Amazon Ads, A Second Try

After reading the excellent advice provided by authors C. L. Murray (on his blog) and Shawn Inmon (at Indies Unlimited) regarding advertising books on Amazon, I decided to give Amazon Ads another try while incorporating their helpful suggestions. If you recall, my first foray into Amazon ads was a complete miss. Here's a step-by-step chronological list of how I constructed my latest Amazon ad (which starts running today):

  1. At the suggestion of C. L. Murray, I selected a Product Display Ad (last time, I chose the other ad option).
  2. For the ebook to advertise, I chose Crimson & Cream (book one of the trilogy, instead of book two, like last time). I'm hoping the first book of the series may be more enticing to potential readers, and lead to follow-up sales of my other book(s).
  3. I chose to target "By Product" instead of "By Interest." This was my own intuitive choice in thinking that buyers of similar books are a better target than customers based on interest categories. This is something I can experiment with in future ads.
  4. To target readers who may be interested in Crimson & Cream, I selected 10 top-selling fantasy books from the same Kindle categories that Crimson & Cream is listed in (Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Coming of Age and > Sword & Sorcery). These ten will be the books where my ad will display to potential customers. I settled on 10 books based on my own hunch. I'll be curious to see if this ends up being too few or too many.
  5. I checked the box that asks "Automatically extend your reach to include related products, such as those frequently bought with your book (recommended)." I don't see how this could be a bad thing.
  6. Named the Campaign with the book title and ad run date, for easy identification from my other ads (this is for my own dashboard identification, and doesn't display on the ad).
  7. Set the Cost-per-click bid (CPC) at $0.21. The CPC is your maximum bid amount, but you only get charged whatever it takes to beat out the next highest ad bid, so your average click cost will be lower than the CPC you set. C. L. Murray indicated that "Product Display ads with a Cost Per Click Bid of around 20c and a monthly budget of $400 often result in an actual Cost Per Click of 2c-5c and monthly expenditure of far less than the maximum I set." Assuming my cost per click ends up being 5 cents, I will need to average approximately one sale per every 40 clicks to break even. Based on C. L.'s experience, this target is within reason (but optimistic).
  8. Set the Campaign Budget at $200.
  9. Set the campaign to run for 2 months.
  10. Selected "Spread campaign evenly over its duration" (C. L. Murray's advice).
  11. Typed in my ad headline: "Hunted by Mercenaries and Monsters." (This will appear on two of the three ad types generated).
  12. Pasted in my ad's blurb text: "A luckless teen orphan risks his life to reclaim his stolen birthright. Free to read in Kindle Unlimited." (the Kindle Unlimited line was Shawn Inmon's suggestion).
  13. Previewed my ad in all three sizes (see one example below) and made any necessary tweaks.
  14. Hit "Submit campaign for review." (Amazon states it may take up to 72 hours to approve, though my ad was approved in about a day).
  15. Wait patiently for the cash to roll in. 

Based on Shawn's article, I'm hoping for one click-through per 1,000 impressions. In my first ad, I only received about 400 impressions total, and no click-throughs, so this time, I'm hoping a larger budget, featuring the first book in the series, and a different ad type will garner more impressions. Regarding the 1-in-1,000 click-through target, Shawn states "Too much lower than that and Amazon will stop serving your ad, no matter how high you bid, because readers are not responding to it, and relevance is a big part of the algorithm that decides how and where your book appears." 

As always, I'll keep you updated on how well this ad performs and share my 'lessons learned.' If you have any personal advice or tips on Amazon ads, I'd like to hear about them, and would be grateful if you'd share your experience.

As a follow-up to a previous post, I unpublished Crimson & Cream from Smashwords and enrolled in Amazon's KDP Select, so that Crimson & Cream could also be free to read in Kindle Unlimited.

Author Update: My editor is over half-way through her second read of Warlock & Wyrm, and is scheduled to finish by next Thursday. I've already fixed a couple plot holes she found, so hopefully, I can do a final polish and send the ARC to my beta readers in June. If you're interested in getting an ARC for a beta-read, please let me know.