One of the most important elements of any successful ad campaign is the targeting. Reaching an engaged and relevant audience is critical to driving clicks and sales, as well as keeping your ads cost-effective.
With BookBub Ads, you can target BookBub and Chirp members by their preferred reading formats, book categories, retailers, regions, and authors. While it’s up to you to identify ideal readers and research targets for the particular books you’re promoting, we can help you avoid some of the most common mistakes we see advertisers make with their BookBub Ads targeting!
Note: The data shared below is from the past 12 months, and reflects general trends in the BookBub Ads auction. Advertisers may find their results differ for individual campaigns.
1. Don’t expect high engagement from category targeting alone
If you want to drive a high click-through rate (CTR), avoid using category targeting on its own. While it can be very tempting to try to reach all of our readers who are subscribed to particular genres, we consistently see higher engagement for campaigns that use narrower targeting. Ads using author targeting have 61% higher average CTRs than ads using category targeting alone.
For higher engagement, try author targeting alone or a combination of author and category targeting. Using both author and category targeting limits your audience to fans of those authors who are also subscribed to one of the categories you’ve selected. This is a great option if your author targets write in multiple genres.
That said, there are certain types of campaigns where category targeting can be a smart choice — for example, if you’re focusing on getting wide exposure or are limiting your audience to smaller regions or retailers.
2. Avoid targeting the most popular authors in your genre
When targeting by author interest, choosing the most popular authors in a genre can have similar pitfalls to targeting by category interest — the audiences are too big and too broad to deliver high engagement rates. In the past year, ads targeting individual authors with 25k or fewer targetable readers had nearly 2x higher average CTRs than ads targeting authors with larger audiences. Yet the lure of popular authors is strong — half of the 10 most commonly targeted authors on our platform each have more than 500,000 readers in their audience!
Targeting by author interest lets you reach any BookBub member (or Chirp member, for ads targeting Chirp users!) who follows that author or has engaged with their books on our platforms in the past, like by clicking on a Featured Deal or “wishlisting” one of their titles. This can be a fantastic option for reaching relevant and engaged audiences of readers, but it can also take some research and testing to identify the best authors for your particular books and campaigns.
Many advertisers will peruse their “also boughts” on retailers, as well as the “also boughts” of the authors they’ve identified as potential ad targets:
“We primarily choose targeting from the “also bought” portion of the Amazon page, which shows books that customers have bought alongside our book. This list helps us find popular authors that attract similar audiences to ours, as well as smaller names that we perhaps haven’t heard of until now. Both make for excellent, usually very profitable author targets.” — Rebeka García, Marketing & Publishing Associate at Mozaika Publications
Others keep an eye out for books being featured on BookBub that are likely to attract similar readers:
“We’re subscribed to our books’ genre categories on BookBub, and will add authors to our ads whose Featured Deals seem particularly well-aligned to each book.” — Kristin Morin, Book Production & Marketing at Magical Scrivener Press
Read more tips from successful advertisers on selecting author targets here.
3. Don’t assume the same targets will work on different platforms
Because BookBub uses engagement on our platform to determine author interest, the authors who have large targetable ad audiences may differ — sometimes dramatically! — from those with large audiences on other advertising platforms.
To make sure your tried-and-true targets from other platforms will also deliver good results with BookBub Ads, run low-budget tests before investing more money in your campaigns.
If you need new ideas for targets that are specific to BookBub, keep an eye on the authors we’re featuring in our daily and weekly emails — the clicks on those features will translate into readers you can target!
4. Remember to target your own fans
This may seem obvious, but the readers most likely to buy an author’s books are their existing fans — 84% of BookBub readers purchase new books because they’re written by an author they already love. So don’t forget to target yourself (or the author whose book you’re promoting) when you run ad campaigns!
Ads targeting the author of the promoted book have 60% higher average CTRs than the overall average CTR across our platform. Targeting an author’s existing fan base on BookBub is a great strategy for promoting new releases, especially in ongoing series, as well as promoting related books after an author runs a Featured Deal on another title.
5. Don’t focus on just one retailer or region if your books are wide
One of the most unique features of the BookBub Ads platform is the ability to directly target readers who purchase ebooks from every major ebook retailer (Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and Kobo) across multiple regions (US, UK, Canada, and Australia).
Our audience reflects the larger ebook market, so Amazon US readers make up a large portion of our audience. However, they are also targeted by a greater number of ad campaigns than the other segments, so advertisers often find they can win impressions at lower costs when targeting international audiences or readers on other retailers.
When you add a book to a campaign, we automatically pull in any US retailer links we have in our system for that book, but our data is not always perfect — don’t forget to add links to any retailers or regions we may have missed! You can find links to your book on all of our eligible platforms here.
6. Don’t target authors who use different book distribution strategies
Whether you’re promoting ebooks or audiobooks, make sure the author targets you choose for your ads use similar distribution strategies for their own books to ensure you’re reaching the right audience of readers.
For instance, if you’re promoting a Chirp title, you probably won’t find many Chirp users in the audience of an author whose audiobooks aren’t for sale on Chirp — do a quick search on Chirp first to make sure your target’s books are listed on the retailer. And if you’re running ads for an ebook in Kindle Unlimited (KU), you may have better luck reaching KU subscribers by using other KU authors as targets rather than authors who distribute to all retailers. No matter how you distribute your books, look for ad targets who are reaching the same audiences of readers you’re trying to reach!
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