Amazon Advertising Strategies

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Fewer posts than normal because PG has immersed himself in the Zon’s book advertising world.

First, some general observations:

  1. The Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) advertising reporting/monitoring system is past due for a significant upgrade. The online piece doesn’t really take advantage of the data PG is certain is generated during the book shopping and purchasing behaviors that Amazon monitors and collects, so reliable information on which to base advertising strategies is way too thin. KDP presents its authors with only the thinnest top slice of the useful information that would help indie authors and traditional publishers alike to connect with readers who would enjoy their books.
  2. The only other source of information on advertising performance is downloaded Excel spreadsheets that are next to useless unless one spends a lot of time constructing another spreadsheet that extracts and cumulates the useful bits. PG started to build one such spreadsheet a few years ago, but decided it wasn’t worth his time. Perhaps he’ll try again, but he suspects a database would work better than Excel for this job, but doesn’t want to relearn database configuration, etc., that he forgot ate least ten years ago.

End of gripes.

The last time PG looked at third party analysis tools to help with Amazon advertising, he liked Publisher Rocket, but wanted more. What he’s really looking for is a tool that does what PubRocket does, but combines that with a tool that sucks in all the info in Excel spreadsheets to provide a more complete picture of an author/publisher’s books in the context of the constantly changing world of the world’s biggest book store.

In the meantime, it has been a couple of years since PG took a look at books that claim to show an author/publisher how to locate and analyze key information that will help in the task of spending wisely and well in the world of Zon advertising.

PG was very taken with a tech company that offered a service to automate the management of ad spending on Amazon and included some good analytic data a couple of years ago, but encountered some glitches in the system that made it appear it wasn’t quite ready for prime time. He would be happy to hear about any experiences visitors might have had with anyone doing the same thing at present.

PG thinks a great many indie authors would like to find a tool/service that gives them actionable information concerning what works and what doesn’t for their books in the swirling cauldron of Amazon’s book promotion and sales world. There are lots of sources of good business rules to follow, but PG would like to see more detailed feedback than a royalty report that shows up after he’s tried one thing or another that may not be in anyone’s book of general rules.

Feel free to put experiences, observations, opinions, ideas, etc., into comments on this post. If it’s something that you feel you can’t talk about publicly, click the Contact PG link at the top of the blog to communicate privately. PG has been a lawyer for so long that he almost automatically treats anything anyone tells him in private as privileged and confidential and he’s not into sharing business or personal secrets he learns about with the wider world.

And, no, PG is convinced that no New York publisher uses anything like what he would like to see. The time between when a book deal is signed and when book returns start coming in from Joe’s Bait Shop and Book Store as well as Barnes & Noble (are they dead yet?) makes PG’s current rinky-dink Excel-based advertising analysis and ad spend tools look like Captain Picard on the bridge of the Enterprise (is he dead yet?).

End of rant. PG feels much better now. But he’s hungry.

3 thoughts on “Amazon Advertising Strategies”

  1. I gave up on finding any effective ad management tools for the Zon, beyond the humble reporting layer. Most of them are designed for firms who can test their way to success with ad budgets of $100,000, not $20 a day.

    The real problem with Amazon Ads is the same as Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and Twitter ads – they are all auction systems, and as long as you have one wealthy bod with a well-paid full-time job and a desire to see their book in the charts, they’re happy to bid up sub-genres close to a profit-losing proposition for any ‘fool-time’ authors trying to slip in.

    With Facebook ads, you are also competing for eyeballs with BMW Dealers and Rolex shops who make a profit on a good click of many $1000s, not $0.30 of a 99 cents ebook.

    At least this isn’t so much of an issue with Amazon ads in the Space Opera section of Uncle Jeff’s Emporium. But always remember, there’s a reason why J.B. can fund a private space program. You’re paying, and you’re still the product.

    PS – I should add, I used to be a full-time marketing manager (the kind with a BA Hons in the subject from a business school, more fool me), and fought in the direct sale marketplaces learning the trade from some hard-nosed S.O.Bs. So, theoretically, I should love advertising, PR, sales, and all the rest. Oddly, I rarely feel that way.

  2. I don’t know that there’s a useful tool of the kind you’re hoping for, PG, at least not yet… but I switched to Scribecount from Book Report because it collects data from non-Amazon sources, and they’ve recently added an advertising function that collects data from Facebook and Amazon ads and shows it in charts that allow you to at least start visualizing the data. They’re working on adding Bookbub and other ad sources as well.

    It’s a good product–I regret nothing about switching from Book Report.

  3. I have done a spreadsheet for the ad analysis, but my gripe now is that my royalty mix has moved from roughly 60/35/5 ebook/ku/pb to 30/65/5. (Is this just me?) I’m getting a lot of clicks converted to ku downloads instead of sales. The zon ad report gives ku pages supposedly read, but no idea of actual ku downloads. I suspect I will have a long tail of ku page read income from my ads. Now I can only look at number of impressions, clicks per impression, but only have a very rough idea of sales and downloads per click. Zon has that info on downloads. Why can’t they give it? As an aside, for me a full book read on ku is worth only 50% of an actual sale so the recent trend to ku hurts revenue at the same time as the $ per ad has gone up.

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