About four months ago Amazon started pitching a new advertising service to authors and publishers who distributed ebooks through KDP Select. Indies can pay anywhere from 2 cents to a buck CPC to get their book advertised on Amazon's website. With a minimum
ad buy budget of $100 and the option to suspend an ad campaign at any time, Amazon's AMS program (Amazon Marketing Services) is within the reach of the average indie.
So how well does it work?
It's hard to say. Aside from some early reports on KBoard, no first-hand accounts crossed my radar for nearly four months (did I miss something?), but then last week a new post crossed my desk.
Chris McMullen is an indie author, and he published an in-depth report on his experiences in advertising through Amazon. You may have noticed that I included Chris's post in a morning coffee post last week. I was too busy at the time to call it out with the attention it deserved, so today I pulled it out of the pile and reread Chris's post.
It's a great primer on the topic. Chris lays out the benefits:
- Prime real estate. Your ad shows directly on Amazon product pages, where customers are already shopping for books. You’re not trying to make people leave one site to visit another.
- Stoppage. Your AMS can actually be stopped due to low relevance by Amazon. Low relevance is either a sign of poor targeting, or a product page that has room for improvement (cover, blurb, Look Inside, even the book idea comes into play here). Your ad is likely to be stopped due to low relevance if your CTR is well under 0.1%. If only 1 out of 3000 people who see your ad click on it, there is a good chance that your ad will be stopped. If your ad is stopped, you can create a new ad, but be sure to strive for more relevant targeting.
And unexpected side effects:
Another thing that I’ve seen are indirect benefits. Many other authors have seen similar indirect benefits. Several authors have seen an increase in borrows. A couple authors reported an increase in borrows, then a decrease in both sales and borrows when the ad stopped, and a return when a new ad was run. A few series authors have reported improvement in other books in the series. But not all authors have seen such improvements; indirect benefits are not guaranteed.
If you're an indie author and haven't read Chris's report, you should. He's basically written the book on AMS, and if not that then he's written a new chapter of a book on how indie authors can use advertising to promote sales.
That's not a new topic, I know. Authors and publishers have been using email blasts like BookBub to promote their books with some success, it's just that indies now have a new option.
So tell me, have you used AMS yet? What did you think? Did it work for you?
image by woodleywonderworks