Why And How To Use Retargeting Pixels To Market Your Book (and Wiener Dog Pillows)


We have all experienced being retargeted. Perhaps you were on a website looking at purchasing that cool pair of Wiener dog decorative pillows, but you didn’t buy and were then hounded (#dadhumor) with those same Wiener dog pillows everywhere you went on the Internet.

Your local newspaper site. ESPN.com. Instagram. Everywhere you went those Wiener dog pillows followed, pleading with their puppy dog eyes.

We all know how this story ends.

While retargeting is a powerful strategy for Wiener dog pillow marketers, I believe it’s just as successful for authors. I hear the same goes for Wiener dog sweaters. Thankfully not real live wiener dogs though.

While it’s not entirely obvious via my intro and key visuals, that’s actually what this blog post is about – that every author should be using retargeting to better market their books. I’m going to tell you why.

Let’s begin by defining retargeting. Here’s a breakdown courtesy of retargeter.com:

“Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a form of online advertising that can help you keep your brand in front of bounced traffic after they leave your website. For most websites, only 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit.”

Now I know you might be thinking “But wait Mario, I don’t sell on my own website. I sell books on Amazon. This isn’t relevant to me.”

Well, not so fast. I’m convinced that retargeting is relevant to all authors, regardless of where they sell their books. Geni.us links allow you to insert pixels directly into a link, so you can still build a retargeting audience while directing traffic directly to Amazon, if that’s more your style.

Let’s get into it. Here are the four best reasons why every author should be using retargeting to drive more book sales.

1. Only two percent of web traffic converts on the first visit.

That means for every 50 people you drive to your book on Amazon, just one buys your book then and there. A few more might want to buy it later, but getting them to convert is becoming an increasingly complex task – and the human attention span isn’t exactly skyrocketing these days. Once you’ve input your retargeting pixel into Genius Link, you could build some simple display ads, to remind your potential readers of this great book they were looking at. You’ll be amazed how many extra purchases you’ll get from folks who just needed the additional visit or two to finally go ahead and buy your book. Give those folks the gentle reminder they may be needing.

2. Your readers might not want to buy from the store you were driving them to in the first place.

If you only have room to share one link, you’ll just provide a link to Amazon. That’s the best thing to do. Right?

Wrong. Please, do me a favor and just use our choice pages to start with. Let your readers choose where they want to get your book from. We all know that Amazon might be the 800 pound gorilla in the book space,but there is a growing number of people who’d rather purchase elsewhere. Amazon owns roughly half of all print book sales in the US. Do you really want to ignore the other half?

Outside of the US, Amazon’s market share is oftentimes much smaller. Honor your international reader base and provide them with an alternative storefront.

But, if for some reason you don’t want to do that, then I recommend using retargeting display ads to present potential buyers with other purchase destinations. You could run an ad promoting your book on Barnes and Noble. Then another leading to Walmart. Then Kobo.

While linking exclusively to Amazon might be the most convenient path, it’s not always the most effective.

3. Build on your previous marketing efforts.

Marketing books is hard. Building a solid readership is hard. It takes time and lots of effort. Don’t start fresh with each new publishing. Use retargeting to build on the success of your last book. Readers are loyal and if they’ve already read your work, they’re likely to come back for more. Amazon does a nice job of marketing your other books to existing readers by default, but unfortunately they’re also constantly promoting authors similar to you. Sometimes this feels like all your hard work is helping Amazon sell other people’s books. Whenever someone clicks on one of your book links, add them to an audience and serve them ads for your other books. We’re all constantly on the hunt for good new reads (even if we don’t start reading them right away) and we all know the joy of returning to an author whose work we know and love.

4. Retargeting is very cost effective.

Honestly,unless you’re John Grisham, doing major advertising campaigns probably doesn’t make sense. You don’t have the financial resources to convince total strangers to all of a sudden be interested in your genre. Trust me when I say that there are far too many wasted advertising impressions in that effort.

On the other hand, you likely do have the resources to advertise to people who have already shown interest in your work.. Some of them are your fans. They actually want to hear what you’ve got to say and what you have to offer. By advertising your new book directly to them , you’re doing them a favor.

So tell them! The reality of buying retargeting ads is that they’re incredibly efficient. You’re only really paying for the most relevant eyeballs imaginable – your current and future fans. Retargeting ads are affordable and oftentimes a sales tactic that literally pays for itself through increased conversions.

Ok, so let’s wrap this up. Here is how you go about setting up a retargeting campaign as an author:

  1. Open an account with Google Ads and/or Facebook Advertising and generate a retargeting pixel.
  2. Add your pixel to your Genius Link account.
  3. Promote your book using your pixeled geni.us links. Normally, to fire a pixel on a shopper they need to stop off at your website first, but we’ll let you fire them on folks who click your link. As readers click your links, they’ll get added to your retargeting audience. Here is some more info on how our retargeting pixeling magic works.
  4. Get some basic banner ads made. We love to use 99Designs for that. Or if you have the design chops, feel free to do this yourself.
  5. Serve targeted display ads to the readers in your audience. They’re already familiar with your work, so these are the best ads you can buy.
  6. Become J.K. Rowling

Thanks for reading my article! Please leave a comment below if you have any questions – I’d love to help.

And yes, that’s my girlfriend’s Wiener dog and she’s got a serious problem with decorative pillows and dog sweaters.

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