Wednesday, April 10, 2013

David VanDyke – No Transaction Without Rotation

No Transaction Without Rotation

by David VanDyke

So I’ve been experimenting with web ads on some various places, trying to – you guessed it – increase exposure and sell books. I’ve used various sites such as BlogAds (I’m not endorsing anyone, this is just an example).

In most of these sites the engines that run the advertising allow you to load several different versions, of “creatives,” of your ad that will rotate into your space. You can also link each ad differently e.g., to different books. Some will take flash or video. But what does this matter, you may say? Doesn’t it make more sense to just hammer away at the consumer with the same thing in hopes of hard-selling him into buying?

You can see where this is going. Consumers have to be wooed, not browbeaten. Unless you are in an automobile showroom, the hard-sell is just not going to work, triply so on the web where relief is just a click away. More to the point, while new site visitors might have the same average response to your ad, repeat visitors will quickly tune it out after they have seen it a few times. If they made that split-second decision not to click it once, they will probably make the same decision again…unless you have something different there this time.

Different things catch different peoples’ eyes. Let’s say you are selling a book series – oh, hey, that’s what I am doing. Let’s say I am selling my book series. I have several book covers as the base art, with different colors and a related theme but each is a bit different.

Except for Book One, I link not to the particular book – I don’t want to get people to buy and be upset by getting a later book in the series – I link to the series page on my web site, which then has links to buy. Then hopefully they will 1) see it’s a series, 2) divine that they should probably read book 1 first (always on sale at lower price from the rest), and 3) buy from that page where I get a few percent extra profit because of Amazon Associates (if they buy from Amazon).

If you have several books that are not a series, it’s just as easy, because each “creative” or “version” of your ad is in essence advertising a different related product. You should get some synergy sales if they like you as an author, but since each book is a standalone work, you don’t have to strategize on how to make sure they go for the first book in the series – just take them to a buy page, either where you have an associates link or straight to the purchase site (Amazon, Kobo, B&N, etc.)

So, you ask (I know you ask), how do you know this, Dave? Are you just spouting conventional wisdom?

Actually, no. Being an intuitive and impatient person, I usually want to try something out before I read the instructions. In this case I was able to do “before-and-after” comparisons. So first I loaded one ad version for the first book in my series, The Eden Plague. Once I had a good baseline for click-thru rates and cost per click, and incidentally now I had the time and motivation to generate more ad versions using PowerPoint and Paint (or you can get a pro to do it), I then loaded five more versions, making six in rotation. This is what the ad sites recommended in their FAQ, but hey, baby steps, right?

Roughly speaking, my click-thru rate doubled, and my sales increased a measurable amount, varying between 10 and 50% per day. All it took was some time and effort to create and load the versions, there was no difference in cost. So clearly, this strategy is more effective than just running the same ad day after day.


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Genre – SciFi /Adventure

Rating – PG13

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