Author Topic: A New AMS Thread  (Read 100535 times)  

Offline Gregg Bell

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Re: A New AMS Thread
« Reply #650 on: April 18, 2018, 10:19:43 am »
That's in line with a theory I have that there are bands of people bidding at different levels. You'll see here that a lot of people take a low-bid strategy (15 cents or less). I tend to take a higher-bid strategy. But when I pay for a click I'm not paying 16 cents. I'm paying more than that, so who I'm up against is not the low-bid crowd.

So when you upped your bids you probably moved into a new "bidding band" (for lack of another word) and now you're competing against people who bid in the 70 cent range. All it takes is you and one other person bidding that high and hitting at the same time to end up paying that kind of bid. But like LilyBLily said earlier, I tend to end up paying about half what I bid in general, so unless it's a highly competitive word you shouldn't see this most of the time. I think AMS makes some effort to spread bidders out across searches that are occurring at the same time and so the 1 cent higher than the next highest bid that you get charged isn't going to usually be right at what you bid.

But if it continues you may want to try dropping your bid just a bit to something like 70 cents and see if that changes things.

Also, I can confirm that you can change your budget whenever. At least I've never run into an issue. I lower mine back to $5 most mornings and then adjust them upward throughout the day, sometimes three or four times. The only issue I could see would be if you dropped a budget when you'd already exceeded that level and then I assume the ad would convert to over budget status.

Thanks Cassie. Great explanation. And thanks for reinforcing the ability to change the budget. And yeah, like you, to my experience most of the CPCs stay relatively constant. In the example I gave too there were only 3 clicks so the average was easily skewed. I ended up reducing all my bids in a panic but now I'll go back and raise them. (Except not that one!)

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    Offline Philip Gibson

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #651 on: April 18, 2018, 11:03:07 am »
    Thanks Cassie. Do you have quantitative ballpark benchmarks for what I'm calling "Cassie's Three Rules"?

    1) Pause keywords not getting enough clicks (how many is not enough clicks over what length of time?)

    2) Pause keywords that don't get enough clicks per impression (Let's use 1000 as the base for impressions. So how many clicks is not enough for 1,000 impressions?)

    3) Pause keywords that get clicks but don't convert to sales. (How many sale-less clicks before bailing?)

    I'm sure there are variables that come in to play via genre, advertising, etc but ballpark benchmarks (no matter how fuzzy) would be good.

    Hopefully, Cassie will answer with her ballpark benchmarks.  For me:

    I pause keywords that have 2,000+ impressions with no clicks.

    I pause keywords that have 20+ clicks with no sales.

    I pause ads that have gone 4+ days without a click (and extract and recycle any of the keywords from within that ad that have produced sales in the past - before the ad stopped working).

    However, I'm not completely strict about those benchmarks and do make some decisions based on 'gut feelings' about certain keywords.  This stuff may be more art than science.


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    « Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 11:13:40 am by Philip Gibson »

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    Offline CassieL

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #652 on: April 18, 2018, 11:20:25 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, 11:42:52 am by Cassie Leigh »

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    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #653 on: April 19, 2018, 09:37:50 am »
    Hopefully, Cassie will answer with her ballpark benchmarks.  For me:

    I pause keywords that have 2,000+ impressions with no clicks.

    I pause keywords that have 20+ clicks with no sales.

    I pause ads that have gone 4+ days without a click (and extract and recycle any of the keywords from within that ad that have produced sales in the past - before the ad stopped working).

    However, I'm not completely strict about those benchmarks and do make some decisions based on 'gut feelings' about certain keywords.  This stuff may be more art than science.


    Philip

    Thanks Philip. That's very helpful.

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    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #654 on: April 19, 2018, 09:38:37 am »
    Here's what I said in AMS Ads for Authors. On a day-to-day basis I'm a little more loose with the rules than this, but I think it's still a good starting point and when I reviewed the book at the time I launched the video course I decided to leave it unchanged:
    What I do:
    1.   I pause any keyword that has 10,000 impressions or more and no sales.
    2.   I also pause any keyword that has 10 or more clicks and no sales.
    a.   If the book is in KU and I can see that the author's books are in my also-boughts, which indicates potential KU borrows, I won't pause the keyword.
    3.   I pause any keyword that has more than 2,000 impressions and no clicks.
    4.   I pause any keyword where the number of clicks per 1,000 impressions is over 10 and I've spent at least $1.00 and there are no sales and the author is not in my also-boughts.
    b.   Normally, I expect to see around 1 click per 1,000 impressions and maybe 1 per 500 impressions. Lately, though, I seem to be seeing more clicks per 1,000 impressions than before, but if I'm not seeing a corresponding increase in sales I pause the keyword.
    5.   If I have a keyword that's showing a 0 for number of impressions and I think it's a good keyword for my book, then I will try raising the bid on the keyword to see if I can get impressions. Same with a keyword showing a - instead of a zero although in that case Amazon may have decided the keyword isn't relevant for my book so I don't worry about those as much.
    6.   I pause any keyword where my spend on it is more than what I can earn on one sale of the book and the author isn't in my also-boughts.

    Thanks a lot, Cassie. That's great.

    I just went through an ad campaign and tracked with everything but #6.(I get the also-boughts part.)  Did you mean "I pause any keyword where my ACPC is more than what I can earn on one sale of the book..." ? The "spend" didn't make sense. If you have a lot of sales on a keyword the spend could be huge.

    And do you do anything about the about the ACoS percentage? Any quantitative guidelines on that?
    « Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 10:36:05 am by Gregg Bell »

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    Offline CassieL

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #655 on: April 19, 2018, 11:00:36 am »
    Thanks a lot, Cassie. That's great.

    I just went through an ad campaign and tracked with everything but #6.(I get the also-boughts part.)  Did you mean "I pause any keyword where my ACPC is more than what I can earn on one sale of the book..." ? The "spend" didn't make sense. If you have a lot of sales on a keyword the spend could be huge.

    And do you do anything about the about the ACoS percentage? Any quantitative guidelines on that?

    Good catch. That should be amended to say when there is no sale on that keyword. So if I've already spent more than I'll make from a sale, even if none of the other shutdown criteria have been met yet, I shut that keyword down.
    « Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 11:43:22 am by Cassie Leigh »

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    Offline rcullison

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #656 on: April 19, 2018, 12:05:29 pm »
    Is this the right thread to ask for newbie help?

    I just started my first AMS campaign and set up 37 keywords, but then I found this thread. People are talking about having hundreds of keywords, so I feel like I'm missing an important piece of knowledge.

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    Offline CassieL

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #657 on: April 19, 2018, 01:08:36 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, 11:43:36 am by Cassie Leigh »

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    Offline rcullison

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #658 on: April 19, 2018, 01:15:19 pm »
    Quote
    are you getting good results with the number of keywords you're using?

    Unknown. I probably posted too soon. It's literally only been active since this morning and shows a whopping 4 impressions. Looks like I'll need to wait a few days.

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    Online Jena H

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #659 on: April 20, 2018, 06:34:43 am »
    First:
    Is this the right thread to ask for newbie help?

    I just started my first AMS campaign and set up 37 keywords, but then I found this thread. People are talking about having hundreds of keywords, so I feel like I'm missing an important piece of knowledge.

    I never thought I'd be able to get more than 50 keywords, but I kept adding words that were related to my book / genre, and even added words that relate to my target audience, and things that that audience might like.  For example, if you write crime thrillers, you might want to use "criminal minds" as a keyword.  Chances are, your audience and the audience for that show (or other shows/movies of similar genre) likely overlap.  Or, if you write sci-fi books, you can use "comic con" or "cosplay" or "geek" as keywords.  Get creative, cast a wide net.   ;)


    Now, as to my own issue...
    My biggest ad has been running for months.  THing is, it's reached a plateau and I'm treading water, having been at a break-even point for a month or two.  So while I'm not losing money (at the moment), I'm not really making any, either.  Should I continue the ad?  Pause it?  It seems to me that the jury is out on whether pausing and then unpausing ads works, or if, once paused, it would be better to simply copy the ad and start over.   :-\
    Jena

    Offline Anarchist

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #660 on: April 20, 2018, 07:50:28 am »
    I just started my first AMS campaign and set up 37 keywords, but then I found this thread. People are talking about having hundreds of keywords, so I feel like I'm missing an important piece of knowledge.

    In my opinion, you should always be expanding your keyword territory.

    For example, I figured out a way to mine a group of keywords that no one is bidding on. It took some rudimentary programming skills to mine and massage them, but the result is a clean list of 11,000 keywords. And they're low-competition keywords.

    I've been testing this list on one of my books, and it has delivered several hundreds of clicks in the last few weeks at $0.05 to $0.07. The ACoS on the campaigns - I had to split the list into 12 campaigns - is below 20%.

    Here's my point...

    If you do what everyone else is doing, you're going to face high bids. That's okay if you have hyper-targeted keywords, high-converting sales copy, and an airtight funnel (mailing list, multiple books, print + audio, etc.). But if you can find keywords that escape the notice of your competitors, you can get them for a song.



    « Last Edit: April 20, 2018, 07:52:30 am by Anarchist »
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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #661 on: April 20, 2018, 08:43:31 am »
    This is the "lady or tiger" question. I paused one that had been doing well for a long time, and it has been limping ever since I restarted it. Tweaking your keywords, adding new ones and pausing old ones, and changing the daily budget might get yours going with more energy. But there's no saying for sure. Cassie has suggested buying an ad outside AMS to goose sales so AMS will take notice that the book is selling and then start moving the AMS ad better. I'm finally trying that with BB CPC ads, but there's a learning curve there, of course.

    Yeah, I regularly (every 3-4 days) check my keywords, and bump them up or down a penny or two depending on how effective they've been.  But I sort of feel that all that does is play yo-yo with the details.  Also I admit that I'm reluctant to raise the bids on my best-performing keywords too high ("too high" being a relative term, of course) since I'm afraid my spending will skyrocket, with no guarantee of corresponding sales.  Ah well, guess I should bite the bullet...  nothing in life is guaranteed.
    Jena

    Offline rcullison

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #662 on: April 20, 2018, 09:04:58 am »
    In my opinion, you should always be expanding your keyword territory.

    For example, I figured out a way to mine a group of keywords that no one is bidding on. It took some rudimentary programming skills to mine and massage them, but the result is a clean list of 11,000 keywords. And they're low-competition keywords.

    I think this is what I'm missing. People mention continually adding keywords or having huge lists of keywords, but everyone is very cagey about what those keywords actually are, which is understandable given how this works.

    My book is epic fantasy, so I put that in, of course, and fantasy, and fantasy and science fiction, and other stuff like that. I assume those are all very common ones and may not work well. Then I looked at other books in the same category and put all those authors in as keywords, plus the names of their series. I typed "fantasy" into the Amazon search and added one letter at a time and grabbed anything that looked relevant to my book. But now I'm at the limit of my keyword-savviness.

    My book has no dragons in it, for example. I could use "fantasy without dragons" as a keyword (which I did, just to see what happens), but I don't know if anyone actually searches like that.

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    Offline munboy

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #663 on: April 20, 2018, 10:15:55 am »
    So, I've heard the hundreds of keywords advice several times before. The problem I run into is the fact that I can't think of that many. I use genre, tropes, similar books/authors, and different elements in the story like "magic" "dragons" "mutants"...that type of stuff. Then I hit a brick wall and only have less than a hundred.

    What other types of keywords would I be using to fill out that many?

    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #664 on: April 20, 2018, 11:27:08 am »
    Good catch. That should be amended to say when there is no sale on that keyword. So if I've already spent more than I'll make from a sale, even if none of the other shutdown criteria have been met yet, I shut that keyword down.

    I try to avoid the ACoS as much as possible because of all of the flaws it has. Within an ad, I do pay attention to ACoS but only as a relative measure. So if I have two keywords that are delivering sales for me and one shows an ACoS of 25% and one shows one of 10% I try to have a higher bid on the keyword with the lower ACoS.

    In Excel for Self-Publishers I walk through a way to take the information they give you and gross it up for KU borrows and adjust for series sellthrough and the difference between list price and what you actually receive and then calculate an adjusted ACoS from that (which is way more than I can get into in a post here). I only go through all of that when I'm trying to launch a new big ad, but it does let me know an approximate breakeven ACoS for a series that I can use as a bit of a rule of thumb. So, for example, my romance series that has two titles and is in KU, I know that as long as my ad's ACoS is below 250% I'm very likely profitable. But with my fantasy series when it was in KU that number was more like 125% because of the ratio of buys to borrows and the list prices involved. It really is a case-by-case analysis.

    Thanks a lot, Cassie. That's good to know that an ad could have a 250% ACoS and still be profitable. I'm not quite at the excel/analysis point but I'm convinced every little bit of quantitative information helps. Appreciate your help very much.

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    Offline A past poster

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #665 on: April 20, 2018, 06:51:03 pm »
    I can't change the bids on any of my keywords. Is this happening to anyone else?

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #666 on: April 20, 2018, 07:59:06 pm »
    So, I've heard the hundreds of keywords advice several times before. The problem I run into is the fact that I can't think of that many. I use genre, tropes, similar books/authors, and different elements in the story like "magic" "dragons" "mutants"...that type of stuff. Then I hit a brick wall and only have less than a hundred.

    What other types of keywords would I be using to fill out that many?

    As I mentioned earlier, I think about my target audience-- in my case, my book is a middle-grade adventure book.  So I look for all things that a 12-year-old girl or boy might be interested in.  Not just books /authors in a similar genre (Rick Riordan and the Percy Jackson series, for example), but also anything else that kids that age might be interested in:  movies, TV shows, games, etc.  Here's a partial list of some of my keywords-- probably not the most effective ones, but ones which give an idea of what kind of audience I'm trying to reach.

    siblings
    strong female
    summer read
    summer vacation
    teen beach movie
    vacation
    vacation read
    young jedi knights
    boys adventure
    action books
    action books for boys
    middle grade boys
    mg boys
    tween boys
    junior high boys
    lazy reader
    star wars books
    descendants junior novel
    disney junior novel
    star wars jedi academy
    american revolutionary war
    united states history
    historical fiction us
    middle grade
    paperback
    patriot
    scholastic
    scholastic books
    adventure book
    action
    american patriot series
    girl power



     
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    Offline munboy

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #667 on: April 21, 2018, 05:20:55 am »
    As I mentioned earlier, I think about my target audience-- in my case, my book is a middle-grade adventure book.  So I look for all things that a 12-year-old girl or boy might be interested in.  Not just books /authors in a similar genre (Rick Riordan and the Percy Jackson series, for example), but also anything else that kids that age might be interested in:  movies, TV shows, games, etc.  Here's a partial list of some of my keywords-- probably not the most effective ones, but ones which give an idea of what kind of audience I'm trying to reach.

    I've used yasiv.com, which is kind of like kdp rocket only free, and gives you book titles and authors. And I've done the Amazon search thing, where you start typing in the category or the book title and variations pop up on the screen. Use them all. But TBH, it's too much work. Initially, yes, you should use all kinds of keywords. A total of 100-200 is quite adequate. Then watch them. If they don't produce, pause the worst and try new ones. You do not need 100 active keywords. You only need a handful that reliably sell your book. But you won't find out what they are until you try a big batch, and you should always keep adding to them. 


    Thanks so much! My latest book I'm pushing hard in AMS is a YA urban superhero book. Ready Player One provided a nice little spike when the movie came out, but oddly enough "manga" has provided the most sales overall. At first, it was getting a lot of clicks but not many buys and at one point I paused it, but then I second guessed myself and made it active again and it started generating sales. Glad I decided to play the long game with that keyword.

    Offline WyandVoidbringer

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #668 on: April 21, 2018, 07:11:25 am »
    I've been really trying to figure out AMS of late, but I'm confused by one thing.

    I can have one ad that's doing pretty good on impressions and clicks, but if I copy that ad and change one variable, like the ad text, to test a different approach, the impressions for that second ad never take off.

    Why/how does AMS throttle impressions for ads? Is that something out of my control?

    There's no way to test if a different ad will get clicks/sales if it's never presented to anyone.

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    Offline rcullison

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #669 on: April 21, 2018, 12:30:36 pm »
    It's been 72 hours since I started my newborn baby campaign. I added 25 more keywords. I have 431 impressions, with one keyword accounting for 1/3 of that, and also my sole click. How long should I wait before I make changes? What changes would I even want to start making? All my bids are the default 25 cents (though my single click only cost me 13 cents).

    I am strongly reminded of that feeling when you start a new job and you realize you have no idea what you're doing and you hope nobody notices, while also realizing it's normal.

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    Offline WyandVoidbringer

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #670 on: April 21, 2018, 12:32:31 pm »
    I am strongly reminded of that feeling when you start a new job and you realize you have no idea what you're doing and you hope nobody notices, while also realizing it's normal.

    I love that feeling!

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    Offline brianna515

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #671 on: April 22, 2018, 11:10:31 am »
    Hey everyone :)

    Since we've been talking about keywords, I thought you might like this PDF I put together for my blog.

    It lists ALL the methods I use to find categories. Would love to know what you think and/or welcome any suggestions for other methods :)

    Here it is: https://authorstech.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/AMS-Keywords-Playbook-Final.pdf

    Thanks and ciao from Italy

    Offline BillyDeCarlo

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #672 on: April 22, 2018, 11:14:25 am »
    I put a 39 cent bid on Sean Penn and Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff (separate keywords for the author name and book title in the AMS ad for my third book, since it's a political novel like Penn's horrid new book. When I search for the book in Amazon and click on it, there are 15 pages of carousel under sponsored items, including what seems like a lot of unrelated books. Why don't I show up at all??


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    Offline Bob Stewart

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #673 on: April 22, 2018, 11:49:09 am »
    In my opinion, you should always be expanding your keyword territory.

    For example, I figured out a way to mine a group of keywords that no one is bidding on. It took some rudimentary programming skills to mine and massage them, but the result is a clean list of 11,000 keywords. And they're low-competition keywords. ....

    Anarchist,

    Without giving away a family secret, can you offer some hints of how this was done? Did you set up a bot that requested a page and then looked to see if ads were on it?

    Finding 11,000 is pretty impressive. Can you maybe give an idea of what sort of terms they are?

    Offline Gregg Bell

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    Re: A New AMS Thread
    « Reply #674 on: May 04, 2018, 07:47:42 pm »
    My AMS stats have been steady. I haven't really had hardly any success except for when I first ran an ad for a new release. So the only thing that has been going up is the spend. But today on that same ad there were all kinds of sales missing. And the sales had been there for weeks. I know people can return books but don't they have a one week period only to so? Any idea what might have happened? Thanks.

    "When people agree with me I always feel that I must be wrong." Oscar Wilde
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