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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Advertising Your eBook on Amazon

How to Run an Ad Campaign for your eBook using Amazon Marketing Services (AMS)


The big question for most authors is "How much will it cost?" With Amazon Marketing Services, you can determine your own budget by setting the maximum amount of US dollars your campaign can be charged in a day, and how many days the campaign will run. Cost-per-click bids start at $0.02 with a daily budget as low as $1. For example, I'm running a 3-day promo from March 7 through March 9, 2017, and I set my daily spend limit at $10 a day, which means my total cost is capped at $30.

So how does that $30 get spent? You pay a set amount when a customer clicks your ad (I set my Cost-per-Click at $0.25). Readers who click your ad will be sent to your book's detail page. You're charged for each click, regardless of whether or not the clicker buys your book once they're at your book page.

So, assuming this fits within your budget, how do you get started? First, the obvious: you need an Amazon account and your eBook must be published with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Your eBook has to be written in English, available on Amazon.com, and must follow the Kindle Authors and Book Publishers Creative Acceptance Policies.

If you meet those prerequisites, you're ready to go. Just follow these steps:
  1. Log into your Amazon KDP Author Dashboard. On your Bookshelf page, find the book you want to advertise, and click on the "Promote and Advertise" button. On the next page, click on the "Create an ad campaign" button. From there, you are taken to the Amazon Marketing Services website for Step 2:
  2. Two different campaign types are presented on this page: Sponsored Products and Product Display Ads. You can select one of the two options. So what are the differences? According to Amazon, Sponsored Product ads "are keyword-targeted ads that appear below search results and on detail pages," while Product Display Ads are "reader and genre-targeted ads on detail pages." If you're like me, after reading those descriptions, you went "Huh?" The main differences are that Sponsored Product ads target shoppers when they are viewing specific products similar to your eBook, while Product Display Ads use customer interest targeting or product targeting to place your eBook ads. Still confused? Check out the Amazon Getting Started Guide and look at the 1st and 3rd columns to compare options. Of course, Amazon suggests running both types of ads for your book to maximize your eBook's exposure, and if you'd like to do this, return to Step 2 after completing your first campaign (whichever option you choose).
  3. Select your customer targeting, which varies depending on which ad product you selected in Step 2 above. 
    1. For Sponsored Products, you can choose between Automatic Targeting, where Amazon targets your ad to relevant customer searches based on your eBook information, or Manual Targeting where you add the keywords or phrases to your ad. For my first run, I opted to use Amazon's auto-targeting algorithm, as opposed to relying on my own marketing genius.
    2. For Product Display Ads: You can target your ad by either related products (books or otherwise) or by customer interest (genre). Campaigns targeted by customer interest may also qualify for ad placement on Kindle E-readers.
  4. Set your campaign budget and Cost-Per-Click amounts.
  5. Set the start and end dates of your ad campaign, and you're done.
For me, the biggest decision was whether to choose Sponsored Product or Product Display ads. Since the Sponsored Product ads let you set a campaign budget as low as $1 per day, I chose this option for my first try. If you're undecided, try experimenting with both options on the AMS website. You can page back to select one or the other after you've examined both variations. There are subtle differences in marketing strategies between the two, and I intend to experiment with both and compare results.

A second tough decision is how to set your cost-per-click amount. I rather arbitrarily chose $0.25 per click, which means 40 clicks will use up my daily budget, and cost me $10 (assuming I get 40 clicks, which is not guaranteed). To break even on this promo, I'll need to have 8 of the 40 people clicking on my ad actually buy the book.

Amazon states that ads compete based on the cost-per-click bid amounts provided by advertisers. Your actual cost-per-click is determined in an auction with other eligible ads. You'll be charged $0.01 per click more than the second-highest bid in the auction, up to your maximum bid. So if you set a cost-per-click bid that's too low, your ad may not be shown.

I'll post a promo autopsy here in March after my campaign finishes and let you know how it performed. I suspect there will be several valuable lessons learned. Do you have any experience with Amazon ads? I'd love to hear any tips or suggestions you may have.

Author Update: I have all of my editor's significant and lengthy comments back on Warlock & Wyrm, and am currently about 60% of the way through addressing them. My goal is to finish by the end of February and then give it another read and polish before sending it back to my editor for her final review.


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