Publishing your book on Amazon is only the first step.
The next part, and it’s the hardest, is getting that book in front of the right readers at the right time.
There are more ways to market your book than there are TV shows on Netflix, but there’s only one that can:
- Give you results instantly
- Is easier to use than most other platforms
- Is targeted at where your audience are when they are in a shopping mindset
And that’s advertising on Amazon.
Thanks to Amazon’s own advertising platform, authors can now create ads that show their book to the right people either in the search results, or on the product listing of another book.
It might sound difficult, but once you’ve read this article, you’ll be able to setup your very own Kindle advertisements in less than 10 minutes.
The best part about this book-marketing tactic is that not only can it help you with your initial book launch, but it can also help to revive book sales of previously published books as well.
What are AMS Book or Kindle Advertisements?
First let’s define what they aren’t, because quite a few authors can get confused by the term “Kindle ads” which is used interchangeably by book marketers and consumer blogs.
When you purchase a new Kindle from Amazon, you have the option to purchase a standard Kindle e-reader or one with “Kindle special offers” for a lower price. For the special offers version, when your Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage or Kindle Touch is in sleep mode, your screensaver displays targeted and relevant ads. There’s also a persistent banner of ads at the bottom of your home screen on your device. On your Kindle Fire or Kindle Fire HD these ads come up on your lock screen and also in your notification bar. Consumer blogs sometimes refer to these as “Kindle ads”.
That’s not what I’m talking about here. In this article I’m talking about advertising across the whole of Amazon. Specifically, I’m talking about using Amazon Marketing Services. Also called AMS for short, it’s a platform where you can tell Amazon that you want your book to show up in certain search results, or on the sales page of another book on Amazon.com, and that you’re willing to pay them some money for every person who clicks on your ads.
Book marketers call these Kindle adverts, as we use AMS specifically to advertise our Kindle eBooks. Your advert appears everywhere your target buyer is on the Amazon platform. You can purchase ads that show up on your audience’s Kindle device if you so wish, but they have to meet Amazon’s policies.
Back to AMS, the amazing part is you only pay Amazon if someone clicks on your ad, and you’re in control of how much you pay. You can set your own price which is usually somewhere between .02 cents to .35 cents per click.
And that’s it. After setting it up with Amazon, AMS will start showing your book to their shoppers on your terms.
What Type of AMS Ads Can I Create?
AMS offers two types of ads. This allows you to choose where exactly your ad will be displayed to Amazon customers.
Sponsored Product Ads
If you want to show up in Amazon’s search results for a particular keyword, you should choose a sponsored product ad. If, for example, you choose the keyword ‘gardening book’, and someone searches for this phrase, they may see your ad alongside the other search results.
This type of ad is a great way of attracting the attention of people who your book would be suitable for, but who wouldn’t otherwise come across it.
Product Display Ads.
If you’d rather your ad shows up for a particular product, rather than in the search results for a keyword, you should choose a product display ad.
Amazon allows you to specify particular products, or particular types of products, that your ad will show up alongside. If you know you offer a superior version of a competing book, you can advertise in this way to persuade buyers to choose your title instead of, or along with, their original search.
Now that you know the way that AMS operates, and the basic types of ads you can choose, let’s take a look at how to get started by creating your first campaign.
Let’s Create an Kindle Advertisement.
The only basic requirement for advertising with AMS is to have a book published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). The book doesn’t need to be part of the KDP Select program.
To get going, log into your KDP dashboard. Choose the book that you wish to create an ad for and click ‘advertise’.
The exact steps you need to follow differ depending on whether you choose a sponsored product ad or a product display ad, as you will now see.
(Pro Tip: though anecdotal, many authors have reported better results from Sponsored Product Ads, so that’s a good place to start).
How to Set Up A Sponsored Product Ad.
- Choose a name for your ad campaign. It can help with tracking and monitoring, particularly if you have multiple campaigns, to choose a unique and specific campaign title.
- Select your daily budget. This is the maximum amount you are willing to pay on any given day. Generally, it’s better to start small and scale up based on results.
- Choose whether you want your campaign to run for a fixed time or to carry on indefinitely.
- Select between ‘manual’ and ‘automatic’ targeting. It’s better to pick the manual option, as you can choose the exact way to advertise your work, rather than relying on Amazon’s automated choices.
- Choose the keywords you wish your ad to show up for. A lot of authors make the mistake of choosing a low number of keywords. To have the most success possible, the higher the number of relevant keywords, the better. You can pick from Amazon’s suggestions of keywords to target or enter your own.
- Select the default amount someone will pay when they click on your ad, known as ‘cost per click’, or CPC. This amount will apply to all keywords initially, but you can make adjustments later on.
- Pick an effective 150-character elevator pitch for your ad. You need to write something that is attractive and engaging in order to have the best possible chance of someone clicking on your ad.
- Select an existing credit card linked to your account. If you haven’t already done this, you need to add one at this stage.
- The final step is to click on ‘Launch Campaign’. Amazon will review your ad to ensure it complies with their requirements and get back to you in 1-3 days. As soon as Amazon approves, your campaign goes live!
How to Set Up A Product Display Ad
- After clicking the ‘advertise’ option on the book you wish to create a campaign for, select the ‘Product Display Ad’ option.
- Amazon offers two choices for Product Display Ads – ‘by product’ or ‘by interest’. ‘By product’ allows you to choose the exact products you want your ad to show up for, whereas choosing ‘by interest’ allows Amazon to select products for you on the basis of a theme or topic.
- Decide whether or not to allow Amazon to associate your ad with similar products to the ones you have specifically selected. This is a good way of associating your ad with products you haven’t specifically heard of, but that have been bought by customers in your target audience.
- Title your campaign.
- Select an overall budget as well as a CPC (cost per click) amount. Product Display Ads have an overall budget that gets spent over a longer period of time, so don’t be scared off by the larger numbers. That’s not what gets spent daily, just the pool that the ads are drawing from.
- Produce the copy for your ad. The 50-character limit for the headline and 150-character limit for the body necessitates succinct, impactful copy.
- Select ‘Submit Your Campaign for Review’. Amazon will get back to you within 1-3 days depending upon whether your campaign meets their guidelines.
How to Get the Most From AMS
You can skillfully use AMS to reap benefits beyond increased book sales alone (although they are, of course, awesome.) There are three advanced approaches to AMS that allow you to get a lot more bang for your buck.
Promote Other Versions of Your Work
Offering multiple formats of your book effectively allows you to get several adverts for the price of one. When someone clicks on your ad, they are taken to your book’s Amazon sales page. If you offer various formats, such as a paperback from CreateSpace or an audiobook for Audible, browsers will be exposed to those options and this leads to more sales.
Introduce Readers to A Series
If you’ve ever become hooked on a book series, such as Harry Potter, you know that reading the first book alone is never enough. Readers who love the story and characters in the initial installment can’t wait to get their hands on the next editions.
If you use AMS ads to draw a browser’s attention to the first book in a series, you stand a great chance of creating a fan who will willingly buy the other books in your series without further prompting.
Nathan Van Coops even goes as far to use AMS to promote the first book of his series In Times Like These, which is permafree. The amount of money he ends up making from the subsequent book sales, and other forms of book, outweighs the ad cost for the free book.
Get More Email Subscriptions
If your book offers a content upgrade like a free book, or checklist, then AMS can help to increase your email optins by increasing the number of people who get your book.
Pat Flynn, of Smart Passive Income, used his book ‘Will It Fly?’ to generate email optins. By offering a free course to go along with his book, Pat saw 33% optin rate. Although Pat has a large following, AMS has allowed him to increase his reach, create continuous sales, and grow his email list daily.
Market Other Products & Build Blog Traffic
You can use AMS to create funnels towards other products and services you offer apart from your books alone.
Some books encourage readers to visit the website or blog of their author. If you advertise a book which has this purpose, you can drive relevant customers to your external work that may never have otherwise found it.
Ryan Cleckner’s ‘Long Range Shooting Handbook’ is a perfect example of this concept in action. By advertising it through AMS, he drives more people to his book, which in turn drives traffic to his post on how to get an FFL. This results in increased sales for his courses – all for the price of an AMS click.
How to Improve Your AMS Ad Skills
AMS book advertising can be a wonderful skill for authors to use in order to sell their previous, current and even future books.
And while I strongly believe that AMS is a great opportunity, the more you know, the better your ads can be. The better the ads, the more profit you’ll gain.
So, to help you improve your AMS book ad skills, here’s a completely free course on AMS that will not only show you what we discussed above, but will also go deeper into creating profitable long term ads, that will continuously bring you book sales.
Kindle Advertising Summary
Hopefully by now you understand the immense potential of AMS and why I love it so much. After all:
- Only AMS lets you advertise to the most relevant and profitable people possible – interested Amazon customers.
- Setting up a campaign is quick, easy and affordable.
- You can show your ad in Amazon search results through Sponsored Product Ads.
- Product Display Ads allow you to reach people interested in particular products.
- AMS can generate income through more than just book sales. You can increase traffic to your external offerings and generate additional revenue as a result.
As with all advertising platforms, earlier adopters often have better results. If you delay getting started, you will have increased competition, your conversion rates will go down (as shoppers get used to adverts) and prices will go up. You’ll have a tougher time if you delay taking action.
If you want to delve deeper into the best strategies and tactics for Amazon advertising, check out my free Kindle advertising course. It contains hours of high-quality video, as well as notes and quizzes, to help you understand the full potential of AMS and put the best ideas and strategies to work for your books.
I’d love to hear your experience with Amazon Marketing Services in the comments!