Should You Use Amazon Ads?

Are you struggling with visibility for your book and know you should try marketing but just aren’t sure what ad to use? There certainly are a lot of options! Facebook, BookBub, Goodreads, paid advertisers, all have advertising options. But what about advertising on Amazon, you know, right where your book is for sale?

Amazon Ads used to be called Amazon Marketing Services, or AMS as some refer to it, but they’ve since rebranded and are now known as Amazon Ads. It used to be so that these ads were only available for those who were selling physical devices or components and it wasn’t even available for authors. Nowadays, you can, fortunately, run Amazon Ads regardless of whether or not your books are in KDP Select, so you don’t have to be selling exclusively on Amazon. This means that everyone is on a level playing field, but this also indicates you should know what you are doing if you want to see any results.

Fear not though, because I’m going to give you an overview to make things easy, and a good place to start is why you should even care about Amazon Ads.

Why Amazon Ads?

Well… the thing is that these ads are served on the Amazon website and when people browse there, they do so because they’re looking to buy something. This is opposite Facebook ads, for example, where people are busy interacting with friends and family, checking out a group they belong to, or something like that. People are not on Facebook because they want to buy something.

A Facebook ad has to catch the person’s attention, then it has to get them to click the ad. It then takes people off of social media and onto a store like Amazon, hoping that they will then make a purcahse. That’s quite a journey with multiple clicks and the risk of losing the person along the way.

With Amazon Ads, the people seeing the ad already have the intention to buy something and they can do that within 2 clicks. One click on the ad, and then the buy click. That’s it!

With Amazon, you’ve got two types of ads at your disposal. The first is the Sponsored Product ad and the other is Lockscreen Ads.

Lockscreen Ads

Lockscreen Ads is a fairly new thing. It has replaced the previous Product Display Ads. The Lockscreen Ad will show up on when people unlock their Kindle e-reader, so right there on the home screen before they start reading they can be shown an ad of your book. Opposite the Product Display Ads the Lockscreen Ad is also capable of showing up on the new Kindle Fire tables, so that’s pretty cool.


AMS ads

You would think that these ads should work really well. After all, they show up right there on people’s Kindle where they are going to be reading, but overall and in our experience – we can only speak from personal experience – they are not as effective as the Sponsored Product Ads. In fact, very far from it.

Now, keep in mind that when Jesper has talked about how you HAVE to run ads in 2019, he also said that you have to experiment on your own. Just because he can’t get the Lockscreen ads to work for him, doesn’t mean that you’ll experience the same results. I know of authors, who can turn significant profit with Lockscreen Ads, or Product Display Ads as they used to be called. In Jesper’s case, we haven’t been able to replicate it though.

Perhaps the fact that it is shown to potential readers right when they are lying or sitting down to read is what makes them less effective. At least for me, that’s not the time I’m thinking about buying a new book. I think that in that particular moment, it’s much harder to convince someone to buy a new book.

Or maybe it is genre, or luck. If you are reading the last chapter of a book or it is boring you, or you just need something new to read… maybe you’d be more interested in buying a book from a Lockscreen ad then? And it probably doesn’t help the success that when looking for an image of a kindle with a Lockscreen ad, I ran across about 20 articles on how to kill ads on your kindle!

However, Lockscreen ads can work and are worth trying out if it interests you. But there is another type of ad and we’ve had some great success with it!

Sponsored Product Ads

Jesper is a whiz with these and has been teaching me. He’s turned quite a profit and I’m hoping to emmulate his success!

Before we get into that there are some things you should know. First, where do the Sponsored Product ad appear?

Well, if a reader goes to Amazon and type in, say, fantasy book, into the search bar of the Kindle Store, then the results will be displayed. However, if you as an author have created a Sponsored Product ad with the keyword, “fantasy book” then your ad will compete with all other ads for that specific keyword.

The one with the highest bid will win the auction and be displayed as one of the search results. You can test it out yourself by going to, select the Kindle Store, and search for something. When you hit Enter, you’ll find that the top results will have a little “sponsored” text next to them and that’s because these are Sponsored Product ads.

To be honest, as long as your book is relevant to the keywords you’re bidding on, I don’t think readers care one bit about it saying “Sponsored” or not. If they’re looking for a fantasy book and that’s what appears at the top of the search result, they’ll click it.
If you’ve then done a good job with the cover, the book description and you have some reviews to serve as social proof, then there is no reason why they wouldn’t make the purchase.

When you create these ads, you’re asked to tell Amazon how much you want to bid per keyword. Essentially, every time someone clicks your ad, Amazon will charge you up to the amount you’re bidding. Not necessarily the full amount, it all depends on the competition for that particular keyword, but to be on the safe side you better expect it to be the full amount.

Don’t worry. These ads are not expensive as long as you don’t go crazy with your bidding.

My advice is to completely ignore the suggested bid that Amazon gives you and keep it at perhaps 30 to 50 cents per click, or somewhere in that range. Now, it obviously depends on how much you’re selling your book for. If it’s a boxset that you sell for $9.99 you can afford to bid a bit more. Conversely, a book being sold for 2.99 or 99 cents, can’t sustain as high as a bid if you want to turn a profit.

I think the main reason for these type of ads being so effective it because they are shown right in the middle of the buying process; right when the reader is scrolling through a list of fantasy books.

In terms of the Keywords, keep in mind that you’re only actually paying for the ones that get clicked. Therefore, the only logical course of action is to load in as many keywords as you can to get maximum exposure. Each ad will accept 1000 keywords and I always recommend to include as many as you can. Most of my ads has a 1000 keywords in each.

You might be thinking: “A thousand keywords! There is no way, I can come up with a 1000 keywords.”

No. I can’t either. That’s why Jesper will release a video about KDP Rocket within the next few weeks. So check out our AmWritingFantasy YouTube channel and subscribe so you don’t miss it! KDP Rocket is a piece of software that can help you out tremendously with generating keywords. Otherwise, you can, of course, use Google Adwords to generate lists of keywords if you’re on a budget. It’s not that KDP Rocket is that expensive, but if you’re looking for the free alternative, there you have it.

In order to create a winning ad, you have to test out different ad copy. So try different variations and keep loading the system with more ads and more keywords. At this point in time, Jesper is advertising close to 20,000 keywords.

That might sound like a lot – and perhaps it is – but if you create one or two new ads every week, you’ll get there before you know it.

And something else worth mentioning too. The Amazon dashboard that shows the results of your ads are quite slow to populate. Sometimes it can take up to two weeks for it to show all the sales, so don’t make decisions on the success of your ads based on that dashboard.

You can use the ACOS scores to get a general bearing about the results. As long as you’re under 70% you’re turning a profit since Amazon gives you 70% royalties when your book is priced between 2,99 and 9,99. However, the only sure way to determine your success is to check your sales via the KDP dashboard and then compare your revenue with the invoices you get for your ads. That way, there’s no second guessing.

If you have any questions, fire away in the comment section. We’ve tried to condense this topic into something that is fairly easy to understand, but if you aren’t sure how to set up the ad or have a question about the dashboard, let us know in the comments!

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Written by: Autumn

Autumn (also known as Weifarer) is an indie author, conservationist, & world traveler with plans for many more adventures both real and fantastical! She is currently on the road in North America in a Four Wheel Camper along with her husband, Adam, and Cairn terrier, Ayashe.

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