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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, guys.  I've got a question about also-boughts, and I'm wondering if any of you guys know the answer.

When Amazon decides on what gets also-bought, does it choose whatever is most likely to have been bought buy the same customers in the ENTIRE PAST, or what has been bought RECENTLY (like in the last week or something)?  I'm pretty sure it weighs the recent past heavily, so what I'm really wondering is, does it count the distant past at all?

Does it work anything like the way the ranking algorithms do?  Are steady sales between two items more likely to result in also-boughts, or is one big burst more likely to (and then steady sales would presumably continue after that because the also-bought link exists)?
 

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Amazon's not telling, but near as I can tell by observing mine over the last four years, also-boughts are:

Optimized. They are NOT strictly what's also been bought:

They're also category dependent. When my books change categories, their also-boughts change, too.

Time sensitive. Promos make my also-boughts the other promo'd books in the same newsletter, and then that changes back over time. The amount of time depends on how big the promo was.
 

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For some reason, this is always a hard thing for me to describe.

The also-bought algo is a pure ranking algo that takes into account time frame. If 100 people who bought your book also bought 100 copies of book A over the last 90 days and 90 people who bought your book also bought book B over the last 30 days, book B is likely to rank higher on your also-bought list.

If your sales are natural sales (not from some type of promo or free day), your also-boughts will almost always be populated with similar books that share the same genre. If you are the type of author to sell most of your books in the first month of release, your also-boughts will also likely be populated with books that were released around the same time as yours.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ahh!  I didn't think about them being category dependent, but of course they are.  That's why you get books in the also-boughts of other books, and food in the also-boughts of other food, and toys in the also-boughts of other toys.  That didn't occur to me, but it's obvious in retrospect.  They'd be far less relevant and useful if they weren't optimized.  Thanks, Cherise!

That's exactly what I was wondering, whether Book A or Book B in your example would ranker higher.  Thanks, Briteka!

Thanks, both of you!

 

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What about the order in which the also-boughts are listed?  Is the one in the number one position the one that has been bought the most out of the entire group?  I have two books in a series out and a lot of the time, the other book is in first place, but sometimes not.  I am selling just as many of book two as book one, so I'm thinking that plays into it, but I don't know for sure.

Also, does anyone know what determines how many pages of also-boughts appear at the bottom of a listing?

 

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Was about to ask this same question when it occurred to me to search the boards first... and looky there, a post from only 2 months ago.

The one add-on question I had, and actually the reason this came to mind in the first place, was this: Are there any known requirements for being on the also-bought list? I had one author tell me you had to have 50 reviews to qualify, but I can easily find books with also-boughts that have significantly fewer reviews. So that seems false.

I imagine the answer is that Amazon does what Amazon does. They consider all facets to attempt to showcase similar books that similar customers purchase.

That last element makes me wonder - are the also-boughts I see the same as the also-boughts everyone sees? I did an incognito test to confirm it, but even then Amazon could be tracking my IP and presenting the same content.

So I'll ask the board:

Do you see two of my books (John Black 1 and 2, in the 3rd and 2nd slot respectively right now, as I view it) in the also-boughts for this book (Jason James's ANOM book 1)? https://www.amazon.com/ANOM-Awakening-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01HFBT386/

K.
 

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Keith Soares said:
Was about to ask this same question when it occurred to me to search the boards first... and looky there, a post from only 2 months ago.

The one add-on question I had, and actually the reason this came to mind in the first place, was this: Are there any known requirements for being on the also-bought list? I had one author tell me you had to have 50 reviews to qualify, but I can easily find books with also-boughts that have significantly fewer reviews. So that seems false.

I imagine the answer is that Amazon does what Amazon does. They consider all facets to attempt to showcase similar books that similar customers purchase.

That last element makes me wonder - are the also-boughts I see the same as the also-boughts everyone sees? I did an incognito test to confirm it, but even then Amazon could be tracking my IP and presenting the same content.

So I'll ask the board:

Do you see two of my books (John Black 1 and 2, in the 3rd and 2nd slot respectively right now, as I view it) in the also-boughts for this book (Jason James's ANOM book 1)? https://www.amazon.com/ANOM-Awakening-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01HFBT386/

K.
Yeah, there's a silly meme going around that is basically authors begging for reviews and claiming that at 50 reviews you get alsoboughts. Not the case. Also boughts are exactly that, other books that were also bought along with yours.

To add another wrinkle, someone just told me they noticed that also boughts will vary depending on who is looking.....so you might not be shown the same also boughts as I will because Amazon takes our past buying history into consideration and personalizes what we are shown, to increase the odds that we will buy.
 

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UnicornEmily said:
Hey, guys. I've got a question about also-boughts, and I'm wondering if any of you guys know the answer.

When Amazon decides on what gets also-bought, does it choose whatever is most likely to have been bought buy the same customers in the ENTIRE PAST, or what has been bought RECENTLY (like in the last week or something)? I'm pretty sure it weighs the recent past heavily, so what I'm really wondering is, does it count the distant past at all?

Does it work anything like the way the ranking algorithms do? Are steady sales between two items more likely to result in also-boughts, or is one big burst more likely to (and then steady sales would presumably continue after that because the also-bought link exists)?
Chris has a great explanation in his launch to market videos. Can't remember which one, I think that it's the 2nd of 5... http://www.chrisfoxwrites.com/videos/
 

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I had no idea how important the Also-Bots were until my latest 5-day free promo. Basically, I had been running Amazon ads for 3 months, refining KWs to the point where all my Also-Bots were from books of the same genre that sell well. Then I discovered that Amazon does internal promotions like emailing readers of books they had looked at, and books in same/similar genre(s). Amazon even promote books that are in the rankings of 300,000 if those books tailor to YOUR individual genre. So anyway, in October, combined with my own new release in the series, I was shooting up in the ranking and selling the best I'd ever sold. It was sticking too.

But on my own, I had a promo plan to make a big splash with my new release. Part of that plan included a KU 5-day free promo of Book 1 in the series. I paused the Amazon ads and did that. 5 days later, I guess I can call the free promo a "sucess" as I gave away thousands of DLs. But reality was, I saw no immediate sell-thru to the rest of the series (meaning the free book is sitting on people's devices). Meanwhile, My Also-Bots are all messed up. Majority are now books of unrelated genres. The most visible ones being Cook Books.

My ranking afterwards had dropped 30K rank and remained there. I've gotten the Amazon emails of recommended books myself that included my promoted book, and the recommendations are all over the place. So you can see how messed up this is. I'm very disappointed, to say the least.

I know most authors here are advocates of free, and probably it works for their genres. But for myself, I'm never going to do free again to risk messing major time with the Also-Bots. I have to say that Amazon's promo Algo is a double-edged sword. You book will sink to oblivion if you don't get that algo working for you. Triggering the Amazon algo has been my goal right from the start for me and It has worked out well for me. (For that reason I go against the conventional wisdom that you shouldn't promote your book till Book 3. If you can stick to a publication schedule, I'd say you got to start with Book 1 to get that algo working for you.) But now I feel I'm held hostage to the Algo. I hesitate to do any outside promo that might mess with my Also-Bots.

But please do take what I say with a grain a salt. I currently write in a very specific genre and my Also-Bots can be messed up pretty easily. It may be that if you write contemporary romance, or PN/fantasy, your risk is not as high as readers of different promo services are likely downloading several other books of the same genre and your Also-Bots will be protected. In my case, there is almost zero chance that another book of my genre is in the same promo newsletter of any promo service. I guess my advice is, if you write in a more narrow genre and you got the Amazon algo working for you, think twice before you do anything else that might mess with your Also-Bots.
 

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AlexaKang said:
But reality was, I saw no immediate sell-thru to the rest of the series (meaning the free book is sitting on people's devices). Meanwhile, My Also-Bots are all messed up. Majority are now books of unrelated genres. The most visible ones being Cook Books. My ranking afterwards had dropped 30K rank and remained there.
I've looked at all my free promos this year, and that's been the pattern with almost all of them. I get good follow-on sales of the promoted book but no obvious sell-through to the rest of the series. The exception was the Regencies. When book 3 was free, I got terrific sales of books 1 and 2 on the day, but not afterwards. And yeah, cookbooks in the also-bots. :(

However, rank always improved and I saw increases in pages read across the series as a result. So it worked in borrow-through, just not in sell-through.
 
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AlexaKang said:
I had no idea how important the Also-Bots were until my latest 5-day free promo. Basically, I had been running Amazon ads for 3 months, refining KWs to the point where all my Also-Bots were from books of the same genre that sell well. Then I discovered that Amazon does internal promotions like emailing readers of books they had looked at, and books in same/similar genre(s). Amazon even promote books that are in the rankings of 300,000 if those books tailor to YOUR individual genre. So anyway, in October, combined with my own new release in the series, I was shooting up in the ranking and selling the best I'd ever sold. It was sticking too.

But on my own, I had a promo plan to make a big splash with my new release. Part of that plan included a KU 5-day free promo of Book 1 in the series. I paused the Amazon ads and did that. 5 days later, I guess I can call the free promo a "sucess" as I gave away thousands of DLs. But reality was, I saw no immediate sell-thru to the rest of the series (meaning the free book is sitting on people's devices). Meanwhile, My Also-Bots are all messed up. Majority are now books of unrelated genres. The most visible ones being Cook Books.

My ranking afterwards had dropped 30K rank and remained there. I've gotten the Amazon emails of recommended books myself that included my promoted book, and the recommendations are all over the place. So you can see how messed up this is. I'm very disappointed, to say the least.

I know most authors here are advocates of free, and probably it works for their genres. But for myself, I'm never going to do free again to risk messing major time with the Also-Bots. I have to say that Amazon's promo Algo is a double-edged sword. You book will sink to oblivion if you don't get that algo working for you. Triggering the Amazon algo has been my goal right from the start for me and It has worked out well for me. (For that reason I go against the conventional wisdom that you shouldn't promote your book till Book 3. If you can stick to a publication schedule, I'd say you got to start with Book 1 to get that algo working for you.) But now I feel I'm held hostage to the Algo. I hesitate to do any outside promo that might mess with my Also-Bots.

But please do take what I say with a grain a salt. I currently write in a very specific genre and my Also-Bots can be messed up pretty easily. It may be that if you write contemporary romance, or PN/fantasy, your risk is not as high as readers of different promo services are likely downloading several other books of the same genre and your Also-Bots will be protected. In my case, there is almost zero chance that another book of my genre is in the same promo newsletter of any promo service. I guess my advice is, if you write in a more narrow genre and you got the Amazon algo working for you, think twice before you do anything else that might mess with your Also-Bots.
How long ago was your free promo? I've seen the same thing where my also-boughts get full of random books after a promo but so far I've found that if I give it a little bit of time, it settles back to the original genre-appropriate also-boughts. Hopefully that will happen for you too!
 

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Thanks to everyone (PaulineMRoss, MelanieCellier, LGAdams, UnicornEmily) confirming what I was seeing on also-boughts. Though this doesn't rule out that different people might see different things, I'm glad to know that my books are showing up for more than just me! ;)

K.
 

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To add another wrinkle, someone just told me they noticed that also boughts will vary depending on who is looking.....so you might not be shown the same also boughts as I will because Amazon takes our past buying history into consideration and personalizes what we are shown, to increase the odds that we will buy.
[/quote]

I was guessing that the only criteria Amazon would be interested in would be to show the potential reader the selection of books that is most likely to result in another purchase, and you've confirmed this. I know from experience that the regular promotional e-mails I'm sent by Amazon are personalised in respect of authors I've previously bought. As with everything these days, it's all about money! :)
 
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