Thursday, July 02, 2020

How to Set Up Your Sponsored Product Ads in Amazon

By Dave Chesson, @DaveChesson

Part of The Indie Authors Series 

JH: Advertising your book on Amazon might seem like a challenge, but it's easier than you think. Dave Chesson shares a step-by-step process on setting up your sponsored ads. 

Dave Chesson is the founder of and creator of Publisher Rocket, a software that helps authors market their books more effectively.

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Take it away Dave…

Amazon ads are an amazing marketing tool for authors who want to see more conversions--whether that means Kindle Unlimited borrows or just plain sales. For that reason, indie authors should probably be investing some of their marketing budget, no matter how small or big, into Amazon’s advertising platform.

Today, we’re going to focus on setting up Sponsored Product Ads, which is the ad type that will likely give you more return on your investment as a new author.

So, let’s get right into it!

Step 1: Head to Your Amazon Advertising Account

Before you can set up your ads, you’ve got to navigate to your Amazon Advertising Account--click here to go there now. Once there, you’ll find your dashboard. Simply navigate to the button “Create Campaign” as seen in the image below.

Hit that button. You’ll be brought to a screen asking you to choose one of two ad types. Sponsored Product Ads or Lockscreen Ads. You’re going to select Sponsored Product Ads because these ads are most effective for authors at the moment--at least they are for authors who don’t have a super established brand yet.

What’s the difference?
  • Sponsored Product Ads. These are ads that reach readers through search results for keywords they input into Amazon’s search bar. Like “urban fantasy books” or “YA romance.”
  • Lockscreen Ads. These ads are based on the interests of shoppers and appear on Kindle and Fire Tablet lockscreens. You can create a lockscreen ad, but you’ll often be competing with big ticket spenders who pay Amazon for these spaces. Unless you have a lot of money to use for testing this, I wouldn’t recommend you select this campaign type.

Hit ‘Continue’ under Sponsored Products to choose the campaign type. 

Step 2: Select Your Targeting Type

Once you’ve chosen your campaign type, you’ll be faced with a screen that looks like this. It might be a little overwhelming at first, but never fear, we’re going to go through it step-by-step.

A few things about the Settings menu…
  • You’re going to need to select a Campaign name. I’d suggest you use an acronym for the name of your book to start, the date you’ve created it, and then the targeting type you select (more on that in a moment).
  • You can create a portfolio--this helps you organize your ads into groups, say you’re promoting a series--or you can leave the ad free of a portfolio.
  • You should select a start date, but I’d advise against selecting an end date for now. You’ll want to monitor your ads for at least a month before you make major changes, and the last thing you’d want is to come back and find a well-performing campaign has been shut off.
  • Leave the budget blank for now. We’ll discuss that in Step 3!

Under Settings, you’ll be able to select two different targeting types.
  1. Automatic targeting. This type of targeting has Amazon target keywords for you--you can run these too, but they’re not the focus of this article.
  2. Manual targeting. With Manual targeting, you’re able to choose which keywords phrases you want to target specifically. That gives you a lot of leeway for targeting specific authors, books, ASINs, and keywords that you know will appeal to your target readers.

Select Manual targeting. 

Step 3: Select Your Budget

If you haven’t got much of a budget, don’t stress. You can start with as little as a $5 budget per day. Set a budget that won’t break your bank.

Once you’ve got your targeting and your budget selected, scroll down and check out the campaign bidding strategy. A bid is how much you’re willing to pay to get a click on your ad. There’s not much you need to fiddle with here unless you’re interested in bidding competitively for placement for certain keywords.

I’d suggest that you keep the setting “Dynamic bids - down only” selected.

Don’t worry about the actual bid price yet--we’re going to get to that in Step 6. 

Step 4: Select Your Book

After selecting your bid strategy, we move on to selecting your ad format and your ‘product,’ which will be your book in this case.

Custom text ads allow you to input copy for your ad that serves to draw readers in and click on your book. A standard ad will serve your ad (your book cover and price, basically) without any additional copy.

You can test out using both of them, but selecting a standard ad now will demystify the process for a first time ad user. So go ahead and select ‘Standard ad’ now. After that, you’ll need to pick which of your books you want to advertise. You can pick either a print or ebook version of your book to advertise. Why not select an ebook version now?

Once you’ve selected the ebook you want to advertise, scroll down to choose between ‘Keyword targeting’ and ‘Product targeting.’ Select keyword targeting as this is an ad that will allow you to input specific keywords that include books and genres but aren’t limited to them.

Now comes the fun part… 

Step 5: Get Your Keywords!

I love keyword research--that’s part of the reason why I created the software Publisher Rocket to help authors automatically find keywords for their ads. The manual method I’ll discuss below is one that’s pretty time-consuming, but one that you can use without Publisher Rocket.

Write down a list of seed keywords for your book. These can include genres, sub-genres, tropes or themes. An example might be: contemporary romance, second chance romance, last chance romance etc. 

Use one of your seed keywords and head over to Amazon with your browser in incognito mode. Set the category in the search bar’s dropdown to ‘Kindle Store’ then type in the seed keyword followed by an ‘a.’ Note down which search comes up. For instance, ‘contemporary romance audible books’.
Repeat this process for all the letters of the alphabet and write down the phrases that appear.

You’ll now have your keyword list! Unfortunately, you won’t know how competitive these keywords are without checking how highly the bestsellers rank for them in their ABSR (Amazon Best Sellers Rank). You’ll have to search each one and then check what the rankings of the top 10 books are and figure out how many sales they’re making using the Kindlepreneur Best Seller Calculator.

Or you could check out Publisher Rocket and get quick results like these:

Step 6: Input Your Keywords and Your Negative Keywords

Once you have your keyword list, it’s time to start inputting them into Amazon. You can input your keywords by hitting ‘Enter List.’ You’ll be given the option of three match types: Broad, Phrase and Exact. This is an indication of how closely a customer will have to type in your keyword for Amazon to serve them an impression of your ad.

You can try all three of these match types, but I’d suggest reserving one match type per ad for cleaner results.

Let’s select ‘Broad.’

Before you input any keywords, make sure to change the ‘Suggested Bid’ dropdown to ‘Custom Bid.’ Amazon’s ‘Suggested Bid’ is $0.75! That’s more than you need to pay for clicks. I’d suggest a healthy click bid of $0.25 to $0.30 — that way Amazon should serve your ad when you bid for impressions (without breaking your budget in three quick clicks). That said, this is your money, and I’m not here to tell you what to do with it.

Input your keywords in list form, then hit ‘Add keywords.’ You’ll see them appear on the right afterward.

After you’ve done that, scroll down and hit the Negative Keyword Targeting dropdown. Here is where you’ll input keywords that you don’t want your advertisements to appear for. If you’re selling clean romance, for instance, you don’t want to appear for ‘steamy’ keywords or phrases. And the keyword ‘free’ is a good one to avoid if your book isn’t, well, free.

Input those, then scroll down, and hit the ‘Launch Campaign’ button. 

Step 7: Profit… Hopefully! 

You’re all set! Amazon will review your campaign and publish it. You’ll soon start seeing impressions and, hopefully, clicks and conversions. All that’s left for you to do is monitor your ads to ensure you aren’t spending too much and are getting healthy conversions.

Easier said than done? Well, I have a free 5-day Amazon Ads Course that will explain the details and go over the keyword research process in more detail. 

Final Thoughts

Setting up your Amazon Ads doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. If you follow simple steps and set a good budget and bid for clicks, you’ll be on your way to testing your ads and getting extra sales.