Sunday, January 14, 2018

Amazon Ads for my book - It Actually Worked!

Previous posts about this book:
I've Self-Published a Story
Using Facebook Promotions to Advertise an Amazon book
Amazon Ads for my Book

The last post on this topic I mentioned my reservations about Amazon ads, but finally, on looking at it decided to give it a try. With Amazon, you can set a daily budget, and between that and the duration, I knew I could control the costs.

So I setup a campaign to start the first weekend of December and run through to Christmas Day, with a maximum cost per click of .25 and a daily budget of $2.00. I was willing to lose that much money for the exercise.  I chose a sponsored products ad campaign and let Amazon automatically choose the keywords. I was convinced that their algorithms were probably better than any guesswork on my part, so I left it to them. I suspect that was a good idea. 

I learned a number of things from this. 

Amazon bids on ads, like mine, that have been activated and put out there.  If they bid on you, they will put you on pages that they feel, based on the ad's keywords are a good fit.  Every time they put you on someone's web page, that's called an impression.  You don't pay for impressions. You pay if someone clicks onto your page, whether they buy or not.

It started on Sunday December 3rd, mid-afternoon. The ad went live in the evening and had over 30,000 impressions by morning.  By the end of Monday, we were at about 80,000 impressions, and I had a few sales in the bag.

By end of day Tuesday, I was at 90,000 impressions. But then it slowed down. By end of the week I was stalled at 100,000 impressions.  I suspect as we moved into the holiday season, Amazon was focusing their bids on high-priced, high-demand items (they are a business, after all.) Impressions practically dried right up!

The interesting thing is they were still under $3.00 cost for the campaign. I had a daily limit of $2.00 but they weren't even coming close to it on any day. So I decided to up the anti.  I increased my per-click maximum to .50 and my daily budget to $6.00.  This resulted in getting more impressions, but still very slow. Sales picked back up.  I also extended the campaign to end of the first week of January, figuring that kids with new eBooks would be loading them with books during the holidays.  Most kids in Canada, and many in North America were off for the first week of January, so this made sense.

Middle of the week after Christmas, impressions began to climb and I got a bunch more sales.

At the end, my total spend on this campaign was under $20.00.  My royalties due for these sales are more than double that, so I'm ahead of the game.

The other interesting thing is, that although the ad campaign focused on the eBook, a lot of purchasers went to the paperback version and bought it, instead.

And finally, my original goal was to sell a dozen through this learning exercise. I sold 18 (of which 4 were paperbacks bought by me) so I'm ahead of my original goal.

Takeaways from this exercise:

  1. Don't try to compete with big business close to Christmas (my next story will not be a Christmas story)
  2. Don't be afraid to have a higher daily budget - you probably won't spend it anyways.
  3. Amazon ads can work - you need a good product that's well positioned.
Thus endeth the lesson!

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