Each year BookBub picks what it calls its best ad campaigns of the year to show advertising strategies across a variety of genres.
This year’s selection includes a few examples which show how indie authors and publishers can achieve some great results with relatively small budgets, particularly by using the power of split-testing ads.
Edge of Magic by Jayne Faith
Indie author Jayne Faith is a best-seller in the fantasy field and this ad pushed the first book in her Fae & Shifter series.
The ad has got a great clear description and a nice big call-to-action button to boost the free offer on this first-in-series book. There were nine continuous campaigns using this image in September, each using a high CPM bid.
Each campaign achieved an excellent CTR above 6% and a campaign targeting worldwide Amazon readers hit the heights of a 14.3% CTR.
A Girl Like You by Michelle Cox (audiobook)
This is a backlist ad for an indie historical mystery audiobook published in 2017 offering a $0.99 deal through BookBub’s Chirp audiobook promotions.
The ad targeted the author’s own fans on Chirp, which includes any Chirp member who follows her or has clicked on one of her books on Chirp.
The ad ran for five months and generated 3,500 clicks at a 1.6% CTR. BookBub says this led to 650 sales of A Girl Like You at $0.99, and 120 sales across the other four books in the series, which were priced between $4.99 and $12.99.
The Beirut Protocol by Joel C Rosenberg
Four ad campaigns aimed to boost the launch of The Beirut Protocol in March, with images tailored to particular audiences. The book was the fourth in a highly successful series by Joel C Rosenberg.
Three campaigns targeted a combination of categories and comparable authors, while one, using the ad on the left, targeted Rosenberg’s own fans.
The four campaigns had high CPC bids and served more than 98,000 impressions in two and a half weeks, with over half of those to the author’s existing fans. That particular campaign generated over 2,000 clicks at a 3.6% CTR and $0.50 eCPC.
Hard Ware by Misha Bell
This romcom ad ran for two and a half months and used a simple and effective design with clear copy.
The book was priced at $4.99 and the ad used a high CPM bid which helped to bring in over 1.23 million impressions.
The History of Ireland by Andrew McDermott (audiobook)
You don’t often see details about ad campaigns for non-fiction titles so this one is particularly interesting. This audiobook ad started in February with a $5 daily budget and is still running.
The campaign aimed at Chirp members subscribed to multiple non-fiction categories. BookBub says wider targeting can be effective for the smaller audience on Chirp.
This campaign has served 1.38 million impressions in Chirp emails and generated 6,300 clicks at a 0.5% CTR. The ad took this book from just one sale on Chirp every few weeks to 50 sales in the first three days it went live, and has driven consistent daily sales since then, with more than 1,125 copies sold between February and October.
Follow Me series by Helen Hardt
The launch of the third and final book in Helen Hardt’s Follow Me erotica/romance series brought a promotion both for the new release and a limited-time free sale on the first book in the series.
Both ads used a high CPC bid and targeted Helen’s own fans as well as those of nine comparable authors. The ad for the free series starter emphasized the series was now complete, which can be a draw for readers hoping to binge the entire series.
During the three-week sale, the ad for the free book served 19,000 impressions at a 2.9% CTR. The ad focusing on the new release ran for six days after launch day, serving 67,000 impressions at a 1% CTR and generating 700 clicks.
Selective Spells by Willow Mason (audiobook)
Two campaigns for this cozy paranormal mystery Chirp audiobook ran from mid-April through the end of May.
The first used six author targets and the Supernatural Suspense category, serving 2,400 impressions with a 7.7% CTR and $0.08 eCPC. The second version swapped out the author targets for four others, driving 14,000 impressions at a 3.8% CTR and $0.14 eCPC.
Together, these campaigns generated 700 clicks and resulted in over 250 sales of the Chirp audiobook, which was discounted to $0.99.
Bring Him Home by Nicole Trope
UK publisher Bookouture has built a reputation for highly effective ebook marketing and it tested different combinations of titles and cover images in a series of campaigns that actually led to a new title for Nicole Trope’s novel.
Half of the ads targeted US readers and half targeted UK readers, but the campaigns used identical CPM bids, budgets, and author targeting to isolate the impact of the book cover on ad clicks.
The image on the right, which features the original cover image with the new title, was the winning combo in both regions, with a 2.5% CTR from the US audience and 3.4% CTR in the UK.
Magical Renaissance Faire Mysteries
A short series of three books by different authors ran 40 test campaigns using variations of the left-hand image during August and September, each targeting an individual author with high CPM bids and budgets of $5-30 per campaign.
In October, they used the test results to create six new campaigns using the right-hand image and the top two author targets to promote a $0.99 sale across all three books. Each ad targeted just one of the highest-performing author targets, and ran for a couple days with a $30 budget and high CPM bid.
Every campaign promoting the $0.99 sale had a CTR above 3%, with the best version hitting 8.2%. In total, the sale campaigns served 8,500 impressions and generated 450 clicks in four days.