Well, the title says it all, doesn’t it? Following my small success with Amazon Marketing Services, I’m about to scale up my promotions. I have been reading up on AMS and to reach that goal I’m planning to increase everything, ie:
- Number of keywords and products,
- CPC* bid,
- Budget, and
- Number of ads.
* Glossary used in this post:
- CPC is the Cost Per Click; how much you pay each time someone clicks on your ad.
- KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) is the number of pages people have read on a book available on Kindle Unlimited.
- ACoS (Advertising Cost of Sale) is a metric used by Amazon to measure the performance of your Amazon Sponsored Products campaigns.
Keywords are probably the most important thing to research. According to Michal Stawicki, a guest at Dave Chesson’s (aka Kindlepreneur’s) excellent blog:
- Amazon’s suggestions aren’t worth much so don’t rely on them, and
- It’s better to target your competitors directly instead of using descriptive words.
So, with that in mind, what is the right number for my keywords? Michal suggests we use at least 300 keywords. I plan to use even more. I’ll select them by going to a similar book to mine, check out the “also boughts” in the same genre and respective sub-genres, and add them to my keywords. I’ll also add their “also boughts,” then their “also boughts,” until I have enough keywords.
Once that happens, I’ll top them up by going through the best-seller list and adding keywords based on books found in my genre/sub-genres.
At Shana Gorian’s suggestion, I plan to start my bids at $0.35 and bid no higher than $0.70. I’ll spare you the math, but the idea here is that you need to at least cover your expenses, and that will be impossible if I bid higher than that. As for placement, I will stick to sponsored ads, not product display.
Budget/Number of Ads
I will start with a $200 budget. I usually budget for $100 but Amazon has never taken all of it; they usually take a few pennies each day, until the campaign ends a natural death. This time, the extra keywords will probably mean the budget will disappear. Still, I’ll keep that going for as long as I can. The reason is that Amazon stats are delayed, and, in my experience, sales can take up to five days to show up. Also, I’ve noticed that Amazon’s acos numbers and statistics are way off. I can’t imagine why that is, but my experience suggests I’m better off ignoring them. Instead, I’ll use Book Report to make sure that sales include KENP as well.
I will also scale up the number of ads by copying each campaign. I’ve read from people who are running dozens of copies of their campaign, so I’ll use ten of them, with a budget of $20 each and slight adjustments to the keywords/products. I’ll wait for a week and weed out the ones that are under-performing. I have to trust Amazon’s acos for this, so I’ll ditch any ads that aren’t giving me 100% acos. Hopefully, this will cover both KENP, Amazon’s own royalty, and the delivery costs.
I expect the ads to run their course in a matter of weeks. When that happens, I’ll copy the most successful ones and run them again (assuming I’m not broke by then).
This is another question I’ve been struggling with. I’ll promote Pearseus, as this is my best-seller at the moment. However, I have two options: one is to promote Rise of the Prince, the first book in the series, for $2.99. The other is to promote the Pearseus five-book bundle for $4.99. Obviously, the latter is better value-for-money for customers and will give me a higher profit.
However, there are two things to consider:
- The bundle is Kindle-only. This means I’ll lose anyone who doesn’t own a Kindle or prefers paper.
- If someone reads Rise and moves on the rest of the books in the series, I stand to make $12.95 instead of $4.99.
Of course, one idea is to run two separate campaigns, one for each book, and see which one performs better. Or even, if I do manage to make a profit, to keep them both running.
So, keep them crossed and I promise to let you know how it goes! If you’ve tried AMS in the past, do share your experience, and please let me know if you see any faults with my logic.
Great article, Nick, thanks a lot. I have a trilogy that I packaged in one volume… Books 2&4 of the series are separate. Is it a good idea to place them all on ams, or should I wait between books?
Since I’m unfamiliar with the series in question, my advice would be to try it and see! Nothing beats a good ol’ trial and error, especially if it takes the form of an A/B test. So, if I were you, I’d place them in AMS and run a series of cheap campaigns. Mind you, anything running an ACoS over 60-70% I’d kill so as not to waste my money.
Thanks Nick for answering my question. My Novel is a psychological crime fiction.What do you think is a good test time, a week, 14 days?
I’d say a month. Ads can take up to 6 months to reach their full potential!
Hi, buddy, tell me, how do you upscale the number of ads?
I’m afraid that’s too broad a question to answer in a comment. The first thing to try, though, is to imply increase the number of ads you’re running.
Hi Nicholas, can I make amazon ads work if I only have one standalone book?
It’s not as easy, but yes. In my experience, the worst thing that can happen is that you fail to move any books, but at least you won’t be spending a fortune on ads.
Very helpful, Nicholas. I’ve just started on Amazon ads and have mixed results. For my first campaign for The Dazzling Darkness (a ghost story and my best seller) I budgeted $100 for product page ads (targeted 18 same genre novels), hit 71,000 impressions, 269 clicks, and sold 24 books (30 days); I started with 20 cents and went up to 50 cents per click. This is at full price $2.99 and I’m not on KDP Select. ROI not good but my goal is to expand my readership and exposure; I don’t expect to actually make a profit from my novels–I think an author has to be a wizard at marketing and have a pretty big budget to really sell massive numbers of books. I’m working a second campaign with my novel Greylock (supernatural mystery) but so far it’s slow going. Question for you. Do you think being on KDP Select is an advantage for clicks and sales?
Paula, you’re one of the most talented writers I know. Greylock in particular is brilliant. While I was writing Emotional Beats, I refrained myself from quoting from it for the simple reason that I’d have to quote the whole book – that’s how well-written it is. So, I find it terribly frustrating that it’s not selling as well as it should. Let’s hope the second campaign takes off. Have you tried increasing the keywords?
As for your question, theoretically, it shouldn’t make a difference. Amazon makes it clear that it’s not a prerequisite in any way.
Thank you so much for your kind words! On product page ads, you can’t add any keywords–at least not that I could find as an option. Although I do try to update the keywords on all three of my novels from time to time.
No. that’s true. I haven’t been able to find any keyword-adding section there., either (and doubt one exists)/
Great article, but Michal Stawicki was guest posting for me, Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur.
Dave, I knew that (I’m a subscriber and big fan of yours) and somehow missed it in the final draft. I’ve now corrected it. Please accept my apologies!
Wondering why you’re going as high as $.70 for a bid? I’ve been running these ads since January for two different books and have tremendous success doing the same things you’re mentioning above, but with bids no higher than $.35. I can’t make money off kindle sales at bids that high – I’d only break even. Just wondering where you got the $.70 number?
That’s a great tip, Shana, thanks for sharing! $0.70 seemed to be a number thrown around. Based on what you say, I’ll try out half that to begin with 🙂
Great idea, Nicholas. Looking forward to hearing how it all pans out for you!
Thanks! Let’s hope the ads work out 🙂
Good luck and thanks for the tips. Been considering doing another Amazon ad in the future. Possibly for Ichabod.
I’ll let you go how it goes 🙂
Looking forward to it.
Good tips and advice, Nicholas.. i hope that you do well, and will look forward to reading your conclusions.
Best wishes, Pete.
Thank you, Pete! Keeping ’em crossed 🙂
Just started with AMS myself. Your insights are excellent.
Thank you for the vote of confidence! Let’s hope the ads work 🙂
I can’t wait to hear about your results, Nicholas. I haven’t tried AMS yet and need to give it a go. Thanks for sharing your findings and how to’s. I often rely on you to try things first 🙂
Many thanks for your breakdown and explanation! I knew AMS was slow with updates, but try getting that admission out of them! ?
Continued success to you!
Thanks! To you too 🙂