Author Topic: AMS Ads Learning  (Read 131117 times)  

Online LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1050 on: June 19, 2017, 07:16:18 AM »
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.

Basic answer: These ads sell my books. I've already netted (not grossed) more so far this year than I earned in the previous two, when my ad costs were random, much smaller, and mostly not AMS--although I made some relatively costly mistakes in those years. I am only at the prawny level, even so. Plenty of people release books to much higher organic sales than I am achieving through paid ads. I'll take what I can get.

In a subcat of romance, I can reliably find my lead title (book 1 of a series) on page 1 or page 2 of the general category, and I just looked at my top-selling author keyword and my book is on page 1 of her listing, but on page 16 of the carousel under her most recently released book. I don't think people are buying my book from that carousel. This ad has a $15 daily spend limit it has never reached, so arguably it isn't perfectly targeted. So far, no one who has reviewed any of the books in this series has said, "She writes like so-and-so," so I have no conclusive sense of how my series stacks up against other authors in this subcat.   

In women's fiction, using an author's name as keyword, I just found my standalone book on page 4 of the carousel, and page 7 of the overall category of her name. This ad has a $1 daily spend limit. The other sponsored ads mostly were off-base, heavy sex, suspense, very young people, and billionaire books. Does my ad sell a ton of books? No, but it sells a handful, and since the book is in KU, I also get page reads. I'm not risking much with a $1 daily spend limit, but over time, the apparent cost of the ad does climb, because the KU reads are not taken into account. My bid for that author name keyword is 46 cents, and my average spend per click has risen to 26 cents. The ACoS is 39.20% for that keyword, but more like 63% overall for the ad. Which is why I paused it for a bit. But those figures don't count the 510 KNEP (whatever) pages I get each time someone reads this book. Also, the book has zero reviews, the main heroine is 55 years old, and it's a standalone. I'm happy to sell a few of these here and there.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 10:15:54 AM by LilyBLily »

Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1051 on: June 19, 2017, 07:38:27 AM »
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).

Romance definitely is a tough field for ads.  My romance novels are on the borderline between romance and women's fiction.  One was as much about dealing with a cancer diagnosis as falling in love.  The other about dealing with grief.  They don't fit in with most "contemporary romance" titles and I don't read enough romance to know who to put them up against in terms of authors.  To add to that, the first one is sort of snarky and humorous, too.  Because, you know, lots of people want humor and cancer combined in the same novel.

Which is to say not only am I targeting romance but I did not write to any known category at all.  A marketing nightmare.

Early on--over a year ago--I had a fantastic run with AMS ads on that first novel.  I spent $8 and had over $100 in sales. That was with a Product Display ad.  But then I struggled to get ads to work on that book again. I got another Product Display ad working on it earlier this year but then that fell off.

I just could not get enough impressions to get it going and was not willing to bid really high.  But I released book 2 and figured I had two books for people to go to.  So what worked for me was doing a free run on book 1, running my long-standing slow-moving but profitable Sponsored Product ad on that book 1 through the free period, and then keeping it going afterward.  I think AMS rewards momentum and high-ranked books so you have to get that outside of AMS either through other ads or organically.  (But that's just a guess.)

I am bidding high.  I think when I first did the free run I was over $1 on words like "romance" and "contemporary romance" but have since backed those down.  And my ACoS is close to 300% because of the free run and borrows, but between borrows and sales I'm making a profit and that book is hanging in the 8-20K range right now whereas before it was in the 125K range.

I think combining a free run and AMS works if (1) you're in KU so people can borrow during your free run, (2) you have a genre that borrows heavily so you can come off your free run at a high enough rank, and (3) you're willing/able to bid high enough.  I'm doing this on a novel priced at $4.99.  I think I'd be losing money if it were priced lower even though a lot of that rank is coming from borrows.  (Yesterday I had two sales and about 8 full read equivalents, for example.)

I should note that I tried this with my fantasy novel and it has not worked as well.  That book never made it high enough during its free run and is now moving around in the 35-50K range where it came out after its free run, but it's like pulling teeth to keep it there.


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Online Jena H

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1052 on: June 19, 2017, 09:02:14 AM »
Question: How do you terminate or delete a campaign that has been rejected? The status column has no pop-down for that.
I don't believe you can.  It's just going to sit in your file as Rejected.   :(   (I have one, too.)
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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1053 on: June 19, 2017, 09:58:05 AM »
Thanks, Cassie and LilyBLily.  My book also straddles the romance/women's fiction line (no cancer, but not standard romance, either).  I'll have to poke around bit to see what authors to use as keywords (again, outlier book).
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Offline Hasbeen

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1054 on: June 19, 2017, 12:34:22 PM »
I just had a campaign end. I wanted to evaluate the keywords etc. after a month. I thought I could just restart the campaign after I looked things over and decided what I wanted to change etc.

Well when I went to try and re-start the campaign I found I couldn't all I could do was 'copy' it. So I copied it and tried to start a new campaign will all the keywords etc. When I 'started' this new campaign it only brought over the first 52 keywords and left the other 200 or so behind.

Am I missing something or am I going to have to re-enter all of the keywords beyond the first 52? Isn't there a way to re-use an existing campaign without going to all that trouble?

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1055 on: June 19, 2017, 12:40:48 PM »
I just had a campaign end. I wanted to evaluate the keywords etc. after a month. I thought I could just restart the campaign after I looked things over and decided what I wanted to change etc.

Well when I went to try and re-start the campaign I found I couldn't all I could do was 'copy' it. So I copied it and tried to start a new campaign will all the keywords etc. When I 'started' this new campaign it only brought over the first 52 keywords and left the other 200 or so behind.

Am I missing something or am I going to have to re-enter all of the keywords beyond the first 52? Isn't there a way to re-use an existing campaign without going to all that trouble?

When setting up an ad, don't put an end date. If a campaign is "ended" you can't restart it. Also, if you don't have an end date, pause it. Don't terminate it.

I've copied ads and all keywords were transferred. Did it copy into Excel for you?



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Offline weigle1234

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1056 on: June 19, 2017, 12:46:20 PM »
Yes, it does include paperbacks.

The general consensus on this forum seems to be the Est. Total Sales figure does include paperback sales.  The object of my message to the Contact Us folks is to see if they will or will not acknowledge such - and if they do, whether they will also acknowledge including only those paperback sales resulting from AMS ad clicks.

If organic paperback sales are also included in the Est. Total Sales that figure is basically worthless for determining how our AMS ads are performing.

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1057 on: June 19, 2017, 01:03:46 PM »
I just had a campaign end. I wanted to evaluate the keywords etc. after a month. I thought I could just restart the campaign after I looked things over and decided what I wanted to change etc.

Well when I went to try and re-start the campaign I found I couldn't all I could do was 'copy' it. So I copied it and tried to start a new campaign will all the keywords etc. When I 'started' this new campaign it only brought over the first 52 keywords and left the other 200 or so behind.

Am I missing something or am I going to have to re-enter all of the keywords beyond the first 52? Isn't there a way to re-use an existing campaign without going to all that trouble?

Some of us have experienced a sad effect:  that copying an ad results in an ad that's never quite as successful as the original.  Personally I haven't noticed that a copied ad "loses" keywords... maybe just a glitch?  In any case, I know it's a pain, but it shouldn't be too difficult to copy the 'old' keywords and paste them into the new ad.

When I run my next ad, I'm going to make it without an end date, and then just pause it after X amount of time.  That way I'll be able to use it again and again.
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Offline Marian

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1058 on: June 19, 2017, 01:54:30 PM »

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.

I don't believe it has anything to do with the default price. I've seen prices for keywords go up steadily, going from 15 cents to over 30 cents in women's fiction to get impressions at the beginning of the carousel.


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.

This has been my experience.

Offline Marian

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1059 on: June 19, 2017, 02:44:45 PM »
I just checked my AMS dashboard and found something interesting. Two books have 2 fewer clicks each than they had eight hours ago. The spend amount is the same.

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1060 on: June 19, 2017, 02:54:18 PM »
The general consensus on this forum seems to be the Est. Total Sales figure does include paperback sales.  The object of my message to the Contact Us folks is to see if they will or will not acknowledge such - and if they do, whether they will also acknowledge including only those paperback sales resulting from AMS ad clicks.

If organic paperback sales are also included in the Est. Total Sales that figure is basically worthless for determining how our AMS ads are performing.

It would be handy to have a filter to include/exclude paperbacks from the data output. However, if you track it every day, you'll know when you sell a paperback. I make sure to exclude it from my ROI calculations on my advertising spreadsheet.

Offline khotisarque

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1061 on: June 19, 2017, 05:44:36 PM »
I've seen that too. I think we're dealing with beta software.

Gasp!  The famous algos are betas?  Mama might be imperfect?  We really are all throwing ad money into a black hole where it might or not be placed, somewhere , sometime, with no reason given and at a price to be told to us after the event?  Please say it's not so!   :o  Or my faith will be utterly destroyed.
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Offline NatPane

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1062 on: June 19, 2017, 07:01:16 PM »
Gasp!  The famous algos are betas?  Mama might be imperfect?  We really are all throwing ad money into a black hole where it might or not be placed, somewhere , sometime, with no reason given and at a price to be told to us after the event?  Please say it's not so!   :o  Or my faith will be utterly destroyed.

I hate to say it, but I think it is so. I've tried to give Amazon the benefit of the doubt but they have yet to restore my faith in this wonky Ad system. Frankly, I think it's a bit of a scam. But, I'll quickly eat my words if I see anything different. I have an ad running for weeks (product display) which has curiously frozen on me for some weird reason. Clicks and impressions just stopped. I was told here that this normally happens and to lower my bid which is set at a $1.00. I decided not to touch it to see what would happen and it crawled suddenly with one or to impressions and I think two clicks. Then froze again. I lost my patience and any feelings of curiosity with this ad and decided to do what was advised here: lower my bid. But guess what? I can't do this. It will not allow me to. So I'm stuck with a frozen ad which in all likelihood I will have to terminate. And btw, I have never seen said ad, to date. Crazy? Yup, I think so.

Online LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1063 on: June 19, 2017, 07:40:33 PM »
I hate to say it, but I think it is so. I've tried to give Amazon the benefit of the doubt but they have yet to restore my faith in this wonky Ad system. Frankly, I think it's a bit of a scam. But, I'll quickly eat my words if I see anything different. I have an ad running for weeks (product display) which has curiously frozen on me for some weird reason. Clicks and impressions just stopped. I was told here that this normally happens and to lower my bid which is set at a $1.00. I decided not to touch it to see what would happen and it crawled suddenly with one or to impressions and I think two clicks. Then froze again. I lost my patience and any feelings of curiosity with this ad and decided to do what was advised here: lower my bid. But guess what? I can't do this. It will not allow me to. So I'm stuck with a frozen ad which in all likelihood I will have to terminate. And btw, I have never seen said ad, to date. Crazy? Yup, I think so.

Try asking Amazon for some help.

As to AMS ads being a scam, I have the payouts, the improved rankings, and the lovely sales charts to prove that is incorrect. But wonky, oh dear yes.

Offline weigle1234

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1064 on: June 19, 2017, 09:16:19 PM »
It would be handy to have a filter to include/exclude paperbacks from the data output. However, if you track it every day, you'll know when you sell a paperback. I make sure to exclude it from my ROI calculations on my advertising spreadsheet.

I sold my first paperback via Amazon on April 28 of last year (I just checked).  I spent many, many years in the mail order business and always kept accurate records.  I have done likewise with Amazon.  Unlike myself, I believe most folks here let Amazon and Kindle handle everything, but I do not.  I have every book printed (the same books I wrote and sold for the last 30 years - with updates) and shipped from Rockford, with others doing all the footwork.  Since starting with Amazon I have sold something less than 300 books.  At any time I can check my records and account for every penny, who spent it, when, their address, and for which book.

I love selling books - it is clean, quick, and easy.  I developed other products for mail order, but most of my money came from book sales.  I got lucky and had a few breaks long ago and sold tons of books.  I rode a huge gravy train for almost 25 years, and thought it would go on forever - until the mail order business started going bust about 10 years ago.  In the meantime I was consistently netting between 300 and 400K each year (of course, the tax thieves always stole what they thought was their share). My point is (other than bragging) I can account for every penny ever spent over all those years.

I am but a drop of water in the ocean compared to Amazon and Kindle - and I can assure you; they also keep accurate records.  They did not get to where they are by being stupid.

This Est. Total Sales thing (and a few other things) really bothers me.  The powers that be should show us exactly which sales are via Kindle and which for paperback, with those sales broken down into those that result from AMS ads along with those and/or from organic sales.  It is a complex thing, but should be a simple matter for them.  Without us knowing exactly what the true Est. Total Sale really is, that information is meaningless.  We can only make a very rough guess at whether or not our AMS ads are working (perhaps not working).  It is the old Confusion Factor that I addressed in an earlier post - the old Mushroom Effect - feed them horse manure and keep them in the dark.

Actually IMHO, Amazon does a really great job overall.  From what I can gather, only about half of us ever sell even our first book.  Amazon loses millions right up front carrying that burden - most folks could not sell a single page if they had to do it on their own.  And of the remaining half, only a small percentage make any real money - with Amazon also carrying that burden.  Looking at the whole picture, I feel Amazon has accomplished something amazing.  Who else has ever come even close to their success?

But, I sense the pain and frustration of folks on this, and other forums - we deserve better feedback.  I am 75 years old - I will be lucky to even be alive 5 years from now.  You guys and gals are pretty sharp, with a future - you are the ones making money for Amazon, and deserve to be treated better.

P.S.  If Kindle and Amazon keep tabs on these forums (which, at least to some extent, they likely do) I may soon be part of their history - but so be it.

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1065 on: June 20, 2017, 03:58:54 AM »
Gasp!  The famous algos are betas?  Mama might be imperfect?  We really are all throwing ad money into a black hole where it might or not be placed, somewhere , sometime, with no reason given and at a price to be told to us after the event?  Please say it's not so!   :o  Or my faith will be utterly destroyed.

Not sure I'd classify them as being in beta. AMS has been around for a long time, but within the past year was made available to everyone (previously only those in Kindle Select had access). I think the wonky behavior is mostly due to the algos being overloaded due an over-subscribed system. So, yeah, in a way they might as well be in beta.  ::)
 

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1066 on: June 20, 2017, 05:21:58 AM »
I don't think there is anything wrong with the way Amazon run this. The problem is in the hands of the authors and human nature and it is exasperated with the meagre margins of book royalties.

I've been in this long enough to remember the self-distruction of authors chasing sales in the downward spiral to 99c and then free as the norm,to the extent it no longer worked as it did for the pioneers who everyone tried to emulate at that 99c price point, like Amanda Holding and Konrath.

To a large extent Amazon rescued us all with the intro of KU with 6 free days and other new marketing tools, and clamping down of free sites to wein us off low pricing, and hey presto, it worked.

We now have AMS. I'd like to bet that the ones in AMS hardly use free days anymore when they try AMS. It' also lends itself to pricing at around $2.99 and above. Another result for Amazon in getting us away from low pricing.

AMS isn't in Beta, It's been running a long time, but it was first introduced for products other than books with high margin products.Then they introduced it to authors for their books after years of garnering data. It started off great because it was restricted to KU members, so you could bid low and make tons of sales. Since they threw it wide open, there are too many chasing sales and increasing bids to a level where it is hardly profitable for authors and less successful. That isnt Amazon's fault. It 's the authors' fault for chasing sales by increasing bids to the extent that it is no longer viable in the same way as they all joined in the downward spiral to 99c.

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« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 05:29:51 AM by Decon »


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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1067 on: June 20, 2017, 06:02:55 AM »
Whether it has been Amazon's intention or not, by creating KU and this opaque ad system, Amazon has achieved parity with the trad pubs--large and small--who keep authors in the dark and feed them bs. Further, I think it's largely the authors' fault, because, although some of us are businesslike and rational, a whole heap more of us are bleeding onto the (computer) page and behave worse than children. People with absolutely zero knowledge of publishing have jumped into the indie pub world without bothering to learn anything first. We see them here all the time, asking the questions they can google the answers to. I see them on other info loops, asking over and over about the honesty of someone who might lift the burden of DIY--usually a predator company under a new name.

So, how much do you tell someone who clearly is at the very beginner stage? Not much. You state a few simple rules, just as you do with children. ("Don't run into the street.") It's better for both sides, but it leads to the landowner-oppressing-the-sharecropper situation we tried to escape by fleeing trad publishing in the first place. Amazon is not the only card game in town, but it's the game we're playing because it has the biggest pot. So we ante and hope for some high cards.

All of which is to say that the infinitely complex logic of the computer algorithms running AMS ads can be explained only in part to most of us, and that's what we get and no more. By allowing more players in, Amazon has had to increase the complexity of the way the ads work--not necessarily deliberately or even manually. Think of how the odds change when you add two or three decks to the game.

Edited to add: Bookbub is actually the ad player with the biggest pot, but it won't let most of us play at all, and its methods of choosing who gets an ad are even more opaque than Amazon's much more complex allocations of our keyword ad placements.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 06:26:19 AM by LilyBLily »

Offline Hasbeen

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1068 on: June 20, 2017, 07:09:23 AM »
When setting up an ad, don't put an end date. If a campaign is "ended" you can't restart it. Also, if you don't have an end date, pause it. Don't terminate it.

I've copied ads and all keywords were transferred. Did it copy into Excel for you?



I've never tried to take into Excel. I'm not much of an Excel person. Very good advise though thanks.

Offline weigle1234

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1069 on: June 20, 2017, 08:09:47 AM »
Here is some good news via Kindle reply to my "Contact Us" message - following is their reply.

The "Est. Total Sales" figure DOES NOT include paperback sales.  So, we can get some decent info from the chart.  We need to account for updating delays, but that is no big deal in the overall picture.

A big plus with our AMS ads is that some paperback sales definitely will result from those ads.  I discovered that just a week ago.  I created a new ad for a slow moving eBook to test using over 900 Keywords.  Low and behold, a few days later two separate paperback orders came through (but, so far, no eBook orders).  There is no way of proving the sales are a result of the AMS ad, but chances are the ad is responsible.

Also, I was not aware that we can place ads for paperbacks - something that may be worth investigating.  (From the looks of their rely, doing so may be a hassle - but we are used to that.)

Here is the reply:

Hi Gordy,

A sale is attributed to a campaign whenever a shopper that clicked on an ad purchases your brands products at Amazon.

You'll see data on direct conversions from ad clicks to sales in the advertising report on your Amazon Marketing Services account home page.  If a customer clicks your ad but waits up to two weeks to buy your book, the sale is still tracked in your report. The Total Sales metric is the total dollar value of your brands products sold to shoppers within 14 days of them clicking on your ad.

However, please know the Est. Total Sales figure reflects only eBook sales, as currently, we do not have the ability to schedule any kind of ads through AMS for KDP paperback books.

Since KDP Print is one of the newest things we have introduced and we are continually working to improve the features. Advertising print books requires many internal changes, and hence we are unable to provide the feature to the publishers straightaway. The only option to schedule ad campaigns for the paperback books would be through Vendor central account. If you wish to schedule ad campaign for your paperback books, you may create a vendor central account and proceed.

Also, for more information on advertising your paperback book, you may also reach out to AMS team directly here:
https://ams.amazon.com/contactus/ref=ams_footer_contactus

You may find lot more information on how to market and promote your books by visiting the link below:
http://amazonauthorinsights.com/tagged/market#reach_readers

Please know that Est. Total Sales will only reflect eBook sales only.

I certainly hope this information has been helpful to you. Thank you for your understanding and support.

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---- Original message: ----

Subject: Advertising Campaigns Chart

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 #1070 on: June 20, 2017, 08:23:17 AM »
Interesting. I've had paperback sales included in the total. Maybe they are changing things up so that only KDP Print titles will eventually be included.


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Offline Amyshojai

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1071 on: June 20, 2017, 08:34:59 AM »
I get quite a few paperback sales (createspace) I'm sure result from the AMS ads, even though they are not tracked. *shrug* My nonfiction print sales have increased substantially since I began advertising the kindle versions. I've not yet used AMS for the fiction, though.

Offline PaulineMRoss

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1072 on: June 20, 2017, 08:38:01 AM »
Interesting. I've had paperback sales included in the total.

So have I, many times. I think this reply is answering a different question than was asked.  ;D
   

Pauline M. Ross (epic fantasy) Website | Mary Kingswood (Regency romances) Website 
Bookbub rejections: 58 and counting...

Offline weigle1234

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1073 on: June 20, 2017, 09:13:08 AM »
Heres a neat FREE site for Keyword list cleaning.  Per common sense, I store all my Keywords in separate unique files.

My latest Just for Kicks brainstorm is to test unique Keywords lists among a few alternating and paused ads - and see what falls out.

Im just finishing up my latest list (879 Keywords so far - per Cassies method and advice - about 100 more to go).

http://www.scriptalicious.com/tools/keyword-list-cleaner/

Offline weigle1234

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1074 on: June 20, 2017, 09:33:20 AM »
I've never tried to take into Excel. I'm not much of an Excel person. Very good advise though thanks.

I tried the Excel approach - my Windows XP version hates it - will not bring it up.

In fact, for whatever reason, my computer went "Ape" when I tried.  The screen went goofy flashing junk on and off for a few minutes.  I could not get it to stop no matter what I tried.

I finally had to power down.  After powering back up, I got a message asking me to confirm whether I wished to remove all 417 tabbed items - STRANGE.  As far as I can determine, no damage resulted from that fiasco.

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