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All About Amazon, Part Two - Advertising on Amazon

In our second article about “ALL THINGS AMAZON” we will be focusing on Amazon Advertising.  Amazon Advertising is crucial because it allows you to advertise your books where the readers actually are.

Like everything else about Amazon, there are many different options (without much instruction). We synthesized the knowledge of established authors who were willing to share their experiences in the hopes that those who follow won’t waste the time and money it takes to experiment with the different adverting options.

Many thanks to Ricardo Fayet (one of the founders of Reedsy) and other experienced authors I’ve paraphrased here.

What Are Amazon Ads?

Similar to the way Google search works, when you type in a keyword in the Amazon search box and results appear, some of the top results will be sponsored posts – these are considered Amazon ads. They are denoted with subtle “sponsored” or “ad” text above the listing.

Where to Start:

Go to  and register your account with KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Please note:  Don’t even think about this initial step until you have a strong cover image and an engaging summary blurb. Without either of these, don’t waste your time. It’s important that your book be commercially viable.

Types of Amazon Ads (and what they do):

There are two types of ads: Placement Product Ads and Sponsored products Ads.

Sponsored Product: these ads show up on search result listings and other books’ product pages (below the “also boughts”).

Product Display: these ads show up right next to the book description on a product page, and on the Kindle home screen and screensaver.

This article will concentrate on Sponsored Ads since they have the most successful results.

Sponsored Amazon Ads

If you want to gain more visibility for your listings on Amazon you can pay for these positions by bidding on specific keywords, which will lead to higher visibility in the Amazon search results. You are charged when a shopper clicks on your ad.

When shoppers click on your sponsored ad, they’ll be directed to the ads product detail page. Sponsored ads are typically displayed above or below the search results page, as well as on other product detail pages. These ads are keyword-targeted, and you have the option of choosing from exact, phrase, or broad match types. You also have the control of setting a daily budget, as well as the campaign duration. While the campaign can be paused at any time it must run for at least 1 day.

The 4 major area you should be concerned with when deciding on advertising are:

Placement – Where do the ads show up? Already described in the above section.

Targeting -- How to decide your advertising audience:

a.    Automatic targeting – Where Amazon chooses where to display your ad.

b.    Manual Targeting – You choose what keywords to use (shows up in search results).

Cost – When am I charged and how much will it cost me?

a.    Unlike other platforms, no matter how many people see you, you only get charged when someone clicks on it.

b.   For Sponsored Ads, you can begin advertising for as little as $2.00 per day.

Analytics – How do I know if my ads are working or not? (Probably the single most important area of concern). For the sake of expediency instead of trying to explain how Amazon’s analytics and algorithms work, here are two links (one independent and one from Amazon) that explain it in more detail:

Advertising Copy

Advertising copy is actually one of the easiest items to accomplish and understand. Amazon uses your cover as a way of advertising your book, so all you need to come up with is interesting content that’s less than 150 words.

Ensure your ad text is not only accurate in terms of what you’re selling but try and insert some creativity and humor into your ads if possible. Standing out is more important than ever with the sheer volume of search results generated by Amazon search engines. 

Restrictions: There are restrictions on what your cover looks like. If you want the official rules and regulations here’s  where to go: AMS’ official “Creative Acceptance Policies” here

Copy: Keep it simple and use one of these proven concepts:

a.    An excerpt from a glowing review - "[Author name] has done it again: an engrossing read that will keep you turning the pages" – Kirkus Reviews

b.    A plot-based copy - Steven didn’t suspect that pursuing her could destroy his career. Emma didn’t realize what trusting him would cost her

c.    Social validation - Downloaded 100,000 times already, this first book in the [whatever] series will get you hooked

d.    Comparative authors or titles - Fans of Scout Finch (To Kill A Mockingbird) and Jo March (Little Woman) will treasure Louisa May "Wildflower" McAllister in this well-loved novel.

Manual and Automatic Campaigns

Run an automatic campaign as well as a manual campaign with the same exact products. Let the automatic campaign run for a couple of days/weeks and then evaluate which search terms have generated the most sales. Then transfer these search terms into your manual campaign.

Create an automatic campaign and an ad groupCreate a manual campaign and an ad groupEvaluate the search terms of the automatic campaign regularly (‘Search Term Report’ in Seller Central) and transfer the relevant and highest-converting search terms into the keywords of your manual campaign.

Optimize Keywords

Amazon prioritizes ads shown on their site that are relevant for the customer. Generally, only ads can be shown for keywords that are also contained in the product listing text (title, attributes, description, search terms). If your keywords aren’t getting any impressions, check whether or not those keywords are contained in your product listing text. If that’s not the case, then you should add those keywords into the listing text to make sure that ads will be able to be run for them – thereby reaching a broader potential customer base.


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