Unbroken campaign review

The Unbroken campaign was shut down as planned on January 22 after a two month run. It was a tough decision. I contemplated letting it run a while longer. I won’t have final sales numbers for another few weeks, and even then I won’t have sales figures for the exact period in which the campaign ran. But my feeling is that the book definitely got a boost from my efforts, especially eBooks. The Kindle version of 35 Miles From Shore has been a top five aviation title for the past month with an overall sales ranking of around 20,000. I had been as low as 14,000.

I decided to shut down the campaign  because I wanted to compare before and after results.  To give just one example, on January 22, the last day of the campaign, I had 30 visits to the website. The next day I had  five. With Laura’s book now the number one nonfiction title in the country, it’s tempting to not keep things going. As more people read and finish her book the larger my target audience becomes. In fact, as proof that what I have been doing is not so far-fetched, you can Google “If you liked Unbroken” and you will see a few threads with that exact subject line. The top thread is a discussion started on Amazon.com. A reader who read Laura’s book was asking other readers for advice on what to read next. I added me book to the list of suggested titles.

This post will look at some raw data from the campaign. At some point in the future, I plan to compile these posts into a single document with added and expanded sections.

This first report shows the campaign stats for Google:

I’ll highlight a few important items. First off, the data above includes ads that were targeted toward the aviation market, including the promoted video ads. I did this because of what I believe is a rapidly expanding eBook market. So while there was a total of 897 clicks and nearly a half million impressions, only 279 of those clicks were directly related to the Unbroken campaign. The total cost for Google for the two month campaign was $297.12. The average cost per click (CPC) was .33 cents a click. Removing the aviation ads, the total cost for the Unbroken campaign was $102.58 with an average CPC of .37 cents (I’ll include the Bing results in a minute).

The goal of the campaign was to sell more books. More importantly, I wanted to reach non-aviation readers. You can’t find an aviation title on Amazon where my book isn’t listed among the “Customers who bought this item also bought” list of books. I was hoping to make that list on the Amazon book page for Unbroken. I wasn’t able to accomplish that during the campaign. But check back with me in a few months and we’ll see.

So the real question is, how many of those 279 people who clicked on one of the Unbroken campaign ads actually went on to buy the book? The campaign summary below shows that the Unbroken campaign had an 80% bounce rate.

That means that 80% of the people who clicked on the ad left my website without going any further. It’s unlikely that any of those visits resulted in sales. That leaves just 55 people who visited one or more additional pages on the website. If only 10% of those people purchased the book, that would mean that my $100 investment netted only five or six sales over a two month period. That would be a negative ROI and not something that you would want to continue.

But another way to look at the numbers is that for $100 I got my book in front of over 175,000 non-aviation readers, including 1560 views in the LA Times book review page and 892 views in the USA Today book review page. These are people who had never heard of the book 35 Miles From Shore. There’s no way to know how many of those impressions and views will ultimately lead to sales.

Before I move on the Bing results I wanted to show the results of the promoted video campaign. This is the campaign where I paid for views of the book trailer for 35 Miles From Shore.

I only ran this campaign for five days. It was an interesting experiment. There were 97 views at a total cost of $21.86 and an average CPC of .23 cents. The video was shown primarily to people searching on aviation keywords and phrases, though I did somehow make it onto the Youtube home page for a few hours one day. There’s no way to know what impact this short five day experiment had on sales, I do know that none of those 97 people who watched the trailer clicked through to the website.

Here are the numbers for the Microsoft Adcenter Unbroken campaign:

The Bing/Yahoo campaign provided an additional 106 clicks at a cost of $22.88 and an average CPC of .22 cents. I didn’t set up a separate Analytics profile to track Adcenter visits, but this is something you would want to do for a more in depth campaign.

More than likely I will resume the Unbroken campaign and perhaps the aviation campaign at a future date. Perhaps in another three to four weeks. In the mean time, I’ll use what I’ve learned from this two month run to improve what I’m doing for organic searches. For example, I’ve decided to rename the Unbroken landing page to “If you liked the book Unbroken.” The goal is to get on page one of Google for anyone searching on that keyword phrase. I’ll use a redirection plugin to redirect any visitors to the old landing page.

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