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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have access to a very small budget for ads and with a new release, I'd thought I'd try dipping my toes back into Amazon sponsored ads. I'm keeping both ad sites in the US open and checking in regularly for fear of using up all my budget quickly at which point I'll have to pause it.

Early days, but using auto targeting for the ad for the first time, I went along with their suggested bids.

Right off the bat with only around 100 impressions, I had one click @ $1.32. WTF. Now with 250 impressions and 3 clicks, it's gone to $2.86 = 95c per click, no sales but page reads so far at .$0.01 earned. Still if they go on to read more and then delve into the rest of the trilogy that's promising. I'm just gob smacked at how much the bids are costing.

At my retail I have 3.47 royalty to play with. At that rate three clicks and no sales and I'm making a loss if I take account of my 10% withholding tax.
 

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Uggh, sorry to hear it's still like that. I was having similar results around November and gave up on it for a while. Guess I was hoping the bidding would calm down, but sounds like it's still rough. I hate to think of a scenario where everyone is upping the price of their ebooks just to cover ams ads. Amazon would be happy about it but no one else would.
 

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I always set a low max bid. Then you can have loads of unproductive clicks and still make profit. It is a long-term strategy, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Uggh, sorry to hear it's still like that. I was having similar results around November and gave up on it for a while. Guess I was hoping the bidding would calm down, but sounds like it's still rough. I hate to think of a scenario where everyone is upping the price of their ebooks just to cover ams ads. Amazon would be happy about it but no one else would.
It makes it worse that I'm tax based in Portugal, though stuck here in Brazil. The VAT rate charged on my ads is 22% so I also have to take that into account, besides the 10% withholding tax..

The UK is faring better with both manual and auto targeted on the same book, with a click cost of 0.34p on each, what ever that converts to in dollars.
 

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From what some experts say, it's not a good idea to go for suggested bids. Apparently, originally Amazon's ads weren't meant for books (or authors) but for various merchandise. That's why "suggested bids" are all over the place. You need to manually set a default bid under "Automatic targeting" and make sure you tick "Dynamic bids - down only" so they can't automatically increase your bid.
 

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And make sure you set your bids to adjust down only. If they are set to up/down you can wind up spending a lot on a single click. As others said, a steady bid that is lower than the suggested bid usually gets more profitable clicks. It takes time though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I always set a low max bid. Then you can have loads of unproductive clicks and still make profit. It is a long-term strategy, though.
Yeah, I've been running those in the UK and couldn't give my money away, only racking up monthly ad costs of 5 pounds, than all of a sudden, I took my eyes of the ball and chose a genre keyword. That quickly racked up 73 clicks on not one sale, but luckily it was only at 22p. That one baffled me
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
From what some experts say, it's not a good idea to go for suggested bids. Apparently, originally Amazon's ads weren't meant for books (or authors) but for various merchandise. That's why "suggested bids" are all over the place. You need to manually set a default bid under "Automatic targeting" and make sure you tick "Dynamic bids - down only" so they can't automatically increase your bid.
Yeah, I marked the bids as down only
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Then it's very strange. I don't understand... :unsure:
Because with auto bids there are 4 cats of auto chosen keywords. Can't remember the titles of the cats, but they are along the lines of something like exact, similar, xxxxx, and loose match. The bids are set on each one and I used their $1.32 suggested bid for exact match, and similar match, and 55c for the other two, but downward bids from all those suggested bids only. It doesn't mean every bid will be charged at that price. Hence the average bid was 95c and not $1.32 for all three individual bids. From those clicks someone has downloaded for page reads.

I could have set the bids lower, but I wanted to use their suggested bids to see how auto bids performed.

You don't get to choose the keywords, they choose them for you based on the books meta data being a match for their target keyword.

To ensure 1st page visibility, then you would choose to let them increase you bids to say 100% more than you set as a bid.
 

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Because with auto bids there are 4 cats of auto chosen keywords. Can't remember the titles of the cats, but they are along the lines of something like exact, similar, xxxxx, and loose match. The bids are set on each one and I used their $1.32 suggested bid for exact match, and similar match, and 55c for the other two, but downward bids from all those suggested bids only. It doesn't mean every bid will be charged at that price. Hence the average bid was 95c and not $1.32 for all three individual bids. From those clicks someone has downloaded for page reads.

I could have set the bids lower, but I wanted to use their suggested bids to see how auto bids performed.

You don't get to choose the keywords, they choose them for you based on the books meta data being a match for their target keyword.

To ensure 1st page visibility, then you would choose to let them increase you bids to say 100% more than you set as a bid.
Ah, I see now. Thank you very much!
 

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My amazon ads have nose-dived too. It was quite sudden. It seems that you really need to throw money at it now which is slightly depressing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
But even with apparently legions of authors quitting AMS, the click price keeps going up.
But even with apparently legions of authors quitting AMS, the click price keeps going up.
It baffles me.

There are always new authors coming onboard daily, I also see quite a few new releases. If they are not in the know, I imagine them clicking the suggested bids, or within that range until it skints them of an intitial spend they set to market a new release. Box sets and series can be profitable at high bids and I see many high on the list that are 1st in a series. The carousel further down is probably populated with lower bids where authors just leave them running because they don't get clicks. or very few and still make a profit.

I managed to find a sponsored carousel on a book that every time I opened the sales page I was on the carousel with my bid and keyword. I was at page 34 out of 35.with a 35c bid. I increased it to 40 and it moved to page 30 gradually increasing bids, at 70c I only got to page 25, which makes it at around 200 books ahead of me at a higher bid so I paused the keyword as it wasn't getting any clicks.

It must work for some. I'm on a Facebook group where one talked about budget of $200 per day though they say that they have many books and it had never reached his overall budget. But the majority are new authors to ads and the talk is of not getting impressions, never mind clicks.
 

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The trick is finding the right keywords for the right price. I don’t think amazon has ever suggested a bid price lower than $0.50. I always do manual pricing and rarely go over $0.20. My ACOS usually hovers around 10 and 20%. Ads works well for me, but you have to be patient and spend money to learn. If you don’t have at least $100 a month to spend (and be comfortable with losing to learn what’s working), I would invest it somewhere else—like book promos. I would also say ads seem to work better for non-fiction.
 

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I am one of those who quit AMS. Just on two months ago. It was getting silly. The bids had to go higher and higher until the ads started tearing huge holes in the already diminishing profit margin. Covid hasn't been that great for sales for my books. They chugged along but overall 2020 was not a brilliant year. The bites AMS took from my pie became very noticeable over the past months. My conclusion is it is no longer worth it. Perhaps it works out better for those in KU, although not sure how that would be the case.
 

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For a long time I was a big proponent of AMS ads. I am at the point where I have pulled away from it. It has become too complicated with too many variables, each will soak up a lot of your spending. There are big players who have come into AMS and driven up prices.

Mark
 

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I have access to a very small budget for ads and with a new release, I'd thought I'd try dipping my toes back into Amazon sponsored ads. I'm keeping both ad sites in the US open and checking in regularly for fear of using up all my budget quickly at which point I'll have to pause it.

Early days, but using auto targeting for the ad for the first time, I went along with their suggested bids.

Right off the bat with only around 100 impressions, I had one click @ $1.32. WTF. Now with 250 impressions and 3 clicks, it's gone to $2.86 = 95c per click, no sales but page reads so far at .$0.01 earned. Still if they go on to read more and then delve into the rest of the trilogy that's promising. I'm just gob smacked at how much the bids are costing.

At my retail I have 3.47 royalty to play with. At that rate three clicks and no sales and I'm making a loss if I take account of my 10% withholding tax.
Yes Decon it has gone mad!

Two factors have caused this

1. Amazon changing their ad system. I kid you not I had 5 campaigns that were doing amazing then they suddenly changed the inside, added the UP and DOWN bidding and a few other things and i saw all 5 campaigns disappear (meaning no impressions when they were getting thousands )

2. COVID - Every Tom, Dick and Harry who was part-time writing or was wanting to write a book is now on the band wagon tossing out books like candy and diving into AMS and paying amazon their insane click amounts of $0.90 to $3.00 a click. Its insane.

I'm close to giving up on it. I am planning on one last WIPE and CREATE again. If i don't see results with books I know were getting results ( ad words proven, covers proven, blurbs proven ) then i will dump AMS like an ex-girlfriend.
 

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AMS doesn't do itself any favors. Lately, I am seeing very few sales attributing back to ads themselves. This either means my facebook ads are converting very well (great!) or AMS process is just not tracking very well.

I set up a recent ad campaign. Got an email it was approved...and the ad did not show on the dashboard anywhere...either in draft or enabled....until many hours later and it was buried in my dashboard.

I believe there are too many options now and variables that make it extremely confusing. Maybe that is the point of AMS...confusion leads to spending blindly.

Mark
 
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