Amazon has grown into an advertising behemoth challenging rival platforms for literary works such as BookBub, Facebook, and Google. The world’s largest online retailer has established a presence in marketing, selling books since 1995—a year after founder Jeff Bezos launched the entire firm—and having transformed and updated its promotional services overtime.
In 2012, the company developed Amazon Media Group or AMG, Amazon Marketing Services or AMS and Amazon Advertising Platform or AAP. The aim of its advertising business was to link sellers, such as you, the indie author, with customers from its 180 million customer base.
At first, Amazon concentrated on banner ads and internal search engines but then expanded to internal ads, data collection, retail connections, targeted ads for external websites, and customer search and browsing histories. It also went on to include audio features to hear keywords on apps and smartphones and blogs in its offerings.
In this blog, we will explore the bounties of book marketing with Amazon ads. This blog is part one of a two-part series about this powerful advertising tool.
Why Promote with Amazon Ads
The greatest benefit to Amazon Ads is the convenience of presenting your ads to Amazon’s visitors online. In other words, your book will be promoted to potential readers while they are shopping for books. As a result, the odds of book sales success already work in your favor—better than on social media such as Facebook or Instagram where users are not necessarily searching for books or purchasing items but rather chatting and downloading cute cat videos.
According to analyst Benedict Evans, about 50 percent of the publishing industry’s print book sales take place on Amazon. In eBooks, Amazon covers 75 percent of publishers’ sales.
Amazon is the most popular bookstore globally, having long since absorbed the customer bases of such past brick-and-mortar, shopping-mall chains, and online booksellers such as Barnes and Noble and Waldenbooks.
As an example of how AMS presents an effective marketing tool for selling your books, you can follow the details of a particular Amazon case study of success from information technology specialist and part-time writer Michal Stawicki, especially for his books The Art of Persistence and Trickle Don Mindset.
In the Amazon case study, Stawicki explains that he achieved modest sales for both books before he started to hunker down and learn about AMS and how to harness its benefits towards his advantage.
After weeks of marketing or promoting his books online after AMS training, Stawicki doubled his sales through effective keyword choice, sound monthly ads budgets, cost metric tracking and a deeper profitability review of each sale.
What Kinds of Ads Can You Run?
As an author, you have free rein to run at least one of three different types of ads: sponsored product ads, sponsored brand ads, and lockscreen ads. Sponsored product ads are cost-per-click ones that promote your single products on Amazon. In a matter of minutes you can produce a campaign for your books, even if you’re a novice.
Next, with advertising accompanying the most relevant Amazon search results, sponsored brand ads enables customers to find your books. Aside from cost-per-click ads, you can target and draw in readers and fans with headlines, images, and videos.
Lockscreen ads permit you to promote your eBooks to the audience most likely to purchase them.
You can reach out to readers with ads that are based on their genres or interests while they are reading on their Kindle E-readers and Fire tablets. This makes it convenient for your potential customers to check out and buy your work.
Amazon also offers Kindle Countdown Deals that allow you as an author to offer limited-time discounts for your eBooks on Amazon.com.
Customers will view both the regular and promotional prices on the eBook’s detail page and a countdown clock. The clock shows how much time you have left on the book promotion campaign. You also generate royalties on each sale for the life of the campaign.
You can also promote your book in the Kindle Unlimited program. In fact, if your book is already in the KDP Select program, you are automatically in Kindle Unlimited.
Kindle Unlimited allows you to draw on an income by being paid for the total number of pages your readers and fans read of your books per month.
Lastly, you also can opt for book marketing on Amazon A+ Content. This tool empowers you to provide your readers and fans with details about your books such as descriptions, charts, videos, images, and custom copy.
Such content helps you boost traffic to your book, your conversion rates, and your sales.
How to Reach Your Readers
Amazon Ads provides you with three main ways of reaching your audience: keyword targeting, category/genre targeting, and product targeting with books of a similar nature.
With keyword targeting, you can promote your book by carefully selecting your keywords based on your genres, subgenres, or topics of interest to steer customer traffic towards your work. Amazon’s keyword-based ads connect search results with keywords in your campaign and present your ads if they meet the criteria.
As an author, category/genre targeting permits you to promote your book by its category or by its Amazon Standard Identification Number, also more commonly known as ASIN. Then you can narrow your category down to your own brand, the price range of your books, the reviews, the star ratings, and Amazon Prime shipping eligibility.
Product targeting is similar. Amazon Ads lets you use various settings to run your campaigns by selecting particular products, categories or brands that resemble your work. With product targeting, your potential fanbase will discover your books much more quickly when they visit the detail pages or through Amazon’s internal search engines.
You can create and use sponsored ad campaigns through product targeting with price, categories, brand, or star ratings as your criteria. You may also choose to make a list of brands and ASINs that won’t match your ads.
How to Create Amazon Ads
Now that you’re aware of how Amazon ads can serve your book marketing purposes, you can begin to produce your own.
- Step 1: Click on the “Create Campaign” function.
- Step 2: Choose “Sponsored Products,” “Sponsored Brands” or “Lockscreen Ads”.
- Step 3: Depending on which category of ad you’ve chosen and clicked on, select your type of targeting whether that is manual, keyword, category and product targeting.
- Step 4: Create your ad group and add the books and genres, subgenres or topics you want to target.
- Step 5: Select from the list of keywords presented, add your own keywords or upload a file of keywords.
- Step 6: You are now prepared to start your campaign. If you stop at this point, you can always return and add more keywords if needed. (You are permitted up to 1,000 keywords per campaign. There are more campaign restrictions.)
How to Analyze Your Results
Advertising analysis can be involved and complex. A number of factors must be considered to determine how well a campaign performs. So before you can conduct an analysis, you must familiarize yourself with key vocabulary and metrics for measuring ad success:
- Total Ad Spend—your total expense for the Amazon ad campaign.
- Impression—a pay-per-click advertising metric that reveals how often your ad is appearing on Amazon, either within the search results or on a product detail page.
- Click—when a customer clicks on a link or a button in your ad.
- Cost per Click—a common advertising term that refers to the price you pay each time your ad receives a click.
- Click-through Rate—the total number of clicks your ad gets divided by the total number of impressions. It is also known as your CTR.
- Conversion Rate—the percentage of clicks on your Amazon ad that converts into sales.
- Cost per Conversion—the total cost paid for an advertisement in relation to the success in achieving the goal of that advertisement.
- Return on Investment—a ratio between net income and investment.
- Advertising Cost on Sales—the amount spent on advertising per dollar of revenue made.
You can view the number of customers or visitors who saw your ad by accessing your author page account and reading your business reports.
To check your click-through rate, you can read it on the dashboard of your PPC account. A high CTR means a large percentage of customers saw your ad and clicked on it. However, a high CTR may be detrimental to your book sales or for business in general if, for example, you are using the wrong keywords to promote your book. The wrong keywords can mislead your customer base about the true nature and purpose of your work ultimately hurting your sales.
To review your orders, you can access your account on Amazon online by logging and clicking on the button on your pages.
If your click-through rate is low, it is best to examine your headlines, advertising copy, call to actions, images and hashtags to see if they are top-flight and all align with the genres, subgenres, interests or other aspects of your book and other works.
As it pertains more directly to your book, you can revise your cover if its graphics do not match your genres or subgenres or attempt a better design is warranted.
You can also revisit your reviews and ratings and the placement of the ad to ensure your bid was not too low.
Perhaps, you may need to rewrite or edit your book description to make it more engaging or relevant to your fan base, reassess the appropriateness of your pricing, or review your choice of genre or category for your book’s subject matter.
New to Amazon Ads? Let Us Help You Learn the Ropes!
Have you placed yourself on a long-term learning curve for advertising your books on Amazon? No need to rush. Pace yourself. Mastery takes time and effort.
Producing a book ad campaign means becoming aware of different factors that affect quality and effectiveness such as bids, branding, copy, hashtags, headlines, imagery and keywords.
In fact, in part two of our blog series, we will address bidding, effective strategies, and recommended ad budgets for book advertising on Amazon.
Amazon does offer courses on advertising in its learning console. Here are some of the courses we recommend:
- https://advertising.amazon.com/library/courses/sponsored-ads-for-kdp-authors?ref_=a20m_us_ind_pub_rs_lbr_crs_sakdp, and;
Additionally, you can always reach out to us if you need direct assistance with your Amazon ad campaign and aren’t sure about how to go about producing one to promote your books.
You can schedule a consultation with our book marketing staff here: https://calendly.com/john-bean-ebooks2go