Last year, CD Reiss ran several successful BookBub Ads campaigns for Marriage Games. When she released the sequel, Separation Games, this year, she wanted to promote this new title to both new readers and readers who’d already read Marriage Games. Armed with data from the first book’s campaign, she decided to use BookBub Ads and its unique author targeting features to accomplish these goals, driving preorders and sales for the sequel.
Here’s how CD used BookBub Ads to successfully promote her new sequel, Separation Games:
CD had two goals for her BookBub Ads campaigns:
- Reach readers of Marriage Games and let them know its sequel was available for sale
- Reach people who waited to buy Marriage Games until the duet was complete
For each individual ad campaign she ran, she aimed to achieve a 3% click-through rate or higher. She also wanted to earn back most of her ad spend and achieve at least a -30% ROI.
My first priority was to reach people who read Marriage Games, since they’d talk about the second book being released and buy it right away. I used both ROI and click-through rate to measure success. For each campaign, I checked the click-through rate and killed anything under 3%. I also looked at ROI, but it’s REALLY hard to kill an ad when it’s at +5% CTR no matter what the ROI is. I have to believe those clicks will amount to something at some point.
Knowing that these ads appear at the bottom of BookBub’s emails, CD decided the most enticing ads were simple, branded ads with minimal text and consistent fonts and colors.
I think BookBub creative needs to be very simple so it stands out by the time someone reaches the bottom of the email. The graphics needed plenty of blank space and super simple messaging.
CD used author targeting to reach the most relevant audience possible. Last year, CD tested a number of low-budget ads for the first book, Marriage Games, to find out which targeting options drove the highest click-through rates.
I had data on what worked for Marriage Games, and in the months between books one and two, I sent low-spend Marriage Games ads to different audiences (targeting users who follow myself and small groups of comparable authors). For example, I’d group similar authors to see if I should run an ad targeting traditionally published erotica authors. I nailed five terrific targets that got a high click-through rate and stuck with them.
Because she had already run these tests, CD had data on what targeting options yielded the highest click-through rates, and used those settings for her Separation Games ads as well.
When she wanted to promote the sequel to readers who already read Marriage Games, she targeted her own followers by adding her name to the “Refine by Author” section on the ad creation page. She ran ads to this audience both during the sequel’s preorder period and following its launch. These ads usually linked directly to the book’s product pages on retailer sites.
When she wanted to promote the entire duet to new readers, she targeted the followers of authors with whom she shared a fan base. These ads usually linked to a page where visitors could buy either Marriage Games or Separation Games.
Budget and CPM
While CD’s overall BookBub Ads campaign budget for Marriage Games was $6k, she set a lower budget of $1.5K for Separation Games, knowing that readers would likely want to buy the first book in the series before the second.
My budget for Separation Games was one quarter of my Marriage Games budget.
That said, my budget for Marriage Games was very high. I saved my pennies for months so that I’d have budget for advertising. The idea was to blow it all on book one, and book two would kind of take care of itself in preorders and word of mouth.
In order to make sure she garnered impressions, CD set a high CPM bid. Because of how the BookBub Ads auction model works, she only paid the amount of the second-highest bid when she won impressions.
CD experimented with many different ads to promote Separation Games. Here are two different campaigns she ran:
Campaign #1: Promoting the preorder to existing readers
This campaign was designed to let CD’s own fans on BookBub know that her new sequel was available for preorder. She ran this campaign during the four days prior to the book’s launch, and set a smaller budget since it would be reaching a smaller audience than some of her other ads.
Campaign #2: Promoting the entire duet to new readers
This campaign ran immediately following the sequel’s launch, and was designed to increase awareness for the complete series amongst both her readers (some of whom may have been waiting for the duet to be complete before purchasing) as well as readers interested in comparable authors. In order to reach these brand new readers, CD used the targeting buckets she’d learned worked best from the Marriage Games tests. She also set a somewhat larger budget in order to maximize exposure with this broader audience.
BookBub Ads allowed CD to promote her new sequel to a targeted audience of power readers. She considered her campaigns successful in accomplishing both her primary and secondary goals:
- Reach Marriage Games readers: She was able to reach her own audience by targeting readers interested in her — an extremely relevant audience likely to purchase her sequel.
- Reach new, relevant readers: She was able to increase her readership by targeting readers interested in similar authors who might want to purchase the complete duet.
The overall results were very good. I ran one ad that gave me two days of 10% click-through rate on both Marriage Games and Separation Games! Most of my ads had high click-through rates, so even if readers weren’t buying, they were looking.
Also, I know there are benefits to sending people to your website, but I’ve had much better success with BookBub Ads sending people right to the retailer. All of the bargain-priced books at the top of the email link right to the retailer. That’s what BookBub subscribers are used to. I’m in the business of making them happy.
I want to just mention that there’s a place for emotions here. There has to be or the method fails, because I’m an emotional person. I’m giving the impression that I’m this super precise and organized player. I’m not. I use these methods to rein in a mile-wide intuitive streak that’s gotten me into trouble. I am often likely to say, “But I LIKE this ad!” and keep it up longer than I should. At some point I have to calculate what the ad is doing for me, and if it’s nothing I have to take a hard look at why I’m spending money I shouldn’t.
Want to share this post? Here are ready-made tweets:
Click to tweet: Promoting a New Sequel with @BookBub Ads – http://bit.ly/2pAYt8c Great tips from @CDReisswriter! #amwriting
Click to tweet: Promoting a sequel? See how @CDReisswriter used BookBub Ads to promote her sequel to new and existing readers! http://bit.ly/2pAYt8c