BookBub opens up advertising scheme for indie authors separate from Featured Deals

Leading ebook promotion site BookBub is launching an advertising scheme for authors and publishers that will run in a dedicated space in the firm’s daily emails to millions of readers.

The scheme is completely separate from BookBub’s usual promotions which are very selective in picking books for promotion and generally require substantial discounts on promoted titles. With the new ad placements, authors and publishers can promote full-priced books, discounted books, audiobooks, novellas, multi-author box sets, etc.

The company says BookBub Ads have several key benefits for advertisers who want to promote their books. For example, advertisers can:

  • Target by Author, Retailer, and More:

Advertisers can target readers by their author interests, their book category choices, their location, and their preferred retailers.

  • Promote Any Book:

BookBub Ads are not subject to the company’s usual editorial selection process. Advertisers can promote any book that complies with the firm’s policies, at any price point.

  • Set a Personalized Budget and Schedule:

Advertisers set their own budget and schedule for each ad, so they can run any size campaign any time they want.

  • Manage Campaigns Online:

Advertisers can update their ads and track live results from their Partner Dashboard.

Pricing is, of course, the big question for the ads. BookBub Featured Deals are expensive, although they often reap rewards.

Amazon runs an advertising scheme for indie authors and publishers which operates on a cost-per-click basis (CPC), meaning you pay when somebody clicks on your ad rather than just when it’s shown. Goodreads, which is owned by Amazon, also offers ads which use the cost-per-click model.

But the BookBub Ads will be priced on a CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) auction. When an advertiser creates an ad, they place a bid at the CPM they’re willing to pay. When they get impressions, they pay the second-highest bid, so they never pay more than an impression is worth to them and will often pay less.

At this point, it’s impossible to say how this is going to turn out for advertisers in terms of value.

I would normally be reluctant to use ads on a CPM basis as you’re just paying whenever your ad shows up rather than when a reader actually takes some action. The issue is also clouded by the fact that the ads will be part of an email rather than being served at intervals on a website, which would be the case with Kindle or Goodreads’ ads.

However, BookBub is renowned for its effectiveness on Featured Deals so I’ll certainly be looking to try it out the ad scheme. As you can see from the main picture, the ads are placed between the Featured Deals, which could mean you’ll get around the same response as for the Featured Deals.

It doesn’t look like you’d be getting quite the same amount of space as a Featured Deal but if you advertised your book as a discount with buy buttons within the artwork (if this is allowed under the T&Cs) then you could effectively have a Featured Deal without the rigmarole of BookBub’s selection process.

The ads don’t need to feature a discounted book and don’t have any impact on future editorial selection of Featured Deals. None of the Featured Deal requirements apply to BookBub Ads, so if you’ve got a Featured Deal, you could, for example, run an ad for the same book at the same time or a week apart or at any time.

At the moment, BookBub Ads is running as a trial scheme but you can add your name to the waiting list to take part. The company is only dealing with a small number of advertisers initially but will be gradually expanding capacity.

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