Author Topic: AMS advice for the comically inept  (Read 29281 times)

Hopscotch

AMS advice for the comically inept
« on: September 11, 2020, 11:52:13 PM »
Face an AMS ads puzzle for which I’d appreciate some advice:  For two series (war and Westerns), my Sponsored Products ads w/manual targeting and custom blurb sold books but failed to draw in reads.  Shifted to auto target/standard (ie, no) blurb which cut my sales but ramped up reads.  Any suggestions for how to combine the two in one or should I run both types of ads for the same series?

 

j tanner

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2020, 08:16:25 AM »
Run both.
 

notthatamanda

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2020, 11:00:19 PM »
I'm not in AMS anymore but if something is working, do both. Are you afraid you will be competing against yourself for bids?
 

Hopscotch

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2020, 01:53:28 AM »
I'm not in AMS anymore but if something is working, do both. Are you afraid you will be competing against yourself for bids?

Yes, as it appears to produce a % of overlap and double-spending.  But I'm ready to try and see what happens.
 

Hopscotch

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2020, 04:18:54 AM »
Run both.

Effective Oct 1, that's what I'm doing, and thank you all for giving me the push I needed to act.  Same time, I want to scale up my current ads which finally are producing a consistent (tho' embarrasingly low) level of sales and reads.  Can't find good advice on scaling up, tho' - should I just throw money at AMS or?
 

notthatamanda

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2020, 04:28:57 AM »
Never was able to find good advice or make it work to scale up on my own. Even with enormous budgets my ads only spent so much a day.
 

LilyBLily

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2020, 11:05:28 AM »
I think I'll start an auto targeting AMS ad, too. Amazon has been refusing to spend my money this month. 
 

notthatamanda

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2020, 10:50:54 PM »
Just to clarify - I'm not doing AMS anymore but in 2019 into Jan 2020 I had budgets of $500/day or more. Usually spent less than $50, but it was profitable, especially the residual sales that were never linked to AMS.  Then it just shut off. I don't know why. I was making money, Amazon was making money off my sales (I was not in KU). There is more to scaling up than adding money to the budgets or bids (I already bid slightly over recommended bids on everything). But I don't know what that something else is. I did research, even took one of AMS's free seminars on understanding the advertising model, but I couldn't figure it out.
 

DmGuay

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2020, 03:50:13 AM »
I run multiple AMS ads to one book, so don't worry about combining them.
IMHO, you should have
1 category ad (where Amazon chooses who to show it to, by genre category.)
1 auto target ad
1 group auto target ad, if you have a series
and 1 or more ads where you manually choose the targets

And ignore the suggested bid amounts. They're nuts. Stick to 40 cents or less.
Also, Bryan Cohen has a free Amazon Ads for Authors course. It's worth the time.
 
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Hopscotch

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2020, 05:12:16 AM »
DmGuay - Good advice, thank you!
 

DmGuay

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2020, 05:19:00 AM »
As soon as I hit Reply the info for the latest session of Bryan's class came into my feed! Here is the link, if you're interested. I had been running decent ads for a while when I took this. It was worth it. Good info on different ad types, bidding, ad copy, and tools for researching keywords.

https://bryancohen.lpages.co/amazon-ad-profit-challenge-landing-october-2020/
« Last Edit: September 29, 2020, 08:23:46 AM by DmGuay »
 
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notthatamanda

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2020, 08:03:14 AM »
DM - Thank you very much for this.
 

LilyBLily

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2020, 11:19:21 PM »
So far, my new auto targeting ad has been shown to exactly 53 customers, according to the Amazon ads spreadsheet. Not surprisingly, no clicks. It has a $15-a-day budget and I went ahead and accepted the suggested bid amount, too, but nada. On the good side (ha!), it has cost me nothing to get no results. Even assuming the ad reporting is three days behind, this is nowhere.

Meanwhile, my manually targeted ad has only delivered 5,281 views and 6 clicks on a $10-a-day budget. I can't say that I am thrilled with the performance of this ad, either. Women's fiction is not a confusing category to aim at, unlike, say, Gothic romance, which gets mixed up with "dark" romance and mafia romance and street, too on Amazon's pages.

I think I'll check out Bryan's ad challenge in case there's anything I missed. I've been running AMS ads for four years and they always used to deliver. A change in tactics appears called for.
 

Simon Haynes

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2020, 11:54:00 PM »
My approach is to set up the ads and over-bid a little, then wind back the bids until I'm still getting views and clicks, but not paying too much for them.

I don't know whether it's my genre, covers, blurbs, pricing or look inside, though, but I always have a hard time converting. To be fair I'm advertising all the books in all the series, and someone might click on book six then jump to book one and pick that up, which according to Amazon no longer shows up in the results.

Of course, with 6 or 7 series it's easy to get eaten to death by tons of small bites.
 

notthatamanda

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2020, 12:08:23 PM »
As soon as I hit Reply the info for the latest session of Bryan's class came into my feed! Here is the link, if you're interested. I had been running decent ads for a while when I took this. It was worth it. Good info on different ad types, bidding, ad copy, and tools for researching keywords.

https://bryancohen.lpages.co/amazon-ad-profit-challenge-landing-october-2020/
Thank you so much for posting this. I did the challenge and picked up quite a few tips.
 
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LilyBLily

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2020, 02:19:37 PM »
Still working my way through the information, but I did set up a bunch of Amazon category ads, which are new territory for me. I restarted the previous auto targeting ad, too. Fun and games.
 

Hopscotch

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2020, 02:59:37 PM »
Thank you again, DM :littleclap - I audited Bryan's class this week and am trying all of his good ideas. 
 

notthatamanda

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2020, 10:11:07 PM »
I started the course a couple of days late so I began ads on the 16th and so far today is the fourth day with ZERO sales on Amazon and no free downloads of my first in series either. I was doing better with out them.  :HB
I actually like doing ads so I'll hang in there a little longer, but I feel "universe hates me" discouraged occasionally.
 

DmGuay

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2020, 10:48:54 PM »
I am so thrilled you guys took the class. It helped me.

But don't get frustrated yet. I'd say it takes a week or two at least for the data to start trickling in.

AND, one of the best things I learned from that class is that MOST ads DON'T serve. That's why you keep creating more.

Let me also add that I took a second seminar with Bryan yesterday, and he said out loud what we all suspect. That Amazon sales and ads are in a slump right now because of the U.S. election. They will kick back up in mid November. He's the fourth "big name" author person I noticed has said that lately, so keep that in mind.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2020, 10:50:55 PM by DmGuay »
 
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LilyBLily

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2020, 10:54:40 PM »
In the past, I would do one or two ads max for a title and one would serve and the other would not. Apparently the hit ratio has dropped. At the same time, the fear that having two ads for a title at a time would jinx the second one seems to have abated. Bryan's opinion that 150 keywords are enough runs contrary to past wisdom, too. There's always something new to learn.
 

DmGuay

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2020, 11:13:12 PM »
Oh yes.

I didn't even know I could run a category ad until that class.
And, I used to be so scared of bleeding money that I would start 1 or 2 ads and set them at $2 or $3 a day. Gee. And I wonder why those ads didn't work.  I'm glad those days are behind me!
 
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notthatamanda

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2020, 11:17:08 PM »
I am so thrilled you guys took the class. It helped me.

But don't get frustrated yet. I'd say it takes a week or two at least for the data to start trickling in.

AND, one of the best things I learned from that class is that MOST ads DON'T serve. That's why you keep creating more.

Let me also add that I took a second seminar with Bryan yesterday, and he said out loud what we all suspect. That Amazon sales and ads are in a slump right now because of the U.S. election. They will kick back up in mid November. He's the fourth "big name" author person I noticed has said that lately, so keep that in mind.
Thank you for reminding me. I was on the webinar yesterday too, but I forgot that. It was feeling like since I was willing to pay for ads the algos decided to drop me out of also boughts. I know, paranoid and I am not that important, but the thoughts were plaguing me.
 

Hopscotch

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2020, 05:51:18 AM »
Amazon sales and ads are in a slump right now because of the U.S. election. They will kick back up in mid November.

Now you've given me another worry!  After much AMS failure, just this month I managed to reach a consistent (low) daily level of sales/reads on which to build w/Bryan's guidance.  If that's contrary to everyone else's experience, are you telling me when the pandemic's over I'm dead again??? :icon_cry:
 

DmGuay

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2020, 06:18:34 AM »
I'd say it means you'll be in better shape.
 
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Hopscotch

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #24 on: October 23, 2020, 03:03:23 AM »
Just set up a jillion Bryan ads and applied all your good advice.  Looking forward to being rich and famous tomorrow. :icon_cool:  But decided to sign up for his course just in case.
 

Simon Haynes

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #25 on: October 23, 2020, 04:54:33 AM »
I wrote myself a quick app to strip authors/titles from listopia lists. View source - ctrl+a - ctrl+c, then paste into the app and click Go. Done ;-)

Made half a dozen ads on the US and UK sites with relevant authors. I usually get lousy results with keywords ads (barely any impressions), but we'll see how they go.
 
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notthatamanda

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #26 on: October 23, 2020, 05:21:46 AM »
Didn't Bryan say something about how most of the keywords/ads will not be successful? So I think I will excel at that. But I feel like I have a plan now, rather than stabbing around in the dark with whatever keywords happen to be at the top of the charts (and therefore the hardest to get)
 

Simon Haynes

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2020, 09:04:54 AM »
Yep, that's true

I have one keywords ad created a few hours ago which has 1500 impressions and 5 clicks, but that's the only one of about 16 or so ads in the 4 digits.

To be fair, I'm only just getting the 'moderated' emails so it'll be interesting to see how they go over the next week or two.


 

notthatamanda

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #28 on: October 23, 2020, 09:24:17 AM »
One thing that was encouraging was that I looked at the also boughts on a keyword that had been clicked on from a category ad. I always used the keywords that were clicked on in a category ad as a new keyword, but I never thought to look at those also boughts before. And they were very relevant.

On the other hand, I still haven't sold a book since the 17th. Two freebies yesterday. I don't expect the ads to work miracles but watching my sales dry up entirely is never fun.

I'm writing a lot of new hooks (and tracking them on a spreadsheet). Normally I like writing hooks but I am using his formula and they are far more blunt and I don't like them very much. :(
 

Hopscotch

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #29 on: October 23, 2020, 12:58:02 PM »
I'm writing a lot of new hooks (and tracking them on a spreadsheet). Normally I like writing hooks but I am using his formula and they are far more blunt and I don't like them very much. :(

I may be mistaken, but got the impression that Bryan favors quantity over perfection - throw lots of ads out there regardless of the perfection of the copy and let the buyers tell you which sell and which don't, then write more like those.  Everything is an experiment.  Or did I misunderstand everything again?  :HB
 

LilyBLily

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #30 on: October 23, 2020, 01:41:32 PM »
I'm writing a lot of new hooks (and tracking them on a spreadsheet). Normally I like writing hooks but I am using his formula and they are far more blunt and I don't like them very much. :(

I may be mistaken, but got the impression that Bryan favors quantity over perfection - throw lots of ads out there regardless of the perfection of the copy and let the buyers tell you which sell and which don't, then write more like those.  Everything is an experiment.  Or did I misunderstand everything again?  :HB

I think that's his idea. Only a couple of years ago we all were using hundreds of keywords for the targeted ads with the same concept: put them out there and see which ones hit and then pause the ones that don't. What an author thinks is relevant is not necessarily what a reader thinks is. The problem was and still is that we can't really know in advance what will be our best keywords; we can only discover them through trial and error.   
 

TimothyEllis

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Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #31 on: October 23, 2020, 02:31:30 PM »
Off hand question:

Can you do AMS ads for the series page instead of specific books?
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Simon Haynes

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #32 on: October 23, 2020, 04:20:49 PM »
Off hand question:

Can you do AMS ads for the series page instead of specific books?

I don't see series pages offered when I start an AMS ad, just the ebooks and paperbacks.

I think Bookbub/FB are your only recourse for those.
 

LilyBLily

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #33 on: October 23, 2020, 10:35:49 PM »
I've done a multibook ad for one of my series. It included all the books in the series except Book 1, which is always being advertised. The idea was that these other books would get some impressions. It didn't seem to do much. Worth trying again?

I don't think that's the same as an ad for a series page as such.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2020, 10:40:20 PM by LilyBLily »
 

notthatamanda

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #34 on: October 23, 2020, 11:19:29 PM »
I am happy to compare notes, I have one multibook ad, for my three standalone romances. It has 3000 impressions and 5 clicks. Spent 99 cents so far. What I do with the automatic targeting ads is use the search term report to see what books the ad appeared on. These are the books the algos thought were most relevant. Then I save those titles and authors for a keyword targeting ad. I don't expect to sell a lot on this type of ad it is more for letting Amazon tell me what the best titles are. Same for category ads.

 

notthatamanda

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #35 on: October 23, 2020, 11:23:30 PM »
I'm writing a lot of new hooks (and tracking them on a spreadsheet). Normally I like writing hooks but I am using his formula and they are far more blunt and I don't like them very much. :(

I may be mistaken, but got the impression that Bryan favors quantity over perfection - throw lots of ads out there regardless of the perfection of the copy and let the buyers tell you which sell and which don't, then write more like those.  Everything is an experiment.  Or did I misunderstand everything again?  :HB
I agree with your assessment of his advice, I just like writing clever, snazzy or snappy copy. His method is very blunt so my creative side is sad but I am letting the business side have a go at it. And I am running one of my favorite copy (which also performed very well for me in the past) and we will see.
 

notthatamanda

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #36 on: October 23, 2020, 11:25:14 PM »
Off hand question:

Can you do AMS ads for the series page instead of specific books?

I don't see series pages offered when I start an AMS ad, just the ebooks and paperbacks.

I think Bookbub/FB are your only recourse for those.
Slightly off topic - Kobo offers different series promos sometimes. Sorry Tim, I can't remember if you are full in on KU right now or not..
 

TimothyEllis

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Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #37 on: October 24, 2020, 01:01:22 AM »
Slightly off topic - Kobo offers different series promos sometimes. Sorry Tim, I can't remember if you are full in on KU right now or not..

Yes, all in KU. Only 2 books are not, because they can't be.
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Simon Haynes

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #38 on: October 24, 2020, 01:03:48 AM »
I just checked the aussie product page for one of my own books, and there was a carousel with six pages of sponsored books underneath - all of them mine.

As someone said (Bryan?) it's better to fill your product pages with your own products than someone else's...

 

Luke Everhart

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Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #39 on: October 25, 2020, 03:33:27 AM »
I know nothing beyond the public face and books of Bryan, but it looks like almost everything Bryan has published is 'how to X' books. His few fiction books are co-authored and not doing very well. So... personally, if I were taking a course on AMS ads I'd take Mark Dawson's. He is actually making a substantial living publishing fiction books using the techniques he teaches.
(I don't know either personally and assume both are fine people. But if I'm going to learn how to do something I prefer the instructor either has done what he's teaching successfully or is currently doing it successfully. )
« Last Edit: October 25, 2020, 03:36:17 AM by Luke Everhart »
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Simon Haynes

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #40 on: October 25, 2020, 05:19:44 AM »
A lot of it is common sense, but I picked up enough tips and pointers to make it worthwhile (watched the vids at 1.75x speed which helped)

I also find that watching a few videos on AMS ads gets me enthusiastic about putting in the effort, which is sometimes an issue for me. (Repetitive paperwork tasks, I mean.) Half the time I'm convinced I'm better off writing more books in the time I might spend herding hundreds of ads and thousands of keywords.

I've been checking my 7-day vs 30-day vs 90-day KU pageread averages in SalesScanner, and almost every 7 day average is in the green, whereas every single 30-day was in the red vs 90 day. So something's moving on the KU front even though sales numbers aren't really there.

I do like the idea of 2nd gen and 3rd gen ads using the best bits from the many scattergun ads we start out with.

 
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Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #41 on: October 25, 2020, 06:10:33 AM »
...

I also find that watching a few videos on AMS ads gets me enthusiastic about putting in the effort, which is sometimes an issue for me.

...

So much...

Cheers,
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notthatamanda

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #42 on: October 25, 2020, 08:01:19 AM »
A lot of it is common sense, but I picked up enough tips and pointers to make it worthwhile (watched the vids at 1.75x speed which helped)

I also find that watching a few videos on AMS ads gets me enthusiastic about putting in the effort, which is sometimes an issue for me. (Repetitive paperwork tasks, I mean.) Half the time I'm convinced I'm better off writing more books in the time I might spend herding hundreds of ads and thousands of keywords.

I've been checking my 7-day vs 30-day vs 90-day KU pageread averages in SalesScanner, and almost every 7 day average is in the green, whereas every single 30-day was in the red vs 90 day. So something's moving on the KU front even though sales numbers aren't really there.

I do like the idea of 2nd gen and 3rd gen ads using the best bits from the many scattergun ads we start out with.
It was worth the price (free) just for the second and third generation info and giving me the push to use spreadsheets. No more piles of post its!
 

LilyBLily

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #43 on: October 25, 2020, 01:57:34 PM »
I knew nothing about the category ads previously. Most of the rest was not news to me, but it came at the right time, when I have a new book out that needs some attention, and when my other books' sales and reads need goosing. The 2nd and 3rd generation ads are an interesting idea, too. But there is a lot of churn involved, and I'd really rather "set it and forget it."
 

notthatamanda

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #44 on: October 25, 2020, 09:49:10 PM »
I remember he said that if an ad stops working you should export the keywords and do another one. That it works better than copying it. For whatever reason, the algos aren't liking the longer running ads now. But it's good to know that there is a fairly quick way around it.
 
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Simon Haynes

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #45 on: October 25, 2020, 10:58:03 PM »
I'll give all my new ads about 7 days to work. If they only have a handful of impressions by then I'll set up another with the exact same parameters and paste all the keywords in.
 

notthatamanda

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #46 on: October 25, 2020, 11:36:00 PM »
I'm going to base the decisions on the number of clicks I get. Since I'm bidding low I'm prepared to wait a little longer. One book is already profitable, thanks to two sales I got off the bat and finally got another sale yesterday. (Whew) I know the romance book is going to take a long time to get enough impressions to get to 10 clicks since it's so competitive and hard to get impressions.

Not advocating anyone do anything in particular, just discussing.
 

Hopscotch

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #47 on: October 26, 2020, 01:04:14 AM »
Not advocating anyone do anything in particular, just discussing.

Everything is worth hearing and I :littleclap the chance to hear it.  After applying this thread's good advice and Bryan's teaching, I've begun to see a modest improvement in sales/reads.  But I've been wandering in the sales desert so long I have to wonder, Who are these people crazy enough to buy my books? 
 
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LilyBLily

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #48 on: October 26, 2020, 01:44:57 AM »
I just started 18 short-term category ads using Bryan's suggested budget, bid, and time span. I'm going to do a bunch more, because, why not? If 80% never work at all, this is not an expensive experiment. And the method is blessedly simple.
 

Simon Haynes

Re: AMS advice for the comically inept
« Reply #49 on: October 26, 2020, 02:25:31 AM »
Exactly. I already had a lot of ads running, with at least 6 different series to promote, plus a non-fic title and the box sets, times Auto/category/keywords AND the paperbacks.

It's just going to take some time to make 100 ads for each starter, paperback, box set, etc. Across 4 countries. (I'm not going to do any more for DE/FR/ES/IT)