Book marketing | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book

Mina Baturan recently shared a helpful tip on her Facebook Group, AmWritingFantasy. She calls it The Delayed Buyer Effect and it is the result of what happens when someone sees your ad, wants to read your book, but doesn’t buy or download. Or does download with Kindle Unlimited, but doesn’t start reading right away. This means you should careful not to stop your ads before they have a chance to do so.

Most advertisers don’t factor in The Delayed Buyer Effect when determining the success of their ad. This can result in an advertiser having a great Cost Per Click and Relevancy Score but shutting their ad off after a few days because they are spending more than they’re making.

And who wants to do that?

Realistically though, if you lose a little money on week one, break even on week two, and then turn a profit from week three through week twelve, you’re going to turn a profit on your ad that makes the ad worthwhile.

However, most authors never get that far. They turn their ads off too soon. They don’t even leave the ad on long enough to collect good data that can help them when they create future ads!

Ideally, you will have an ad that turns a profit immediately. But even when this happens, the Delayed Buyer Effect can still come into play.

For example, if you have an ad spending $25 a week and making $50, you may want to increase your spend. But if you expect spending $50 will immediately make you $100, you may be in for a rude awakening. Sure, that might happen, but more likely, you will spend $50 to make $60 – and that looks like a less profitable place to be. ($10 profit instead of $25 profit.)

So you should drop your Spend back down, right?

Not necessarily. You want to allow time for the Delayed Buyer Effect to catch up with your ad.

Perhaps the next week you spend $50 and make $75. The week after, you spend $50 and make $90.

This is your earnings catching up with your advertising dollars, and not having this foresight is one of a number of reasons that authors fail to grow their careers.

What Causes the Delayed Buyer Effect?

The Delayed Buyer Effect can be caused by a number of things:

  • Perhaps the readers bookmarked your book to buy later because they don’t have the money to purchase today.
  • Perhaps they want to clear a few more titles off their to-be-read file first (that’s me, by the way)
  • Maybe they want to wait for a spouse or parent to buy the book for them.
  • Or maybe they did borrow the book through Kindle Unlimited, but just haven’t had a chance to read it yet… resulting in a delayed profit on your end.

Now that you’ve heard this, it sounds like common sense, right? Chances are you’ve done this type of thing for these types of reasons as a reader yourself.

Look for Patterns

Yes, you will get immediate purchases from those who are ready to Buy Now. I’m certainly not suggesting you keep running ads that are bleeding you dry and not working. However, you also need to look for patterns and keep Delayed Buyer Effect in mind when analyzing your ad results, including both new ads as well as scaling up existing ads.

One of the most common issues facing authors is breaking even on their ads within the first week, but then they turn off their ads because it’s “not making a difference.”

This is short-sighted. And not just because of the Delayed Buyer Effect that could have had them operating at a sweet profit within another 1-2 weeks. It’s also because those ads, even when breaking even, are building their reading audience and increasing their odds of potential reviewers.

That said, if you’ve done all of this and your ads still aren’t working, here are some things you may want to assess to determine what needs to be fixed:

  • How Effective is Your Sales Page? Does it make readers want to buy?
  • What Sell-Through Opportunities Do You Have? Are you selling one book, or will that book also lead to other books in the series?
  • How Is Your Sell-Through Looking? Is your writing engaging enough to sell books 2 and 3?
  • Is Your Ad Copy, Image, and Audience Effective? If it is, you should see a low CPC and High Relevancy Score.

Cover, Blurb, Writing, Sales Page, Audience, Ad Copy, etc – it’s all important. However, today I just wanted to bring to light the idea that you shouldn’t kill an ad too quickly. Some books just take a little time to build up momentum. I’ve seen authors both start in the same place, and one author gets discouraged and turns off ads and never grows… the other author sticks it out, even if only to collect data, and within a couple of weeks, they are heading into the right direction.

I hope this insight will help you when making decisions with your ads, no matter which ads method you opt to learn and follow!