s no limit to the amount of responses you can get.
However, you recruit all respondents yourself. This can be useful if you have an established audience, since you’ll get responses from the people most likely to purchase the book. However, it could take longer to garner results. Fortunately, Playbuzz makes it easy to share polls on social media sites to get more responses.
How else have you tested your ad designs? Let us know in the comments below!
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