Advice For Writers

AMS Ads: Four Ways to Raise Your Conversion Rate

It’s not easy for authors to advertise books in 2020. We’re facing a pandemic, an economic recession, and social unrest. The rules change daily, and what worked in advertising last week too often fails today.

Want to get your books in front of readers? It’s hard. Advertising through AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) is the quickest, most-efficient method for authors to build their reader base and sell their new releases. The problem is, AMS is as frustrating as it is effective with inconsistent reporting, ads which seem to explode or implode without explanation, and conversion rates which are difficult to nail down.

It’s the latter I’ll focus on in this article. CVR (conversion rate) represents the number of clicks it takes before you sell a book. Is there a number to hang your hat on? Not necessarily. Depending on the CPC (cost per click) and the amount of money you earn per sale, a good conversion rate for one person may cause you to lose money, or vice versa. But most authors agree a visible conversion rate around 20 (20 clicks per visible order) is a good place to start. 

 

Improving CVR is vital if you want to profit from advertising. For example, let’s assume your four-book series earns $15 every time you sell book one. This includes sell-through for all books in your series and Kindle Unlimited read-through. 

Now let’s assume your CPC is $0.75. 

In order to break even, you must sell 1 book for every 20 clicks ($15 spent and $15 earned). If your CVR rises and it takes 30 clicks to get a sale, you are spending $22.50 to earn $15. Not good. But if you improve your CVR and sell a book every 15 clicks, you’ll only spend $11.25 to earn $15. Multiply this by 100 sales, or 1000 sales, and your profits quickly accumulate.

How to Improve CVR

In today’s lesson, I offer four ways to improve CVR. The first three are obvious, yet integral to your success. The fourth method isn’t talked about much, and you’ll have terrific results, if you’re willing to experiment with targeting.

Change Your Cover

This one is expensive. But if your cover isn’t to industry standards and doesn’t meet your genre’s expectations, your ads won’t convert. With a substandard cover, you’re throwing away advertising money. 

What happens is someone interested in your book clicks on your ad. Then they see the cover at full size and decide the book isn’t for them. 

On the other hand, a strong cover will sell your book and improve your conversion rate. Before you plunk down another $400 on advertising, consider spending the same amount of money for a great cover.

Change Your Description

Some industry gurus claim the description affects conversion rate more than the book cover. 

I personally don’t believe this, except for terrible descriptions which scare potential readers away. But you will improve CVR with a strong description. The good news is rewriting a description won’t cost you a penny.

Is your description holding you back?

Lower the Price

Price is a key driver for conversion rates. More accurately, the perception of value drives CVR. 

You’ll improve CVR if you lower your price from $6.99 to $0.99. Following the same logic, box sets often enjoy strong conversion rates. The issue is, you might kill your profitability by selling your book or box set at too low a price.

Find balance. Experiment with various price points and watch how CVR and profitability changes. Pick a price which gives you the best mix of profitability and strong conversion rates.

Improve CTR (Click-through Rate)

I saved the best for last. 

My studies of CTR (click-through rate) convince me CTR drives CVR. This is powerful information, because you’ll generate statistically significant CTR values much faster than you will for CVR. 

What is CTR?

CTR is the number of impressions it takes to generate a click. You can compute CTR as a percentage (clicks / impressions) or ratio (impressions / clicks). I prefer the ratio method. YMMV. 

We can compute CTR for an entire ad set. But the magic begins when we compute CTR for individual keywords.

Let’s assume you have two keywords (or key phrases) for your mystery novel:

best kindle books 2020

best kindle mysteries

The first keyword generates a click every 2000 impressions. The second keyword generates a click every 200 impressions.

Your second keyword is relevant to shoppers searching for your keyword. Shoppers interested in kindle mysteries are drawn to your book, whereas a broader audience looking for 2020’s best books aren’t. 

The second keyword converts ten times better than the first, making it a strong candidate for your ad. Over time, a keyword with a strong CTR value will improve your CVR (and hence, your profitability).

I compared CTR vs CVR for my Darkwater Cove series. The results convinced me I should focus future efforts on improving CTR. In this study, I broke CTR down into four quadrants and measured the CVR for each.

 

Impressions / Clicks Clicks / Orders
100 and lower 7.0
101 to 250 19.1
251 to 1000 22.0
over 1000 39.9

 

This study only summarizes the results for one book. But the quadrants show a clear correlation between CTR and CVR. I should concentrate on keywords which receive at least 1 click per 100 impressions and be skeptical of keywords with less than 1 click per 1000 impressions. 

Don’t overwhelm yourself. If these concepts are new to you, take it slow and learn something new every day. Soon, you’ll improve your CVR and sell more books at a profit.

Have a question or comment? Join the discussion below.

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