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Stone and Silt
by Harvey Chute

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Big Al's Books & Pals 2014 Readers' Choice Awards: Young Adult Nominee

A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold.

At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door.

Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death.

Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love....

Author Topic: A New AMS Thread  (Read 12741 times)  

Offline LilyBLily

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #200 on: November 10, 2017, 07:42:28 AM »
Apologies if this has already been asked in this thread or elsewhere, but I haven't seen it addressed.

In an AMS SP ad, I understand that I'm not allowed to quote directly from customer reviews, however, it seems like I'm allowed to quote from these selfsame reviews if I first quote these reviews in the book description. At least that's the impression I get from a few back-and-forths I've had with AMS, although every time they write to me, their responses get so bogged down in jargon that I actually have no idea what is and isn't allowed. And no one I've spoken to on the phone at KDP knows the answer to this question.

Does someone here know? I'm not looking to game the system--I'm just trying to understand what the heck I can and can't do. Really, I saw no obvious harm in quoting from customer reviews. It seemed an obvious advertising strategy. Yet AMS doesn't allow it.

Thanks in advance for any info.

Copyright for customer reviews is held by the customer; that's why you can't quote them. An editorial review can be quoted just about anywhere, but I believe only as an excerpt and with attribution.

Offline RTW

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #201 on: November 10, 2017, 07:45:14 AM »
Thanks, LilyBLily. I guess I figured fair use would cover the use of a couple of words inside quote marks. If anyone else has experience with this, I'd appreciate your input. Thanks.

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #202 on: November 10, 2017, 09:37:28 AM »
I'm currently running 24 Sponsored Products ads and all are in profit with an average return on investment of 65%.  I've had no success with Product Display ads and no longer run them.

My average keyword bid across the ads is $0.16.  Average spend per click is $0.10.  I monitor and tweak the ads daily, upping and lowering bids, stopping and re-posting non-performing ads with different ad copy or keyword bid, etc.  It feels a lot like gardening.

All my ads are box sets that are in series of box sets which have significant sell-through.  I've never made a consistent profit with ads on low-priced, single volume, standalone books.

Philip
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 11:17:42 AM by Philip Gibson »

What if there had been social media during important historical events?
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Offline Bob Stewart

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #203 on: November 10, 2017, 11:00:33 AM »
OK, I ran a variety of Product Display ads, targeting individual books, categories, etc., gradually upping the CPC until I got some results. Across the board, the average CPC paid is $.59-.67.

I don't see how anyone can improve on this much, unless they are in a very uncompetitive category and target an unexpectedly popular book.

For Sponsored Product ads, targeting identical authors, analogous topics, etc., my average CPC is $.10-.13.

Since it's reasonable to assume visitors coming either way are equally likely to buy, Product Display ads simply cost five times what Sponsored Product ads cost, and usually far more than what one is likely to earn in royalties.

Either certain people have some phenomenal conversion rates, or Product Display ads have been bid up to the point of absurdity.

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #204 on: November 10, 2017, 11:34:15 AM »
On running Sponsored Product ads with low bids.

I average 30-40 clicks per sale at an average cost per click of $0.10.  This nets me a good profit on my $6.99 box sets due to sell-through and paperback sales of my children's books.

I'd like to do a thought experiment to see the benefit of multiple ads with low cost bids compared to a single ad with high cost bids.  Say I need 40 clicks to make a sale in either case. 

Case A: I run one ad at $0.20 per click. Therefore, I spend $8 ($0.20 x 40) to make a sale.

Case B: I run ten ads at $0.10 per click.  40 clicks = 4 clicks per ad. I spend $0.40 per ad. So 40 clicks = $4 ($0.40 x 10) to make a sale.

Does this make sense?  Am I missing something? What should I conclude from this?

Philip
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 11:37:03 AM by Philip Gibson »

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Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #205 on: November 11, 2017, 03:32:13 PM »
I terminated all of my AMS ads. Have never seen a profit no matter how I chased keyword culling. I'm likely too small-time to see any benefit.
 

Offline Jena H

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #206 on: November 11, 2017, 05:30:57 PM »
I unpaused two ads the other day, with some tweaks to keywords.  So far I'm not seeing any activity at all from one ad, but the other is showing signs of life.  (For now, at least.)  ANyway, at the moment, the keywords with the most impressions aren't the ones that have generated sales--not by a long shot.

For whatever it's worth, the keywords with the highest number of impressions by far are other author names and book series that are similar to mine, or have a similar audience.  And yet...  no sales from those high-impression keywords.  Instead--and I repeat that this is so far, as things could change-- the successful keywords are very generic ones related to genre: historical fiction, American history, etc.  There is one keyword of a book series title that has led to a sale, but it has less than 700 impressions, so that one sale might just be a lucky fluke.  (Hey, I'll take it, lucky flukes are still lucky.   ;)
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Offline weigle1234

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #207 on: November 11, 2017, 10:03:52 PM »
On running Sponsored Product ads with low bids.

I average 30-40 clicks per sale at an average cost per click of $0.10.  This nets me a good profit on my $6.99 box sets due to sell-through and paperback sales of my children's books.

I'd like to do a thought experiment to see the benefit of multiple ads with low cost bids compared to a single ad with high cost bids.  Say I need 40 clicks to make a sale in either case. 

Case A: I run one ad at $0.20 per click. Therefore, I spend $8 ($0.20 x 40) to make a sale.

Case B: I run ten ads at $0.10 per click.  40 clicks = 4 clicks per ad. I spend $0.40 per ad. So 40 clicks = $4 ($0.40 x 10) to make a sale.

Does this make sense?  Am I missing something? What should I conclude from this?

Philip

If you are running multiple ads, does your Advertising Campaign chart reflect specific sales for each individual ad?  If not, it is impossible to evaluate individual ad performance.

Without that all-important information, it is easy to be naively lulled into believing total ad performance reflects reality.  Let us assume, for example, you are running 10 ads which have generated 10 sales.  Obviously, that is an overall average of 1 sale for each ad.  However, it may well be that 1 ad alone generated all 10 sales.  Running the other 9 ads is nothing but wasted money (and time).

In reality, the chances that all 10 ads are performing equally is unlikely (most likely impossible).  Without accurate individual sales data from our Advertising Campaign chart, running multiple ads is but a guessing game (a poor way to try to turn a profit, or to attempt to run any business).

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #208 on: November 12, 2017, 04:54:38 AM »
If you are running multiple ads, does your Advertising Campaign chart reflect specific sales for each individual ad?  If not, it is impossible to evaluate individual ad performance.

Without that all-important information, it is easy to be naively lulled into believing total ad performance reflects reality.  Let us assume, for example, you are running 10 ads which have generated 10 sales.  Obviously, that is an overall average of 1 sale for each ad.  However, it may well be that 1 ad alone generated all 10 sales.  Running the other 9 ads is nothing but wasted money (and time).

In reality, the chances that all 10 ads are performing equally is unlikely (most likely impossible).  Without accurate individual sales data from our Advertising Campaign chart, running multiple ads is but a guessing game (a poor way to try to turn a profit, or to attempt to run any business).

Good question.

I believe I am able to evaluate the performance of individual ads to a fairly accurate degree by using both my (accurate and timely) KDP sales dashboard and the (delayed and only partly accurate) AMS reporting.  I keep a daily record of the $ amounts reported by each ad and, using the list prices of individual books (ebooks and paperbacks), and looking at both the KDP and AMS reporting, can fairly accurately calculate the number of sales per day each ad is generating over time.

Although the AMS sales reporting is not reliable as to $ amounts and can't take into account sell-through, read-through and borrows, I believe it can serve a 'binary' function in that it tells me if that ad has had sales or no sales at all over a sustained period.  If that reporting for an ad does report sales over a period of several days, I give it an asterisk (*) in my own sales reporting table.

If an ad gets no asterisks for 10 days or more, I can fairly confidently assume that ad is not working.  In the case I think the keywords for that ad are worth sticking with, I repackage the ad, i.e. I change the ad copy and/or bid and submit a new ad.

I also monitor the ranking of the books being advertised and, using the 'rank-to-sales/borrows' chart am able to gauge how many borrows a campaign is generating, although that is at the campaign level - it can't tell me the effect individual ads are having on borrows.

Philip
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 05:16:47 AM by Philip Gibson »

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Offline Accord64

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #209 on: November 12, 2017, 10:06:49 AM »
Ugh!  :o

I launched two sponsored product ads (for two different books) a few days ago, and both have performed horrendously. They are easily tied with each other for the worst performers in my AMS experience.

In the past, these ads (same keywords and bid prices) have consistently recorded tens of thousands impressions, dozens of clicks, and a few sales during the first few days. Instead, each has under 1500 impressions and only one click between them.

Either AMS is hyper-competitive right now or I didn't make enough sacrifices to the AMS algorithm gods. Both ads have stalled so I might just terminate them early.

On the positive side, they only cost me 25 cents.

Anyone else seeing similar trends? 
 

Offline A.G.B

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #210 on: November 12, 2017, 11:28:06 AM »
I feel bad for you, but I'm not sure a few days is enough data. I've seen loads of reports that say you have to be more patient to see results.

Offline TromboneAl

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #211 on: November 12, 2017, 11:44:17 AM »
Thanks, LilyBLily. I guess I figured fair use would cover the use of a couple of words inside quote marks. If anyone else has experience with this, I'd appreciate your input. Thanks.

This ad was rejected:



Reason: - The ad contains references to customer reviews or star ratings. As the star ratings on Amazon are dynamic and can change rapidly, the star rating in your ad may not be correct throughout your ad campaign.

I took out "Well written thriller" and the ad was accepted.

My conclusion: quotes from reviews are not allowed.

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Offline weigle1234

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #212 on: November 12, 2017, 02:37:58 PM »
On running Sponsored Product ads with low bids.

I average 30-40 clicks per sale at an average cost per click of $0.10.  This nets me a good profit on my $6.99 box sets due to sell-through and paperback sales of my children's books.

I'd like to do a thought experiment to see the benefit of multiple ads with low cost bids compared to a single ad with high cost bids.  Say I need 40 clicks to make a sale in either case. 

Case A: I run one ad at $0.20 per click. Therefore, I spend $8 ($0.20 x 40) to make a sale.

Case B: I run ten ads at $0.10 per click.  40 clicks = 4 clicks per ad. I spend $0.40 per ad. So 40 clicks = $4 ($0.40 x 10) to make a sale.

Does this make sense?  Am I missing something? What should I conclude from this?

Philip

As you also seem to have discovered, running multiple ads (I have run hundreds) yields all kinds of useful information - but only if the results are closely monitored - which you appear to be doing.

The most frustrating aspect is that of AMS not providing useful sales feedback (more like nonexistent) for most individual ads.  With those few ads where AMS feedback does actually exist, here is what I soon discovered:

For those few ads producing documented sales on the Advertising Campaign chart, the Average Daily Increase in Impressions remains fairly constant.  However, for those ads never yielding sales data, the Average Daily Increase in Impressions steadily declines; which I perceive as evidence of a failed ad, thus Terminating it.

For example, an ad may initially yield Average Daily Impressions of 1,000 - but will steadily decline to perhaps 200 after running just 4 weeks.  In such instances (which is the norm) I terminate the ad after 4 weeks.  Also, I ignore all stats for the first week with all ads since those stats are generally meaningless due to AMS reporting delays.

On rare occasion an ad will produce a sale almost immediately; sometimes with the very first Click.  I am very careful with such ad response since an early sale is often misleading.  Unless the ad soon generates additional sales, it is easy to make the mistake of allowing the ad to continue running - soon eating up profits from the first sale.  This is especially true when placing higher bids, where AMS tends to quickly initiate a money grab with tons of Clicks, but no orders.

My take on new ads that generate very early sales is that they tend to initially attract undue attention; causing some folks to order out of mere curiosity.  I have had that happen many times.  After that first order, new ad response may quickly die off.  So, it is best to keep a close eye to avoid quickly losing early profits.

Even ads that are productive for a few months will eventually lose their effectiveness (steady decline in Average Daily Impressions and/or sales).  I eventually Terminate such ads; after which I either start an entirely new ad, or make major Keyword changes (and/or adding new Keywords) to the Terminated ad; then resubmitting it (which causes the Algorithm to throw the revised ad in an entirely new direction - often bringing it back to life).

Offline weigle1234

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #213 on: November 12, 2017, 03:54:52 PM »

Case A: I run one ad at $0.20 per click. Therefore, I spend $8 ($0.20 x 40) to make a sale.

Case B: I run ten ads at $0.10 per click.  40 clicks = 4 clicks per ad. I spend $0.40 per ad. So 40 clicks = $4 ($0.40 x 10) to make a sale.

Does this make sense?  Am I missing something? What should I conclude from this?

Philip


What you are saying makes perfect sense (at least from my experience).

I now start most ads at the 2-Cent bid level.  If the ads appears to be working after running for at least a few weeks, I usually up the bid (usually to 5-Cents; which generally results in 3-Cents CPC).  But I monitor the new ad closely since AMS often goes ape - dramatically increasing bid count - which is great if more orders result; but often it does not.

For me, 2-Cent bids always generate a profit, and my cost per order is very low.  But, it takes forever to generate significant profits.    In summary, increased bidding is the answer to generating more profits, but ad cost per order increases - along with a very much increased risk of the ad quickly going into the red when AMS goes nuts with Click numbers.

The trick here, IMHO, is to find a compromising Sweet Spot among bid levels where everything comes together.  Much easier said than done - as most of us have discovered.  The AMS goal seems (at least to me) to be making that process as confusing and as difficult as possible!

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #214 on: November 12, 2017, 04:27:16 PM »
What you are saying makes perfect sense (at least from my experience).

The trick here, IMHO, is to find a compromising Sweet Spot among bid levels where everything comes together.  Much easier said than done - as most of us have discovered.  The AMS goal seems (at least to me) to be making that process as confusing and as difficult as possible!

After much trial and error, including a brief period when I was spending more than I was making by bidding too high, I have found my 'sweet spot' to be a bid of $0.16, resulting in average cost per click of $0.10.

It would be interesting to know if others think they have found their sweet spot for bids.

Philip


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Offline AlexaKang

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #215 on: November 12, 2017, 08:32:18 PM »
Copyright for customer reviews is held by the customer; that's why you can't quote them. An editorial review can be quoted just about anywhere, but I believe only as an excerpt and with attribution.

Don't writers quote customer reviews in blurbs? I thought I'd seen customer quotes in blurbs.

Offline TromboneAl

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #216 on: November 13, 2017, 07:50:32 AM »
Don't writers quote customer reviews in blurbs? I thought I'd seen customer quotes in blurbs.

They do, even though it is against the Amazon rules.

I have a hard time imagining a reviewer caring about copyright infringement, much less complaining. So, technically, if you quote "Well written review" somewhere it's an infringement, but c'mon.

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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #217 on: November 13, 2017, 08:18:04 AM »
I think it's probably easier though to give credit to the reviewer when you do so in a blurb. I've quoted reviews a few times, but also always been clear on who wrote that review so they get their proper credit. The "A fantastic book - Amazon reviewer" or just "A fantastic book" quotes I've seen that don't give credit to who said it are the ones I find problematic.


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Offline Tizzy

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #218 on: November 14, 2017, 02:45:56 PM »
This ad was rejected:



Reason: - The ad contains references to customer reviews or star ratings. As the star ratings on Amazon are dynamic and can change rapidly, the star rating in your ad may not be correct throughout your ad campaign.

I took out "Well written thriller" and the ad was accepted.

My conclusion: quotes from reviews are not allowed.

To be honest, I'd say your ad looks better without the quote anyway so the amazon rep did you a favor. The quote seemed (to me) tacked on and unnecessary on a product listing, I'd bet you'll have a much better chance at selling now :D

Offline weigle1234

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #219 on: November 14, 2017, 09:35:49 PM »

After much trial and error, including a brief period when I was spending more than I was making by bidding too high, I have found my 'sweet spot' to be a bid of $0.16, resulting in average cost per click of $0.10.

It would be interesting to know if others think they have found their sweet spot for bids.

Philip

In general, trying to find many Sweet Spots may be impossible since they will probably vary considerably from ad-to-ad.

Back several months ago, when I submitted one of my very first AMS ad, I decided to advertise my VapoKarb ebook (for a DIY fuel-saving device I developed about 30+ years ago during my many years in the mail order business).  I sold tens of thousands of copies for $10, and also gave away many thousands more as ordering incentives.  Since my VapoKarb design has long been obsolete, I offer that ebook mainly as a curiosity item for folks interested in old, but proven, technology - therefore priced at only 99-cents.

But, the primary motivation for my VapoKarb ebook was to test the waters with low-bid (like 2-Cents) AMS ads.  I never intended to make a profit with the ebook; only to use it as a test ad, and to draw attention to my other higher-priced books.  As expected, my VapoKarb ebook ad venture never made money - but, to my surprise, it lost but a few bucks (less than $8).

After a few months I decided to stop Running the ad since it had long since served its purpose.  However, because the ad had already garnered over 1,000,000 Impressions, I decided to keep it Running just to see if it would reach 2,000,000 Impressions - which it eventually did.  I then Terminated the ad.

Long story short, yesterday I decided to check long-term sales stats - referring to the Historical chart on my Sales Dashboard (referring to the Life-to-Date option).  To my surprise, I discovered that almost as many VapoKarb ebooks have sold since I Terminated its ad.  Obviously, those ebooks are selling organically.

Now I am questioning the effectiveness of the AMS ad for my VapoKarb ebook.  I spent many hours trying to perfect and run that ad, and closely monitoring its performance (in spite of the fact that AMS never provides sales data on my Advertising Campaign chart for the ad).

Even though I lost but a few bucks while the ad was Running, at least I am now earning 35-Cents for each organically sold copy - hardly enough for bragging rights.

All this is causing me to seriously question the effectiveness of my hundreds of AMS ads for my many other ebooks.  Hate to rain on anyone's parade, but this is something I definitely need to further investigate.

Offline LilyBLily

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #220 on: November 14, 2017, 09:47:24 PM »
Since sales were at a standstill before I started these ads and I have only published one book since, I ascribe all my current sales to AMS.

Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #221 on: November 15, 2017, 05:44:13 AM »
Since sales were at a standstill before I started these ads and I have only published one book since, I ascribe all my current sales to AMS.

I was in a similar situation. Also, I've been running them on one of my new non-fiction titles (Excel for Beginners) and they've reported $600+ in sales related to the ads, but I think the ads are responsible for far more sales than that. When I first published the book and would search for that term I wasn't even on the first page of search results. Now, at least on the two browsers on my computer, it's listed as the #2 book in search results. So I suspect I may also be getting organic sales that are an indirect result of running AMS.


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Offline Laura Rae Amos

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #222 on: November 15, 2017, 07:28:59 AM »
Does anyone know if there is a way to change all of your keyword bids all at once? (Short of starting a new ad, I mean.) Or can I only change them one by one (times hundreds of keywords)?

Actually, even when copying keywords over to a new ad, they seem to retain the bid price they had in the last ad, so maybe even that wouldn't work to change the whole set at once.

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Offline BillyDeCarlo

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #223 on: November 15, 2017, 07:35:47 AM »
Not that I know. That would actually be a usability enhancement, which AMS has no clue on. It's copy and paste, paste, paste. Another maintenance outage tonight I see, hopefully they're updating this system to provide some enhancements.
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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #224 on: November 15, 2017, 07:40:28 AM »
Does anyone know if there is a way to change all of your keyword bids all at once? (Short of starting a new ad, I mean.) Or can I only change them one by one (times hundreds of keywords)?

Actually, even when copying keywords over to a new ad, they seem to retain the bid price they had in the last ad, so maybe even that wouldn't work to change the whole set at once.

I've never used it, but there was a service mentioned on KB called Machete that had set up a way to do that. Might want to look up that thread.

For new ads, I download the Excel file from the old ad, decide what keywords I want to have in the new ad and at what bid levels, and then start the new ad. (I don't copy.) I load the keywords to the new ad in chunks for each bid level. (I usually only have three levels.) You can just copy and paste from the Excel file to load each batch at once.


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