Online advertising can be an effective way to reach new readers. But online ad platforms can seem complex and overwhelming, especially if you’re just getting started. To make the best use of your advertising budget, it’s important to educate yourself on the best practices for each platform.
In this post, we compiled the most comprehensive guides we could find on three online advertising platforms that are popular with authors and book marketers: Facebook, Google AdWords, and the new BookBub Ads platform. We hope these guides help you understand their different use cases and create successful campaigns.
First, let’s start with the basics. There are countless channels, vendors, pricing strategies, and tactics you can use to promote a book online. Platforms that provide auction-based pricing offer the most flexibility and allow advertisers to target very specific audiences. Start with these guides for an overview of auction-based advertising and general best practices.
Who should read: Anyone new to purchasing ads online.
Summary: Display advertising typically refers to image-based ads served to visitors on websites across the internet. It’s one of the most popular ways to monetize website traffic. This comprehensive guide provides a complete explanation of display ads, common implementation tactics, popular sales channels, and pricing methods. It also includes a cheat sheet with 25 examples of display ads in action.
Who should read: Anyone new to using online advertising platforms with auction-based pricing.
Summary: Advertisers have two main ways to purchase ads online: via direct media ad buys or via auction-based platforms with real-time bidding. This article explains the pros and cons of each of these methods.
Who should read: Anyone who wants to understand the ad channels available to marketers.
Summary: This article compiles a list of online ad types and channels. It also provides great examples so you can see what each ad type looks like.
Who should read: Anyone who wants to design an effective ad.
Summary: Note that you must disable any adblocking software in order to read this post. This post curated 50 tips for designing effective display ads, with examples for each tip. Also, if you’re looking for a way to easily design ads, Canva is an excellent design tool!
Facebook is a popular advertising platform among authors and publishers, partly because it’s so popular with readers. According to a survey of 6,000 readers by Marie Force, 69% use Facebook to find information about their favorite authors. With Facebook’s targeting options, you can promote books specifically to readers already interested in a particular author, or find entirely new readers. Here are the best articles we’ve found on using Facebook Ads:
Who should read: Authors and book marketers who want to learn more about the kinds of campaigns they could run on Facebook.
Summary: Before diving into the best practices and technicalities of running Facebook Ads, read this post by author Joanna Penn. It will help you get ideas for different things you could promote with a Facebook Ad, which you can keep in mind as you read these next tutorials.
Who should read: Anyone interested in running Facebook ads.
Summary: Facebook offers more than 50 in-depth learning courses to anyone with a Facebook account. There are modules on everything from purchasing ads to optimizing your targeting to A/B testing your ads. These training courses are a must-see for anyone serious about spending money on Facebook advertising.
Who should read: Authors and book marketers seeking ways to improve their Facebook campaigns’ ROI.
Summary: This article explains how to find the perfect target audience for your ad campaigns, optimize your campaigns to use your budget most effectively, and scale your most successful campaigns.
Who should read: Anyone who wants to see the different types of ads you can run on Facebook.
Summary: There are two overarching formats for Facebook ads: right-hand column ads and News Feed ads. Within those formats, there are several different types of ads you can run. They type you pick depends on your marketing goals. This post walks through all these different types of ads, as well as examples of and best practices for each type.
Who should read: Anyone still learning about the different Facebook ad types available.
Summary: Still confused about the difference between a boosted post, a promoted post, and a separate Facebook ad? This post compares the three different types of ads, and includes test results comparing them (and you can see results from a second test here).
Who should read: Anyone who wants to understand Facebook’s auction model and different bidding strategies advertisers use on the platform.
Summary: Facebook Ads are run on an auction-based platform, meaning that you’re bidding for impressions (CPM), clicks (CPC), optimized clicks (oCPM), or actions (CPA). This article explains how this auction model works, and the differences between the four bidding options available.
Who should read: Anyone using Facebook ads to drive conversions (e.g. email sign-ups) on their website.
Summary: This tutorial teaches readers how to create a Facebook campaign to capture email conversions. It explains how to set up a website conversion path, keep subscribers engaged, craft effective Facebook campaigns, and measure the results.
Who should read: Anyone who wants to optimize their click-through rate or ROI.
Summary: This tutorial shows you how to run A/B tests for your Facebook ads and measure the results. It explains how to choose tests to run and how to launch tests with different ad sets. Learn how to ensure that Facebook runs the ad that best accomplishes your unique marketing goals.
Who should read: Advanced Facebook advertisers who want a better way to manage and optimize their ads.
Summary: This article walks you through Power Editor, a bulk Facebook ads creation and management tool. It has several benefits, including a bulk ads uploader, fine-tuned optimization features, the ability to run ads for unpublished posts (this allows users to run A/B tests without overrunning your Facebook page), and more.
Case studies from authors and book marketers:
Here are a few great articles featuring tips from advertisers who have used Facebook Ads to market their books:
- Facebook Advertising for Authors by Mark Dawson
- Running Away with a #1 New Book Release on Amazon by Alex Broderick-Forster
- My Facebook Ads Experience and 3 Marketing Rules by Nicholas C. Rossis
- Successful Book Marketing Using Facebook Ads with Adam Croft by Joanna Penn
Google AdWords can be a powerful marketing tool, but it does take a good amount of time to understand and set up. Possibly because of this, there isn’t very much information available specifically for authors and book marketers. But AdWords may still be worth testing — if you set up ads targeting a highly relevant audience with effective ad copy and designs, AdWords may help you effectively accomplish your book marketing goals.
Who should read: Pay-per-click advertising beginners looking for a step-by-step guide to AdWords, all in one place.
Summary: This comprehensive AdWords guide shows how to launch an ROI-positive campaign. It covers everything from landing page optimization to conversion tracking, and each section includes a real-world example with annotated screenshots. Note: If you link directly to a book’s product page on retailer sites, you cannot track conversions unless you use an affiliate link, which sometimes violates retailers’ terms of service.
Who should read: Anyone setting up their first AdWords campaigns.
Summary: AdWords search campaigns can be confusing — within each overarching campaign, there are ad groups, ads, and keywords. Structuring your campaign correctly from the get-go will help you target the right audience with the right ads at the right time. This article explains how to create campaigns for each segment of your audience in a way that scales.
Who should read: Anyone starting the keyword research process.
Summary: This article introduces a keyword targeting model that categorizes your audience based on their interest and intent — in other words, their likelihood to convert. You’ll learn about different keyword buckets — brand terms, product terms, competitor terms, substitute and complementary product terms (e.g. comp titles), and audience terms — and how to find and group each of these keyword lists.
Who should read: Anyone writing AdWords ad copy.
Summary: Writing AdWords ads can be challenging because you need to fit a lot of information into a small amount of space. This article explains how to write concise ad copy that gets high click-through rates, with real-world examples and A/B test results.
Who should read: Anyone who wants to understand the different AdWords bidding options.
Summary: There are several core bidding strategies available in AdWords: manual cost-per-click, automatic cost-per-click, enhanced cost-per-click, cost-per-action bidding, and flexible bidding. This post compares each bidding strategy and shows the advantages of each.
Who should read: Anyone using AdWords (or any other PPC platform) to drive conversions (e.g. email sign-ups) on their website.
Summary: If your ad directs traffic to your website instead of to a book’s product page on retailer sites, it’s important to optimize your landing page for conversions. This 14-point checklist walks you through the main things to keep in mind when building a PPC landing page. There are more in-depth guides (like this one from Unbounce) you could read on the subject, but this article covers the basics.
Who should read: Anyone looking to reduce their cost-per-action or overall budget on AdWords.
Summary: Unlike target keywords, negative keywords are the search queries for which you don’t want your ad to be shown. (For example, let’s say you’re targeting the keyword “time travel romance books” and people are finding your ad via the query “alternative history time travel romance books”. If your book isn’t an alternative history, you can create a negative match for the phrase “alternative history”; once you do that, these searchers won’t see your ad.)
Adding negative keywords to your campaigns can help you save money on your top search terms by only showing your ads to the most relevant audience possible. This article walks you through the process of finding and adding negative keywords to your campaigns.
Who should read: Anyone who’d like to run ads on Google’s display network, not just their search results pages.
Summary: Google AdWords is split into two networks: Search and Display. In the Search network, ads appear above and alongside Google’s search engine results. In the Display network, ads appear on a huge network of websites across the Internet. You can target specific participating websites (placement targeting), website pages with content similar to a book (contextual targeting), pages about specific topics (topic targeting), and more. This article compares these different targeting options, and the process of setting up display network campaigns.
Case studies from authors and book marketers:
Because setting up AdWords campaigns can be an intensive process, there aren’t many articles from authors and book marketers sharing their experiences with the advertising platform. Here are a couple references featuring case studies and tips:
- Google AdWords Tips & Tricks Workshop Thread on KBoards
- How to Market Your Book Through Google Ads by Vikram Narayan at BookBuzzr
BookBub Ads run in a dedicated space in BookBub’s daily emails. Advertisers can use this space to promote any book, any time, and they can target readers by author interests, book category choices, location, and preferred retailers.
Who should read: Anyone with access to BookBub Ads who’s setting up their first campaign.
Summary: When you create a BookBub Ads campaign, you decide which readers you want to target and how much you’re willing to pay for an impression from those readers (one opened email = one impression). This step-by-step tutorial walks through your first BookBub Ads campaign.
Who should read: Anyone looking for ideas for campaigns to run on BookBub Ads.
Summary: Wondering how to best take advantage of BookBub Ads to market your books? BookBub Ads allows you to reach millions of power readers any time with any title, so there are lots of options. This post outlines seven of the most popular use cases for BookBub Ads.
Who should read: Anyone who is looking to design a BookBub Ad and who wants to see examples of successful ads.
Summary: Fresh takes on book advertising creative can be hard to come by, so we assembled 20 of our favorite designs used on BookBub Ads. As you browse the examples, keep in mind that they’re meant as inspiration, not templates. All of the examples we chose had high click-through rates, but the campaign goals were diverse and may be different from your campaign goals.
Who should read: Anyone who wants to know how BookBub Ads pricing works.
Summary: BookBub Ads pricing is determined by a real-time auction and is constantly changing as other advertisers bid for impressions from the same audience. This article explains the key pieces of BookBub’s auction model so that you can understand ads pricing, optimize your ad spend, and accomplish your book marketing goals.
Who should read: Anyone looking to optimize their BookBub Ads.
Summary: A/B testing your BookBub Ads designs is a great way to improve the performance of your campaigns. By following the basic steps outlined in this post, you’ll be able to identify the creative that best accomplishes your goals and generates the greatest return on your marketing investment.
There are many other display advertising platforms and networks available. Here are guides to a few of those other platforms:
- Twitter: The Field Guide to Twitter Advertising: How to Create and Launch Campaigns
- Instagram: How to Advertise on Instagram: A Complete Instagram Ads Guide
- Pinterest: How to Use Promoted Pins on Pinterest
Which other guides have you found helpful as you set up online ad campaigns? Let us know in the comments below! Also, if you write a case study about BookBub Ads, please let us know by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.
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