—Guest Post by Dave Chesson—
(This is Part One of a three-part series.)
Amazon Marketing Services, commonly known as AMS, is a platform you can use to advertise your book directly on Amazon.
AMS allows you to place an ad for your book in the search results Amazon customers see when browsing the site. It also lets you target specific products that your own book will be advertised alongside. You are only charged when a customer clicks on your ad.
The advantage to the cost per click (CPC) model of advertising is you only pay when someone is actually interested enough in your ad to click on it and check it out further. You also specify the amount you are willing to pay per click, so everything stays totally under your control.
The power of advertising on Amazon is the ability to place your book in front of targeted book buyers at a price you determine.
So what kind of ads can you create and display on Amazon?
Types Of AMS Ads
Sponsored Product Ads
Sponsored Product Ads allow you to place your ad on the results page an Amazon customer sees when carrying out a search on the site.
This works on the basis of choosing particular keywords that your ad will show up for. So, for example, if you choose the keyword "social media marketing", your ad will appear on the results page when an Amazon customer inputs that query.
You can use a sponsored product ad to help ideal readers find your book who would not know to search for it directly.
Product Display Ads
Product Display Ads allow you to target specific products, or groups of products, for your ad to show up alongside, instead of a keyword search phrase.
For example, imagine you are publishing a cookbook. While researching your intended audience, you come across similar cookbooks aimed at lovers of a particular cuisine. By choosing a Product Display Ad, you can ensure your own cookbook shows up alongside the other books.
Now that you understand the basic concept of Amazon’s two advertising types, let’s take a look at getting started.
Creating Your First Amazon Advertising Campaign
As long as you have one or more books published through Kindle Direct Publishing, you can get started with AMS. There is no requirement to have your book enrolled in KDP Select or any other program. Any book published on KDP is eligible for advert creation.
To begin your first campaign, follow these 3 simple steps -
—Log into your KDP Account
—Select the book you wish to create an ad for
—Click the ‘advertise’ button
This allows you to choose between a Sponsored Product or Product Display ad. The process for creating each type is a little different, as the following steps show.
How To Create A Sponsored Product Ad
—Think of a name for your Sponsored Product Ad campaign. You might benefit from having a specific naming system for your AMS campaigns, particularly if you intend to run multiple campaigns.
—Choose the maximum daily expenditure for your campaign. You won’t always be charged the full limit, but you will never be charged more than it on a given day. Starting with a lower daily budget at first, and scaling it up based on positive results, is a good approach to take.
—You can run your campaign for either a defined period of time or indefinitely. It’s sensible to pick a defined time period as a test when first starting to advertise on Amazon.
—Choose between Automatic Targeting and Manual Targeting for your ad. Automatic leaves the choice of the sponsored product to Amazon, while Manual allows your input into how your book will be advertised.
—Select the keywords that you want your ad to appear on the search engine results page for. You can choose from keywords suggested by Amazon, and you can also input your own choices. A good approach is to go broad and target a large number of keywords. Many authors make the mistake of only selecting a limited number of keywords, and see limited results accordingly.
—Specify the default amount you are willing to pay when someone clicks on your ad. This will act as a flat rate for all keywords at first, but you can tweak and specify this rate further down the line.
—Select a debit or credit card which the cost of your Amazon ad campaign will be billed to. If you haven’t previously added a card to your Amazon account, you can do so here.
—Clicking "launch campaign" will send your campaign to Amazon for their review. It takes 1-3 days for the review to be carried out. As soon as Amazon verifies your campaign meets their requirements, goes live, and customers begin seeing your ads.
How To Set Up A Product Display Ad
1 - After clicking ‘advertise’ on the book you want to create a campaign for, select ‘Product Display Ads’ from the campaign type choice screen.
2 - Your product display ad will be shown to Amazon customers on the basis of "by product" or "by interest". Choosing "by product" allows you to dig deep and choose precisely which products your ad will appear alongside. "By interest" allows you to choose a wider category, with your ad appearing next to all products in that category.
3 - Select whether Amazon can automatically place your ad next to similar products as those you have chosen. This is a good way of gaining exposure through relevant products that you don’t know well enough to personally choose.
4 - Pick a campaign title.
5 - Specify a maximum overall budget for your campaign and select your CPC bid.
6 - Write the headline and text for your ad. There is a 50 character limit for the headline, and 150 characters for the text, so be sure to focus on grabbing attention and encouraging the click.
7 - Clicking ‘submit your campaign for review’ begins the 1-3 review process to ensure your campaign meets Amazon’s guidelines. As soon as it’s approved, your campaign will go live.
Maximizing Your AMS Rewards
By now, you can see the potential of Amazon advertising to boost sales for your book, no matter whether the book is a new release or an older title in need of revival. In addition to the increased sales, Amazon advertising can benefit you in the following ways.
Advertise Multiple Formats at Once
Amazon makes it very easy to create and offer multiple formats of your work, such as eBooks through Kindle, audiobooks through Audible and printed books through Createspace. When someone clicks on your ad, they will see every format it’s offered in. A single ad allows all of your formats to benefit from advertising exposure.
Promote a Series
One of the best ways to help attract potential long-term fans to your work is to advertise the first book in a series. If you’ve ever been excited for the next installment in your favorite book series or seen the line outside the store on a Harry Potter release day, you totally get it.
By focusing your Amazon advertising on the first book in a series, you create the potential of a ripple effect where people who enjoy the first book will go on to buy the rest without the need for further advertising.
Grow Your Mailing List
Building a mailing list is an effective way to establish long-term success as an author. Advertising on Amazon can help you achieve this.
Imagine offering an appealing mailing list sign-up offer in one of your books. If you advertise this book, you are leading Amazon customers to your mailing list who might have never otherwise found it.
Promote Products and Blogs
Depending on the type of book you release, you might have a natural opportunity to promote products, services and blogs within that book. By advertising such books using AMS, you help people discover the related products and services, all for the cost of a single ad click.
Going Further with AMS
Now that you understand the process of getting started with AMS, and the benefits of doing so, it’s time to go further.
I’ll be sharing my advanced ideas and methods for AMS success right here on BookWorks in a future blog post.
I also have a full, totally free video course about AMS which you can access at amscourse.com. The course lets you watch over my shoulder as I explain exactly how to make the most of AMS using famous author case studies.
In summary -
- Advertising on Amazon is a cost-effective way to ensure the most relevant book buyers discover your book
- You can choose how much you are willing to pay when someone clicks your Amazon ad, and you are only charged on a cost per click basis
- Your ad will appear alongside the search results or products you choose
- You can use Amazon advertising strategically to benefit your book in ways which go beyond sales
This is Part One in a three-part series. Next time, we’ll look at some of the most common mistakes authors make with AMS, and how you can avoid them in your own campaigns.
Dave Chesson is a book marketing enthusiast who shares his latest ideas and tactics at Kindlepreneur.com. His specialty is in-depth, actionable advice, such as his recent guide on book cover design. He also hosts the Book Marketing Show podcast.
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