Timing plays a crucial role in any ebook marketing strategy, and knowing when to discount your book can mean the difference between a successful promotion and one that doesn’t meet expectations. With the winter holidays fast approaching, we were curious to find out how holidays might play into this question of timing. Do more people buy books on their days off? Or does everyone shut off their phones and ignore BookBub for the day (gasp!)?
To investigate this question, we first compared click-through rates (CTRs) for all non-holiday BookBub deals over the past year against those that fell on holidays, and found that there was little variation. In fact, the average CTR on a major holiday* was just 0.2% higher than it was on a non-holiday, an extremely marginal difference that increases to just 0.3% once all federal holidays were included. The CTR was exactly the same when we considered important travel days, such as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
When we excluded free titles from the data, we found that the average CTR was 2.1% higher on major holidays than it was on non-holidays:
And the conversion rate (the percentage of clicks that turn to sales) was actually 4.3% higher for promotions that fell on major holidays:
When taken together, this meant that the average purchase rate was 6.4% higher on major holidays than it was on non-holidays.
All of this suggests that readers are, if anything, more likely to buy a book on a day off from work! While the first chart showed that overall response rates were only marginally different, both CTRs and conversion rates rose when we excluded free books. This means that the percentage of readers that bought a book was higher on holidays.
Keep in mind that these numbers are only averages for BookBub promotions, and the relatively small sample size makes the data particularly variable. One thing these results also don’t consider is whether certain holidays perform differently than others (for example, could promoting a book on Christmas drive more sales than doing so on Thanksgiving?), but we don’t have quite enough data yet to analyze sales at such a granular level (we’ve only featured price promotions on most holidays three times). Anecdotally we haven’t found any evidence to support this notion.
Overall, our analysis suggests that holidays make little impact on the effectiveness of a price promotion. So while the timing of a discount is always important — for example, you may want it to coincide with a new release, or to coordinate a price drop between titles — it’s unlikely that a BookBub deal will perform worse just because it’s scheduled for Labor Day, or any other holiday for that matter!
*Note: Major holidays include Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, and Presidents’ Day.
This post was updated with the latest data on November 24th, 2015.
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