Thursday, May 10, 2018

Amazon Sponsored Ads-Collecting Wisdom by Rolynn Anderson

Talk about the blind leading the blind. I’m a panelist May 19 with another author, 'teaching' author/book promotion. I’m baffled about what to advise the audience to do since lately, our efforts have yielded people who ‘impress,’ but not people who 'buy.' Facebook hasn’t been much help in finding new readers for us, so many of us are using Amazon Sponsored Ads. Alison and Alicia have spent time working the system and have passed on some great ideas. Still, I thought we might review best practices and fill in any blanks as well as ask questions of one another. I did listen to a teleseminar by Derek Doepker and I read an article by Shane Stinemetz, the director at Fetcher

Here’s a draft of steps to take for building Amazon Sponsored Ads that sell books (correct my errors, please!):

1. Start with the obvious: Great Book, Fabulous Cover, Super Branding; gnat’s eyebrow understanding of novels like ours and
who our ideas readers are. We need good reviews, too...10 to 20.

2. For each book, write a list of at least 200 keywords of broad and specific nature about EACH book (Note: some words, like ‘suspense’ and ‘romance’ will appear on all the lists). Important (I JUST LEARNED THIS): Put each keyword on a separate line…a list but with no numbers.  YOU CAN COPY THIS LIST IN THE AMAZON BOX FOR KEYWORDS AND THEIR COMPUTER WILL SEPARATE THEM FOR YOU. Don’t forget to save your list as well as print out your list from the marketing site when you’ve gotten some feedback about ‘Impressions.’

Here are some keyword search sites (Fetcher suggests these; I’ve only tried Google, so far) besides Amazon: Google Keyword Planner, Keyword Tool io, AHREF’s Keyword Explorer, Moz Keyword Explorer, LSI Graph, Ubersuggest

Decide whether you want BROAD keywords, PHRASE keywords and/or EXACT keywords (see Fetcher’s article for more on this), but here are his ideas, in general:
“Using a broad match type opens up your ads to a wider audience which is great when mining for new keywords. This is a good place to start when launching new products.
“Using a phrase match type allows you to start to narrow down the amount of variants that can trigger your ad, thus saving cost and becoming more targeted. But there are still some variants which can continue to provide some useful insights.
"Finally, using exact match is most targeted and allows for the least variance in the search term that the consumer enters. This makes your ads more targeted, and usually cheaper with an improved ROI. It also means your ad will show to less people (less impressions). It will take some experimentation before you can transition keywords from broad match to exact match.”

3.  Work VERY HARD on your ad text…you want to spark the reader’s interest in only two sentences…make every word count!  SAVE THIS TEXT!

4.  Now comes what Derek Doepker calls ‘throwing spaghetti against the wall’…put ‘keywords’ in the place of ‘spaghetti,’ and you have your next step.

5.  Start with .25 per click unless you know you should bid higher based on past data. Look to see which words get the most impressions and clicks, and raise the per click rate to .50 or $1.00

6.  Decide on your overall budget and length of campaign.  Since there’s a 5-day lag for results on most of these campaigns, make them at least two weeks.  I go for monthly.  Amazon says don’t terminate the ad, just pause it.  That way, you can start it up again any time you choose. (See their instructions on the right hand side of your marketing page)

7. The analysis and adjustment of keywords and bids.  Here’s where I need your help. One of my campaigns earned 65,000 impressions and cost me $7 but not one sale.  Tell us how you learned to adjust keywords and bids to get sales. 

Roses, thanks for helping me smarten up for my panel!

Web and Blog:
Facebook page:


Leah St. James said...

Rolynn, I'm so impressed. I wish I could attend your workshop! Unfortunately I'm no help. I've done Google ads and Facebook ads (neither of which paid off for me) but have yet to delve into Amazon advertising. I'm planning on jumping in when my current WIP is close to production, and I think I'm going to need to take a week off work just to set it all up! Good luck with the panel discussion and let us know how it goes!

Jannine Gallant said...

I've found the sales reported don't match the actual sales. They don't count KU borrows. I only have an ad for the first book in my self-pubbed series. I see sales of my second and third book generally after I get a sale on the first one. So, I'm counting those as sales that wouldn't happen without the ad. The first time I did this, I got nothing. I (Alison) redid my covers for this series, and I've had far better luck with sales this time around. I think having a really striking cover is key.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Leah, thanks for the compliments...I need encouragement to be of help on this panel. I'm sensing these Ads are where we need to be right now. It's an auction (bidding) so as if we weren't already in foreign country with marketing, now we have to gamble with our books. Geesh!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Covers and reviews are what people notice, along with the short teaser. Yup, all three have to be topnotch. Jannine, have you played around with bid price yet?

Jannine Gallant said...

I've left mine at .25 cents. My ad is for a .99 cent book, which means I make about .33 cents on a sale. If you get 2 or 3 clicks (even at about .18 cents, which is my average) before a sale, I'm in the hole unless I sell the other 2 in the series. Sometimes I get 4 or 5 clicks before a sale. For that reason, I'm not willing to up my bid. I don't want to lose money doing this. If the book cost $2.99 it might be worth it, but at $2.99 the first time I tried the ads, I got very few clicks and no sales. I might not generate a lot of interest with this philosophy, but this is for one of my old series, so I consider any positive income a win. A negative balance wouldn't be worth it for me.

Brenda Whiteside said...

I haven't done one myself. TWRP did one for me but it flopped. I'm assuming your workshop is for self-published authors? Amazon ads are of no use to small publisher authors. You might want to specify that. Good luck. You seem to have it handled.

Alison Henderson said...

Great job with this, Rolynn! I've had pretty good luck with my Amazon ads, but I've only done Broad Matches so far. I need to work on adding different kinds of keywords. My biggest sales have come from the names of a handful of other authors, some of the really big names as well as some I've never heard of who write in a similar sub-genre.

Andrea Downing said...

thanks for the info Rolynn. Who knows what the heck works?

Diane Burton said...

Thanks, Rolynn. I'm so confused by all the things you guys do for marketing. My head is stuffed to the bursting point. Good luck!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Great minds, Rolynn. Maybe yours more than mine. This is my topic for tomorrow here at Roses of Prose. Not nearly in the depth of yours. Although I have seen some some sales and borrows on the two self published titles I have the ads running on, along with sales of each of my traditionally published books. Even at that, whether I am seeing a profit remains to be seen. Thanks for the additional info.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Brenda, good point. This is all about self-published books...I have no idea what the big/small pub companies do.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Alison, thanks for the go-ahead about including author names both big and small. I'll work harder on that!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Andi, you're right about what works today might not work tomorrow!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Diane, I don't like the whirl of stuff in my brain, either. I feel like I need a techy 12 year old helping me to sort through the social media stuff!

RE Mullins said...

I guess it's time to cook. Thanks for the insight.