This is something new. BookBub recently rolled out a new Cost Per Click ad system that authors can sign up for and is in beta. If you can't seem to get picked for a BookBub newsletter, this might be a good way of generating some extra sales. You have to signup for the beta on a waiting list, and even then you might wait months to get in.
Right now authors are reporting massive sales and ROI from this, but that might because it is so new. As systems like this mature, their ROI diminishes, but considering the market is so focused it could still be quite beneficial.
Unlike the normal ads, these don't really have any requirements except that you have to apply for an account. They are accepting authors overtime, and one easy way to get accepted into the BookBub ads program is to have a book launching and to load it on their site as an upcoming launch.
Aside from that, they do have ad image requirements for what they need to look like and restrictions about what you can and cannot post. It's easy to make the ads and they even have a built in program to help create simple ones.
How to set up an ad
Basically, it works like this:
Step 1: Upload a book
During this step you will need to upload your content. Take your time and really find a good selling point for your book, because you are paying for impressions instead of clicks. If you do a bad job here, it will cost you in the long run.
Step 2: Set your links
This is where you decide where you are going to send readers. Pick your stores or customize your own landing page, but in general you'll want to send readers straight to the store to buy the book.
Step 3: Pick your audience
This is another very important section, because you need to make sure your targeting is perfect. Luckily it is very straightforward and you should have little trouble in figuring out the UI. Targeting by authors is more important than genre, so this is going to be a huge learning moment for you to know exactly who your audience is. The better your audience is built, the more clicks you'll get.
Step 4: Schedule, Budget, and Bid
This is the final step i the process where you pick your budget (per day or per campaign), your bid, and your schedule. The bid is based on 1,000 views and gets pretty expensive pretty fast, but if you bid low you can usually get some cheaper clicks and help to maintain the speed of delivery.
A few extra things: you can copy campaigns you've already built which is fantastic for A/B testing and make small modifications. I would recommend breaking authors out individually to find which audiences respond well to your books, and there is a page you can check out on BookBub to find author following size.
It can get expensive very fast. It's easy to set and ad up, forget it, and find out that you spent a fortune a few weeks later. The good thing about it is that it is completely dependent on click through rate, which means you have incentive to do A/B testing and create the best possible ad you can.
When I started using the platform they still didn't have a lot of authors participating yet, so I was able to sneak in and get quite a few clicks very cheap while using the new platform. Then, over time it continued to mature to the point that it was no longer as valuable for me to keep running ads on it.
Now, I use them regularly for new book launches because I know that they reach readers who are definitely interested in getting new books. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, the people who click are going to seriously look at your book and consider how much they would want to read it.
So, if you haven't requested an account yet then that is the first thing you should go out and do. It might take a few days, weeks, or months before you are finally accepted, and when you are you need to be ready to start testing the platform. Don't just load a bunch of money and forget about it, but instead spend some time testing, trying new things, and then iterating to make it better. After all, you're spending hard-earned cash!
This is only 4-stars from me, because even though the ads are tremendously powerful, they are lacking more than a little bit in overall value. The problem is, they are so expensive that it is difficult to actually justify using them.
That being said, considering the people who click will be valuable readers who are looking for books, it is a difficult platform to avoid.