When author Mark Dawson wanted to increase awareness for his books, he decided to use BookBub Ads to promote The John Milton Series Box Set, which includes the first three books of his 9-book series. This strategy not only increased awareness of his box set, but also grew sales and yielded a positive return on investment (ROI) on these campaigns — in fact, his ROI was occasionally over 100%.
Here’s how Mark used BookBub Ads as part of his successful awareness campaign:
Mark’s primary goal for his BookBub Ads campaign was to increase awareness for The John Milton Series Box Set; his secondary goal was to achieve a positive ROI with these campaigns. To reach the most relevant audience possible, he wanted to target readers interested in his books and those of other writers in his genre.
“Advertising has a benefit even without a positive ROI — brand awareness is a goal in itself. However, I aim to make an immediate return on my ad spend, and so anything over 10% ROI or so is acceptable to me.”
Mark opted to promote a deal on The John Milton Series Box Set rather than an individual title since box sets can be priced higher, even when discounted — which he thought would help produce a higher ROI for the campaign.
“Box sets carry higher prices while also offering greater perceived value to readers. The increased royalty means that conversions (from clicking on the ad to visiting the site and then buying the bundle) don’t need to be quite so aggressive to still retain a positive return on the ad investment.”
The creative for The John Milton Series Box Set set accomplishes a few different goals:
- By using a box set image, it’s obvious that the download includes multiple books.
- It provides a comp to the popular Jack Reacher series.
- It boasts the series’ accolades, including the number of five-star reviews and copies sold.
- It includes a clear “Read Now” call-to-action that stands out in the creative.
Budget and CPM Bid:
To determine how much to bid for impressions, Mark reviewed what other advertisers were bidding on average at the time — this information is provided to all advertisers in the BookBub Ad creation tool — and bid just above this range in order to win as many impressions as possible.
Mark originally launched multiple campaigns with fairly low budgets, so he could increase the budget on those that generated a positive ROI.
“Clicks are not key to judge a campaign’s effectiveness, so I don’t measure success by CTR. It’s ROI for me, and I increase spend gradually on ads that are working (and reduce when they stop working).”
In his BookBub Ads campaigns, Mark used a combination of author and region targeting to reach the most relevant audience possible:
- Author targeting: Mark created separate campaigns for each author he targeted, including one in which he targeted himself. Targeting himself meant that this ad would reach any BookBub readers who had followed him on BookBub or clicked on any of his previous Featured Deals (or otherwise expressed interest in him on the BookBub platform). By creating multiple campaigns, he was able to determine which author targeting yielded the best results.
- Region targeting: Mark used region targeting to separately target readers in the UK and the US. This option allowed him to link to the correct retailer page for each location, set different budgets for the two campaigns, and compare results.
When choosing comp authors to target, he selected those who appeared in the “also bought” section of his Amazon author page.
“A good way to short circuit the research is to look on your Amazon page for the other authors your readers also enjoy. It also makes sense to target the readers who have interacted with your own BookBub Featured Deals in the past. My best results were from those ads.”
Mark experimented with several different ads to promote The John Milton Series Box Set. Here are two different campaigns he ran:
This campaign was designed to promote The John Milton Series Box Set to US readers who have expressed interest in Mark on BookBub. Mark targeted readers who prefer Amazon Kindle as their retailer, and set the click-through URL as the box set’s Amazon page. When he saw that this campaign was getting the best ROI of his multiple test campaigns, he increased his budget for this ad.
Mark also created campaigns to increase awareness for The John Milton Series Box Set amongst fans of comp authors. He created a separate ad for each author he targeted to determine which ones performed best. Mark also targeted readers who prefer Amazon Kindle as their retailer, and set the click-through URL as the box set’s Amazon page. Here’s an example of one of those ads:
BookBub Ads helped Mark reach hundreds of thousands of power readers with his box set while achieving a positive ROI. Mark considered his campaigns successful in accomplishing both his primary and secondary goals:
- Increase brand awareness: Mark was able to reach relevant readers by bidding a high CPM and targeting both his own fans and those of comparable authors across multiple regions. While it’s inherently difficult to measure awareness, he regularly surveys his readers to learn where they discovered his books. Since his campaigns, BookBub Ads has surfaced in those reader surveys.
“[These campaigns] have very large reach, and they come by email — which is still the most effective form of marketing. I can get into people’s inboxes and seed the idea that there is a new author that they might like to try; that the email comes with the imprimatur of BookBub, something that the reader trusts, is a useful bonus.”
- Achieve a positive ROI: Since each of Mark’s ads were finely targeted, he was able to scale his successful campaigns and pause those that were less successful, giving him the control he needed to achieve an overall positive ROI.
“I was very happy with my results. My return on investment was generally positive, and occasionally over 100%.
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