6 things I wish I had known before starting AMS ads

Lately I’ve been fielding a lot of questions when it comes to AMS ads. I’m no expert by any means, but I’ve become a student of the channel, done my homework, and the tricks I’ve implemented have worked for me thus far. And worked pretty well, at that.

So if you’re considering running AMS ads, or are currently running them with lackluster results, take a look here and see if these 6 tips help you make sense of it all.

1. Running AMS ads is not a “set it and forget it” tactic.

For your ads to perform up to their potential, you constantly have to go in and nurture your keyword list to stay up to date with the latest search trends for books. That means keeping a running tab on new releases, new authors, and the latest tropes that are relevant to your book.

2. You need to test multiple ad sets.

002-testLots of ad sets. With different copy. With different keywords. With different bids. With alllllll sorts of different variables. And when you think you have enough ad sets in the mix, make some more. And finally, when you find an ad set that works, optimize, and continue to nurture it. But those ad sets with an insanely high ACoS, drop them or fix them … ASAP. And when it comes time to call it quits with a particular ad set … PAUSE IT rather than terminate the whole darn thing. Terminated campaigns cannot be resurrected.

3. Pick your ad type strategically.

Figure out what works best for you … manual or automatic targeting. My best performing ads are always the ones where I do manual targeting because I know my book better than an algorithm robot making a guess on back-end data. If you’re unsure of where to start, you can learn a lot about how you should be targeting based on data available on your own product pages. Check out the “also purchased” section for ideas onauthors and similar titles to yours to leverage as key words. And remember, when you select automatic targeting Amazon will allocate keywords that they perceive to be relevant to your book. Sometimes it’ll work … and sometimes it won’t.

Also take time to understand how Sponsored Products and Product Display Ads differ. the PDAs can be setup to physically appear on the screen of Kindle devices and you can even segment out by category interest.

4. Give it time.

003-alarm-clockRome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your AMS ad success. Allow your ads to run for at least 7-10 days before making any major changes. It takes some time for your ad to really fall into the platform algorithm and there is also a delay in reporting the sale. So any sale you make on a Wednesday, may not be reported on your dashboard for 48-72 hours, even though your KDP dashboard, ranking, ad impression, click tally, and CPC/spend columns will update instantly.

5. You have to spend money to make money.

001-bankNo one but you can decide what a good ad spend is. I get this question frequently. What I am willing to spend on a click for a keyword will be completely different than your comfort level. Just as my daily budget will be different than yours. Spend strategically within your means … emphasis on the word “strategically.” When you start to generate more revenue, increase your budget accordingly so you can continue to generate more andmore sales.

6. Understand the data.

The single most important thing to understand on your AMS dashboard is the ACoScolumn. This is the Average Cost of Sale and is essentially a calculation of your ad spend and total sales to determine profitability. Now logic says to break even you want to achieve an ACoS of 100% or less. However this number doesn’t account for Kindle Unlimited downloads or pages read and it also doesn’t account for Amazon’s portion of the sale. If you are priced under 99-cents or over $9.99, you want your ACoS to be 35% or less to yield a return. If you’re priced anywhere in between, you need your ACoS to be 70% or less to be profitable.

A few of my favorite AMS tricks

One of my favorite things to do is sort my ads by column to learn what’s working and what’s not. It’s really a really eye-opening exercise when you know what to look for…

  • High impressions but low click through rates? Take a hard look at your messaging. It could be that your ad copy is not enticing enough for your prospective reader to engage. Give it a refresh and be sure you’re testing multiple messages for the same book to learn what will spur someone to one-click your title.
  • Low impressions across the board? Re-examine your bids on each cost per click. Your bid may simply not be competitive enough or you don’t have enough relevant keywords.
  • Ratio of your daily budget versus your highest CPC bids. If you have a daily budget of $5 but are willing to spent $1 per click, you’re going to max out early in the day and lose the opportunity to convert readers. If changing your daily budget isn’t an option, you should consider lowering your bids or temporarily pause the higher value keywords so you don’t eat through your budget before the end of morning rush hour.
  • High spend on a specific keyword with zero sales to show for it or an abnormally high ACoS? The keyword may be too broad or entirely irrelevant for your title.

If you want to learn more about integrating AMS ads into your marketing mix (and you totally should), there are a ton of awesome, helpful resources out there! Some of my favorites are this book as well as Mark Dawson’s AMS course. Both do a killer job explaining everything on a pedestrian level. Have a helpful tip when it comes to running AMS ads? Leave a comment below!
Find this helpful? Check more in the Authors Helping Authors series on this here blog … you can subscribe with a WordPress account or follow me on Facebook and Twitter to learn when new content goes live!

6 thoughts on “6 things I wish I had known before starting AMS ads

  1. Pingback: Book Pricing Strategy: Royalty & Volume Calculators

  2. Hi. I’m just getting started in AMS Ads. If I have, say, 2 campaigns, and some of the books and authors end up on both key-word lists, but I have a differently worded ad for each campaign, which ad will show up when someone clicks on one of the books that is in both campaigns?

    • Hi Douglas! Great question. It’s my understanding that in those instances, it’ll come down to how much you’ve bid on that particular keyword. If all facets are even across the board (keywords, bids, etc.), the buy would be split … offering up ad A in some instances and ad B in others. But again, it all comes down to what the competition is doing and what their bids/keywords are (which unfortunately you don’t have access to).

      I have AMS ads with different creative but the exact same keywords and bids running for one of my books right now. And when I search particular keywords, it’s always a random mix of which pops up first.

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