Barnes & Noble has become the second major ebook retailer to offer independent authors a self-serve advertising portal.
Amazon set up its own ad portal for self-published and indie writers four years ago exactly in January 2015 and the scheme has proved to be very popular.
However, there is a big difference between the two advertising services. Amazon offers cost-per-click ads on an auction basis, which means you pay only when someone clicks on your ad while Barnes & Noble is offering CPM ads, which means you are paying a set amount to have your ad displayed 1,000 times. The B&N ad scheme is targeted on genres, so you pick what categories you want to advertise in.
There’s also a big difference in the minimum amount of money you need to run a campaign as for Amazon it’s just $100 while Barnes & Noble has set its minimum at $300.
The B&N advertising tariff is:
25,000 impressions — $12CPM ($300)
50,000 impressions — $12CPM ($600)
100,000 impressions — $11CPM ($1,100)
250,000 impressions — $10CPM ($4,000)
1,000,000 impressions — $7CPM ($7,000)
I’m not a big fan of CPM advertising as you’re basically paying to have your ad shown rather than for any action taken. But let’s look at some possible outcomes from the B&N ads.
If, for example, you run a campaign for 25,000 impressions at $12CPM and get a 1% response to your ads with a total of 250 clicks (1% of 25,000) then you would be paying $300 for those 250 clicks, which would be around $1.20 per click.
That’s a high cost per click (CPC) for a book campaign as obviously not every one of those people clicking on the ad are going to buy your book.
By comparison, you can pick up clicks on Amazon’s service from around $0.20, depending on targeting, etc, and would certainly be keeping CPC cost well below $1.
If you pick up a much higher than 1% click-through rate on the B&N scheme then the whole financial situation could be transformed but don’t bank on miracles. One of the things the Barnes & Noble ads could have going for them at present is that they are new so you just might get some sort of first-mover advantage if you use them in the initial stages.
Obviously, you’d only be interested in using the B&N ads if you’ve actually got books on the Barnes & Noble platform but if you’re considering widening your ad platforms outside Amazon then you should consider sites such as The Fussy Librarian, which is growing fast and features highly targeted promotions at excellent rates; and GoodReads which runs a cost-per-click scheme.