As an author, one of the biggest challenges you may face is getting your book in front of potential readers. While there are many strategies you can add to your marketing plan, a great one to consider is Amazon Ads.
In this post, we'll take a closer look at Amazon Ads for authors, including what it is and some top tips for success.
What are Amazon Ads?
Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) is an advertising platform that allows you to promote your books to Amazon's vast audience of shoppers. You may hear AMS ads also referred to as Amazon Ads - the two terms refer to the same platform.
The platform allows authors to create campaigns targeting specific keywords and categories. Two examples of advertisements are Sponsored Product Ads and Sponsored Brand Ads. The difference between them is simple: one will advertise a single product (or book, in our case) and the other advertises a whole brand (or a book series!). To run a Brand Ad, you'll need to have 3 or more books that fit together and are eligible for advertising. If you only have 1 book, then stick to Sponsored Product Ads.
How Amazon Ads Work
Amazon Ads work on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, meaning you'll only pay when someone clicks on your ad. You can create ads for your books that appear in search results, product detail pages, and other Amazon pages based on the targeting options you choose.
What makes an Amazon Ad stand out?
Unlike social media ads, you have limited control over what an AMS ad actually looks like. The image for your Amazon Ad is just your book cover. That's why it is so important that your cover looks professional, reflects what your book is about, and can be read easily when it is thumbnail sized.
The headline text of your ad will just be your book title. Shoppers will also be able to see the retail price, the number of reviews, and the date of publication. Here's a screenshot of one of my advertisements:
You'll notice a spot for custom ad text in the middle of the ad. This is a place where you can highlight what makes your book special and entice your audience into reading more. Once you've launched an Amazon Ad, you will NOT be able to change your ad text so make sure you're happy with it beforehand.
In short, a great Amazon Ad has an eye-catching book cover, as many reviews as possible, and captivating ad text that speaks to your target audience.
Quick Tips for Amazon Ads
⭐️ Tip #1 - Start with a small budget
When you're first getting started with Amazon Ads, it's important to start with a small budget. This will allow you to test different keywords and ad formats without spending too much money upfront. Once you start to see results, you can gradually increase your budget.
⭐️ Tip #2 - Choose the right targets
Choosing the right keywords and categories is essential for the success of your Amazon Ads campaign. You should choose keywords and categories that are relevant to your book and have a high search volume but lower competition (when possible). You can use a keyword research tool to find the best ones for your campaign.
⭐️ Tip #3 - Create compelling ad copy
Your ad copy is what will convince shoppers to click on your ad and learn more about your book. Make sure your ad copy is compelling and highlights the most important features of your book. Lean into your story by making them wonder what will happen next or tell them exactly what it's about and why they should care!
In my screenshot, the ad text is: "Piano, Mezzo Piano, and Mezzo Forte love their little town...but everything changes when a noisy neighbor moves in." But I also could have tried something like: "The perfect book to teach musical dynamics in your elementary music classroom."
When it comes to ad text, you won't know what works best for your audience until you try it!
⭐️ Tip #4 - Monitor your campaigns regularly
When you first launch an Amazon Ad, leave it alone for 1-2 weeks but after that, you should make checking and adjusting them a habit. Log in each week and read the data. What is it telling you? If there aren't many impressions, make tweaks to gain more. If there aren't any clicks, try to discern why that might be. If something is working, start scaling so that you get more book sales.
When you're starting out, you'll need to spend more time optimizing your ads than you will later on. Laying the foundation is always the most difficult part!
Learn more about Amazon Ads for Authors.
⭐️ Tip #5 - Keep Seasons in Mind
The Christmas and Holiday buying season is also the most competitive time of year for paid advertisements so don't be surprised if you see your impressions start to decline around November-December. Outside of the holiday season, your bid spend and impressions will be fairly consistent but you'll also want to keep your buyer's preferences in mind.
Just for example, my books are mostly geared towards teachers so my Amazon Ads (and sales overall) actually do best during the back-to-school sale season, not the holidays. If your book has any themes that could be considered seasonal, it might be harder to gain traction and sales outside of that season.
Another example of mine is Gingersnap Snatcher. While it doesn't mention a specific holiday in the book, most people know that gingersnap cookies are a holiday treat and therefore, the book doesn't sell well year-round.
AMS ads are a powerful tool to have in your toolbox but it's only one piece of a solid marketing plan. If you want to truly boost your book sales, make sure you develop a strategy for visibility and sales that involves many different marketing strategies.