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Author Topic: AMS Ads Learning  (Read 130707 times)  

Online Seneca42

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1025 on: June 17, 2017, 10:30:38 PM »
Did all those clicks get you sales?

you mean impressions? I can't remember the clicks, they came in around the 80 or so. Roughly the 1 per 1,000, which is typical. 

and yep. Not as many sales as I'd have hoped, but it was a good week :)

I'm kind of kicking myself. I should have dropped my price to 99c just to take advantage of the visibility (but the past month I've been testing full price, $3.99, on first in series and just didn't think to do it). What's been great is sell through was amazing (other books are $4.99), so all-in-all still happy.

But if this kind of thing ever happens again I'll definitely drop to 99c and treat it almost like a promo and opportunity to grab as many readers as I can.

The other thing I liked was that it gave me a good sense of what results you get with high visibility on a super high ranked book. I know people are paying $1 a click and more (possibly much more) to get those spots... and I have to say... I think they are nuts. Even if their impressions and click ratio is better than mine, it's still a money pit and the ONLY scenario where I can see it making sense is when you have a large back catalog and are okay with losing money to gain new customers.

But we've all known for a while that AMS is turning into a rich man's game. And just my theory, but visibility is getting harder than ever on AMS as I think sales are slumping for a lot of authors and they are upping bids.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2017, 10:32:22 PM by Seneca42 »

Offline My Dog's Servant

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1026 on: June 18, 2017, 05:09:08 AM »
Reporting in on my "One Month, Let It Run Because I Haven't The Slightest Idea What I'm Doing" ad.

After a few frustrating experiments with ads in romance (which were getting very expensive with no real return that I could see) and cozy mystery (not so expensive, but also generally unproductive), with a lot of time spent tweaking keywords and bids to no appreciable benefit, I decided to run a very low budget experiment with the cozy mystery for one month to see what happened when there was no interference on my part.

I restarted an existing ad for a $0.99 first in series cozy mystery at $2/day, $0.21 max bid, approximately 230 keywords.  About a dozen kws were generated by Amazon (insightful words that I couldn't possibly have come up with myself like, "mystery" and "cozy mystery" and a couple that were way out in left field). The balance were similar titles generated on yaniv.com.

The ad's now run for 31 days. Despite its official ACoS of 104.8%, I'm guessing [!!] that related KU borrows and possibly related sales on other titles (impossible to sort out, at least for someone as statistically challenged as myself) made it somewhere about a 100% return on my vast total investment of $24.90. At the very least, I'm quite sure it didn't actually lose me money.

Overall, ~95,000 new impressions. After a couple of days to get started, it fell into a surprisingly consistent ~2000 impressions/day, 525-550 impressions/click, 6 clicks/sale, $0.13 bid.  Total spend was $24.90, so less than $1/day, well below the max of $2.  The bid average started at about $0.11, went up to a smidge under $0.15, settled back to $0.13 at about the one week point, then never budged from there. Impressions per day were pretty consistent right from the start except for one brief surge around Memorial Day when it went up to around 5000/day for a couple days before falling back into the groove.

Of the approximately 230 kws, only 41 showed impressions, with the impressions/click all over the board from thousands/1, to 1/1.  Of the Amazon-generated kws, only "mystery" and "cozy mystery" had any success. "Cozy mystery", naturally, had much better impressions/click/sales ratios, since "mystery" would have hit a lot of people who weren't interested in anything with a slight whiff of "cozy."  Of the 41 kws with impressions, only 15 returned actual sales. The highest ACoS was 209% on a competing title. The next two highest were 111% on an author name (also the highest CPC of $0.16) and 108% on "mystery" ($0.13 CPC). All others fell under 80% ACoS down to my favorite at 6.5% (1 click, two sales--the first sale registered at no clicks for two weeks before the second sale with the first click).

I think the main benefit of the ad (and I think it's an important one) is that it's helped stabilize the sales ranking for the title. It didn't make it a bestseller or money earner, by any means, but, as the first in series, I think this steadier sales rank will be an advantage when I publish the next book in the series (which is way  past my original planned pub date).

Notice all the "thinks" and "guesses" in the above. More "thinks" are:  I haven't decided for sure, but I think I'll let it continue to run as-is until I notice a significant decline in performance. For romance, I can't decide whether to start an ad for a different title, or restart an ad I've already run but reset it at the $2/day, $0.21 max/bid. That's very low for romance so it may not be worth the effort. It certainly wasn't worth the effort at the much higher rates I'd tried before, even though the books were priced at $3.99. But the key difference may be in letting the ad run for a couple weeks without playing with it, allowing it to settle in and find the spot where it might actually work. Either that, or I'll just be throwing some money on the pyre for a couple of weeks to see the pretty glow as it burns.   :P

Nothing here of any use to the ad-savvy, but maybe of some interest to those, like me, who can't muster even a smidge of "savvy".   ;)    I'll post once I decide on a new romance ad and it has some time to run, and on the cozy mystery ad when it takes a major move one way or the other.

« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 05:10:39 AM by My Dog's Servant »

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1027 on: June 18, 2017, 05:54:03 AM »
Amazon no longer want my money. For six books they could max me out at $33 per day. The results are just getting worse.



The historic results as at today mean nothing because they've been fairly static for 2 months.





« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 06:05:24 AM by Decon »


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Offline My Dog's Servant

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1028 on: June 18, 2017, 06:29:43 AM »
Decon....how long have the ads been running relative to each other?  Launched at about the same time?  Launched at widely varying intervals?

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1029 on: June 18, 2017, 06:41:44 AM »
Decon....how long have the ads been running relative to each other?  Launched at about the same time?  Launched at widely varying intervals?

Five of them were set up within a month of each other before Christmas. The top one which is a short story compilation was set up in March this year. In itself, it doesn't look like I've made much in sales, but as an example I had 89,000 page reads in December, spread evenly across all books. This last two days though I have had none and I'll be lucky if I hit 7,000 page reads this month.

I'd say I'm well into profit, but something has changed and it just no longer works for me in the way that it did.

When it was working, I obviously had a decent chart position that pulled in other organic sales and page reads, also print sales. I'm looking at free promos now to give them a boost in the charts as I can no longer work out a change in dynamics that would improve my AMS results. Prior to AMS I was earning less than $100 per month. I regularly pulled in $300 per month when I started and with over $600 in December. Now I'm back to less than $100 for the past 2 months.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 06:58:32 AM by Decon »


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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1030 on: June 18, 2017, 06:53:13 AM »
Amazon no longer want my money. For six books they could max me out at $33 per day. The results are just getting worse.

Are you still following a low bid strategy?  They're spending my money these days but my aCPC is in the 35 cent+ range on the ads where that's happening.


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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1031 on: June 18, 2017, 07:03:04 AM »
I just can't justify say a 35c bid. Without working it out and excluding the shorts compilation, I'm around 20 clicks to one sale on 4 books and say 11 on one book. It's not that I haven't changed covers or altered blurbs, because I have on at least two of them and the reviews are okay.

If I end up actually paying say 20c per click, and with all my books at $2.99, I'd lose $2 for every sale on the 4 books and 20c on the one book. (Excluding page reads) I'm not in it to give Amazon my money for no return.

If all my books were performing with say 6/8 clicks per sale, I might have increased my bids substantially. Maybe the answer is to increase my retail price, then I can increase my bids.

Edited: I should say that I started out with all my keyword bids at 3c and at the time my ACOS was arould 11%. I do have some book keywords with higher bids but the maximun I bid is 25c, so I have increased my bidding over the period.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 01:02:09 PM by Decon »


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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1032 on: June 18, 2017, 07:15:45 AM »
Maybe the answer is to increase my retail price, then I can increase my bids.


Worth a try unless you have a bunch of sales you'll lose because of it.  The romance novel of mine that it's spending on right now is priced at $4.99 and the fantasy novel it's spending on is priced at $5.99.  I suspect, but could be wrong, that they might run the ads more on higher-priced titles since I was struggling to spend my budget when that fantasy novel was on a recent free run.  Same actually with the romance novel's free run.  I don't think I had a day where I ended up spending as much when it was on its free run as I do now that it's back to full-price.  So maybe just bump your prices and don't bump your bids and see if it kicks in again.  And then if it doesn't you can move your bids up.


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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1033 on: June 18, 2017, 07:22:56 AM »
Worth a try unless you have a bunch of sales you'll lose because of it.  The romance novel of mine that it's spending on right now is priced at $4.99 and the fantasy novel it's spending on is priced at $5.99.  I suspect, but could be wrong, that they might run the ads more on higher-priced titles since I was struggling to spend my budget when that fantasy novel was on a recent free run.  Same actually with the romance novel's free run.  I don't think I had a day where I ended up spending as much when it was on its free run as I do now that it's back to full-price.  So maybe just bump your prices and don't bump your bids and see if it kicks in again.  And then if it doesn't you can move your bids up.

You're probably right about the pricing. To be honest, the increased income would be welcome, but AMS has sucked enough life out of me and and my time and I'm concentrating on writing just now. I have one book ready for publishing that's sitting on Wattpad, (Girl at the window) and I'm a third of the way into the 2nd in the series of In Search of Jessica, and a third of the way through the second in the series of The Killer's amongst Us. So I want 3 more books ready in total for December as a priority.

All my books are standalones, but three of them need to be series as there is nowhere for the readers to go if my other standalones don't impress.  After six years, I'm still loooking at the long game and hoping, lol.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 07:33:14 AM by Decon »


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Online Seneca42

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1034 on: June 18, 2017, 10:03:18 AM »
Amazon no longer want my money. For six books they could max me out at $33 per day. The results are just getting worse.

I don't think it's that. I think it's:

* the "average bid price" is way above 25c they suggest. I think it's probably more like 50c, and well over a $1 for popular books and near-front of carousel.
* sales for books seem to be down the past 2-3 months (I think the economy is tipping over, but time will tell if I'm right on that)
* Amazon is oversaturating the carousel in many cases (being on page 50 is completely useless. After the first 5 or so pages I think visibility is nearly zero).
* I think AMS gives preference to books already selling (ie. already getting lots of clicks).

The only exception I've seen AMS give to the above has been on free books. But I think that's because they get a lot of clicks, which the algo interprets as high reader interest and hence it gives ads better placement at lower bids.

But the system is massively oversaturated at this point.


Offline LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1035 on: June 18, 2017, 11:12:39 AM »
The oversaturation depends on your subgenre or, in the case of nonfiction, your category. I can still get a sale at .07 bid for my nonfiction niche history book. In romance, no way.

Offline loraininflorida

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1036 on: June 18, 2017, 12:32:38 PM »
I just figured out that in my AMS ads, since March 20, I've made $61 and Amazon has made $193 (plus the KU subscription money they receive).  :(

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Offline LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1037 on: June 18, 2017, 12:50:07 PM »
I just figured out that in my AMS ads, since March 20, I've made $61 and Amazon has made $193 (plus the KU subscription money they receive).  :(

And yet...were I to count my profits from all other ads I have paid for combined, the number would be zero. In fact, in negative numbers. Nothing else has paid off at all. Okay, once, on a 99-cent Kindle Countdown with an ad on BKnights, I earned a net profit of approximately $1.33. It would have been more, but I bought another ad to stack at the same time from someone else, and it tanked and left me considerably in the hole. So maybe the BKnights ad actually had an ROI of $31.33, but after paying the other guy, I netted $1.33.

Joking aside, I agree that Amazon is getting a lot of money from some of us for not much ROI.

Here's a question: Say someone sees our sponsored ad and does not click. Then, later, maybe during the same session or maybe not, they're combing through the category listings and they see our book--not our ad--and they click. AMS doesn't charge us for that click, does it?

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1038 on: June 18, 2017, 01:01:28 PM »
I don't think it's that. I think it's:

* the "average bid price" is way above 25c they suggest. I think it's probably more like 50c, and well over a $1 for popular books and near-front of carousel.
* sales for books seem to be down the past 2-3 months (I think the economy is tipping over, but time will tell if I'm right on that)
* Amazon is oversaturating the carousel in many cases (being on page 50 is completely useless. After the first 5 or so pages I think visibility is nearly zero).
* I think AMS gives preference to books already selling (ie. already getting lots of clicks).

The only exception I've seen AMS give to the above has been on free books. But I think that's because they get a lot of clicks, which the algo interprets as high reader interest and hence it gives ads better placement at lower bids.

But the system is massively oversaturated at this point.

If it is 50c, or $1 that's needed as a bid as you say , then I'm out of the ball park as far as continuing with AMS, because I ain't going that high. It just doesn't make sense for me with my average click to buy ratio and my retail price. I'll just leave it as is and forget it to concentrate on writing and go back to free promos.

I think your points 1 & 3 are the most likely of the culprits for the downward spiral for my genre.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 01:07:30 PM by Decon »


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Online Seneca42

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1039 on: June 18, 2017, 02:19:02 PM »
Joking aside, I agree that Amazon is getting a lot of money from some of us for not much ROI.

Here's a question: Say someone sees our sponsored ad and does not click. Then, later, maybe during the same session or maybe not, they're combing through the category listings and they see our book--not our ad--and they click. AMS doesn't charge us for that click, does it?

They supposedly do not charge you for multiple clicks until a certain period of time has gone by. So if in the same 72 hours the same IP address clicks on the same ad seven times, it's not charged seven times. The reason for this is obvious as it would be incredibly easy to click-swarm the competition.

Like if I wanted to take you out of the market. I'd just click your book a 1,000 times and burn your budget up. But I can't... I can only click on it say once every three days... so at best I might nail you with 2 clicks in a week, but that's all the system will burn you for.

Now, if I'm a bot farm and have access to 1,000 of IP addresses, that's a different story. If I want to target you with a 1,000 IP addresses I probably could.

While I have no evidence, I have to imagine some of that is going on in the high value spots. I'm sure there are authors getting burned on $1 a click ads as bots rack up the bills on clicks that aren't even humans genuinely interested in the book.

AMS isn't as flawed as KU, but it is flawed. I don't think it's abused nearly as much as KU either, cross fingers the botters don't turn their eyes to it. The reason it's not abused as much as KU because the botters don't actually make money, so all they would be doing is making AMS money. But I can see a day where they start doing this if only to break the system for fun. Or I could see authors paying for them to target competition and bump those books out of their premium slots.

Anyway, the ROI is AMS is great when you bid low, but performance is horrible. Performance is great when you bid high, but ROI is horrible.

From Amazon's perspective, they love this. The authors with large catalogs are happy to pay a ton because one sale can lead to 10 more. But for everyone else, it's a meat grinder.

« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 02:21:06 PM by Seneca42 »

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1040 on: June 18, 2017, 02:35:16 PM »
I just finished the M.L. Humphrey book AMS Ads for Authors (authored by Cassie Leigh here on the forum) and rated it five stars. I was happy to pay for it, particularly since she's helping here every day. The book has a ton of AMS ad knowledge and it's very up to date, since it was just published. No connection other than a satisfied reader. If you are interested in this AMS ads topic, it's a must-read.
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Offline weigle1234

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1041 on: June 18, 2017, 06:05:56 PM »
I just finished the M.L. Humphrey book AMS Ads for Authors (authored by Cassie Leigh here on the forum) and rated it five stars. I was happy to pay for it, particularly since she's helping here every day. The book has a ton of AMS ad knowledge and it's very up to date, since it was just published. No connection other than a satisfied reader. If you are interested in this AMS ads topic, it's a must-read.

Glad to see another 5-Star for Cassie - I submitted my own 5-Star yesterday, and I see it has finally appeared this afternoon.  In fact I am now in the middle of capturing zillions of Keywords per her advice.

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1042 on: June 18, 2017, 06:45:07 PM »
Thanks guys!  Really appreciate it.  (And if I'm not as active over the next two weeks my apologies. I'm at a writing workshop trying to up that side of things but given my kboards addiction expect I'll be on here at least once a day still.)


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Offline Jena H

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1043 on: June 18, 2017, 07:05:32 PM »
Maybe it's just me but there's waaay too much info being thrown around in this thread... it makes my head spin, and not in a good way.   :-\

As far as I can tell, also, there is NO general consensus on the who/what/when/where/how of AMS ads-- best practice for creating them, and what specifics to aim for, etc.  All the testing in the world will yield only info on past results, and not necessarily a blueprint for future ads.


Now, having said that, I bet it probably isn't the best time for me to ask for confirmation that contemporary romance / women's fiction is a tough field for ads these days.  Very crowded, can run up the daily spend if I want to be seen, etc.  Is that currently correct?  I'm planning to throw an ad up for one of my very first books, which has been languishing in the back of beyond.  I figure that spending a few bucks on it can't hurt and might succeed in getting the ball rolling a bit (even if it's rolling on a flat plateau, lol).
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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1044 on: June 18, 2017, 07:08:16 PM »
I just submitted the following message to "Contact Us:"

Referring to the Advertising Campaigns Chart, does the Est. Total Sales figure reflect only eBook sales, or does it also include any Paperback sales that may have occurred as the result of clicking on AMS ads?

Thanks for your anticipated reply.

Gordy

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1045 on: June 18, 2017, 09:28:21 PM »
Maybe it's just me but there's waaay too much info being thrown around in this thread... it makes my head spin, and not in a good way.   :-\

As far as I can tell, also, there is NO general consensus on the who/what/when/where/how of AMS ads-- best practice for creating them, and what specifics to aim for, etc.  All the testing in the world will yield only info on past results, and not necessarily a blueprint for future ads.


Now, having said that, I bet it probably isn't the best time for me to ask for confirmation that contemporary romance / women's fiction is a tough field for ads these days.  Very crowded, can run up the daily spend if I want to be seen, etc.  Is that currently correct?  I'm planning to throw an ad up for one of my very first books, which has been languishing in the back of beyond.  I figure that spending a few bucks on it can't hurt and might succeed in getting the ball rolling a bit (even if it's rolling on a flat plateau, lol).

I was unable to get traction for a romance that had no specific subcategory to cling to; I could not find any authors writing the same kind of story. (Perhaps I didn't look hard enough.)

In women's fiction, author names seem to work, and of course, similar covers, hooky blurbs, etc. Unfortunately, for most, a 25-cent bid or higher seems necessary to get the best placement.

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1046 on: June 19, 2017, 03:49:50 AM »
As far as I can tell, also, there is NO general consensus on the who/what/when/where/how of AMS ads-- best practice for creating them, and what specifics to aim for, etc.  All the testing in the world will yield only info on past results, and not necessarily a blueprint for future ads.

I'm going to be making a presentation of AMS to a group of indie authors, and sadly I'm reaching the same conclusions regarding best approaches. I suppose I'll focus on how to set one up, make some suggestions, and with a shrug of my shoulders say "good luck" with a straight face.  :D

Unfortunately, for most, a 25-cent bid or higher seems necessary to get the best placement.

I think this has more to do with the 25-cent default bid price that Amazon displays while setting up keywords. It becomes the defacto starting benchmark for most. Probably the 'Zon's way of keeping the bid prices up. I wonder how things would be if they defaulted to 10-cents instead.
 

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1047 on: June 19, 2017, 04:46:37 AM »
I think this has more to do with the 25-cent default bid price that Amazon displays while setting up keywords. It becomes the defacto starting benchmark for most. Probably the 'Zon's way of keeping the bid prices up. I wonder how things would be if they defaulted to 10-cents instead.

You could be correct, although I didn't start my ads that high. When everybody jumped into the pool, things changed in popular categories. I started at very low numbers, like 2 cents and 6 cents. I can still be on page one in nonfiction history at 7 cents because there's very little competition, but in a subcat of romance, no way. However, in most cases I am not paying 25 cents per click even though I am bidding higher than that.

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1048 on: June 19, 2017, 05:06:28 AM »
You could be correct, although I didn't start my ads that high. When everybody jumped into the pool, things changed in popular categories. I started at very low numbers, like 2 cents and 6 cents. I can still be on page one in nonfiction history at 7 cents because there's very little competition, but in a subcat of romance, no way. However, in most cases I am not paying 25 cents per click even though I am bidding higher than that.

How far back in the carousel did you find your books?  And (without being nosy, so you don't have to go into detail) were you able to get sales at all from your ad?  I don't mind using the default .25 bid, as I'll have a relatively low daily budget.  I haven't yet looked into authors to use as keywords--I don't really have a solid subcategory to specify, either, but have a number of particular keywords I'm going to try.
Jena

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1049 on: June 19, 2017, 06:08:39 AM »
I just submitted the following message to "Contact Us:"

Referring to the Advertising Campaigns Chart, does the Est. Total Sales figure reflect only eBook sales, or does it also include any Paperback sales that may have occurred as the result of clicking on AMS ads?

Thanks for your anticipated reply.

Gordy

Yes, it does include paperbacks.


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