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5 Common Amazon Advertising Mistakes (+ how to avoid them!)

Updated: May 16, 2023

When it comes to Amazon advertising, there's a lot to know. I'll be the first to admit that when I first started with Amazon ads, I had no idea what I was doing and my results were subpar. And now that I'm AMS certified and managing ad campaigns for traditional publishing houses, I see my author peers asking the same questions and making the same mistakes that I did in the beginning.

Amazon Advertising

That's exactly why I wrote this blog post! Buckle up because I'm going to break it all down for you.


What are AMS Ads?


AMS stands for Amazon Marketing Services but they are also known as Amazon ads or Amazon advertising. AMS ads are a highly effective piece to your marketing plan because people who are on Amazon are already shopping, so if they see your book and are already looking for products like yours, they’re likely to add yours to the cart too!


...But AMS is a tricky program to learn at first. They don't work the same way that social media ads do so it's important to learn as much as you can before you run an Amazon advertising campaign.


If you're already running AMS ads and they're not working, these are 5 common reasons why:



Amazon Ads Mistake #1 - Not creating enough ads


One of the biggest mistakes authors make is not creating enough advertisements. A limited number of ads can limit your visibility and reduce the chances of attracting potential customers.


There are three different types of ads and several targeting options within them: Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and Lockscreen Ads. When you create one of these ads, you'll be able to target specific keywords, categories, and products, or use automatic targeting.


If you want to learn more about this, I recommend checking out Amazon Ads Academy but the gist is this: beginners should stick to Sponsored Products and create a minimum of 2-3 ads per book with varying targets. As your knowledge grows, you can create more ads.



Amazon Ads Mistake #2 - Spending too much


When you create an ad, each target has a "bid" amount. Essentially, you choose how much you want to (approximately) pay per click.


Bids work like an auction. Let's say you target the keyword "children's books about self-esteem" and you choose a bid of $0.05. If there is another author out there bidding higher than you on the same keyword, they are likely to win more impressions for that keyword than you.


This means that the bid amounts aren't set in stone. And it's the reason why one author can consistently get results with low bids when another author needs high ones. Every target, niche, and book is different!


Often, authors who are new to Amazon advertising will start with bids that are too high. While this does give them a lot of data and impressions, it also wastes a TON of money. If your advertising budget isn't large, this can mean that you burn through your cash in a matter of days with little to show for it.


To avoid this, start with a bid that is between $0.15-$0.35 and ignore the suggested bid. It’s almost always wrong! I’ve had AMS suggest $0.75 but I get impressions and sales with $0.10 and I’ve had AMS suggest $0.15 but I don’t get sales and impressions until I hit $0.50+. Rely on the data, not the suggestions.



Amazon Ads Mistake #3 -Spending too little


On the flip side, spending too little on Amazon advertising can be just as bad because if your bid spend is too low, you won’t get impressions. No impressions = no sales!


Your impressions metric refers to how many times your Amazon ad has been displayed but it doesn't mean that's how many people have actually seen your advertisement. So if one target has 100 impressions, that does not mean that it's been seen by 100 people - it means that your book has popped up somewhere on an Amazon page (but not necessarily at the top!) approximately 100 times for that target.


I often see authors pick a low bid, leave it there, and then get no results. 😫


What you need to do is start with a low bid and then wait to see if you get impressions. If you don't, then increase the bid by a few cents and wait again. Keep repeating this until you have enough impressions and data to work with to optimize the ad.


Your goal should be to get 1,000+ impressions per target in the past 30 days. Once a target has enough impressions, you'll be able to determine whether or not that target will generate sales for you.



Amazon Ads Mistake #4 -Incorrect metadata


This is a big (and common!) mistake that authors make. Metadata is the descriptive information about a book that helps algorithms understand what the book is about, who it's for, etc. This includes:

  • Book title

  • Product Description

  • Keywords

  • Categories

...and more.


I have often had authors ask why their ads aren’t converting to sales but when we take a closer look, their picture book is listed in adult categories. Or their keywords don’t actually tell the computer what type of book they have. Or their product description doesn’t resonate with their audience well.


Metadata plays a crucial role in how Amazon's algorithms rank and display your products so a high-converting Amazon ad starts with having your metadata optimized.



Amazon Ads Mistake #5 - Advertising a product that isn’t appealing to an audience


Your book should be such high quality that it could be mistaken for being traditionally published. If your cover isn’t good then advertisements won’t help - your book has to appeal to your audience.


But it's more than that. You may have created an incredible book but if you're ads are being shown to the wrong people, it won't convert to sales. And sometimes, your target audience isn't who you'd expect so you'll want to do that market research upfront so that you don't spend a lot of money figuring it out through paid advertisements.


Other times, you have a high-quality book and you know who your audience is but the advertisement itself isn't enticing enough for that pool of customers.


All this to say...advertising is not black and white. It's about getting the right product in front of the right audience with the right message. And figuring out what that is takes time!


Remember, Amazon advertising is a journey that requires constant learning, experimentation, and adaptation. Make sure you learn the Amazon Advertising platform before you dive in as it will save you a lot of time, money, and frustration all while providing better positioning for your book. And by avoiding these common mistakes, you can increase book sales, and achieve your advertising goals. You've got this!


Need more help? Check out our Amazon Ads group coaching program.


Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links to products we enjoy using ourselves. Should you choose to use these links, At Home Author may earn affiliate commissions at no additional cost to you.

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