Let me first say that while I’ve done plenty of research and have been running ads on most of my books for a while now, I’m not an expert when it comes to marketing. But hopefully you might find some of the tricks and tips I’ve learned in my experience useful, so let’s jump right into it.
1. Overspend on daily budget
You can create an ad campaign from as little as $1 per day. Sounds great, right? The problem is Amazon assumes whoever sees your ad will click on it. If each click costs you $0.25, then the largest number of impressions you can get on your ad at one time is limited to just 4.
However, if you increase your daily budget then the maximum number of simultaneous impressions grows too. You might be worried about spending more money than you would like, but I’ve never heard of anyone actually hitting their daily budget; I certainly never have.
With the twenty or so ad campaigns I put together to begin with, I set daily budgets of $2 each because I didn’t want to burn through my advertising budget too fast. However, realising how little I was actually spending on my ads, I increased them to all $10, and plan to increase them further. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve only spent $20-30 on my ads, despite the daily budgets of my ads tallying up to hundreds.
2. Update campaigns frequently
AMS is not a “set it and forget it” system. If you want successful, profitable campaigns to sell your books then you need to constantly work on your keyword lists, keeping them up to date to stay relevant with new authors and releases.
You never know which keywords might bring you success, so you need to check in at least a couple of times a week. Every few days I update my campaigns, removing useless keywords and finding new relevant ones to plug in.
You can find these keywords manually, searching through “Also Boughts” and Bestseller lists, but if you want to save yourself some time, and don’t mind buying some software, give KDP Rocket a try. One of its features is an AMS Keyword Search, in which you enter a keyword and it’ll live search Amazon for a list of relevant keywords for your campaign.
3. Test ads with A/B tests
What makes one ad work and another fail? Well instead of taking a stab in the dark and hoping you get lucky, you can employ something called an A/B test. You run two ads that are identical except for one changed variable — this gives you a point of reference to compare them. When you see one doing better than the other, you drop the worse performer and repeat the process with the winner.
It’s a simple process, but vital if you want to optimise your ads into something profitable.
The only downside to this when it comes to AMS is you can’t remove old campaigns from your dashboard. Despite being terminated, they just sit there, uselessly taking up space forever.
4. Name your campaigns
Which brings me on to my next point: use proper naming conventions to keep your campaigns organised from the start. A list of random names isn’t going to help you find a specific campaign, and it certainly won’t help your productivity.
I use this format for naming my campaigns:
Name of Book/Campaign Information/Date
A real example for one of my books would be:
A Funeral of Feuds/dark comedy/13.10.18
This way I can see all the relevant information at a glance — the campaign is my book A Funeral of Feuds, the keywords and ad copy are targeted at dark comedy, and it started on 13.10.18.
The naming format is entirely your choice, just make sure to find something consistent that works for you.
5. Relevance is everything
Amazon runs on automated algorithms; algorithms rank on relevance. That’s the reason George R R Martin’s books shows up first when you search for “game of thrones.”
If you’re getting impressions, clicks, and sales, then you’re gaining relevance. The more relevant your products and ads are, the higher your books will appear in searches. The higher they appear, the more sales — it’s a positive feedback loop.
So while you might not be raking in bestseller numbers yet, or maybe you’re losing a bit of cash on your ad campaigns, try not to worry. As authors we’re in this for the long game; once you get some momentum behind you, you’ll forget why you were ever worried.
- Set a high daily budget.
- Monitor your campaigns.
- Test and optimise with A/B tests.
- Get organised before you start.
- Be patient.
I’m barely scratching the surface with this post, but I hope you found parts of it useful. If you want to learn more about AMS, there are some fantastic resources out there, including Dave Chesson’s free AMS course for authors at Kindlepreneur. It’s great for beginners, explaining every step of the process.
If you have any of your own helpful tips when it comes to AMS, feel free to leave a comment below.