Marketing Analytics for Authors
It's no secret that my day job is marketing. That means I live my life looking at crazy acronyms like CTR, SEO, SEM and even more insane full words like branding, geotargeting, geofencing, re-targeting and the like. There are enough marketing terms to make someone's head spin, and some of them are catchier than others. They spread like a virus and then suddenly everyone is using them, but what do they really mean and how can you use them as an author?
CTR is a digital advertising term that refers to the amount of people who see a link or advertisement that is embedded with a link and click on it. That's it. It ends there. CTR does not count people who buy a product based off of clicking a link --because many who click a link will not buy a product. CTR is an excellent way to measure the effect of an advertisement for catching a customer's eye, and that's all it's meant to do. So how does an author measure CTR, and how should it be used?
As you know, CTR doesn't measure sales, but in a revised version (without impressions)it can help you measure interactions with readers, such as how many are getting to the end of your ebook and are interested in learning more by visiting your website, or visiting any other link you embed at the end. If you have a ton of people clicking your link, but not buying this can symbolize an issue with whatever the link displays and converting people to a sale. If it's your website, perhaps it's not user-friendly, or if it's the next book in the series, maybe there's an issue with the description, price or cover of the novel. So now that we know what CTR is, how do you calculate it?
It's super easy. I measure the CTR on all of the links at the end of my ebooks, and also on all campaigns I run on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. It helps me see the effectiveness of the advertising. All you need is a free BITLY account. Bitly will track how many people are clicking your link and can even help you determine what times are the best to post by showing you when people interact with the links most. Knowing the best times help you streamline your marketing efforts with Social Media, but less so for the end of your ebook. I have the same link set up with different nicknames to help me define which leads are coming from where -- now can you see how this is helpful?
Your conversion rate directly links into your CTR -- this is the percentage of customers who click the link who are buying. Of course, this becomes a little more difficult when you don't have an analytics pixel (more catch terms) on your website that can see who visited through an advertising link, who came from a search and who came organically. You may be able to do some of this by downloading the free version of Google Analytics, but honestly, as an author who's using free things like Social Media to market and not operating in a brand exchange to buy digital advertising, this isn't something you'll likely need.
This is an essential marketing analytic for authors, especially those who write series. CSR is the measurement of those that purchase the first book, then go on to buy the second book, and then those that purchased the second that buy the third and so on and so forth. CSR is also relatively easily to calculate. I would recommend running this month to month to determine what are the best months to do sales, publish a book, etc. You just divide the statistics to find the percentage of sales. I would recommend seeing if you have a decreasing margin not only between book one and two; two and three, etc. but also one and three. This analysis will show you a nice spread of your sales. If you don't have a series, but would like to look at cross-sale-ratio, you may be able to use CTR to do some hypothesizing. If you embed a link to one of your other books at the end of the ebook (not series related books)-- then you can take a CSR of sales over the two different books and then compare to your CTR.
I hope this quick overview gave you some ideas on how you can use marketing analytics to measure your marketing efforts as an author -- something as simple as creating a separate bitly link for each of your books at the end of your ebooks can be an enlightening activity. Just remember to have one for each different sales outlet you're selling on. iTunes doesn't take kindly to you linking back to an Amazon page! If you load your ebook into an aggregator like Smashwords or Draft2Digital, you won't be able to do this, but I would recommend creating a call to action by putting a link (using bitly, of course!) to your website and social media.
Next time, we'll be talking about Branding for Authors. Here's a hint -- it's not the design of your name, a logo or a slogan.
What other ways do you measure sales and marketing performance?
What marketing questions do you have? Leave a comment, and your question just might turn into a post!