For the last 3 months I've been running BookBub ads for my novels and non-fiction books. (More on why I started doing this in Advertising Books in 2019.)
Here's what I learned about split testing and ad appearance so far:
Split Test To Learn The Why
On BookBub you can target readers of one particular author at a time. So I regularly tried the same tag line in one ad targeting a particular author's readers and a different tag line in another ad to the same readers.
This approach is called split testing and I'm so glad I did it.
Otherwise, had I tried a tag line targeting one author and gotten few or no clicks, I might have assumed that author wasn't a good target for my books. Or that the tag line didn't work.
Instead, for example, the tag line “One woman stands against an ancient and powerful cult” resulted in Amanda Carlson's readers clicking on it 10%-20% of the time.
Douglas Clegg's readers, though, barely clicked on ads with that tag line at all.
But Clegg's readers clicked often on a different tag line: “They thought she would give birth to a messiah….” This ad led to sales of my Awakening series 4-book box set at $9.99. That set is my highest priced item, so finding an author whose readers it interested made a big difference to my bottom line.
Had I not done the split testing, I would have thought Douglas Clegg wasn't a good choice for my Awakening series at all.
Create Ads Similar To Target Book Covers
I also played with different background colors and typefaces in ads. That didn't seem to make a whole lot of difference in clicks or sales.
In in Month 3, however, it finally occurred to me to see if I could evoke the color schemes and patterns of the target authors' book covers.
When I targeted Harlan Coben's readers with an ad for my domestic thriller The Worried Man and tried to echo themes I saw in many of his book covers the click-through rate doubled.
To the left is the latest ad, which I created on Canva.
If you click through Coben's covers here you'll see many use similar shades of yellow. Also, many have a sort of distressed or cracked look in the background.
Echoing Key Words
When I looked at Coben's book descriptions, too, I noticed they often referred to “secrets.”
As The Worried Man includes the main character discovering secrets about her boyfriend (the victim) and various suspects, I added the word into the ad copy above.
This month I plan to try a variation on this ad with a shorter tag line. I'll let you know if that works better or not.
That's all for today. Until next Friday–