If you’ve read this far, you already know I rely on AMS ads to reach new readers. Amazon’s advertising platform generates results, and in my experience, it far outperforms competing platforms such as Facebook, Bookbub, and Twitter.
But that’s the problem.
Authors understand the power of AMS ads and flock to advertise with Amazon, driving up CPC (cost per click) and draining our budgets. CPC rises every year. Three years ago, a fifty-cent bid would have gained traction on AMS and sold a lot of books. Today, a fifty-cent bid will leave you listening to crickets in most competitive genres.
What if there was a way to have your cake and eat it, too? As an aside, I’m more of a pie guy. But I’ll eat cheap cake if it’s tasty.
In this chapter, I’m letting you in on my favorite method for gaining a ton of clicks at a cheap price. If you’re patient, this method will allow you to reach new readers and sell your books, without breaking the bank.
You’ve heard the adage. You need to spend money to make money.
Despite the cliched adage, it holds true with AMS ads. In my experience, starting a new AMS ad with low keyword bids will cause your advertisement to die before it thrives. Other authors echo my observations. If you begin your ad with low bids, you will struggle to gain impressions and clicks.
However, starting your ads with high bids and lowering your CPC over the coming weeks will improve your chance of success.
How high, you ask? In competitive genres like mysteries and thrillers, which I write in, you’ll need to bid at least 60 cents. Perhaps 80 cents. Bid high if you can afford to. If you’re worried about running up a huge bill in a short time, lower your daily budget to something acceptable. It’s important that you sleep at night, without worrying about Amazon spending all your money.
How high should you set your budget?
That’s your decision. Only you know what you can afford to risk in a new advertisement.
But I recommend you set your daily budget at $15 or higher. I don’t have hard data to prove I’m right, but I suspect AMS favors ads with high budgets. I’m not the only author who believes this. Besides, it will take you months to gather enough data if your daily budget is only $5.
My successful ads have daily budgets of $30 to $50. My two strongest ads have daily budgets around $150, and I’m elated to spend $150 per day when generating a positive return on investment.
Even when you bid high on the AMS platform, it takes a while to gather reliable data. With some red hot keywords, you might determine if your keyword is a keeper or a loser within twenty-four hours. Most keywords will need several days of data gathering before you decide.
I can’t stress enough the importance of bidding high at the onset. You want your keywords to gain impressions and clicks. More importantly, you want Amazon to tell you how much it will cost you to win those bids in the future.
Something magical happens after you give your ad time to breathe. When you open your AMS dashboard, you’ll find you sold a few books. Maybe more than a few. Wonderful. But don’t worry if your ad hasn’t sold any books yet. It takes 25 to 35 clicks before you get a paid order, and if you enroll your book in Kindle Unlimited, you’re likely to get at least two borrows for every paid order.
Cull Your Keywords
Before you declare your ad a winner or a complete failure, look at the actual CPC for all keywords which received a click. I recommend sorting your keywords by CPC to simplify the process.
When I begin a new ad with 100 or more keywords, I find a third or more of my keywords never receive a click. Of those that do, I’ll discover a handful of keywords that require a very high bid to get impressions and clicks. If I started my ad with a maximum bid of 80 cents, these keywords will have an average CPC within a few pennies of my maximum bid. These are pricey keywords!
Unless your expensive keyword is pure gold and will sell your book at a comfortable profit (remember it will take 25 to 35 clicks before you see a paid order), make this keyword a prime candidate for culling.
How do you know if you’re turning a profit on a keyword? Recall our previous lessons in which we determined how much our books are worth. Remember, if your book leads into a long series, you’ll generate higher profits for every sale of book one. Read-through is a powerful profit generator and builds loyalty among your readership.
Ride the Winners
Here’s the good news. Even when I bid 80 cents, I receive clicks on many keywords for 40 to 50 cents, sometimes even lower. As crazy as it seems, these keywords often generate almost as many clicks and orders as the super expensive keywords.
These are your hidden gems. You’ll feel like an NBA general manager discovering a future all-star at a junior college.
If you construct an AMS ad of a hundred keywords, you might discover 30 such gems, which deliver a paid order every 25 to 35 clicks at an average CPC of 50 cents. Add in page reads for books enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, and you’ll find these keywords generate high returns on investment.
One such ad might propel your book out of obscurity and into the top-100 rankings in your genre.
Now, imagine what you will accomplish if you construct two more ads of hidden gem keywords. Triple your success!
If you’re having a difficult time thinking of new keywords, open your AMS ad, click “Targeting”, then click “Add Keyword”. You’ll see a list of keywords automatically generated by AMS based on your book’s genre and its reading audience. Take five minutes every few days to add promising keywords. Soon you’ll have dozens (or even hundreds) of new keyword ideas for your ads. Just remember to cull your keywords as before, eliminating the expensive ones and focusing on the affordable keywords.
Want affordable AMS ads? Try this simple and effective method for building advertisements at a reasonable cost.