Author Topic: AMS Ads Learning  (Read 131096 times)  

Offline LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1400 on: July 18, 2017, 09:42:10 AM »
Another thread got started asking about romance keywords, and this is what I posted on it:

"My romance keywords that deliver the most sales are bid at $0.46 and $0.51 and they win their spots at a low of $0.23 and a high of $0.33. That's to keep them on page 1 of any carousel and on page 1 of the in-line ads.

Bids at $0.25 often win the auction at $0.15, but those ones usually sell only one or two copies. While they may possibly generate page reads (not reported on AMS), I consider those keywords losers and after an arbitrary period of time I reduce my bids on those words to under ten cents each. I don't kill them if they've earned me any money. Ad keywords that deliver neither impressions nor clicks nor sales are ripe for killing. Ads with impressions and clicks but no sales are iffy. Did they generate page reads? No sure way of knowing."

My cumulative cost for these ads this month since the last invoicing averages $14.59 a day, which is the most I can tolerate, but also may include a little bit of extra from my $45 dollar two-day budget experiment. Now I simply have to be patient, and let these ads do their job. The problem with that is fiddling with the ads produces improved results, so I'm constantly fiddling. And that leads to paying too much attention to these ads.  :-\



Offline Laura Rae Amos

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1401 on: July 19, 2017, 05:19:34 PM »
I just can't get Amazon to take any of my money. I have my best keywords set to $0.25-$0.45. My daily spend is $10, but the ad only uses up pocket change, at most. My sales to clicks is good, ACoS 33%, but I'm just not getting many impressions most days. (~1000 a day over the whole set of keywords) It's kind of hard to get clicks if they're not showing my ad to anyone. I've tried pausing and unpausing, but the ad is just crawling. Most of the previous ads I've tried would at least get an initial burst of impressions, but this one has been slow crawling since it was born. Using the same keywords that performed well for previous ads.

How many impressions a day are you guys getting?

I'm not in KU, by the way, if that makes a difference.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 05:22:16 PM by Laura Rae Amos »

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Offline LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1402 on: July 19, 2017, 06:01:11 PM »
I just can't get Amazon to take any of my money. I have my best keywords set to $0.25-$0.45. My daily spend is $10, but the ad only uses up pocket change, at most. My sales to clicks is good, ACoS 33%, but I'm just not getting many impressions most days. (~1000 a day over the whole set of keywords) It's kind of hard to get clicks if they're not showing my ad to anyone. I've tried pausing and unpausing, but the ad is just crawling. Most of the previous ads I've tried would at least get an initial burst of impressions, but this one has been slow crawling since it was born. Using the same keywords that performed well for previous ads.

How many impressions a day are you guys getting?

I'm not in KU, by the way, if that makes a difference.

On my lead ad, in the last two days, nearly 35k impressions. On the other, 20k.

I have had the same trouble with new keywords: Sometimes they don't result in my ad being shown at all, and I don't know why. Typically this is when I add a new author name I've gotten from an ad. You'd think that author name would be popular within a short period after the ad runs, and would attract readers because it's probably discounted. But I get no traction.

As to being in KU making a difference in impressions, doubtful. One of my books is in KU and the other isn't; one is in a popular romance subgenre and the other is nonfiction.

As my recent experiment proved yet again, AMS isn't interested in more money thrown at the daily spend. A catchy new keyword might help boost impressions, but so far, I haven't found the secret to what those keywords might be.

Offline Anma Natsu

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1403 on: July 19, 2017, 06:36:10 PM »
My first ad, averaged 8,214 impressions a day, and got about 1 click per 1,065/impressions or so.

Second ad, run a few days later and with more keywords, the average dropped to 3,272/day, but the click rate went up to about 1 click for every 954 impressions.

Still working on another round of keyword expansion to try round three.

I had all mine set to 25 cent rates for the keywords.

Offline BillyDeCarlo

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1404 on: July 20, 2017, 04:46:08 AM »
I just can't get Amazon to take any of my money.

They have no shortage of people throwing money at them. That's one problem. I think their algorithm factors in how good the books are (probably based on number and average review score, and how many people finish reading it), and how 'saleable' they feel the book is by other factors (rank in genre, etc) , how popular you are as an author (number of backlist or series titles, author page following on amazon.com) before they place the ad. Remember, your ad money at so many cents per click *if* someone clicks it, is a pittance compared to the revenue they get if someone buys a book that they are placing.

So that's the primary goal of the algorithm, and what I'd be looking at if I was writing the code.
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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1405 on: July 20, 2017, 05:51:06 AM »
They have no shortage of people throwing money at them. That's one problem. I think their algorithm factors in how good the books are (probably based on number and average review score, and how many people finish reading it), and how 'saleable' they feel the book is by other factors (rank in genre, etc) , how popular you are as an author (number of backlist or series titles, author page following on amazon.com) before they place the ad. Remember, your ad money at so many cents per click *if* someone clicks it, is a pittance compared to the revenue they get if someone buys a book that they are placing.

So that's the primary goal of the algorithm, and what I'd be looking at if I was writing the code.

I think they do look at momentum, but I don't think the factors you've listed matter to them.  My most successful ad the book only has 11 reviews and that ad would spend $40+ a day every day if I let it.  That pen name only has two titles out and I doubt it has any Amazon followers.  It's in contemporary romance which is highly competitive so I don't think it's on any of the top lists anywhere.  What got that ad moving was a strong free run that led to a number of borrows in a short period of time and then AMS have allowed me to keep it at the rank it achieved during that free run.


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Offline Laura Rae Amos

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1406 on: July 20, 2017, 08:56:00 AM »
What got that ad moving was a strong free run that led to a number of borrows in a short period of time and then AMS have allowed me to keep it at the rank it achieved during that free run.

I think you might be onto something with this theory. The only time I ever had an ad spend close to its limit was when I did a 99c promo and the book was selling better than normal. That ad still gets more impressions than my other (the slow ad, for a different book) even after the fact. Maybe I'll run a promo on the the book with the slow ad and see if that makes a difference. Kind of dumb that you have to get your book selling on your own first before the ad will work to sell your book, lol!

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Offline Steven Kelliher

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1407 on: July 20, 2017, 09:32:50 AM »
My random experience with PD ads taking off like rockets. Some here may have advice or find it useful.

So ... I've recently been experimenting with PD ads more than SP. I find that when PD ads take off, they're WAY more effective than SP for me personally, even though everyone has told me not to bother with them.

That said, AMS's reporting delays have made it really difficult to scale ads and avoid overspending.

What I did: Started 16 PD ads on July 1 with low bids (11c). Those ads sat for two weeks and generated zero reported impressions across the board. Setting: "Run as quickly as possible."

I then went into the ads and adjusted the bids up to 26c across the board. Three days later, impressions ROCKETED. Thousands and thousands, and by the time I saw those reported numbers, I had spent $300 across 16 ads. I jumped in in a panic and adjusted them down to 16c bids, but with clicks still coming in furiously at the new bid (I'm now over $450 in spend this week alone,) I adjusted them down again to 12c on Tuesday. The data that I'm getting in today is still displaying 16c spending, so I'm not sure yet if the 12c bids are spending or not.

Book sales did shoot up, but not enough to account for the spend at the 26c rate.

That said, this whole experience has given me a weird theory that I sort of tricked the system into kicking off my two-week old ads by adjusting/increasing bids, and then when I scaled back down, they kept going. It's almost like once the ads have kicked off, the bids don't matter as much, but the bids may have to be higher to actually catch the attention of the system.

Maybe the system would have eventually kicked the ads off at the 11c bids, but according to my reporting, not a single impression ever came from those low bids. Only when I scaled up did I get impressions/clicks.

Either way, the reporting delays (3 days on average) is really pretty ridiculous.

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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1408 on: July 20, 2017, 12:09:00 PM »
I decided to set up a new ad for my fantasy novel that has about 5 million impressions across all of its ads at this point and for the first time ever I saw that they were actually suggesting some author names as keywords for that ad.  Usually their suggestions are such helpful things as "edition" and "trilogy".  Nicely enough their list of author names coincided pretty closely with my list of top authors who've generated sales for me with one exception which was an author who'd been in my also-boughts at one point but had never shown sales on my AMS reports.

I checked a few other books and my romance novel that has about 2 million impressions across its ads was also showing some author names, but another one of my books that has far fewer impressions across its ads didn't have any author names suggested.

For those who have ads with a lot of impressions built up who are in KU it may be worth looking at to see which authors are listed in case any of your no sales but lots of clicks authors are on there.

Also, the latest notice email I received said it could take as long as 3 business days to review my ad.


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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1409 on: July 20, 2017, 12:14:49 PM »
My random experience with PD ads taking off like rockets. Some here may have advice or find it useful.

So ... I've recently been experimenting with PD ads more than SP. I find that when PD ads take off, they're WAY more effective than SP for me personally, even though everyone has told me not to bother with them....

When I was working on the AMS book I started a PD ad for my beginning writer book and set it to spend as fast as possible and it took off and spent something like $50 on its first day, but I didn't see an equivalent level of sales to match the spend so shut it down.  It took some time to shut down, too, so cost me a pretty penny by the time all was said and done.  I think PD ads are a way to get a lot of impressions fast, and one of my most successful ads on a romance novel (over a year ago) was using them, but I think they can be much more costly to use because they spend so quickly and don't shut down immediately.

I've also noticed with the handful I've run recently that they won't run at my original bid and I have to keep pushing it higher and higher until they kick in which sounds like what you found as well.  It's sort of feast or famine with them.  I either have no impressions or tons of them.


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Offline khotisarque

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1410 on: July 20, 2017, 11:47:58 PM »
They have no shortage of people throwing money at them. That's one problem. I think their algorithm factors in how good the books are (probably based on number and average review score, and how many people finish reading it), and how 'saleable' they feel the book is by other factors (rank in genre, etc) , how popular you are as an author (number of backlist or series titles, author page following on amazon.com) before they place the ad. Remember, your ad money at so many cents per click *if* someone clicks it, is a pittance compared to the revenue they get if someone buys a book that they are placing.

So that's the primary goal of the algorithm, and what I'd be looking at if I was writing the code.

Putting aside the philosophical question as to whether the ad-carrier's staff should be making value judgments on which products to push, I queston whether the ad revenue stream is really a pittance compared to sales margin.  On a $2.99 book, Amazon takes $0.90 off the top as its share.  At a supposedly typical 10 clicks per sale, and for example an acpc of $0.10, the AMS revenue exceeds the primary margin.  At the suggested bid level of around 25 cents, the acpc is likely to be in the 12 to 15 cents range, giving AMS perhaps $1.20 to $1.50 per sale.  More than a pittance.  At higher book prices, the situation may be reversed, but the ad stream is still significant.

It is entirely possible that the most efficient way to use AMS, from an author's point of view, is to bid low and seek exposure without clicks; background passive brand awareness at zero cost.  Then run non-AMS promotions in front of a potential readership who have at least seen your name somewhere before (like on page 77 of a sponsored product carousel).   :D
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Offline LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1411 on: July 21, 2017, 05:45:16 AM »
It is entirely possible that the most efficient way to use AMS, from an author's point of view, is to bid low and seek exposure without clicks; background passive brand awareness at zero cost.  Then run non-AMS promotions in front of a potential readership who have at least seen your name somewhere before (like on page 77 of a sponsored product carousel).   :D

When I started my ads, I was thrilled just to get impressions. It's huge when you can't afford the second tier ads, can't get the holy grail ad, and get minimal results from the little ads. Impressions gave me hope.

Then my sales took off exponentially--they had nearly flatlined, so it's not a fortune we're talking about--and the engine has been running smoothly ever since. Since then I have run a couple of ads elsewhere, but they never did a lot. It was the usual: discount my book to almost no profit per sale, and barely make enough sales to cover the ad cost.

AMS has been consistently profitable, although not for every ad I've done, which is why I shut several of them rather quickly. No need to advertise the second or third book in a series, I learned. My one nonfiction ad (ACPC $0.07) funded everything else until I released the third book in my romance trilogy. Now I can confidently expect lots of sell through on my lead ad for the series, which without counting the massive KU reads would look very unprofitable. I wouldn't get those reads, or the sales, without the top placement my AMS ad gives me day in and day out, because my rank/sales don't justify Page 1 placement in a category. Right now I'm testing whether that ad alone sells my women's fiction and other genre books, too. If it does, then it's the only AMS ad for fiction I need. 

Now that I have a complete series, do I even need the AMS ad? Yes, I believe so, since it's not a best-seller. All the anecdotal evidence this year has been that continuous advertising is now necessary to keep a book selling, whether that advertising takes the form of frequent new releases or of ads. I don't release as often as I'd like, so I intend to keep the ads going.

 

Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1412 on: July 21, 2017, 08:26:31 AM »
Then my sales took off exponentially--they had nearly flatlined, so it's not a fortune we're talking about--and the engine has been running smoothly ever since. Since then I have run a couple of ads elsewhere, but they never did a lot. It was the usual: discount my book to almost no profit per sale, and barely make enough sales to cover the ad cost.

AMS has been consistently profitable, although not for every ad I've done...

Now that I have a complete series, do I even need the AMS ad? Yes, I believe so, since it's not a best-seller. All the anecdotal evidence this year has been that continuous advertising is now necessary to keep a book selling, whether that advertising takes the form of frequent new releases or of ads. I don't release as often as I'd like, so I intend to keep the ads going. 

Yep, sounds like my experience with them as well.  I had books that weren't selling, started the ads, and started to see steady sales but know that if I stop the ads those sales will go away again.

Since I'm horrible at linking to screenshots here, I did a blog post on the AMS ads and free run combo.  If anyone wants to read it, it's at https://mlhumphrey.com/2017/07/21/the-difference-ams-can-make/. Short and sweet summary is that doing a free run on a romance novel goosed a long-running AMS ad into being much more active than before and has resulted in about $1275 in sales/page reads on that title in the last two months.  A big difference from the first free run I did on that title that paid for itself but didn't sustain sales or rank for all that long after.


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Offline Decon

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1413 on: July 21, 2017, 01:07:22 PM »
Yep, sounds like my experience with them as well.  I had books that weren't selling, started the ads, and started to see steady sales but know that if I stop the ads those sales will go away again.

Since I'm horrible at linking to screenshots here, I did a blog post on the AMS ads and free run combo.  If anyone wants to read it, it's at https://mlhumphrey.com/2017/07/21/the-difference-ams-can-make/. Short and sweet summary is that doing a free run on a romance novel goosed a long-running AMS ad into being much more active than before and has resulted in about $1275 in sales/page reads on that title in the last two months.  A big difference from the first free run I did on that title that paid for itself but didn't sustain sales or rank for all that long after.

I've not read it all, but it's very interesting. I've been long on the opinion that by itself AMS won't do it and that you need to gain rank besides having early visibiily on the carousel. You're post seems to back that up. (I think)

I posted on here a while back asking if contibutors on here had stopped free ad promos or slowed them down and didn't really get any feedback, so your blog post is worth its weight in gold. The reason I asked was that I more or less stopped my free days since joining AMS last year and I had a severe drop in rank. It's my belief that you have to maintain a combination of free promos and AMS for a continuous tail of buys, reads, and paper book sales. I believe that's why increasing bids alone for visiblitiy on the carousel doesn't cut it, because there is one valuable factor missing in a customers decision to buy.

Here's how I see AMS working.

Basics

1, Good cover genre appropriate.

2, Reasonable star reviews.

3, Good ad blurb.

4, Placed on the whole with appropriately priced books for the main keyword.

5, Bids sufficient for early carousel placement.

Customer reaction.

1, Reader clicks.

2, Checks attributes including rank in relation to retail price.

3, The lower the stars or rank, the less chance of a buy if priced at $2.99 - $4.99

3, Buys or moves on.







« Last Edit: July 21, 2017, 01:11:57 PM by Decon »


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Offline Gertie Kindle 'a/k/a Margaret Lake'

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1414 on: July 21, 2017, 02:19:26 PM »
Yep, sounds like my experience with them as well.  I had books that weren't selling, started the ads, and started to see steady sales but know that if I stop the ads those sales will go away again.

Since I'm horrible at linking to screenshots here, I did a blog post on the AMS ads and free run combo.  If anyone wants to read it, it's at https://mlhumphrey.com/2017/07/21/the-difference-ams-can-make/. Short and sweet summary is that doing a free run on a romance novel goosed a long-running AMS ad into being much more active than before and has resulted in about $1275 in sales/page reads on that title in the last two months.  A big difference from the first free run I did on that title that paid for itself but didn't sustain sales or rank for all that long after.

Cassie, did you pause the ad while your free promo was running?


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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1415 on: July 21, 2017, 04:27:36 PM »
Cassie, did you pause the ad while your free promo was running?

No. I let it run through the free period.

When I tried the same thing on my fantasy novel I did pause the ad and actually ran an ad specific to the free run and only went back to the old ad after the free run was over.  That one didn't do as well, but it also didn't have as high of a peak rank when it came off its free run which I think was the bigger issue with its performance.


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Offline Gertie Kindle 'a/k/a Margaret Lake'

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1416 on: July 21, 2017, 04:57:31 PM »
No. I let it run through the free period.

When I tried the same thing on my fantasy novel I did pause the ad and actually ran an ad specific to the free run and only went back to the old ad after the free run was over.  That one didn't do as well, but it also didn't have as high of a peak rank when it came off its free run which I think was the bigger issue with its performance.

Thanks, Cassie. I think I'll let it run. My rank right now is 62,758. I do okay on KU follow-thru reads, too, but sales have been dismal.


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Offline EmparentingMom

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1417 on: July 22, 2017, 12:11:12 AM »
Hi, I apologize if this question has already been asked and answered - but I wasn't able to find it anywhere.

I have an AMS ad that's actually doing pretty well. One thing I noticed, however, is that even though a keyword for a very popular book (ranking around 5000 paid) is consistently causing my book to appear on page 1 - the AMS reporting is showing something like 140 impressions. Which makes zero sense.

Are AMS reporting delays really that bad? I added the keyword yesterday morning, and I suppose it's vaguely possible that the reporting just hasn't caught up yet. But generally I have seen impressions (as opposed to sales and, sometimes, clicks) updating fairly quickly.  Anyone know of another possible explanation for this?

Thanks!

Offline LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1418 on: July 22, 2017, 06:06:21 AM »
Hi, I apologize if this question has already been asked and answered - but I wasn't able to find it anywhere.

I have an AMS ad that's actually doing pretty well. One thing I noticed, however, is that even though a keyword for a very popular book (ranking around 5000 paid) is consistently causing my book to appear on page 1 - the AMS reporting is showing something like 140 impressions. Which makes zero sense.

Are AMS reporting delays really that bad? I added the keyword yesterday morning, and I suppose it's vaguely possible that the reporting just hasn't caught up yet. But generally I have seen impressions (as opposed to sales and, sometimes, clicks) updating fairly quickly.  Anyone know of another possible explanation for this?

Thanks!

Just a little confused by your description. Is the book on page 1 for that keyword? If so, the low impressions number makes no sense, although it may catch up.

Reporting often is delayed for days, but if after a week the impressions number is still very low and you get no clicks, Amazon is not showing the ad. Often, new keywords simply don't get shown a significant number of times, and I for one don't know why that happens.

Offline EmparentingMom

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1419 on: July 22, 2017, 07:44:15 AM »
Hi - Yes, it is on page 1 of the carousel under the book for the relevant keyword. Whenever I open the page of that book, it appears - so I know the keyword is showing. The impressions just aren't appearing on the report. But then - maybe it is a delay. Have you ever had impressions or clicks show up a couple of days late?  I know there are some delays, because my budget has been used up but not all clicks are appearing.

Offline LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1420 on: July 22, 2017, 07:58:50 AM »
I don't keep minute track of the impressions and clicks, as to do so would drive me mad.

If your daily budget has been spent, whether the impressions/clicks/sales are showing up on your dashboard or not, you're getting action. Raise the budget by a dollar or two and see what happens.

Offline EmparentingMom

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1421 on: July 22, 2017, 08:00:47 AM »
Yes, checking impressions and clicks has become yet another method of avoiding actual work...

Offline Jena H

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1422 on: July 22, 2017, 11:28:17 AM »
One thing I don't get about Amazon.  I normally use an ad-blocking program, which I turn off when I run an ad, so I can (hopefully) see my book in a carousel.  But the ad block program doesn't always seem to travel from one page (or open tab) to the next.  That's annoying.

So that's a pet peeve.  But my question is, why is it that some books don't seem  to have any Sponsored Products books?  I mean, no carousel at all.  And I'm not talking about obscure books that nobody has ever heard of (and don't advertise on).  I'm talking some 'big' books, or books from well-known authors.  Heck, even some of MY piddly, nowhere books have ads on them.  But other books...  nothing.  As we used to say when we were kids, I wonder how come??    ???
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Offline LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1423 on: July 22, 2017, 12:09:02 PM »
One thing I don't get about Amazon.  I normally use an ad-blocking program, which I turn off when I run an ad, so I can (hopefully) see my book in a carousel.  But the ad block program doesn't always seem to travel from one page (or open tab) to the next.  That's annoying.

So that's a pet peeve.  But my question is, why is it that some books don't seem  to have any Sponsored Products books?  I mean, no carousel at all.  And I'm not talking about obscure books that nobody has ever heard of (and don't advertise on).  I'm talking some 'big' books, or books from well-known authors.  Heck, even some of MY piddly, nowhere books have ads on them.  But other books...  nothing.  As we used to say when we were kids, I wonder how come??    ???
I don't get that, either.

And here's a new wrinkle: If I search on my own title in "all" versus "Kindle store" versus "books," the results page is different each time. My book 1 comes up, and so does my book 2, but there are no in-line sponsored ads and there's no carousel. Instead, Amazon gives me a choice to expand the listings by clicking on various portions of the words in the title that they have linked to three different rows of books. In this case, one has 11 results, one has 13, and one has 153. When I clicked on the 153, I saw my book in the page 1 listings and two down, my sponsored ad for my book--the only sponsored ad on the page. And no carousel. When I clicked on the 13, my book was the lead title and a mixture of p0rn and clean romance led to the final ad on the page--for a hoodie. When I clicked on 11, I found a truly bizarre mixture, starting with my book, then romance and soft core stuff, then Napoleon's memoirs in French--and no sponsored ads or carousel. No hoodies.


Offline khotisarque

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1424 on: July 22, 2017, 02:58:19 PM »
Would Occam's Razor suggest a high garbage content in the famed 'algorithms'?  When they work they can work well, but often they fail to work and randomness prevails?
Fine and Nifty: 80%

Barebones: 5%
Moderation in all things, especially in moderation.
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