Advertise with Amazon: a Step-by-step Tutorial by @Nicholas_Rossis

Nicholas C. Rossis @Nicholas_Rossis

Sci-fi, epic fantasy & children’s stories

Advertise with Amazon: a Step-by-step Tutorial

I was reading Chris McMullen’s excellent (as usual) post on Amazon’s new advertising service, and thought I’d give it a go. My monthly advertising budget is $100, but I hadn’t spent anything in January. So, I had this month’s and the previous one’s budget at my disposal – which allowed me to place two ads. For my first one, I chose the Pearseus bundle. This was done for two reasons: one, it offers great value for money. Second, its higher cost of $3.49 will hopefully allow me to cover the ad’s cost.

The second ad was for Runaway Smile. This allowed me to test two very different ways of targeting my audience, as you will see below.

Oh, and I took lots of screenshots, so as to share with you the process. That way, should any of you decide to advertise with Amazon, you’ll know how to do it. And as soon as I have the results back from the promo, I’ll let you know how it went.

So, you wish to advertise with Amazon?

First of all, you can only advertise any books that are on KDP Select. You start by logging into your KDP account.

You will notice the new “Promote and Advertise” link under KDP Select.

Clicking on the link takes you to the familiar Free Book/Kountdown deal screen, only there’s now a new box that allows you to create an ad campaign.

Clicking on this takes you to the Amazon Marketing Services (ams) website. You will notice the new url in your browser’s address bar.

You now have a list of all your eligible books.

Set phasers on Interest, Mr. Sulu

Selecting one of them (in my case the Pearseus bundle) allowes you to target your ad by product or by interest. What does this mean?

Targeting by product means that you can enter a keyword and select products similar to yours. When people search for these, your ad will be displayed as well. So, in the case of Pearseus, I could have entered “Game of Thrones” and anyone searching for Martin’s book would also see mine.

However, I chose for Pearseus the second option, “target by interest.” This gives you a list of interests and allows you to specify one or several of them. So, anyone with a science fiction/fantasy interest will see my ad.

You can also select not to target your audience. This feels like a sure-fire to burn through your budget, as everyone will see your ad. Still, if you have a really generic product with a good profit margin, you may want to tick that box and leave everything else unselected.

Now that I have my interest, it’s time to select my cost per click (CPC) – i.e. specify how much I’m willing to pay Amazon for each time someone clicks on my ad. Amazon recommends I choose 5c, which would allow 2,000 people to reach my book page. If 2% of these visits actually result in a sale, that will give me 40 sales – the minimum amount I need to break even.

What does all that bidding mean, you may ask. You see, every time we visit a website that features ads, a small bidding war takes place within nanoseconds.

The server is asked to choose among several ads that wish to be displayed, and makes a selection based on the maximum amount each of them is willing to pay.

If you chose, say, $1, you’d be practically be guaranteed that your ad would be displayed on every single search that met your criteria. You would also guarantee that you would spend your advertising budget within minutes. So, you need to find a nice equilibrium between the need to be displayed and the need to make your budget last longer. In the end, I decided to go for $0.04, so as to cover taxes and increase my chances of covering my costs (there’s a minimum bid of 2c, but I didn’t want to go as low as that).

That’s it! You then choose how to pay and you’re done. The next screen simply gives you the details of the promo you just placed, and lets you know if you ran into any trouble.

Let’s try the Target by Product now

For my second campaign, I chose to target by product. This gives me a field into which I can type a search term, that can lead to a product. As Runaway Smile is a children’s book, this is what I typed. I got 146 results.

I chose to have Runaway Smile displayed along with some of the more expensive children’s books. I figured that this would increase my chances, as my book would look pretty affordable compared to the alternative.

Once I went through the entire list of 146 books, I was taken to the usual Success screen, then to a list with my active campaigns. You will notice that these are marked as “pending overview”. Within an hour or so, this had changed to “running.” Wow.


So, what would happen if I slapped my forehead and realised I wanted to, say, change the CPC bid? You see, Pearseus might sell for $3.49, but Smile is only $2.99. This means that I need a lower CPC to have any hope of covering my expenses. Thankfully, the campaign management page allows you to edit the settings of your campaign – or at least the most important ones: duration, CPC and budget.

So, all I needed to do was to click on the wee blue pencil, and edit the campaign to my heart’s content.

That’s it! I hope you found the above useful. If you run into any trouble or need any clarifications, just let me know in the comments 

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