I was recently invited to participate in a survey by Amazon Marketing Services (AMS). I was writing up the part where it said, “do you have any suggestions to make?” when it occurred to me that my suggestions would also be useful as a summary of my experience using the service.
So, how has AMS worked out for me so far?
Let me be clear about something: I love AMS and the best part of my advertising buck goes there nowadays, as AMS offers me the best return on my investment (ROI) of any advertising medium I’ve tried out so far (and, trust me, I’ve tried them all). For every $100 I spend, I make almost $200. So yes, AMS is at the top of my marketing efforts.
AMS Reporting Blues
However, AMS is still in dire need of better reporting. As I was explaining in my post, Don’t Advertise With Amazon Until You’ve Read This, the difference between reported sales and actual ones, as reported by KDP, is ridiculous. In my experience, no more than 60% of reported sales are actual ones. At the same time, campaigns that report no sales, do have actual ones, which adds to the confusion.
Dating in reports is another helpful tool that’s currently missing. I’d love to see how a campaign has performed during a specific time frame (say, since I last updated its keywords). I currently use the life-saving Machette app for this, but it would be great if AMS supported it natively.
Speaking of reporting, you can’t beat Book Report for ease-of-use and clarity. Like ReaderLinks before it, Book Report now has a new mode of operating, which lets you keep a browser window open at all times with your sales constantly updated–not in terms of units, but in terms of $$$. Selecting a time period is a breeze, as is choosing one of your books. KDP doesn’t even come close to that level of functionality and friendliness.
Once reporting problems are solved and guesswork is removed from our ads, AMS usefulness will increase exponentially. And scaling up, which so far has turned out to be the hardest part of using AMS, will be much, much easier.
Also, it would be great if there was a better way to duplicate campaigns. For example, I’d love for my paused keywords to remain paused. Copying a campaign should mean that all of its properties are carried across the new one. Right now, you need to redo so much work that it’s actually faster if you simply start from scratch–at least when you edit your campaigns as much as I do.
It would be great if we could target readers more accurately. Facebook has the best targeting tool in the trade (no doubt because it knows so much about us), but Amazon also has a treasure trove of customer data. They know what interests each and every one of us. So, why are my interest options when setting up a campaign so limited? Why are there no demographic options? I know my audience. I just need AMS to let me reach it.
A couple of days after I submitted the above, I had a lightbulb moment, thanks to a conversation I had: AMS is different for each of Amazon’s marketplaces. In other words, if you go to ams.amazon.com, you are only advertising in the US. To advertise in, say, the UK, you need to go to ams.amazon.co.uk. However, when I tried Australia and Canada, I saw no AMS was supported there (at least, not for authors), so how about Amazon opens up those marketplaces as well?
Anyway, if you haven’t tried out AMS, please don’t mistake the above for a gripe list. As I said, AMS is the best advertising tool on the market and I use it on a daily basis. I doubt I could get half as many sales for my books without it. And I’m grateful to Amazon for opening up both the publishing door and the marketing one to Indies. So, let’s file all that under “room for improvement,” shall we?
I think UK & DE are finally supported in KDP for AMS when you select promote product in the bookshelf
Well done, Gareth! I just heard the news myself 😀
I have developed an AMS reporting tool, which is now open to the public. Please check it out here:
Thank you, Thomas! I’ll be sure to check it out 🙂
Thanks for always sharing your finds with us Nicholas. Much appreciated. 🙂
Glad you enjoyed it 🙂
This is why I have an account with Amazon.com and Mrs Widds has one with Amazon.ca. It’s mindboggling how different they are sometimes. 🙂
Ah, good idea. I have to get the missus to open her own account, one of these days!
I hope someday to get all the elements in line. Excellent post Nicholas.
Thank you so much, John 🙂
With your help, of course.
Although all of this sounds terrifying, I am thinking of dipping my toe in the water. With all of your helpful posts on the subject of AMS, I am now feeling more confident, so thank you so much!
Yay! Thank you, I’m so glad to hear that 😀
Because of your help, I run a fairly successful marketing plan with AMS. Do you use Product Display Ads along with Sponsored Ads. I only use the sponsored ads, I’m not sure I understand the advantage of the Product Display Ads.
Thank you again for your great post and help.
That’s wonderful! Thank you so much for letting me know. Like you, I only use Sponsored Ads, although some swear by Product Display ones.
This is very encouraging, Nicholas. Every time I read one of your posts, I promise myself that I’m going to get up off my duff and give it a try. I’m making this my April goal!! 😀
I wish you every success with it! 🙂
I need to invest more time into AMS ads. I tried them a couple of times and had very poor results, so I gave up. Need to do my research first!
There’s a reason they’re called campaigns 🙂
I am just starting with AMS so this really interested me. Thanks
So glad to hear you found it useful 🙂
Are your campaigns for just one book? So are you making 2 to 1 on one book? Or are you advertising as an author and reaping gains on a body of work? Thanks for your great post…as always.
Thanks! I’m running campaigns for all of my books. Emotional Beats campaigns are the most successful so far, but I do get sales from most of them.
I didn’t realise it was so effective. If you are making 2 for 1 on the dollar, that’s pretty good.
Best wishes, Pete.
I think so. It’s the scaling up that’s proving tricky 🙂