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Author Topic: AMS Ads Learning  (Read 131359 times)  

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

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #700 on: May 19, 2017, 02:38:04 PM »
From 10:19 a.m. (ad creation) to 3:51 a.m. (ad approval). 18 impressions so far, no clicks. That's okay. I'm patient.


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Offline weigle1234

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #701 on: May 19, 2017, 04:16:45 PM »
Problems (complaints) relating to diminishing AMS ad effectiveness crops up quite often here. But, I believe that is the nature of the beast with all forms of advertising. New ads attract the most attention, curiosity being the primary factor.  Over time, ad effectiveness will gradually decline, but should eventually stabilize.  After that, ads have to carry their own weight to survive.  Unfortunately, the stabilizing level for most ad effectiveness will eventually end up being close to ZERO!

Supposedly (from what I can gather from Amazon forums) an impression has to be viewed an average of 8 times before a click results - which may well be true.

I started out in the mail order business many years ago running classified ads, which were very productive.  Now they are a total bust, probably not even 20% as effective as they once were.  Over a period of at least 10 years I would occasionally run test ads, always with the same results - a steady year-to-year decline in effectiveness.  From what I can gather from some Kindle Old-Timers, the same may be happening here - I certainly hope not.

All ad agencies (whether newspapers, tv, radio, whatever) try desperately to sell ad space (time) in blocks of multiple appearances - at steeply discounted rates.  They go all out trying to convince folks that ads yield their best results only after several appearances - which is TOTAL B.S.!  With rare exception, the very first ad produces the best results.  After that, ad results steadily decline for the first 4 to 5 appearances, usually stabilizing after that. 

I have no reason to think that we within the eBook realm should expect anything different.  The question being, what best to do about it? There are hundreds of hucksters out there only too happy to charge us for the privilege of learning how to get rich in this, or any other, business.   My advice, for what it may be worth, is to keep a tight grip on your money. Seeking help from forums such as this is the best way to go - these are the folks with the inside knowledge.

Offline Eugene Kirk

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #702 on: May 19, 2017, 05:05:06 PM »
AMS noob here.

I've only got 2 books out so I doing have a lot of recovery when it comes to Ads. I can only maybe come up with 40 or so keywords that target authors and books I think might have readers who will like my book. How do you guys end up with hundred and even thousands of keywords? Are you just targeting everything and anything and seeing what sticks? Also, how do you even enter that many?

I would think you would want less more targeted keywords no? Or am I missing something?

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Offline loraininflorida

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #703 on: May 19, 2017, 05:30:07 PM »
Also, how do you even enter that many?


Make a list in Word, then copy/paste it in the keyword box.

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Offline Harald

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #704 on: May 19, 2017, 05:37:08 PM »
From 10:19 a.m. (ad creation) to 3:51 a.m. (ad approval). 18 impressions so far, no clicks. That's okay. I'm patient.

17+ hours? If so, close to my 14 hrs.
   
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Offline Gertie Kindle 'a/k/a Margaret Lake'

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #705 on: May 19, 2017, 06:15:17 PM »
17+ hours? If so, close to my 14 hrs.

Don't look back. I'm right behind you, Harald!!


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

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #706 on: May 19, 2017, 06:20:13 PM »
AMS noob here.

I've only got 2 books out so I doing have a lot of recovery when it comes to Ads. I can only maybe come up with 40 or so keywords that target authors and books I think might have readers who will like my book. How do you guys end up with hundred and even thousands of keywords? Are you just targeting everything and anything and seeing what sticks? Also, how do you even enter that many?

I would think you would want less more targeted keywords no? Or am I missing something?

I assume you've gone through your also bots and used all those names. If there are any sponsored ads on your product pages, use those, too. Then, don't forget all the sub genres those books are under. You did use Amazon's suggested words, right? You can even go to the pages of those also-bought books and use their also-boughts. Takes a little time at first, but you have to have a lot of keywords at first. You never know what's going to hit.


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Offline Philip Gibson

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #707 on: May 19, 2017, 07:19:58 PM »
How do you guys end up with hundred and even thousands of keywords?

Best way is to use the method above.

But if you want to quickly and easily get hundreds of keywords, you can use this free tool. You can just copy and paste in all the suggested keywords.  It usually provides several hundred for me.

Amazon Keyword Research Tool:  http://keywordtool.io/amazon

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Offline GrandFenwick

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #708 on: May 19, 2017, 09:34:26 PM »
My CTR on my automatic targeting ad is less than half that of my manual targeting ad but I'll give it a few 1000 more impressions before stopping.

On the upside, the Zon approved the ad super fast. #suspicious

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Offline Eugene Kirk

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #709 on: May 19, 2017, 11:58:10 PM »
I assume you've gone through your also bots and used all those names. If there are any sponsored ads on your product pages, use those, too. Then, don't forget all the sub genres those books are under. You did use Amazon's suggested words, right? You can even go to the pages of those also-bought books and use their also-boughts. Takes a little time at first, but you have to have a lot of keywords at first. You never know what's going to hit.

No I had not! This makes sense. Thanks ^^

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Offline alexabooks

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #710 on: May 20, 2017, 02:44:32 AM »
Well, the automated ads are a disappointment so far, but I'll let them be, since they're not costing me anything. Just a couple hundred imps.
Another disappointment is how the new ads I made (same kwds, new ad copy) are trailing behind the old ones, not nearly as fast. With the old ones slowing down and not generating enough clicks, I honestly don't know what to do. I had better results when I just started two weeks ago. There's no logic. I might just terminate the old ads (don't like the old ad copy anymore), make a bunch of copies, remove some kwds at random so they're all a bit different, and let them be so I don't have to look at them every day and get frustrated  >:(


Offline Eugene Kirk

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #711 on: May 20, 2017, 05:15:55 AM »
Ok, last noob question. Price per clicks. Do you guys leave them at the default? Jack them up for more impressions on hot titles?(I'm assuming this is how they work... i.e. the more you bid the closer you ad will come to being on the first page). Or do you set them all low ball like $0.10 and then just wait for something to bite?

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Offline Jena H

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #712 on: May 20, 2017, 05:16:28 AM »
A few weeks ago I ran an ad for one of my first-in-series freebies.  It ended up costing me more than I'd have liked, but in the past few days I've seen an uptick in sales of the rest of the series.  I choose to think of it as sell-through from the freebies.  *knocks wood that I haven't just jinxed it*
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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #713 on: May 20, 2017, 06:00:28 AM »
Can you change the ad copy for an ad that's already running or do you have to start an entirely new ad?

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #714 on: May 20, 2017, 06:04:20 AM »
Ok, last noob question. Price per clicks. Do you guys leave them at the default? Jack them up for more impressions on hot titles?(I'm assuming this is how they work... i.e. the more you bid the closer you ad will come to being on the first page). Or do you set them all low ball like $0.10 and then just wait for something to bite?

At this point I treat each keyword differently depending on my past history with it. I sometimes raise the price on the ones that I feel are the most likely to generate sales/reads, but only to an extent. You can get in a situation where raising bids gives you diminishing returns (I'm planning to lower some bids today for that very reason) so you just have to watch everything pretty close.

With new, untested keywords, I usually start them at a price that is close to the default, but sometimes I'll make a judgement call up-front and raise or lower... Like, if its an author name, and I know the author is massively popular, I might bid higher right out of the gate, or if I know the author has a book with a really high rank because of a promotion.

Can you change the ad copy for an ad that's already running or do you have to start an entirely new ad?

You have to start a new ad, unfortunately.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2017, 06:10:40 AM by Jacob Stanley »

Offline LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #715 on: May 20, 2017, 06:13:05 AM »
Ok, last noob question. Price per clicks. Do you guys leave them at the default? Jack them up for more impressions on hot titles?(I'm assuming this is how they work... i.e. the more you bid the closer you ad will come to being on the first page). Or do you set them all low ball like $0.10 and then just wait for something to bite?

After a decent interval, I check where my keywords have landed my book. If it's already on page 1 or page 2, I do not raise the keyword bid or the daily spend max. If it's not at least on page 2, I do raise the keyword bid. When I say page 1 or page 2, I'm referring to a sponsored ad showing in an Amazon page as if it's just one of the other books by that author or in that genre: same size, just in the last two to four listings on the page and with the word "Sponsored" discreetly above it. I do not mean where my book is on what we call the carousel, where all the sponsored books appear in postage stamp size near the bottom of the page and probably under the carousel of also boughts. (For some reason, despite disabling my ad blocker, I seldom see the carousel.) Ideally, you'd want to be on the first page of the carousel, too. Sometimes the initial 25-cent bid is more than enough to put you there. Sometimes, it's not enough to get you even to the second page.

Offline My Dog's Servant

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #716 on: May 20, 2017, 06:16:38 AM »
I recently restarted one ad (cozy mystery) with a few new kws and the same low $2/day, $0.21 max per click bid as previously.  For some reason, it's now getting more impressions and clicks, though not many sales. But this is the first time I've seen "sales" for kw where I have no clicks. 

Since the ad is ticking steadily at an APC of $0.13 and (probably) with borrows breaking even, I'm letting it run and looking at how to redo a couple of ads for my romances that I stopped because APC was just too high. I live in hope. (or is that self-delusion?) It may be that romance is just too expensive and too crowded now (I recently saw one book where sponsored ads were five to a page and 128 pages!).


Offline LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #717 on: May 20, 2017, 06:30:00 AM »
I recently restarted one ad (cozy mystery) with a few new kws and the same low $2/day, $0.21 max per click bid as previously.  For some reason, it's now getting more impressions and clicks, though not many sales. But this is the first time I've seen "sales" for kw where I have no clicks. 

Since the ad is ticking steadily at an APC of $0.13 and (probably) with borrows breaking even, I'm letting it run and looking at how to redo a couple of ads for my romances that I stopped because APC was just too high. I live in hope. (or is that self-delusion?) It may be that romance is just too expensive and too crowded now (I recently saw one book where sponsored ads were five to a page and 128 pages!).

I've been thinking the same, but because I'm getting these amazing page read results, I want to keep riding the train. You spend a lot on ads regularly. The AMS ads are different from the one shot ads people buy for launches. Do you find it is profitable to keep running these ads day in and day out? Launch ads are done under the assumption that once a book gets noticed, its audience will keep it afloat and move it upward without any substantial further effort by the author. I'm not confident that if I pause all my ads, my sales and reads will continue at their present rate.

Offline Decon

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #718 on: May 20, 2017, 08:06:29 AM »
Problems (complaints) relating to diminishing AMS ad effectiveness crops up quite often here. But, I believe that is the nature of the beast with all forms of advertising. New ads attract the most attention, curiosity being the primary factor.  Over time, ad effectiveness will gradually decline, but should eventually stabilize.  After that, ads have to carry their own weight to survive.  Unfortunately, the stabilizing level for most ad effectiveness will eventually end up being close to ZERO!

Supposedly (from what I can gather from Amazon forums) an impression has to be viewed an average of 8 times before a click results - which may well be true.

I started out in the mail order business many years ago running classified ads, which were very productive.  Now they are a total bust, probably not even 20% as effective as they once were.  Over a period of at least 10 years I would occasionally run test ads, always with the same results - a steady year-to-year decline in effectiveness.  From what I can gather from some Kindle Old-Timers, the same may be happening here - I certainly hope not.

All ad agencies (whether newspapers, tv, radio, whatever) try desperately to sell ad space (time) in blocks of multiple appearances - at steeply discounted rates.  They go all out trying to convince folks that ads yield their best results only after several appearances - which is TOTAL B.S.!  With rare exception, the very first ad produces the best results.  After that, ad results steadily decline for the first 4 to 5 appearances, usually stabilizing after that. 

I have no reason to think that we within the eBook realm should expect anything different.  The question being, what best to do about it? There are hundreds of hucksters out there only too happy to charge us for the privilege of learning how to get rich in this, or any other, business.   My advice, for what it may be worth, is to keep a tight grip on your money. Seeking help from forums such as this is the best way to go - these are the folks with the inside knowledge.

Just my two pennyworth. Advertising effectiveness is a complex subject and one that has been disrupted with the introduction of the internet and apps for seeking out products, news articles, and services, which has caused newspaper circulations to decline and to lessen the effectiveness of that type of ad when it comes to making a return.

We have to work with what we have. The nearest to the old form of classified ads that I can place it with is say, car sales magazines. Like AMS, what you do is to try and place your ad with the same makes and models so that the customer when flicking the pages are displayed something for which they have a particular interest. The larger the display, the more and the prominent it's placement is, it will draw your eye, and the more effective it is. That's why putting an ad on the front page, or an early right hand page of a newspaper or magazine costs more, because everyone starts from the front page.

Then next thing is how you display your content. It's no good displaying a car with a dent whatever the price reduction as few will be looking for a car with a dent in the wing. You could liken that to a bad eBook cover. The next is copy. You are looking to bring out the attributes that the readers expect. Immaculate inside and out, mileage, year, etc, and where to get it, usually a phone call and then usually the effort of a journey. With books, the blurb has to cover expectations for the genre and where to get it is covered by them clicking, and it's attributes of stars and reviews are like the mileage or service history. No journey involved, only with your fingers on the keyboard.

The biggest difference is that someone reading a car magazine is prepared to go through every page to find what they want as they are looking for something within a range of criteria, be it year, color, price, or whatever.

With AMS, I would ask why they are landing on that book's page in the first place where your ad is displayed and why they should go the extra miles to get to your book. I would assume they are landing on the page because it is their primary interest to discover more about the book and that they are more likely than not going there to purchase that book, hence it takes many impressions, maybe a 1,000 or so,  to get to a click as the readers turn to browsing mode if they decide it's not for them.

If they choose not to buy that book, then they have the also boughts to look through, displayed with larger icons than AMS to grab attention. They are more than likely of the same type of read relating to genre in the customer's mind. There aren't just the 5 books displayed, they can scroll through many on the also bought carousel.

Then we have the AMS ads with small icons, which are third tier in the interest stakes if they don't find what they want. Obviously the ones seen first will be the first ones the readers explore for them to discover if the book could be of interest, hence the importance of bidding to get on the first page.

That's not to say you won't get clicks and sales further down the pecking order, but just think about the diminishing odds.

The biggest problem is the royalty margin in relation to ad costs, and as you say it takes 8 clicks to the sale on average, but that can vary wildly. My own vary from 10-20 clicks per sale. Unfortunately, indie eBooks are usually priced between $2.99 and say $4.99, so we only have $2 to $3.49 to play with when set against costs. 10 clicks at 20c on a book at $2.99 would not make a profit. 20 clicks at 20c and I'd make a $2 loss per sale.(Not counting page reads)

The next thing we have to contend with is that not every author is looking to make profit per sale, but are merely looking to gain rank, or to promote a new release, or say the first in a series. That's pretty much like a Brand ad for awareness in magazines, or say a lossleader that they don't expect to make a profit on, as it's set against a budget, usually out of healthy gross profits, or deep pockets, or to create sales from other product in their catalogue that will produce a profit, and so those out of the tens of thousands in AMS will set their bids high on a budget they are prepared to show losses on. You only need seven out of those to bid on the same keyword as you and they will wipe you off of the page.

As for the lessening of effectiveness over time, that is to be expected, hence the need to tweak things and to develop new product, which is fundimental to any business, even if it's ony advertising the brand product as a newer, bigger, brighter version of the old soap powder. I guess that's akin to redesigning your cover and changing your blurb. Some publishers even change the title to reflect trends as they did when Dan Brown had his hit and publishers changed tired out of print books to having titles with "Code" included and republished them. The main reason I think for the slowdown anyone experiences in AMS is that there are more participants now.

What makes it worse is that we don't know the page reads attributed to AMS, when considering effectiveness. We all play up the additional reads, and no doubt AMS does assist, but they can have their own impetus with other factors. Unfortunately that can suck us in to thinking that they are more effective than they are.

Not sure if any of this helps those new to AMS for what is a tough ad media to get a handle on.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2017, 10:21:52 AM by Decon »


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Offline My Dog's Servant

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #719 on: May 20, 2017, 03:11:43 PM »
I've been thinking the same, but because I'm getting these amazing page read results, I want to keep riding the train. You spend a lot on ads regularly. The AMS ads are different from the one shot ads people buy for launches. Do you find it is profitable to keep running these ads day in and day out? Launch ads are done under the assumption that once a book gets noticed, its audience will keep it afloat and move it upward without any substantial further effort by the author. I'm not confident that if I pause all my ads, my sales and reads will continue at their present rate.

Don't know about long-term  run profitability. I admit, I only started with ads this year so don't have much experience or data to draw on. I'd already moved several books up in sales and borrows with some juggling between free days and a little bit of ad promo and they were holding pretty steady (for me, anyway--at least I wasn't getting whiplash looking at a sales graph  :P ).

My next step was the ams ads, and I thought (hoped) I saw a tiny bit of uptick and a bit of profitability with my first ads, but I couldn't prove it since sales alone weren't paying for the ads but the borrows were still hanging in there or bumping up a bit. But then I got caught in the trap of trying to "improve" results by madly adding kws and raising bids when impressions/clicks slowed on new or older but previously effective kws...and that definitely sent the ads into the loss category, sometimes badly. So I backed out for a while and did some more thinking about all this (I am NOT a marketer and have no smarts in that direction at all, so thinking about it brings beads of blood to my forehead  ;) ), and decided I'd decrease the bids a bit and run it a little longer and and NOT tinker unless everything's going south fast.  I've set a small budget and a 30-day run and I'm going to stick it out to see what happens.

Offline GrandFenwick

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #720 on: May 20, 2017, 04:14:49 PM »
The second ad I started with automatic targeting has gotten zero impressions in a couple days. That's the first time that's ever happened to me, and I've run over a dozen ads.

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Offline Marian

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #721 on: May 20, 2017, 05:00:54 PM »

The biggest problem is the royalty margin in relation to ad costs, and as you say it takes 8 clicks to the sale on average, but that can vary wildly. My own vary from 10-20 clicks per sale. Unfortunately, indie eBooks are usually priced between $2.99 and say $4.99, so we only have $2 to $3.49 to play with when set against costs. 10 clicks at 20c on a book at $2.99 would not make a profit. 20 clicks at 20c and I'd make a $2 loss per sale.(Not counting page reads)

The next thing we have to contend with is that not every author is looking to make profit per sale, but are merely looking to gain rank, or to promote a new release, or say the first in a series. That's pretty much like a Brand ad for awareness in magazines, or say a lossleader that they don't expect to make a profit on, as it's set against a budget, usually out of healthy gross profits, or deep pockets, or to create sales from other product in their catalogue that will produce a profit, and so those out of the tens of thousands in AMS will set their bids high on a budget they are prepared to show losses on. You only need seven out of those to bid on the same keyword as you and they will wipe you off of the page.

The bidding over effective keywords for one of my books has become fierce, and it's becoming fierce for another.  I'm watching the average bid--20 cents--continue to rise. One of the bids for a keyword for that book was 34 cents--ouch! If the ACoS for a keyword goes above 50%, I pause it. It has become increasingly important to watch the cost of bids.

What puzzles me is that some of the books that are on the first pages of the carousels aren't remotely related to the genre of my book or the books that I'm using as keywords. Eventually these deep pockets will make it necessary for me to pause my ad. It doesn't make sense to me to continue an ad that has an ACoS above 50%. I don't see a solution to this unless Amazon starts distinguishing women's fiction from thrillers from billionaire romances, and I don't see any sign of that happening.

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #722 on: May 20, 2017, 05:02:28 PM »
I just tried an experiment that seemed logical. But, no...

I ran a dozen sponsored keyword ads where each ad focused on one writer in my sub-genre (epic fantasy) ranked at least 15,000 and below, with most concentrated in the 1,000-10,000 range. Each ad just had the writer's name, plus his or her book titles. I tinkered with the bids until I got my book on the 1st or 2nd page of the sponsored ads for all of them. Problem is, I had to go up around 75 cents for most of them. Pretty difficult to make a profit at that rate.

Over 8 days, I averaged 1 click per 545 impressions (12,000 impressions and 22 clicks). Zero sales and zero page reads.

Maybe the time period isn't long enough? I dunno.

Or, of course, the cover blows, the copy blows, the book blows. Those are always possibilities.  :P

Offline LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #723 on: May 20, 2017, 06:18:18 PM »

What puzzles me is that some of the books that are on the first pages of the carousels aren't remotely related to the genre of my book or the books that I'm using as keywords. Eventually these deep pockets will make it necessary for me to pause my ad. It doesn't make sense to me to continue an ad that has an ACoS above 50%. I don't see a solution to this unless Amazon starts distinguishing women's fiction from thrillers from billionaire romances, and I don't see any sign of that happening.

I've seen those titles by those particular authors (whom for all we know might be respected members of KBoards in deep cover), and I can only conclude that they're bidding huge amounts and/or have keywords that falsely play into every possible fiction category, whatever the category is. If I were a reader browsing Amazon, I'd be annoyed at the irrelevance of those books, but you see the same thing at the top of the page with sponsored ads run by publishers. Those aren't relevant to the category, either. Which of course makes me wonder why my own irrelevant keywords aren't all over the place. Maybe they are, and I've simply never seen them.


Offline weigle1234

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #724 on: May 20, 2017, 08:06:18 PM »
Any business must advertise to survive. An ad may be simple, even indirect; such as a coffee shop maintaining an attractive store front.  Or, massive; such as multi-million-dollar TV sports channel ad campaigns by beer brewers.

I am a big proponent of using the split-run (A/B) technique for both advertising and sales literature - simply because I know how effective it.  It is the ONLY way to perfect written copy. I have used A/B almost from Day-One in my mail order businesses.  I have seen hundreds of instances where changing just a single word (especially in a headline) can easily bring in an additional $50 - $100 each month.  If you are lucky enough to have a long-running book, you can be looking at serious money.  My best-selling manual via mail order had a strong 15 - 16 year run until the mail order industry started going bust about 5 or 6 years ago (at least for us little guys).  Work out the math - based on even $25 extra/month for 15 years, we are talking an extra $4,500 to take to the bank - nothing to sneeze at for changing just a single word!  That same manual is also my best seller via Kindle, but after only 4 months all I am looking at is Chump Change.

Thats why I am searching for ideas on how to maximize A/B testing via Kindle.  It will be impossible to perfect A/B testing (or even come close to perfecting it) since our hands are tied.  Our audience is anonymous (other than being able to choose Categories) and we have no effective way of differentiating between A/B ad responses (or do we?).  I feel the best starting point is to test changes in the Description - especially the first few lines.  The effectiveness of the ad Body itself will always be restricted because it is highly censored by Kindle (150 character limit, no exclamation points, no bolding, italics only, etc.).

Making the actual ad changes is relatively simple - the difficult part is coming up with the mechanics involved in making the A/B ad technique work (work at least to some extent).  There is always a solution to any problem - if we look hard enough.  I hope to come up with a few ideas.  In the meantime, enjoy the weekend!