When Amazon ads first came out, I was skeptical.
After all, I had seen many waves of marketing excitement come and go since I began publishing in 2010.
But when I saw multiple respected teachers in the self-publishing world find success from ads, I decided to give it a shot.
While my first sets of ads did not light the world on fire royalties-wise…
They paved the way for a future understanding that has helped a whole lot of authors earn more profit.
Let's start at the beginning.
My First Amazon Ads
I set up my first campaigns connected to a brand new launch in a genre I'd never written in before (Fairy Tale Retellings).
This served as a great test because I didn't really know what I was doing as far as researching potential targets or hunting down relevant search terms at all.
When I created my first keyword campaigns for my new fairy tale book, I went for everything under the sun.
I hunted down thousands of potential keywords that might find me some new readers…
And many of them probably weren't the best ideas.
As I later learned, one of the most important aspects of these ads is having the most relevant words to your book possible.
This means you need to think of the most similar book titles, author names, and search terms (words that a potential reader might type in to Amazon search) that you can possibly find.
I didn't know this at the time, but by keeping track of the words that did find traction, I set myself up for success in my next campaigns.
My first sets of campaigns were break even on a good day and lost me $5 to $10 a day on a bad one.
Fortunately, I kept these campaigns going for several months after my book's release.
I did future Bryan a big favor by collecting a ton of data that I would later use to very successful ends.
My Second Campaigns
When I planned to launch a short story anthology exclusively into Amazon, I knew that Amazon ads were going to factor in.
Because even though I didn't have a ton of success with my first round, this anthology was primed for success.
First and foremost while the price was going to be set for 99 cents…
The length of the book (over 1,000 Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) would give this book a great opportunity to return far beyond our initial investment.
There was only one problem: I didn't know what keywords I should use for our ongoing ads.
Fortunately, after collecting all of my data on the initial campaigns in the same genre of fairy-tale retellings…I had a collection of keywords that had done exceptionally well.
How did I define exceptionally well?
These keywords had registered tracked sales on the Amazon Ad Dashboard.
It wasn't until much later I would learn how rare this feat actually was.
In the year since running these campaigns, I found that many sales that could be attributed to my ads slipped between the fingers of the algorithm tracking.
This meant that the 30 or so keywords that had a tracked sale were extremely relevant to readers who bought books in the fairy-tale genre.
I started my campaigns for the fairy tale retellings anthology as part of a massive barrage of launch promotions.
We ran discount deals, sent out emails to our list and got every fairy-tale author we could think of to share the good news that our book was coming out.
As a result, our launch helped us to just under a five-figure month…
But we had few promotional efforts planned for the months after the book went live.
For the book to continue to earn royalties after month one, we would be almost completely reliant on these Amazon Ads…
And according to our initial figures, the ads were having major problems.
Looking at the Big Picture
Many experts told us that in order for ads to be successful, these ads would need to have an ACoS (advertising cost of sale) of less than 70%.
At the time, our ACoS was more than 10 times the recommended amount (over 700%).
As a curious marketer, I wanted to see if those numbers would improve to what the experts suggested.
After all, I wanted to make sure everybody in the anthology earned the highest profit possible.
But when I looked at the royalties over on my KDP dashboard, I saw something completely surprising.
According to our ads and the ACoS, we were losing money hand over fist.
But when I looked at my ad spend on the Amazon ad dashboard versus our royalties on the KDP dashboard, there was no question…
We were earning $3 in royalties for every dollar we spent on ads.
I was faced with a choice.
Did I listen to the experts who said that ACoS would be the make-or-break statistic for my campaign OR…
Would it be better to look at the bigger picture and see if doubling down on my ad spend would actually increase our royalties?
I chose the latter and nothing has ever been the same again.
Stripping out our very successful first month launch of $9,000+ in royalties and only factoring in month number two and beyond…
We spent around $7,000 on our Amazon ad campaigns over the next two years.
During that time, our book earned over $21,000 in royalties.
Our final ACoS for the two campaigns we ran to that book was over 900%.
We certainly didn't win any awards about doing what the experts said to do with our ads, but we did see ourselves earn over $14,000 in profit after our launch month.
I knew that there was a chance this instance could have been a fluke so I tried this ad strategy on other books of mine.
Time and time again, I found that ACoS was not indicative of a successful campaign…
Even for my books that weren't in Kindle Unlimited.
When I started teaching this strategy to other authors in a variety of genres, they found similar results to mine.
Looking at the big picture and ignoring certain statistics that could be misleading led multiple authors to go from under $100 a month to over $1000 a month in less time than you'd think.
I've been amazed and grateful to share how my experience and experiment could help thousands of authors find stronger results.
From Challenge to Book
To this point, I have shared many of these findings through my free 5-Day Amazon Ad Profit Challenge video courses that we run every quarter.
But for the first time ever, we will be putting this info into the form of a book.
Self-Publishing with Amazon Ads will be available through a Kickstarter campaign that we are running through Thur., Dec. 2nd.
If you're interested in finding out more details about my experiment and how we've used ads to find more success in a variety of genres, then click here and read the campaign to find out more.
Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you have a fantastic rest of your day.