Author Topic: A New AMS Thread  (Read 100570 times)  

Offline BigSlimJim

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #600 on: April 05, 2018, 01:30:39 pm »
Thanks, Dariel--very informative. Being a rank beginner, I think I'll stick with KDP's AMS for now (when advertising in the US) and learn the pertinent Excel with the help of Cassie's books.

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    Offline Jacob Stanley

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #601 on: April 11, 2018, 09:41:13 pm »
    Just curious if this has been confirmed by anyone else.... I'm basically positive at this point that AMS doesn't record sales of other books besides the one that was clicked on. For example, if someone clicks my omnibus, and then buys book 1 instead, or vice versa, there is no record of the sale in your AMS reporting.

    There are times when I'm only advertising my omnibus, and get sales of book 1, but I've never seen a sale on my omnibus log-sheet that shows the same price as my first book. 

    Right now, I'm advertising both my omnibus and series starter, getting sales of both which outnumber the sales shown on the log. I'm sure they're not organic sales, because my books get basically zero organic visibility, so when I stop running ads, sales go to absolute zero, or close to it, and I'm not pushing enough books to get any high rankings that would generate organic traffic. I probably get a few word of mouth sales but those are impossible to account for.

    What's making it tough right now is I've had some Facebook ads running too, with very low click prices, but I've recently decided that they're not generating many sales, because when I raise the daily spend on them, sales don't improve. But there are still quite a few sales over the last week or so that just aren't showing up on my log at all, even accounting for a 3 or 4 day delay.

    All this confusion is causing me to waste money because I don't know what the heck is going on.
    « Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 09:44:27 pm by Jacob Stanley »

    Offline Rod Little

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #602 on: April 11, 2018, 10:03:59 pm »
    Just curious if this has been confirmed by anyone else.... I'm basically positive at this point that AMS doesn't record sales of other books besides the one that was clicked on. For example, if someone clicks my omnibus, and then buys book 1 instead, or vice versa, there is no record of the sale in your AMS reporting.

    There are times when I'm only advertising my omnibus, and get sales of book 1, but I've never seen a sale on my omnibus log-sheet that shows the same price as my first book. 

    Right now, I'm advertising both my omnibus and series starter, getting sales of both which outnumber the sales shown on the log. I'm sure they're not organic sales, because my books get basically zero organic visibility, so when I stop running ads, sales go to absolute zero, or close to it, and I'm not pushing enough books to get any high rankings that would generate organic traffic. I probably get a few word of mouth sales but those are impossible to account for.

    What's making it tough right now is I've had some Facebook ads running too, with very low click prices, but I've recently decided that they're not generating many sales, because when I raise the daily spend on them, sales don't improve. But there are still quite a few sales over the last week or so that just aren't showing up on my log at all, even accounting for a 3 or 4 day delay.

    All this confusion is causing me to waste money because I don't know what the heck is going on.

    I would agree. Often I don't know what's going on... What is generating my sales? Are clicks on one ad converting to sales on another book? Also, since (like you) I runs ads on FB and other venues at the same time as AMS... it's hard to tell where sales are originating.

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    Offline Simon Haynes

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #603 on: April 12, 2018, 02:49:07 am »
    I was running AMS and FB, and I decided my sales were coming from FB. So, I paused all the AMS ads but my sales stopped. Okay, so then I enabled AMS again and sales returned to normal.

    Then I paused FB and all my sales stopped.

    There was a famous lord something-or-other who complained that 50% of his advertising was wasted money. He just didn't know which half it was.

    The other thing with AMS - I'm pretty sure it doesn't include Createspace sales, because paperbacks of my MG title have been outselling the ebooks and the AMS totals don't reflect that. They're showing a 50% ROI on that particular title, but when I factor in paperbacks I'm well ahead.

     

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    Offline Jacob Stanley

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #604 on: April 12, 2018, 03:46:31 am »
    I was running AMS and FB, and I decided my sales were coming from FB. So, I paused all the AMS ads but my sales stopped. Okay, so then I enabled AMS again and sales returned to normal.

    Then I paused FB and all my sales stopped.

    There was a famous lord something-or-other who complained that 50% of his advertising was wasted money. He just didn't know which half it was.


    This sounds so much like my last week. The most annoying thing is I can never tell when sales stop because of some screwup with my ads, or because it's just a crappy day to sell books. So I make adjustments to try and stabilize things when they're already fine and I should just leave them alone. Drives me nuts.

    The other thing with AMS - I'm pretty sure it doesn't include Createspace sales, because paperbacks of my MG title have been outselling the ebooks and the AMS totals don't reflect that. They're showing a 50% ROI on that particular title, but when I factor in paperbacks I'm well ahead.

    Actually I got a paperback sale yesterday, and weirdly it did show up on my AMS sales report for an ad that I stopped a few of days ago. Unlike most sales, it showed up on Amazon at roughly the same time it showed up on the report. I'm not sure how that works.
    « Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 04:00:15 am by Jacob Stanley »

    Offline Simon Haynes

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #605 on: April 12, 2018, 04:03:36 am »
    Okay, thanks for the data point re Createspace. I did notice their royalty page says they don't add the amount until 3 days after the book is printed, so I guess there could be a delay factor. Also, this was AWS UK, so I'm unsure how long data would take to flow back and forth.

    As for going nuts ... there was one day where I thought I'd come up with a killer new blurb - at 4am - so I got up, turned on the PC, updated the product page and went back to sleep.
    Morning rolls around and the freebie downloads for that book were zip. No idea whether it was a delay in reporting or not, but you can bet I switched the blurb back pretty quick.

    PS I keep a file with all my blurbs in, by date. That way I can go back to one, if the latest and greatest revision is an absolute stinker.
     

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    Offline CassieL

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #606 on: April 12, 2018, 06:37:56 am »
    Edited to say: Sorry guys. Based on new ownership at this site and their response to legitimate author concerns I've chosen to withdraw from participation here.
    « Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 11:39:48 am by Cassie Leigh »

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    Offline Simon Haynes

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #607 on: April 12, 2018, 06:47:32 am »
    Okay, thanks for that. It's nice to have it confirmed. I probably haven't left it long enough for the figures to catch up.
     

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    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #608 on: April 12, 2018, 11:31:09 am »
    I'm sure this has been asked before, but how do I keep track of the skewed AMS numbers when a paperback sells for $11.99 (and the ebook is selling for 99 cents) and it looks like I'm making a killing percentage-wise when I'm not?

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    Offline CassieL

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #609 on: April 12, 2018, 12:05:27 pm »
    Edited to say: Sorry guys. Based on new ownership at this site and their response to legitimate author concerns I've chosen to withdraw from participation here.
    « Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 11:40:00 am by Cassie Leigh »

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    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #610 on: April 12, 2018, 05:55:08 pm »
    That's part of the reason why what I do is wait until I'm billed periodically for my ads and then just compare AMS spend for the period to amount earned on the title in ebook and print sales and page reads for the same period. And in the meantime I shut down keywords for not getting enough clicks per impressions or too many clicks with no sales, but I try my best to ignore ACoS. For me that's about every two weeks, which is good enough. I can let an ad lose money for two weeks. Plus, the obviously bad ones are so obvious they just get shut down within about five days.

    But my ACoS on my titles that skew heavily to paperback are also under about 30% and I get about a 43% payout on paperback sales. If I were getting a lower payout on paperbacks or my ACoS were higher, I'd probably get more serious about it and adapt the analysis I do for paid vs. KU to come up with a weighted average percent to use as a benchmark.

    Thanks a lot, Cassie. My billing cycle is about every month, but now I can at least look at the 30% you mentioned if those books are getting paperback sales, which will at least give me a rudimentary benchmark. But why do you shut down keywords not getting enough clicks per impressions? What's wrong with getting the exposure?

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    Offline CassieL

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #611 on: April 12, 2018, 06:43:46 pm »
    Edited to say: Sorry guys. Based on new ownership at this site and their response to legitimate author concerns I've chosen to withdraw from participation here.
    « Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 11:40:13 am by Cassie Leigh »

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    Offline CassieL

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #612 on: April 13, 2018, 05:51:10 am »
    Edited to say: Sorry guys. Based on new ownership at this site and their response to legitimate author concerns I've chosen to withdraw from participation here.
    « Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 11:40:30 am by Cassie Leigh »

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    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #613 on: April 13, 2018, 09:24:23 am »
    It's because I'm working from the theory that AMS shuts down ads that it views as not effective. And I believe it bases that on clicks per impressions across the ad as well as sales. So a keyword getting you a lot of impressions but no clicks is bringing down the entire ad.

    Thanks Cassie. I tracked with that.


    The other part of it is that if I have Keyword A that gets me 3 clicks per 1000 impressions and 1 buy per 10 clicks and Keyword B that gets me 1 click per 2500 impressions and 1 buy per 10 clicks, I'd rather AMS was displaying my ad on Keyword A instead of Keyword B. They might cost the same for a sale (10 clicks), but I'm going to get a sale a lot sooner with Keyword A. As long as you have some good keywords, better to focus the ads towards them IMO.

    But not so sure about this. Yes, I understand about focusing on the good keywords. But in the example you gave with Keywords A & B, why would you have to choose one over the other? (Both keywords are getting impressions and clicks and sales, so Amazon isn't going to look at either as bringing down the ad.)

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    Offline "Serious" ... but not really

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #614 on: April 13, 2018, 09:41:37 am »
    It's because I'm working from the theory that AMS shuts down ads that it views as not effective. And I believe it bases that on clicks per impressions across the ad as well as sales. So a keyword getting you a lot of impressions but no clicks is bringing down the entire ad.

    The other part of it is that if I have Keyword A that gets me 3 clicks per 1000 impressions and 1 buy per 10 clicks and Keyword B that gets me 1 click per 2500 impressions and 1 buy per 10 clicks, I'd rather AMS was displaying my ad on Keyword A instead of Keyword B. They might cost the same for a sale (10 clicks), but I'm going to get a sale a lot sooner with Keyword A. As long as you have some good keywords, better to focus the ads towards them IMO.

    I am not so sure. But I am one to stick with impressions if you can get them. Seems to be all I get anyway - no clicks.

    I would think Amazon does not take clicks or not into account. They just place the ad - clicks or not. Sure we want clicks that lead to buys or borrows KU - I would think Amazon does not care - what happens-happens sort of thing.  To each their own reasoning though.

    It could be the ad copy and cover does not entice - but you may get plenty of impressions - so you know the ad is working. It is just the competition is better. You appear in a carousel of near 100 and you don't stand out. 

    No impressions means you have a bad keyword - or - you are outbid. Likely a bad keyword. 

    Plus too, I have zero reviews which spells rank-new-book and/or author. These get passed over quickly I think.  People look for what appears, at-a-glance, what they could know would be good. More reviews = more interest.  Seems KU folks are getting more discerning  - why waste your time on a new unknown book even if it is a free borrow for KU readers. There are so many now, why spend the time? I can get free books by the ton and I am not even KU (I am prime though).

    So I suggest if you are getting impressions stick with it.  Maybe start a new ad copy, or change the cover. Do something after a bit. Turning off keywords that bring impressions I would not do now I think.
    « Last Edit: April 13, 2018, 09:46:08 am by Max 007 »

    Offline CassieL

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #615 on: April 13, 2018, 11:52:31 am »
    Edited to say: Sorry guys. Based on new ownership at this site and their response to legitimate author concerns I've chosen to withdraw from participation here.
    « Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 11:40:52 am by Cassie Leigh »

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    Offline CassieL

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #616 on: April 13, 2018, 12:07:32 pm »
    Edited to say: Sorry guys. Based on new ownership at this site and their response to legitimate author concerns I've chosen to withdraw from participation here.
    « Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 11:41:06 am by Cassie Leigh »

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    Offline "Serious" ... but not really

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #617 on: April 13, 2018, 02:58:56 pm »
    If you read through the two main AMS threads on here you'll see a lot of discussion about ads that stop delivering. They get a lot of impressions but not enough clicks or sales and eventually they just stop running altogether. And I do know for a fact that AMS will shut down an ad that's getting too many impressions without clicks, because they did it to one of my early ads. (It was a 1 click to 18,000 impressions ratio on that one.)

    Also, if I have keywords that generate sales for me, why would I want to keep a keyword running that doesn't? It doesn't make sense for me to do that. Lots of impressions with few clicks and no sales means poor targeting in my experience. I'm not reaching my potential audience if no one is even willing to click through and see what my book is about. (I had this with my fantasy series when I targeted Harry Potter. Lots of impressions, very few clicks, no sales. I learned it was much better for me to target Sarah J. Maas.)

    I'm not so sure reviews are that important. I have a non-fiction title that's done very well in AMS. When I first started running that title it had no reviews and it didn't get its first review for three months and yet AMS drove consistent sales to that book for that entire period. And you'd think with non-fiction the quality might be an even bigger factor because you want to make sure the person knows what they're talking about. And maybe the book sold better after getting a review or two, but AMS still drove sales even without the reviews. (Especially with SP ads where the ad shows in search results, I think it's less of an issue.)

    Obviously, the stronger the book overall with respect to cover, ad copy, title, blurb, reviews, and competitive pricing the better it'll do in general and with AMS. But my goal with running AMS is to generate sales. So if I'm not getting sales from my ads then I know I need to fix one of the items in that list or I need to better target my ad.

    Thanks Cassie. I am not near a 3 month on ads for the book - only a month out really into the ad.  It is fiction and a short read. But you can't tell that from the ad - you have to click. I really think reviews help but only as a visual element for a buyer or KU. 

    There is a strange mix of things that impact the buyer or download. 

    As for keywords shutting down on you --- if you say so.  Seems Amazon is not holding up its end of the deal if your bid is high and you win the bid. So AMS is nixing your bid for a more likely sell over your ad it seems - if that is what they are doing.

    Offline "Serious" ... but not really

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #618 on: April 13, 2018, 04:23:13 pm »
    This is all based on my personal theory of how these things work, which could be wrong...

    This is how I think of it. Say I have a budget of $5 a day for an ad. Every time Amazon displays my ad it has to reserve an estimated amount I might pay for a click against my budget. For example, if I might pay 50 cents on average for a click (just an easy number to work with) then that means within my budget I can have ten clicks per day. So Amazon isn't going to show that ad to a million people at once. It could show it to 10,000 people at once, perhaps, but it's not an unlimited number of people who will see that ad at any given time because of my budget constraints. There has to be some sort of optimization formula at play behind the scenes that works with average click rates and bids and budgets to make sure an ad doesn't drastically overspend its budget at any given time.

    Which to my thinking means there are only so many slots for displaying that ad at any given time. And I'd far rather that Amazon displayed my ad on a keyword that takes 1/10 the number of impressions to get a sale, because I'll get that sale faster and maybe some organic visibility that will drive more sales. Plus, I won't have the slower keyword using up one of my potential slots that could be going to the faster keyword.

    Obviously, there's some balancing you do. I don't just go with the absolute best keywords. But I do try to use my bidding to drive Amazon to focus on my  higher-performing keywords and I will also shut down those keywords that are taking too much "attention" and not delivering sales.

    Interesting take. You are targeting and trying to out-guess an algo. 

    But I would think the time frame of the algo, as it spins its life, would be seconds at the largest, while your attempts could take days to figure out an attack. An algo would determine if an ad failed and spin the next as quick as it could place it. True, there is a limit to how many it would determine to place not to bust the budget.

    So if this is true, bump the budget and lower the bid and watch the effect? Do impressions increase?

    edit : so you are trying to find that sweet spot where AMS is hunting placement for what you want. Give AMS a chance to spend your budget by finding the right people.  Make it worth their while maybe?  Does an algo have a worthwhile-level it hunts for?  :D

    You seem to sort of suggest that.  Thanks.
    « Last Edit: April 13, 2018, 04:28:54 pm by Max 007 »

    Offline BigSlimJim

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #619 on: April 14, 2018, 09:31:27 am »
    Seems Amazon is not holding up its end of the deal if your bid is high and you win the bid. So AMS is nixing your bid for a more likely sell over your ad it seems - if that is what they are doing.

    From what I've determined are the best minds here, Amazon's main 'deal' is not with the self-pubbing AMS advertiser. It's with their browsing customer. If you're getting impressions but not interesting the buyers as evidenced by clicks and, ultimately, sales, you're wasting Amazon's shoppers' time, for which they will rightfully put an ad to sleep. An AMS rep was quoted way back on one of these threads confirming that your success is determined by a combination of bid amount AND click through rate. That's the real deal. They don't just sell advertising real estate to the highest bidder if their shoppers aren't interested in and buying that bidder's products over time. And he doesn't NEED to be the highest bidder if the algo thinks his keywords are generally more relevant to sales than higher rollers'.

    Granted, the robot's decisions can seem dysfunctional and enormously capricious (even more so if you're an Advantage Central member with access to matched search terms on all keywords with clicks). Keywords that you think are sure-fire winners will be subject to insane matches to search terms. But since we can't argue with an unthinking machine, and we know it reacts badly to words that perform badly once given their dubious chance-- to the point of punishing the ad in general, what is there to do but kill and/or replace our under-performing keyword-darlings?

    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #620 on: April 14, 2018, 01:54:01 pm »
    This is all based on my personal theory of how these things work, which could be wrong...

    This is how I think of it. Say I have a budget of $5 a day for an ad. Every time Amazon displays my ad it has to reserve an estimated amount I might pay for a click against my budget. For example, if I might pay 50 cents on average for a click (just an easy number to work with) then that means within my budget I can have ten clicks per day. So Amazon isn't going to show that ad to a million people at once. It could show it to 10,000 people at once, perhaps, but it's not an unlimited number of people who will see that ad at any given time because of my budget constraints. There has to be some sort of optimization formula at play behind the scenes that works with average click rates and bids and budgets to make sure an ad doesn't drastically overspend its budget at any given time.

    Which to my thinking means there are only so many slots for displaying that ad at any given time. And I'd far rather that Amazon displayed my ad on a keyword that takes 1/10 the number of impressions to get a sale, because I'll get that sale faster and maybe some organic visibility that will drive more sales. Plus, I won't have the slower keyword using up one of my potential slots that could be going to the faster keyword.

    Obviously, there's some balancing you do. I don't just go with the absolute best keywords. But I do try to use my bidding to drive Amazon to focus on my  higher-performing keywords and I will also shut down those keywords that are taking too much "attention" and not delivering sales.


    Thanks Cassie. I can see the logic to that.

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    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #621 on: April 14, 2018, 02:03:13 pm »
    On one AMS book with a $1/day budget I was recently charged $2.69/day. On another with a $2/day budget I was charged $3.38/day. I wrote AMS and asked what was up. Here was the reply:

    Quote
    Your average daily budget is the amount youre willing to spend per day over a calendar month. For example, if you set your average daily budget to $100, you may receive up to $3,100 worth of clicks in that calendar month (assuming a full 31-day month).

    Daily budgets can be exceeded as a result of a rapid accumulation of clicks on a campaign as the campaign approaches the daily limit. During high traffic seasons, it's recommended that you adjust your daily budgets and cost-per-clicks (CPC) to accommodate increased traffic and avoid overages. If overages to a daily budget occur, you will be charged only the maximum budget of the day. The difference will not be charged.

    I track with everything except:

    Quote
    If overages to a daily budget occur, you will be charged only the maximum budget of the day. The difference will not be charged.

    Which contradicts what they said in the first paragraph.

    Anybody know what's up with that?


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    Offline CassieL

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #622 on: April 14, 2018, 02:08:09 pm »
    Edited to say: Sorry guys. Based on new ownership at this site and their response to legitimate author concerns I've chosen to withdraw from participation here.
    « Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 11:41:25 am by Cassie Leigh »

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #623 on: April 14, 2018, 03:53:08 pm »
    In their guidance on the site they do say that your daily budget is an average for the month which is in line with that first response. But when they bill you you'll see that there's a section of the bill that includes credits for overdelivery of your ad. I assume there's some threshhold they use. So if your budget is $1 and one day it's $1.10 they're not going to refund that. But if they miscalculate on your ad and have a $2.50 day, then they'd refund the difference on that one. My last bill I had two ads that spent about $80 each that had refunds of approximately $5 credited back to them but another that spent $180 that only had 20 cents credited back to it.

    I tried an experiment : I raised the budget to $6/day yesterday from $1/day and left the bid at $0.25.  I now have 3x the impressions I had before accumulated over two days. So in one day I had tripled the impressions with the increased budget. And I have a click for $0.25.  No buy. 

    With KU I guess you won't know till it is read (let me know if this is true). I had 60 impressions and now 180 (gain of 120 in one day over the 60 from previous two days and one click). "Time Travel" is the keyword that got it.  The ad copy says, "... FREE to Kindle Unlimited!" at the end too.

    But anyway, I am right (or you are Cassie). AMS wants to spend your money as best a bot can. And it does seem budget constraints come into play. Too many keywords and a low budget chokes the bot. Give it a chance and it will hunt better for you I think.

    2nd experiment : I shutdown all keywords but the one I had a hit on.  It only had 20 impressions and 1 click.  But it seems to be a high bid word - "Time Travel".  The other 160 impressions were just impressions.  From the past, the keywords were extremely high on impressions and no clicks (8000 impressions). So turn them off. They confuse the bot I think.

    The premise here is concentrate the bid and budget to one word that I know works.  This may give the bot more ability to get more impressions and more of them to the front of the carousel.  The reader has no idea the bot is directing their attention and hope my book appears first or near the front on the carousel. So I may have to go to a bid of 35 cents.

    The problem is ... the book is only 78 pages.  So I need conversion or my ROI is really going to suck.  I can add in my second book to the first and make it 200 pages and keep the price at 99 cents.  So I will get more money from KU than I would a sell. I write for KU, it is a hobby ...  ;)

    But I bet it never reaches the budget - it is a tool to focus the bot. As a hobby I don't mind spending a few dollars a month if this can get traction.

    If this works, I schedule a 5 day $0 promo, leave AMS like it is and hope for traction just using AMS as the promo tool and raise the bid to 35 cents too. 

    If that works, I ram in the second book as fast as I can in a month into the first.  2nd edition and notify previous readers if I can through Amazon.

    The idea : spend a little money for exposure and traction.

    Anyone see any flaws?  I would be interested to know your thoughts.

    Offline Philip Gibson

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #624 on: April 15, 2018, 06:31:52 am »
    Granted, the robot's decisions can seem dysfunctional and enormously capricious (even more so if you're an Advantage Central member with access to matched search terms on all keywords with clicks). Keywords that you think are sure-fire winners will be subject to insane matches to search terms. But since we can't argue with an unthinking machine, and we know it reacts badly to words that perform badly once given their dubious chance-- to the point of punishing the ad in general, what is there to do but kill and/or replace our under-performing keyword-darlings?

    "Punishing the ad in general" implies that you think AMS evaluates the overall performance of a campaign - not just the individual performances of its component keywords.

    I don't see how this would work.  Is it not the individual keywords + ad copy + bid + history that AMS evaluates?

    What if there had been social media during important historical events?
    Philip Gibson | Hashtag Histories | Word By Word Graded Readers for Children

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