Archive | September, 2015

Does online advertising work for books?

Cover of IBPA's The Independent showing computer keyboard

For a recent article in IBPA's The Independent, Linda Carlson put the question of which advertising works to independent publishers and got some interesting, and insightful answers.

Linda's questions focussed on:

  • Print Media Coverage
  • Paid Reviews
  • Giveaways and Deep Discounts
  • Public Relations, and
  • Online Ads

The consensus from those responding were were singularly unenthusiastic about online ads. An example being Devorah Fox's comments, president of Mike Byrnes & Associates in Port Aransas, TX, who reported:

“When we hit 100 likes on our Facebook author page we received $50 in free Facebook advertising. We used it to advertise our book The Lost King with an ad that—per Facebook—could be seen by 22 million people and a Sponsored Story that targeted 940 users. There wasn’t a single click-through, and we can’t attribute a single sale to it.”

The full report is available at: IBPA online - Marketing whatever you have to market - promotion opportunities and issues - part 2

Back in November 2013 I wrote about a recent poll  conducted for USAToday and Bookish, a website designed to help people find and buy books, which asked readers what factors created interest in a particular book for them. The poll got the following responses:

  • 57% - their own opinion of the writer's previous work;
  • 43% - opinions of a relative and friend (ie "word of mouth");
  • 17% - professional reviewers and other writers;
  • 16% - the book cover; and
  • 10% - internet opinions by non-professionals (10%).

In short, people are interested in a book based on previous knowledge of the author's work, word of mouth, or professional reviewers. Advertising simply doesn't get a look in. And if you don't believe that then you need to consider the click-through rates we get on our own adverts:

  • Click Through Rate = 0.05%, i.e. for every 2000 views of an advertisement, we expect to get 1 person clicking the advertisement to visit our site; and
  • Click Rate = 2%, i.e. for every 50 people visiting our site we expect to get 1 sale.

Back in May 2014, for a series of blog-ad designed to be viewed 86,000 times we were paying $330. That probably gave us 43 click-throughs, and some where between one and two sales. It simply doesn't make financial sense. For more information you can read my previous post on this (Marketing for authors: what to expect from click-through and conversion rates).

So does online advertising work for eBooks work? In a word - no.


If, however, given this information you still want to undertake some social marketing then you may want to check out the article in the same edition of The Independent:
IBPA online - A practical guide to social media advertising part 1

For more information about the USAToday poll, and another poll conducted by ebookfairies you can read my previous posts concerning them at:

 

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