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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 12681 times)  

Online Philip Gibson

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #75 on: October 16, 2017, 05:49:47 PM »
It's not an auction. The algorithms have placed it that many times, along with other ads of course. And who knows "where" on the carousel it was placed. Could be page 99.

So what is the "auction" component Amazon talks about?

What if there had been social media during important historical events?
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Online Philip Gibson

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #76 on: October 16, 2017, 06:03:25 PM »
This is how Amazon explains how the auction component works:

"Every time a shopper conducts a search using a competing keyword, advertisers engage in an auction using the different bids assigned to the keyword. The advertiser who has the highest bid and expected CTR wins the auction and gets the right of impression for that search."

Philip

What if there had been social media during important historical events?
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Offline Accord64

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #77 on: October 19, 2017, 02:10:30 PM »
I know it's been mentioned before, but AMS is really getting strict on their AD policy guidelines.

My latest ad was rejected for using all caps for a review attribution. I had done this on prior ads without an issue. Not so anymore.

No complaints because it was an easy fix, but now my ad is stuck in the pending review dungeon. While they say it can take up to three days to be reviewed, none of my prior ads took longer than 12 hours. I'm well into day 2.  ::)

So, the lesson here is don't get your ad rejected or they'll make you wait after you make corrections.     
 
 

Offline weigle1234

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #78 on: October 20, 2017, 09:25:20 PM »

So, the lesson here is don't get your ad rejected or they'll make you wait after you make corrections.
     

I have been submitting tons of ads lately (like 5 - 10 each day) - testing various Keyword and bid combinations.  For whatever reason, within the last few days most of my ads are placed into Running within a few hours!

I never make corrections or edits of any kind.  I simply delete any rejected ads, and start anew.  Doing otherwise usually leads to problems and/or confusion for myself and/or AMS.

Offline weigle1234

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #79 on: October 20, 2017, 11:03:32 PM »
Ever since getting involved with AMS about 6 months ago, I have done extensive ad testing (literally hundreds of unique ads).  It is a habit from my 30+ years in the mail order business, where testing of everything (from ads to promotional copy) is the name of the game for making serious money.

Early on, I discovered that using the AMS default bid level of 25-Cents led to disaster.  Usually within a month or two all 25-Cents ads lost money.

After that, my first test ads (about 200+) where set at a bid level of 2-Cents (the minimum).  With very few exceptions, all such ads have been profitable, although piddling profits.  Almost without exception I am charged a flat 2-Cents per Click.

However, I am now testing the identical ads at a bid level of 5-Cents.  The average charge is now only 3-Cents per Click; sometimes 2-Cents, and rarely 4-Cents.  However, the number of Impressions and CTR have increased significantly (sometimes dramatically) with 5-Cents bids.  It is still too early to make any permanent ad changes since I intend to continue such testing with gradually increasing bid levels.

Since my books are all in a relatively small genre (DIY), my ads seem to be effective in even loosely related sub-genres; which allows much opportunity for testing.  How everything works out long-term remains to be seen.

To garner accurate stats, each unique test ad has to remain identical, with the exception of increased bids.  Also, each 2-Cents ad must be Terminated before the corresponding 5-Cents ad is placed into Running.  Otherwise, the new 5-Cents ad immediately destroys the effectiveness of the corresponding 2-Cents ad; thus rendering all testing stats useless.

Offline Bob Stewart

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #80 on: October 23, 2017, 12:13:39 PM »
One point I can contribute: AMS does not even track all sales of the book advertised.

I have some novellas that sell nothing unless I advertise. I can put up an AMS ad that tells me I sold two books a day. In fact, I sold 4-5 and they weren't advertised anywhere else. And they certainly didn't rise high enough in the bestseller lists to get noticed that way.

I also have one question: I usually do a daily bid of $5-10 for Sponsored Products ads and have never had it pause due to reaching my daily max. Can I assume, raising my daily spend would make no difference whatsoever?

Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #81 on: October 23, 2017, 12:21:15 PM »
One point I can contribute: AMS does not even track all sales of the book advertised.

I have some novellas that sell nothing unless I advertise. I can put up an AMS ad that tells me I sold two books a day. In fact, I sold 4-5 and they weren't advertised anywhere else. And they certainly didn't rise high enough in the bestseller lists to get noticed that way.

I also have one question: I usually do a daily bid of $5-10 for Sponsored Products ads and have never had it pause due to reaching my daily max. Can I assume, raising my daily spend would make no difference whatsoever?

Raising your budget probably won't change things at all. You might get increased spend if you up your bids on individual keywords, but even that's not always guaranteed. It seems that getting the book to move outside of AMS can sometimes then lead to your ads delivering more. For example, I saw that happen when I did a free run on a book that put the book in the top 50 free on the Amazon store.


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Online BillyDeCarlo

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #82 on: October 23, 2017, 12:59:37 PM »
Raising your budget probably won't change things at all. You might get increased spend if you up your bids on individual keywords, but even that's not always guaranteed. It seems that getting the book to move outside of AMS can sometimes then lead to your ads delivering more. For example, I saw that happen when I did a free run on a book that put the book in the top 50 free on the Amazon store.

I can vouch for that. My AMS ads weren't doing much until I did a Kindle Countdown with promos on it every day, which zoomed it up the charts, and then my AMS ads started spending as well (and I had to up the daily cap).
SPED-BOT, Vigilante Androids Book I: 5%

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Offline David Beers

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #83 on: October 24, 2017, 01:17:55 PM »
For those of you that are shutting down keywords which aren't performing, how do you decide when to shut them down?

Is there a certain views that you wait for per keyword? A certain total views with the overall ad? Or a certain amount of time?

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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #84 on: October 24, 2017, 02:16:38 PM »
For me it varies some by ad and how other keywords are performing. Right now if I'm not seeing at least one click per 2,500 impressions or a buy after 20 clicks, I shut it down. But for some of my ads where I'm getting a buy after 7 or 8 clicks on other keywords, I'll shut a keyword down at 12 clicks with no buy. Or ones where I see multiple clicks per thousand impressions, I might shut down any keyword with no clicks after 1,500 impressions. Whether you're in KU matters, too, since people can click and borrow instead of buy. If I have a good click ratio on a book in KU but no borrows I might leave that one longer, especially if the author or book is in my also-boughts.


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Offline weigle1234

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #85 on: October 24, 2017, 09:53:17 PM »

For those of you that are shutting down keywords which aren't performing, how do you decide when to shut them down?

Is there a certain views that you wait for per keyword? A certain total views with the overall ad? Or a certain amount of time?


It seems most folks on this forum gather at least some data from our Advertising Campaign chart.  I have tested literally hundreds of AMS ads, and find short-term data (that less than about 2 weeks old) from that chart to be unreliable.  In fact, I am skeptical about the accuracy of almost all stats from that chart - even long-term data.  I envision our Advertising Campaign chart as merely an approximation of advertising trends.

The only reliable stats I gather come from my Sales Dashboard - and even those stats less than a few days old are unreliable.  In their defense, AMS does caution that those updates may lag by a few days.

But, IMHO, all is not lost!  I find the Historical chart data (accessed via the upper left of the Sales Dashboard) to be fairly accurate.  That data is always at least 2 weeks old since it is updated on the 15th of each month - the latest stats being for the month of September.

By cross-referencing Historical chart data with Sales Dashboard chart data for specific time frames you should find closely matching stats - which, at least for me, lends credibility to the long-term data of both charts.  Also, the Historical chart has several neat options which I find to be helpful.  I highly recommend checking it out.

Speaking for myself, having to wait for reliable data from AMS takes patience, but is the only way to go for hope of keeping up with their game.

Offline weigle1234

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #86 on: October 25, 2017, 12:08:20 AM »
In a previous post, I stated; "I envision our Advertising Campaign chart as merely an approximation of advertising trends."

The reason I made that statement is because I have encountered many instances of glaring errors with that chart data - much of which data may send the unwary in wrong directions.

An example is an ad I started earlier today.  The Advertising Campaign chart indicated that a Click had occurred within minutes of the ad being placed into Running, and after it had garnered but few Impressions - which is possible, but highly unlikely.

A more glaring example is an ad which was about 2 weeks old.  According to the Advertising Campaign chart, that ad had garnered a sale.  I then checked my Keywords to ascertain which Keyword was responsible for my good fortune.  Turns out it is a Keyword with few Impressions.  That is fine - the only problem being it is a Keyword that received no Clicks but, for an unknown reason, has produced a sale.  I have come across many such instances.

Of my hundreds of test ads, almost all were initially placed in Manual mode with 2-Cents bids.  My Advertising Campaign chart never indicated even a single sale for any of those ads.  Yet AMS faithfully transferred royalties to my bank account for sales which, according to the chart, had never occurred.  However, both my Historical chart and Sales Dashboard chart indicate those sales as having occurred.

The BIG problem being, I have no reliable way of knowing which ad(s) produced which sale(s).  Pretty hard to get a sense of direction here.  Guesswork does not sit well with me when it comes to making (or losing) money.

Lately, I started placing test ads with 5-Cents bids.  At least some sales from those ads are actually showing up on my Advertising Campaign chart, but sporadically, and definitely not all of them.  Same old same old!

Much of this leads me to question the wisdom of testing individual Keywords - Adding, Pausing, changing Bids, whatever.  Is it pure happenstance that any such changes actually affect ad response?  Or, is it mere wishful thinking when any Keyword change actually produces more Impressions, Clicks, or Sales?

Along that line of thinking, can anyone on this forum explain how AMS can possibly determine which individual Keyword(s) receive Impressions, Clicks, and Sales - let alone how many of each?  To me it seems a near mathematical impossibility to do so with any level of confidence.  As a physicist I know how to work numbers, and do statistical analysis.  It sure would be gratifying if someone could give me even a hint as to how AMS is able to perform such miracles.

Happy AMSing!

Offline Megan Crewe

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #87 on: October 26, 2017, 08:43:39 AM »
Does anyone have thoughts/experience to share on running AMS ads for pre-orders? I see R.E. Conary shared some results here, and those don't look very promising (13 pre-orders out of 668 clicks which cost nearly a dollar per click, if I'm reading that right). Is that typical? Has anyone gotten a decent ROI with pre-order ads? And difference in results with pre-orders between Sponsored Product ads and Product Display?

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Offline rikatz

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #88 on: October 26, 2017, 10:25:27 AM »
So it was pointed out recently that the old AMS thread has become a bit unwieldy and I was wondering if it would make sense to start a new thread where we sort of summarize what we can agree on and then go from there.  I'll take a first shot at what I think is the general consensus from that other thread and then others can chime in on what I missed or got wrong and then we can go from here until we get all convoluted again.

- A successful ad should have about 1 click per thousand impressions (some have a better ratio and sometimes it can go as high as 1:2500 or so, but the higher you go the more likely the ad will stop running)
- The ads don't run on a straight highest bidder wins model. There's a performance and relevance aspect to which books are shown and which ads run that none of us really know the ins and outs of.
- The estimated sales amount reported on the AMS dashboard is the sale price of the book, not what you earn.
- This amount includes ebooks as well as paperbacks sold through KDP Print or CreateSpace. It does not include paperback sales if you're the one responsible for shipping them.
- The AMS dashboard does not account for KU borrows and does not show what you earn for pages read if a book is borrowed after someone clicks on the ad.
- Someone can click on an ad and come back to buy the book later and AMS will count that towards the ad. (This can be as much as 10-14 days later.)
- AMS will also count sales of related books (like book 1 in a series where the ad was for book 3) towards the ad's performance.
- People have had success with both Sponsored Product and Product Display ads and using both low- and high-bid strategies.
- In general, if you bid more you should see more impressions and better ad placement.
- Some have found that a low-bid ad that's allowed to sit for a month may ultimately start delivering impressions even if it doesn't do anything initially.
- For Sponsored Product ads, look to authors, book titles, and generic genre-appropriate keywords like "romance" for your keywords
- Competitive genres like romance or thriller will likely require higher bids than more niche areas like non-fiction
- Depending on the price of your book, you should see a sale for every ten to twenty clicks.
- While it's tempting to use the ACoS value to judge your ads, don't. There's enough of a delay between costs being reported on the AMS dashboards and sales being reported as well as the mix of ebook/print sales in the reported numbers that you can be easily misled by following this number.
- It's better to establish a baseline for your book's sales before you start running the ads and then look at sales reported on your KDP dashboard as well as CreateSpace sales reported while the ad is running. If you're in KU, compare your baseline rank to your rank once the ads are running to see if there are borrows that have happened as a result of the ad that haven't yet resulted in page reads.

Alright. That's a good start. What did I miss or get wrong?

I would agree with all of the above except the statement that "AMS counts sales of related books towards an ads performance." Twice now, I have had an ad for the second book in my mystery series get hot. The first time, 7 out of 11 books sold were for the first book in the series and the second time, 6 out of 18 sales were for the first book and 3 out of the 18 were for the second book. None of these sales were counted toward the total number of sales attributed to the ad, which to date lists a total of 16 books attributed to the ad.


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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #89 on: October 27, 2017, 08:35:21 AM »
I just went searching for one of my own books on Amazon so I could pull the ASIN and the Sponsored Product ad for the book was listed above the book in the search results, almost guaranteeing that anyone looking for that book in particular would click on the ad instead of the search listing. Ugh.


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Offline VayneLine

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #90 on: October 27, 2017, 09:52:21 AM »
I think the price must be going up.  I used to get clicks at around .10cents and now nothing even up to .15cents.  I can only imagine big names are dumping .20 or more a click.

Anyone else see this?

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Offline Marian

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #91 on: October 27, 2017, 01:57:22 PM »
I just went searching for one of my own books on Amazon so I could pull the ASIN and the Sponsored Product ad for the book was listed above the book in the search results, almost guaranteeing that anyone looking for that book in particular would click on the ad instead of the search listing. Ugh.
A similar thing happened with one of my books. I second your UGH!

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #92 on: October 27, 2017, 02:02:34 PM »
Does anyone have thoughts/experience to share on running AMS ads for pre-orders? I see R.E. Conary shared some results here, and those don't look very promising (13 pre-orders out of 668 clicks which cost nearly a dollar per click, if I'm reading that right). Is that typical? Has anyone gotten a decent ROI with pre-order ads? And difference in results with pre-orders between Sponsored Product ads and Product Display?

I got impressions and clicks but no sales until after the book went live. But you might do much better. On the bright side, my KENP for the first two books in the series went up from the time I started the ad for book 3, and the day of launch I started getting some KENP for the new book, so I think a few KU readers were ready and waiting for it.

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Offline NatPane

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #93 on: October 27, 2017, 02:37:44 PM »
I just went searching for one of my own books on Amazon so I could pull the ASIN and the Sponsored Product ad for the book was listed above the book in the search results, almost guaranteeing that anyone looking for that book in particular would click on the ad instead of the search listing. Ugh.

I commented about this weeks ago and was told that was a good thing. Good to see I wasn't crazy to think otherwise.

Offline Marian

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #94 on: October 27, 2017, 02:56:09 PM »
I commented about this weeks ago and was told that was a good thing. Good to see I wasn't crazy to think otherwise.
Before the ad was under one of my books. Now it's above another book, like Cassie's.

Offline NatPane

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #95 on: October 27, 2017, 05:05:35 PM »
Before the ad was under one of my books. Now it's above another book, like Cassie's.

I just don't see the logic of putting the ad there in the first place, whether it is above or below your book. Is this where we want readers to click on our ads, when they've already found our books?

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #96 on: October 27, 2017, 05:33:00 PM »
How you or anyone sees the page depends on your browser and cookies combo. Sometimes mine shows me books--not mine, not ads--over and over on the same page.

Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #97 on: October 27, 2017, 06:07:43 PM »
I just don't see the logic of putting the ad there in the first place, whether it is above or below your book. Is this where we want readers to click on our ads, when they've already found our books?

Just to be clear, I'm talking about the search results page not on a book page. This is when you go to Amazon.com and search for "Cassandra Clare" or whatever and it comes back with book suggestions. It's one of the best places to have your ads show because it looks like part of the search results and so people think your book is what they were looking for. Problem is, they used to show two or three of these Sponsored Ads at the bottom of each page of search results, but today I saw my Sponsored Ad as the first result and my normal book listing as the second result. No reason for someone to click on the second result, which is free, so I end up paying for people to go to my book when they would've done so for free if that ad wasn't the first entry.


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Offline R.E.Conary

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #98 on: October 27, 2017, 09:41:12 PM »
Does anyone have thoughts/experience to share on running AMS ads for pre-orders? I see R.E. Conary shared some results here, and those don't look very promising (13 pre-orders out of 668 clicks which cost nearly a dollar per click, if I'm reading that right). Is that typical? Has anyone gotten a decent ROI with pre-order ads? And difference in results with pre-orders between Sponsored Product ads and Product Display?

Megan,

As a pre-order only campaign, my ROI was not good. It was expensive. :o

I ended with 15 pre-order sales after AMS caught up on final stats. Those sales used 107 clicks for a sales to click ratio of 1:44.5. My clicks (668) to impressions (1,233,685) ratio was 1:1847. Most of the 246 keywords (out of 962 Mystery-related) that garnered clicks were high bid keywords (>$1.00). For example, keyword Sue Grafton had 10 clicks at ACPC of $1.59 and resulted in one sale.

How long it may take to break even on that campaign, I've no idea. The campaign ended on the 15th and I haven't started any new ad campaigns yet. Since the book collection went live at 12 a.m.EDT on the 15th, I've had 2 Kindle sales of individual titles (non-KU) in the series and 10,747 KENP reads of the collection (mostly US reads but some from UK and JP).

I'm tempted to see how much interest is maintained in the collection without running another campaign, but we are entering the  holiday buying season.  :-\ Have to do more thinking.

Bob
« Last Edit: October 27, 2017, 09:48:52 PM by R.E.Conary »
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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #99 on: October 28, 2017, 06:38:10 AM »
Just to be clear, I'm talking about the search results page not on a book page. This is when you go to Amazon.com and search for "Cassandra Clare" or whatever and it comes back with book suggestions. It's one of the best places to have your ads show because it looks like part of the search results and so people think your book is what they were looking for. Problem is, they used to show two or three of these Sponsored Ads at the bottom of each page of search results, but today I saw my Sponsored Ad as the first result and my normal book listing as the second result. No reason for someone to click on the second result, which is free, so I end up paying for people to go to my book when they would've done so for free if that ad wasn't the first entry.

I'm not seeing that exactly. Tried it in two browsers, and the one with fewer personal cookies showed the Sponsored Ads at the top, and poor Nora Roberts and her prawny new book were pushed to the bottom, after Poldark--which so clearly is a western romance. (Cornwall may technically be in the west of the UK, but I'd say it has to duke it out with Wales for that honor.)

I need to install a "delete cookies of this site" on that second browser to get a more neutral view on Amazon. I would not trust any other view.