Author Topic: A New AMS Thread  (Read 52504 times)  

Offline Jena H

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #400 on: January 07, 2018, 04:45:26 PM »
For me, this is only step one. The second (and ultimately important) step is generating sales. If keyword B has a strong click-to-impression ratio, but isn't generating sales, then what does that say? That's my current dilemma. Does it indicate a weakness of my product page, or am I really dialed into my demographic as the click-to-impression ratio would suggest?

It could be a lot of things. Maybe it's just a slow time of year for my genre? Increased competition? Or (dare I say) maybe AMS has peaked as an effective marketing tool?  **Ducks as object are thrown at me**  :D 

       

Both keywords have generated sales.  So far, B has outperformed A in that regard.  Another reason I feel that Keyword B is more effective.
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Offline weigle1234

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #401 on: January 07, 2018, 07:58:23 PM »

If keyword B has a strong click-to-impression ratio, but isn't generating sales, then what does that say? 
       

Unless you can actually validate sales for any individual Keyword, IMHO it probably says nothing.

I recently purchased Brian Meek's eBook "Mastering Amazon Ads" and find it to be very informative.  Almost all his concepts for ad analysis correlate very closely with my experiences.  However, I peddle only DIY books (both eBooks and paperbacks), while the vast majority of folks I encounter via forums basically publish novels of various genres.  I have no idea how his concepts would apply to novelists, but I suspect they would closely correlate.

The first thing that caught my attention was his emphatic statement that one should totally ignore the "Est. Total Sales"  data provided in the AMS "Advertising Campaigns" chart.  Early in my AMS experiences I became suspect of that data, and generally found it to be very inaccurate.  In the last few months I have come to the conclusion that it is actually misleading - whether that is deliberate on the part of AMS remains to be seen (if determining such is even possible).  In any successful business, accurate financial information is essential.  Why AMS is hesitant (or even refuses, in some cases) to provide accurate information brings everything into question IMHO.

I have 3 eBooks for which I have placed hundreds of ads.  They all were, and some still are, intended solely as test ads.  I never expected to turn a profit since I priced them at 99-Cents.  Two books actually did make a few bucks, but mere chump change.  I stopped AMS ads for one of the books, since in the ad description I stated that I would always stick with its 99-Cent offer.  To my surprise occasional orders still comes through (for a whopping 35-Cents royalty); obviously organic orders.

For the other 2 eBooks I jacked the price up to $2.99 for another round of testing, rather than just kill the ads.  To my surprise, both eBooks are turning a profit.  I have no idea how long that will continue, but I have little to nothing to lose since I feel confident that those ads draw attention to my other books (all 7 are both eBook and paperback offerings) which do turn profits, but nothing to get excited about.

The point of all this relates back to my 3 low-cost eBooks.  My AMS "Advertising Campaigns" chart has never shown even 1 sale for any one of those 3 eBooks.  I have written to the "Contact Us" folks on different occasions and have gotten nothing other the expected runaround.  I presented my last inquiry such as to make it as "Idiot-Proof" as possible. Their reply was that they checked my ads, and that the ad information was being "Populated."

Exactly what information is being "Populated" is anyone's guess.  My request for "Est. Total Sales" info certainly is not one of them.  For that specific eBook, I have run 57 unique ads, which have garnered 192 orders as of today (January 7) - not even one of those sales is noted on my "Advertising Campaigns" chart.  In short, I feel that AMS is "Stonewalling" me - but "Why?" is the big question.  Their motivation is puzzling - but, as with anything else in life there is always a reason for everything if one digs deep enough - especially when money is involved (the primary factor in any successful business).

For my other 7 books, "Est. Total Sales" info generally appears, but is sporadic and always delayed (as AMS points out).  But, how reliable is even that data?  I have seen so many inconsistencies even with mature data (data over 15 days old), that I have serious doubts as to the accuracy of any data.

To judge individual ad performance without reliable sales data is impossible.  At best, one can only hope to make "educated guesses" - most of which are likely to be no more than wishful thinking.

Many folks on these forums appear to base their choosing of prime keywords as those keywords which produce sales.  But is that sales data reliable?  I would agree that any such prime keyword is probably a good choice to keep using, but is it actually related to sales from that unique ad?  Or, is it simply AMS data related to overall performance of all ads Running at that point in time?  In short, I question whether such sales data yields any useful information when it comes to analyzing individual ad performance.

All this being said, I totally agree with Meek's opinion that "Est. Total Sales" data for individual ads is useless and should be totally ignored.  I will go one step further - IMHO it is actually misleading - but again, "Why?"

Meeks also states that "A Click is a Click, is a Click" - inferring that all Clicks are equal.  I have held the same opinion for a very long time - based only on my experiences of Running hundreds of test ads (approaching 700).  Ads producing tons of impressions (like 10,000+ each day) and lots of Clicks generally correlate with increased overall sales data a few days later.  Especially if the CTR level is fairly high - on the order of .10%, or greater (that is, at least 1 Click per 1,000 Impressions).  For myself, high CTR ads often hold steady for weeks on end.  I Terminate any ads that display rapidly declining Impressions after a reasonable time - also in line with Meek's advice.

One point where I differ with Meeks is in regard to Low CTR ads.  I have experienced many test ads (in reality, all my ads are test ads) with Low CTRs (such as .03%, or less) that keep plodding away, still garnering lots of Impressions (and Clicks), yet usually showing no short-term signs of drastically diminishing Impressions.  When that point is eventually reached (which it always is), I never hesitate with Terminating.

Meeks appears to be primarily emphasizing Product Display (Interest) ads at the moment.  With the exception of a single Product Display ad many moons ago, all my ads have been Sponsored Products, Keyword stuffed, for which I have had moderate success (but I am always open to testing just about anything and everything).  Recently (January 1) I submitted a Product Display ad, choosing 4 Interest categories.  So far nothing other than 10 Impressions are showing (no Clicks).  Meeks repeatedly mention that such ads are slow to gain traction.  Obviously my ad is barely into 1st gear, so I shall see what happens.  Since then I have submitted about a dozen more such ads (with but a single Interest category for each ad), for the 7 books.  Again, I shall see what happens.

About this same time I also submitted a few more Sponsored Products ads, which are showing upwards of 70,000+ Impressions, along with CTRs in the neighborhood of .20% (a good sign this early in the game).  Sure a far cry from those few Product Display ads.

The only thing that is unusual, and seems a bit out of place, is the fact that my "Pages Read" numbers seemed to have flat-lined at very low values for several days - which leads me to wonder if the Product Display ads are somehow interfering with those figures.  As usual with AMS, paranoia reigns supreme!

For what it may be worth, almost all my ad Bids are submitted at only 5-Cents (with aCPC of 3-Cents).  That low Bid level seems to give me decent ROI, probably only because of fairly low competition in my DIY genre (and many sub-genres).  If my Product Display ads do not gain traction soon, I will start gradually increasing Bid levels, but only with very few test ads.  As many have learned, to our dismay, it is easy to take a bath big time by raising Bid levels to very high numbers.  For myself, even experimenting with 25-Cent bids always leads to disaster.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 09:37:31 PM by weigle1234 »

Offline MelanieCellier

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #402 on: January 10, 2018, 06:33:14 AM »
Sorry to pop in without reading the thread, but I just wanted to check something I only just realized. You can't advertise box sets on AMS? What's with that?

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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #403 on: January 10, 2018, 07:30:01 AM »
Sorry to pop in without reading the thread, but I just wanted to check something I only just realized. You can't advertise box sets on AMS? What's with that?

No, you should be able to. I have a collection that's just like a box set that I advertise. Is it listed through a distributor or in erotica?


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Offline Philip Gibson

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #404 on: January 10, 2018, 07:30:35 AM »
Sorry to pop in without reading the thread, but I just wanted to check something I only just realized. You can't advertise box sets on AMS? What's with that?

I only promote my box sets on AMS. 

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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #405 on: January 10, 2018, 07:35:05 AM »
Just wanted to share something I hadn't seen before about when we get billed. It matched my experience (that I always get billed on about the third of the month no matter what I owe), but I hadn't been aware of the credit thresholds before this:

It's under Campaign Billing in the Help section of KDP:
"Advertisers paying with credit cards are not provided with notifications of billing. You are billed for your ads when:
   
  • Your account accumulates your first $1.00 worth of clicks.
       
  • Your account accumulates additional clicks that meet or exceed your credit limit. Your credit limit begins at $50 and increases each time you reach your credit limit and you make a successful payment. From $50 it increases to $150, $200, $350, and finally $500.
       
  • You have a balance due for the previous month, regardless of your credit limit. You incur this charge on the third day of each month."


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Offline MelanieCellier

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #406 on: January 11, 2018, 01:08:56 AM »
Just wanted to share something I hadn't seen before about when we get billed. It matched my experience (that I always get billed on about the third of the month no matter what I owe), but I hadn't been aware of the credit thresholds before this:

It's under Campaign Billing in the Help section of KDP:
"Advertisers paying with credit cards are not provided with notifications of billing. You are billed for your ads when:
   
  • Your account accumulates your first $1.00 worth of clicks.
       
  • Your account accumulates additional clicks that meet or exceed your credit limit. Your credit limit begins at $50 and increases each time you reach your credit limit and you make a successful payment. From $50 it increases to $150, $200, $350, and finally $500.
       
  • You have a balance due for the previous month, regardless of your credit limit. You incur this charge on the third day of each month."

That's interesting! It was definitely feeling like I was being billed at random  :)

No, you should be able to. I have a collection that's just like a box set that I advertise. Is it listed through a distributor or in erotica?
I only promote my box sets on AMS. 

Thanks for responding. I've only just released my first box set and when I tried to set up an AMS ad, it was rejected. In usual Amazon fashion, they didn't say why. But when I went through to the link, one of the first things it said was 2D images only. Have I misunderstood what that means?
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 03:31:06 AM by MelanieCellier »

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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #407 on: January 11, 2018, 08:54:38 AM »
All the covers in your current signature are 2D. But if you have one of those images that shows the titles of the books looking like the spines of a physical book and then a cover image for the box, that's what's considered a 3D image. (Most of those massive box sets use the 3D image.) Just looked. Your Four Kingdoms cover image is considered a 3D image.


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Offline Guy Riessen

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #408 on: January 11, 2018, 09:37:49 AM »
shut down any keywords that are not generating enough clicks per impression or too many clicks without a sale. I view impressions without clicks and clicks without buys as a symptom of my ad not being properly targeted. (The example I use from my own experience was Harry Potter on my fantasy novel. I think I had 35,000 impressions on that keyword but five clicks or something ridiculous. Clearly HP readers don't want my book.)

This is not the only way to look at it though. Let's say you KNOW that your book is ideally targeted to HP fans. If you're getting impressions but not clicks--that tells me that your cover or ad copy is not targeting HP fans correctly. If you're getting clicks but not sales, that tells me your blurb (or possibly a larger view of your cover is off putting in some fashion to HP fans) is not targeting HP fans. Of course if you only think you 'might' find some crossover fans, then concentrate on other keywords that better match your market--this advice applies to the case where you KNOW your target audience is not responding to the ad. It might not be your ad keyword, it might be your book's blurb.

Here's a small for-instance. My book Piercing the Veil is written for fans of Lovecraft, the Call of Cthulhu role playing game, and game and comics nerds in general. I was seeing lots of clicks coming from the keyword 'Cthulhu'--that told me I had my ad text and cover were spot-on. Fans were clicking to the book.

But I wasn't getting ANY sales--so I tried to look at the landing page with fresh eyes and realized its blurb screamed "Lovecraftian Lethal Weapon Cranked to 11!" but it was at the bottom of blurb (I was thinking to close the sale, right?). When the book page came up, there was nothing that said (without clicking the 'show more') my book was Lovecraftian or Mythos focused--the cover is clearly horror, but it could be any kind of horror. So, I moved that 'Lovecraftian' quote to the top, made it big and bold, and suddenly the "cthulhu' clicks started to generate sales.


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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #409 on: January 11, 2018, 10:44:34 AM »
Makes sense. In my case HP was a big stretch but I figured it was such a large market it was worth trying. I was getting good conversion on authors that were a better fit like Mercedes Lackey, Juliet Marillier, Anne McCaffrey, etc. so it made more sense to shut down that keyword than retarget to attract an audience that wasn't my primary audience.


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Offline MelanieCellier

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #410 on: January 11, 2018, 04:21:01 PM »
All the covers in your current signature are 2D. But if you have one of those images that shows the titles of the books looking like the spines of a physical book and then a cover image for the box, that's what's considered a 3D image. (Most of those massive box sets use the 3D image.) Just looked. Your Four Kingdoms cover image is considered a 3D image.

Yes, that's the one. (I don't have it in my sig since the individual titles are all already there.) Thanks for checking for me.
So, no box sets. That's a pity. I wonder why...

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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #411 on: January 11, 2018, 04:35:19 PM »
No, you can do box sets, you just need to use a 2D image from what you're saying. (Apple, I believe, has that rule for box sets, too. 2D images only.) I suspect the reason they don't want the 3D image is because there are enough paperback sales that come from the ads they don't want anyone confused about what's being advertised.


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Offline MelanieCellier

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #412 on: January 11, 2018, 09:25:45 PM »
No, you can do box sets, you just need to use a 2D image from what you're saying. (Apple, I believe, has that rule for box sets, too. 2D images only.) I suspect the reason they don't want the 3D image is because there are enough paperback sales that come from the ads they don't want anyone confused about what's being advertised.

There's no way to use a different image for an AMS ad than the uploaded cover, is there? I don't want to change my cover as I think that the 3D image most clearly and effectively communicates what it is to customers. Especially since it seems to be the norm for box sets from what I've seen. I have a 2D image I could use for the ad, but I don't think that's possible. Ah, well, too bad!

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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #413 on: January 12, 2018, 06:03:53 AM »
Right. You'd have to change the cover on your main book page in order to run AMS on the boxset.


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Offline randallcfloyd

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #414 on: January 12, 2018, 02:19:05 PM »
I understand there's a lag in the reporting, but how long do you wait to terminate an ad that is not getting more than a hundred or so impressions each day? The genre is relevant, max CPC is .35 to start, but no traction. I'm using a ton of relevant keywords ...

I know the competition has ramped up as more and more people try to use the ad platform.

I'm just a little bit more than curious.

I also searched through both of the main AMS threads and didn't quite find the answer I was looking for.

Thanks

Offline MelanieCellier

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #415 on: January 12, 2018, 02:39:51 PM »
Right. You'd have to change the cover on your main book page in order to run AMS on the boxset.

Ive never really paid attention before, but I was just on my product page and there were no less than three box sets with the regular box set image across the two rows of sponsored product ads. So how did they do it?

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Offline Accord64

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #416 on: January 12, 2018, 04:20:11 PM »
I understand there's a lag in the reporting, but how long do you wait to terminate an ad that is not getting more than a hundred or so impressions each day? The genre is relevant, max CPC is .35 to start, but no traction. I'm using a ton of relevant keywords ...

I know the competition has ramped up as more and more people try to use the ad platform.

I'm just a little bit more than curious.

I also searched through both of the main AMS threads and didn't quite find the answer I was looking for.

Thanks

When it's obvious that an ad is a complete dud (hardly and impressions and no clicks over the first few days), I think it's best to terminate it and start over. When AMS algos kill an ad in its infancy, I've found that no amount of time, keyword tweaking, or changes in CPC bids seems to bring it to life.

I've had an ad successfully run one month, but completely flop when I run it again (identical) the next month. Perhaps competitive factors at the time (number of other ads in the genera/keywords) doomed it before it even launched? Hard to say, since AMS won't explain how their ad performance algos work.
 

Offline randallcfloyd

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #417 on: January 12, 2018, 04:28:12 PM »
When it's obvious that an ad is a complete dud (hardly and impressions and no clicks over the first few days), I think it's best to terminate it and start over. When AMS algos kill an ad in its infancy, I've found that no amount of time, keyword tweaking, or changes in CPC bids seems to bring it to life.

I've had an ad successfully run one month, but completely flop when I run it again (identical) the next month. Perhaps competitive factors at the time (number of other ads in the genera/keywords) doomed it before it even launched? Hard to say, since AMS won't explain how their ad performance algos work.

Thanks! I'll make sure to keep my eyes open for the next day or so.

Offline Tizzy

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #418 on: January 12, 2018, 05:27:41 PM »
I swear AMS ads throw a dice every day to decide whether to show my book or not. I have several keywords doing great, with the ACPC way lower than that I've set at max (my max is $0.4 for my main keywords -the ones I know for a fact are spot-on-, average ACPC is roughly half that much), but it seems the system only enjoys showing them one night a week, two at best. So most of the days I'll get no clicks, then one night a week I get five clicks ending up in a sale and two borrows. It's so inconsistent it has me tearing my hair out! I just wish I could know why I'll get barely any prints (and therefore no clicks, or sales) on my ad some days, then on other days it'll work amazingly. Mraaah!

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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #419 on: January 12, 2018, 05:44:57 PM »
I swear AMS ads throw a dice every day to decide whether to show my book or not. I have several keywords doing great, with the ACPC way lower than that I've set at max (my max is $0.4 for my main keywords -the ones I know for a fact are spot-on-, average ACPC is roughly half that much), but it seems the system only enjoys showing them one night a week, two at best. So most of the days I'll get no clicks, then one night a week I get five clicks ending up in a sale and two borrows. It's so inconsistent it has me tearing my hair out! I just wish I could know why I'll get barely any prints (and therefore no clicks, or sales) on my ad some days, then on other days it'll work amazingly. Mraaah!

*goes off to punch something and breaks his hand in the process, thus leading his writing career to an early end*

Does this coincide with times when more people would be shopping on Amazon? If so, it could be because you're underbidding in your category and only during heavy traffic times do those who are bidding more than you run out of budget resulting in your ads being displayed.


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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #420 on: January 12, 2018, 05:47:23 PM »
I understand there's a lag in the reporting, but how long do you wait to terminate an ad that is not getting more than a hundred or so impressions each day? The genre is relevant, max CPC is .35 to start, but no traction. I'm using a ton of relevant keywords ...

I know the competition has ramped up as more and more people try to use the ad platform.

I'm just a little bit more than curious.

I also searched through both of the main AMS threads and didn't quite find the answer I was looking for.

Thanks

I see a delay in reports of estimated sales, but generally don't see a delay in reports of impressions and clicks. So if I'm not seeing traction on an ad within a day or so I figure something needs tweaked. (Generally the bid. Keep in mind I routinely bid higher than a lot of folks on these threads.)


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Offline Tizzy

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #421 on: January 12, 2018, 05:52:12 PM »
Does this coincide with times when more people would be shopping on Amazon? If so, it could be because you're underbidding in your category and only during heavy traffic times do those who are bidding more than you run out of budget resulting in your ads being displayed.

I wouldn't expect so, although naturally I don't have a chart of Amazon's users. I mean, it happened two nights ago, which was a Wednesday night and I can't see what would be so special about a Wednesday night as opposed to other nights. I generally get most of my impressions and clicks during the nighttime, but as you say I've always assumed that's due to user load - can't show my ad to people or have them click on it if there are no people browsing the site to begin with. The thing is, while most of the activity happens at night there's no set pattern as to what nights it does better on other than every five nights, which makes no sense. If I did better on specific weeknights it would make sense, but it's not the case. It's just Amazon being Amazon I guess.

Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #422 on: January 12, 2018, 05:55:22 PM »
Ive never really paid attention before, but I was just on my product page and there were no less than three box sets with the regular box set image across the two rows of sponsored product ads. So how did they do it?

Weird. You're right. I just looked and there were two in the sponsored product ads on one of my books.

After all this conversation I went and found the part of the acceptance policies that says it, but all it says is: "Images provided should be high quality, professional, and visually appealing. They must be a 2-dimensional representation of the product. There should be minimal text on the image. Text must be legible and easily understandable to the average customer."

I guess just chalk it up to who reviewed the ad?


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Offline MelanieCellier

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #423 on: January 12, 2018, 06:07:00 PM »
Weird. You're right. I just looked and there were two in the sponsored product ads on one of my books.

After all this conversation I went and found the part of the acceptance policies that says it, but all it says is: "Images provided should be high quality, professional, and visually appealing. They must be a 2-dimensional representation of the product. There should be minimal text on the image. Text must be legible and easily understandable to the average customer."

I guess just chalk it up to who reviewed the ad?

*Sigh* Sounds about par for the course for Amazon.

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Offline rikatz

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #424 on: January 13, 2018, 01:14:07 PM »
Sorry to pop in without reading the thread, but I just wanted to check something I only just realized. You can't advertise box sets on AMS? What's with that?

From what I've read, a 3D cover is acceptable for SP ads but not PDI ads because these are shown on kindles and 3D ads don't look right on kindles.


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