Author Topic: Amazon Advertising in 2021  (Read 1190 times)  

Offline Anonymouse

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Amazon Advertising in 2021
« on: January 13, 2021, 09:23:39 pm »
I played around with Amazon Advertising a little bit back in 2017 and 2018 (when it was called AMS), but never spent much time on it and didn't have any outrageous success (my Advertising dashboard says I spent about $6, got 40K impressions, and made about $18.95).  After that my short-attention span was exhausted and I stopped my ads and got distracted by other things.  Now, several years later, I'm trying to get back into writing/self-publishing.  I've started a new ad campaign and have been tweaking it, but I get the feeling things have changed some.  I figured I'd share info about my current efforts in hopes that others will share some basic info about their efforts.  I'm trying to get a handle on the state of Amazon Advertising now, in early 2021, and what I can expect.

My current campaign is focused on one stand-alone Murder Mystery in the Amateur Sleuth subgenre, with a tropical setting and a somewhat-grim tone (not a cozy mystery).  The book is in KU with a list price of $3.99.  I know that common knowledge says it's best to focus promotions on series, but I'm trying this standalone anyway because I think the book is a decent read that never found an audience.  I've only had the campaign running for about 10 days.  I've got it set to bid-down only, and I've set the bid rate at 79 cents.  I've got about 200 keywords, and I've got the boxes checked to run them on "broad," "phrase," and "exact," which means those 200 words show as more than 600 on my list.  I chose my keywords by using descriptive terms and phrases related to the genre/story, and also by picking names of authors and titles of books that I think would appeal to a similar audience (making an effort to focus on mid-list authors and books showing up in the "Hot Release" lists).  I've got my daily limit set to $5.

So far (in 10 days) the campaign has spent 9 cents, total.  It's made about 1,500 impressions.

I'm not sure if these numbers are common, or if I'm not doing the right things.  Any one else willing to share their current experiences?

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    Online Jeff Hughes

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    Re: Amazon Advertising in 2021
    « Reply #1 on: January 14, 2021, 01:54:16 am »
    That few impressions suggests you're either targeting in the wrong direction or - more likely - you're being outbid.  I would try, at least temporarily, boosting the bid amounts significantly.

    Once you see a big jump in impressions, the next step is clicks.  For that, you need a compelling cover (at thumbnail size) and an intriguing ad blurb.

    Once you start seeing clicks, the classic stuff that always gets talked about is what matters - cover, blurb, Read Inside, and reviews.


    Jeff Hughes

    Offline Anonymouse

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    Re: Amazon Advertising in 2021
    « Reply #2 on: January 14, 2021, 02:23:46 pm »
    Thanks for the response, Jeff.  You touched on one of my biggest questions: how much should a person expect to bid?  I've currently set all my keywords to 79 cents.  Are people generally bidding higher than that?

    Online Jeff Hughes

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    Re: Amazon Advertising in 2021
    « Reply #3 on: January 14, 2021, 03:10:15 pm »
    How much to bid is never an easy question to answer, because it varies so widely between genres and who (and how many) other authors you're bidding against.  But because Amazon will only charge you just above the next bid under yours, up to your max, it's fairly straightforward to figure out if you're willing to bid high, even if only temporarily.

    The first key is to get impressions, and to get them where you want them.  You can verify that by browsing and searching just like any prospective reader might, preferably using a different browser (or one in which all history and cookies have been cleared).  At some price point you should see your ad.  You're going to have to pay more to be rendered on the first page, versus further down the carousel... but experimenting with elevated bid and daily maximums for a few hours should give you an idea of what bids are required to get impressions.  Then it's a matter of striking a balance between spending enough on your ads to get good impressions, without spending so much that it kills your net profit from sales.


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    Offline J. Tanner

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    Re: Amazon Advertising in 2021
    « Reply #4 on: January 14, 2021, 06:54:02 pm »
    It's going to be nigh-impossible to make money on a stand-alone with a .79 bid, let alone bidding higher. If you don't convert better than one in three clicks you're losing money and converting one in three is a pipe dream in my experience.

    It sounds like your targets are being bid up out of your range by series authors who can afford to lose money advertising a book because of read through to later books in the series.
    J. Tanner vs. the Page (blog)

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    Offline Anonymouse

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    Re: Amazon Advertising in 2021
    « Reply #5 on: January 14, 2021, 08:05:58 pm »
    Thank you Jeff Hughes and J. Tanner for the feedback.

    As J. Tanner mentioned, with a standalone it's unlikely to earn back the cost of bids if I'm paying more than a minimal amount for them, and that's why I've been reluctant to bid very high.

    I'm still interested in finding a way to use Amazon Advertising to try to get at least some movement for this book.  I believe the cover thumbnail, blurb, and look-inside are effective enough to provoke at least some purchases if I can drive traffic toward the book's page.

    I'm trying to come up with strategies to gain that exposure without requiring expensive bids.  My main idea right now is to add more search terms trying to find tighter interest niches.  I've currently got a little more than 200 keywords, and I want to add at least 100 more.  But even with the 200, so far even the keywords I've chosen that seem 'niche' to me are not selling bids at 79 cents, and not racking up many impressions.  I can't tell if this is because no one's searching for the keywords at all, or if people are searching but not scrolling past the first page of sponsored ads.

    If anyone has any suggestions for me, or is willing to share details of their recent experiences with Amazon Advertising, I'd be grateful for the information.

    To update from my initial post, in the past 24 hours the campaign is showing about 300 additional impressions, one additional bid (for 79 cents, on a specific mid-list author name), and 55 KENP pages read.  (The KENP pages are gratifying.  This book hadn't had any movement in over a year, and was ranked at something like 1,700,000 in the store.  Because of those 55 pages the book's rank has jumped to about 200K.)

    Offline J. Tanner

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    Re: Amazon Advertising in 2021
    « Reply #6 on: January 15, 2021, 12:54:26 am »
    I bid 10 cents for my standalone. It sells a book now and then. About 1 in 9 clicks converts to a sale. It runs at a slight profit even if I slip in .99 cent sale or a freebie day here and there. (My theory is put it to "set it and forget it mode". My limited time is spent writing and I check it for 5 minutes every couple weeks. There will be time to spend on marketing when I have more books.)

    A single sale always move the book up to 150K or so, then the book drops down to 1M+ until the next sale. This is the normal pattern for sub 1 copy/day books. 150K and 2M basically mean the same thing.

    Run an Auto ad side by side with your keyword ad. Always possible Amazon is smarter than you.

    Get more keywords on your keyword ad. Use a free keyword tool if you don't have ideas. Or just keep adding authors/ASINs.
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    Offline Anonymouse

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    Re: Amazon Advertising in 2021
    « Reply #7 on: January 15, 2021, 02:32:58 pm »
    Thanks for the info, J. Tanner, especially the details of the 10 cents bid limit and the 1 in 9 converting to a sale.

    Your set-it-and-forget-it approach is about what I'm shooting for with my book, with the additional detail of me not wanting to bother changing the book's sales price.  I've got it set to $3.99, which means a royalty of around $2.80 for each sale.  Right now I'm pretty much willing to have most of that royalty go into paying for ad costs, and I'm trying to figure out what my cost to click to sale ratios are.

    I like your idea of setting up an auto ad side by side, to see how it compares to my keyword ad.  I might try that.

    I've been slowly working through the videos in the free Kindlepreneur Amazon Advertising course (https://kindlepreneur.com/ams-book-advertising-course/), trying to choose more keywords.

    Offline Anonymouse

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    Re: Amazon Advertising in 2021
    « Reply #8 on: January 15, 2021, 10:09:25 pm »
    Update: (A detailed look at some piddly numbers.  Probably not of interest to most people, but I'll track it here for my own benefit.)

    Last night I set the "Adjust Bids By Placement" percentages to 50% for the "top of search (first page)" and "Product pages" options, meaning my max bid for those is $1.19.  Today my impressions number jumped to 3600+, which is roughly double what the impressions had been yesterday.  No impressions got clicked, so I didn't spend any money; my total for this campaign so far is still 88 cents all together, split between two previous clicks.  Not surprisingly, no new clicks means no new sales, but the click from yesterday is now showing a result of 114 KENP, meaning that that person has read an additional 59 pages since last night.  114 KENP should mean a total earnings of about 50 cents if KENP rates remain in line with last month's--I'm still 29 cents below what the click cost me.  The book's rank has dropped to about 427K.

    Offline Anonymouse

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    Re: Amazon Advertising in 2021
    « Reply #9 on: January 17, 2021, 08:42:51 pm »
    Last night I went through the Kindle Best Sellers Amateur Sleuth list.  I looked for books that might appeal to someone who might also like my book (basically I omitted all of the Cozy Mysteries) and added the author names, book titles, and series titles to my keywords list.  That brought my total number of keywords to 232.

    Today I checked my account and saw that the total impressions for the campaign had jumped to 11,490, which is about four times the number I had two days ago.  My total spend has increased to $4.50, with six different clicks (4 more than the last time I checked).  None of those clicks resulted in a sale, but one shows a few KENP pages resulting.  Here's hoping that person keeps reading the book.

    The older click (which I mentioned in a previous post) that resulted in KENP now shows a KENP number equal to the total for the book, meaning the clicker went on to read the whole book in three days.  I'm estimating the pay for those pages should roughly double the cost of the ad, which is good news.

    Not so good news is that one of the new clicks cost me $1.44, and didn't result in a sale.  I've since gone through the bids for my keywords and lowered them all so that the default starting point is 47 cents and none of them go higher than 90 cents.

    The book's current rank is 342K in the store.

    My main goal now is to add more keywords.  I might try to go through another relevant best seller list to see if I can generate more keywords that way.  If anyone else has any thoughts or advice, or is interested in sharing details from their experiences with Amazon Advertising, I'd be eager to hear whatever they're willing to share.  Thanks!

    Offline Anonymouse

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    Re: Amazon Advertising in 2021
    « Reply #10 on: January 21, 2021, 08:20:05 pm »
    Current impressions: 27K
    Current clicks: 13, for a total cost of $7.53
    Current money earned (estimated): <$1.50, all from page reads.  (297 from the first reader I mentioned above, who read the whole book in three days, and 5 pages from the other person I mentioned above, who hasn't read anymore than those 5 pages.)

    Last night I tried to add some keywords focusing on Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.  Amazon provided me with recommended bids, but when I tried to save the terms I got a message saying the keywords hadn't been added.

    Does anyone know anything about this?  Are there certain keywords--certain author names, for example--that Amazon won't let you add?

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