Paid advertising is one obvious way to try to increase sales of your ebooks. I’ve tried Bing, Google, Project Wonderful, and Kindleboards. I compared these paid advertising opportunities in this post and this post.
Unfortunately, conversion rate data is unavailable for ads placed on the first three because we can’t put ad service-specific conversion code on Amazon webpages. Kindleboards, however, does provide conversion rate data, which can give you a very concrete way to grade your ad results on their website.
However, with no conversion data for the other ad services, I have to look at other traffic data to estimate ad efficiency and return on investment. One way to estimate this is to look at my daily ad expenditures and chart that with my daily royalties.
So, did my paid advertising efforts cause increased sales? Let’s check the following chart (click chart to enlarge):
While causality is hard to determine, it does appear that there is some correlation between ad expenditures and royalties from book sales. For example, it seems like my ads between November 28 and December 9 did cause some increase in sales. The same with Dec 30 to Jan 6.
Oddly enough, greater expenditures in advertising (note the 3 huge spikes in ad expense), don’t seem to correlate to similar huge spikes in sales. Those three spikes indicate the days when I spent a lot more money on ads for sites with larger average pageviews/impressions. However, these sites are not targeted to my book genre. What this tells me that the higher cost for less-targeted, higher impression sites do not give as good a return on investment.
The lesser ad expense spans, such as Dec 30 to Jan 6, indicates where I targeted my ads to lower pageview/impression sites specific to my book genre (science fiction, cyberpunk). In these cases, I saw more correlation. This tells me that targeted ads are much more efficient.
Of course, the obvious question is, why not put ads up on websites with high pageviews/impressions AND that have a science fiction fan base? Well, when I find one of those that doesn’t have a $3,000 buy minimum, I’ll do exactly that. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
Although I only have a couple months of data, there certainly does appear to be a correlation between paid ads and sales. While this may seem obvious, the question is can I earn more in royalties than I am spending in ads? The Dec 30 to Jan 6 data seems to indicate yes. I’ll just have to work at it.
If you can afford it, you should consider experimenting with paid ads, but just on targeted websites. Project Wonderful is a low-cost ad service option to find targeted websites.
Paying for ads on high-traffic sites that don’t have visitors interested in your product doesn’t seem to be worthwhile.
(My next post will examine correlations between blog pageviews and sales.)