How to Start your First Amazon KDP Select Ads Campaign


Guest Post by Mike Fishbein

So you’ve written an awesome book jam-packed with valuable content, had it professionally edited, crafted the perfect book title and description, commissioned a beautiful, eye-catching cover design, and uploaded it to Amazon

But the sales just aren’t coming in.

Getting traffic to your book can be hard with so much competition on Amazon these days.

Fortunately, Amazon can help. They recently released their native Cost Per Click (CPC) ads platform – KDP Ads. Now, it’s not perfect, and some of the authors I’ve spoken to haven’t found it massively profitable, but it can help you sell more books if you use it right.

It can be especially valuable in the first couple weeks of a book’s launch, when it’s critically important to get a lot of downloads in a short amount of time. It may even be worth taking a loss on the ads, because it can help you get promoted to more people on Amazon after the launch.

I believe, over time, and with some experience, it will grow to become more favorable for authors looking to market their books. As with anything, it’s best to get in there and try it out for yourself.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this article:

  • When, why, and how to use KDP ads to market your book.
  • A step-by-step tutorial on how to start your first Amazon KDP ads campaign.
  • Best practices for targeting and bidding based on my most successful campaigns.

PS: Before we get into this, understand that to use the KDP Select ads function, your book must be listed for KDP Select.

Step 1: Start your first KDP Select ads campaign in KDP dashboard.

Log into your account at From your bookshelf select the book you want to promote. Then click “Promote and advertise” under the KDP Select column.

01 start your first ad campaign in kdp dashboard

Step 2: Click “Create an ad campaign.”

02 click create an ad campaign

Step 3: Choose your campaign type.

03 choose a campaign type product display ads

There are two types of campaigns that you can create: Sponsored Products and Product Display Ads.

Product Display Ads place your product on the side of a specific product – like your competitors page ;).  In this case, you’ll need to select products to place your ad on.

Sponsored Products show up in the amazon search results list – basically you are paying to get your book at the top of the list for a particular search – sort of like Google Adwords.  For this type of product placement, you’ll be bidding based on keywords, and as you know, Dave loves his Amazon keywords rankings.

In step 6 we’ll run through the steps for selecting “Sponsored Products” but for now, we’ll move into the step for “Product Display Ads.”

Step 4: Selecting “Product Display Ads.”

04 targer your ad by product

Targeting your ads by interest means your ads reach customers based on their browsing history. So, select this and type “dog books,” then anyone who has searched for dog books in the past will see your ad, even if they are now looking at Star Wars collectibles.

Targeting your ads by product shows your ads in the detail pages of products you hand-picked yourself. These can be books, movies or other related products. Try a selection of books closely related to yours. Run a couple of different ad campaigns to see which yields the best results.

If you have a competitor, and you want to show up for on their book’s sales page, then targeting ads by product is your best bet.

Step 5: Selecting “Sponsored Products.”

05 select books to target by keyword

Search relevant keywords to find what other books to target. You can either select competing books or other books your target readers are likely to be checking out.

It pays to do some research into your target audience’s habits and interests so you can make better predictions.

05 select competing books to target by searching for asin or keywords

You can search for competing books to target by typing in keywords or the specific ASIN. Click “Add” once you find them.

020 ads sponsored search

For sponsored products, you appear in search results. So, if you’re trying to rank on Amazon for a search term like “Self-Publish a Book on Amazon,” you could choose this type of campaign to make your book rank higher. Type in the keywords you want to target.

Step 6: Add a lot of books to increase your impressions.

06 add a lot of books to increase your impressions

I suggest targeting a lot of books.  This increases the amount of places your ad can be shown and also increases impressions. Remember, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, not when they only view it. That said, if your ad has less than 0.1% CTR (click through rate), Amazon may deem it of low-relevance and discontinue it. So do your research on what to target.

Dave Chesson inject here – This is really powerful!  If you are getting clicks, but no sales, then it tells you that your cover, book title and keyword target are good, but something on your book’s sales page just isn’t closing the deal.  That means your book’s description or reviews could be sealing your fate.  I LOVE THIS kind of knowledge.

Step 7: Un-select extend reach.

07 unselect extend reach

Extended reach is sort of like a marketing shotgun blast where they just find places to put it.  This is terrible and a waste of your money.

In essence, Amazon will place your ad wherever there is free space (aka. places where no one wants to advertise). In truth, the extended reach is a waste and ends up costing you, the customer, more for traffic that ‘stumbles’ upon your book ad.

So, save yourself some money, and uncheck it.

Step 8: Enter your campaign name, high bid max, and budget.

08 enter your info descriptive name high bid max budget

Your cost-per-click-bid is the maximum amount you are willing to pay whenever a potential customer clicks on your ad. The bid guidance Amazon provides is based on the current book price and click-to-purchase rate. Popular targets have more competition and therefore, higher bid rates. Test targets which are appropriate for you.

The minimum amount for your campaign budget is $100. If you set it for say, $300, you won’t necessarily be charged this full amount, only if you have enough clicks adding up to $300. You’re charged 1 cent more than the next highest bid each time your ad is clicked.

Step 9: Enter your campaign duration and pace.

09 enter campaign settings hover over question marks for more info

Choose how long your campaign will run and whether you want your budget used up as quickly as possible or spread evenly throughout the duration of your campaign. Your campaign will end either when the end date is reached or your budget dries up, whichever is first. Hover over the question marks to get more information.

Step 10: Enter headline, preview your ad, and submit.

010 enter headline preview and submit

For your headline, don’t necessarily just enter in the name of your book. Make sure it entices readers to click on your ad. A preview of your ad is automatically generated using your book’s information. Select your dimensions and check the details of your campaign summary.

Also, be prepared to test your headlines.  If your first one doesn’t get clicks, then don’t fret…you might have a dud of a headline.

011 campaign summary

Double check all the details of your campaign summary, and once your are happy, send it to Amazon for review.

012 success and waiting

Step 11: Wait for ad approval.

013 campaign summary

Amazon will approve your ad within 72 hours.

020 ads receive confirmation email from amazon

You will receive an e-mail when the review is complete. Once it’s approved, you are ready to launch!

Final Step 12: Review your stats.

000 average cpc of past campaigns has been pretty high

You likely won’t get your targeting spot-on the first time around, so monitor your status regularly throughout the duration of your campaign. Adjust your bidding and try different targeting strategies and even new headlines – it’s sort of like sales copy…because it is sales copy.

As your ad is part of a real-time auction, there’s no way of seeing how it is doing live, but you can check its status from your advertising campaign screen. I recommend you do this regularly.

Here’s a breakdown of the metrics:

  • Impressions – the number of times your ad has appeared on
  • Clicks – the number of times viewers have clicked on your ad
  • Average CPC – the average price you pay each time your ad is clicked
  • Detail Page Views – the number of times someone who has clicked on your ad has also viewed your book page

Important Note From Dave Chesson

Hey guys, this is Dave Chesson injecting my two cents on the strategy.  The biggest mistake that authors make with advertisements on things like Adwords, Facebook and KDP Ads is that they just try it out, and when they don’t see immediate success, it’s labeled “ineffective.”

But if you spend any real time on advertisement platforms, you’ll quickly learn that with a little time and testing, you’ll find that perfect balance to make any ad profitable.

Just keep this in mind as you start thinking about your ebook marketing strategy:

Also, another thing that piques my interest is this: because there is low competition for the advertisement, the cost per click is much lower, unlike many other ads platforms.  I think in the future, I’ll experiment with this a bit and see what I can come up with.

Checklist of Steps:

1. Start your first KDP ads campaign in KDP Dashboard

2. Click “Create an ad campaign”

3. Choose your campaign type

4. Selecting “Product Display Ads”

5. Selecting “Sponsored Products”

6. Add a lot of books to increase your impressions

7. Un-select extend reach

8. Enter in your campaign name, high bid max, and budget

9. Enter your campaign duration and pace

10. Enter headline, preview your ad, and submit

11. Wait for ad approval

12. Review your stats

Key Takeaways for KDP Select Ads Campaigns

KDP Select advertisements alone will not make your book a success. There are many factors that contribute to a successful book, but I see merit in the KDP Select ads system during a launch, and I believe, over time, its effectiveness as an ads system will be a good one.

During the first week of your book launch, it’s critical that you get a lot of downloads in a short amount of time. This signals to Amazon that your book is worth promoting to their broader audiences.

Use the KDP ads platform to get your book in front of your target audience, while they are searching for related terms/topics or browsing related books. Remember, you can edit, pause, or cancel campaigns at any time, so don’t be afraid of testing different methods. See what works and what doesn’t work, and adjust your campaign accordingly.

Author Bio: Mike Fishbein has self-published over a dozen nonfiction books with three reaching Amazon’s bestseller list. When he’s not writing and marketing books, he’s helping companies with inbound marketing, exercising, or reading personal development books. You can get his free checklist on how to self-publish a successful book on Amazon here.

About Dave Chesson

When I am not fighting dragons or chasing the bogey man out of my kids closet, I like using my previous Online Optimization skills to help other authors with the 'technical' stuff and get the right authors to the top of Amazon and any other eBook service out there.

  • One important question: how do I pay for the campaign? Is this $100 taken from my credit card registered on Amazon? When? When I start the campaign or when I finish it?

  • TH

    Thanks for the great article. I’m stumped on one thing. In my KDP Dashboard, when I click on “Create an ad campaign”, I’m not given the option to “Choose a Campaign Type”; I’m taken directly to “Select a Book to Advertise”. When I choose my book, I’m given the option to target my ad “By interest” or “By product”. I want to access the option to choose “Sponsored Products” and add keywords, but I can’t find this anywhere, no matter what steps I take, in my KDP Amazon Marketing Services dashboard. What am I missing? Thanks for any help you can provide.

    • MFishbein

      Hi TH – that is strange – I’m still able to “Choose a Campaign Type.” Perhaps it’s a feature they have only rolled out to a select number of users. Apologies for including something that may not be available to everyone – I was un aware. Nonetheless, you may find advertising on competing books to be beneficial.

      • TH

        Thanks for your reply, MFishbein. Interesting, that must be the case. I think I”ll send an inquiry to KDP and see if I can learn anything further.

      • TH

        Got my answer from KDP: “We currently offer Sponsored Products Ads to a limited number of publishers. We’re working to make it more widely available.”

        • MFishbein

          Great to hear. Thanks.

  • AWE-SUM article – tutorial! The checklist at the end is really helpful too. Thanks for this. Kind of a bummer about the $100 minimum though…

    • MFishbein

      Thanks Eric! Yes, $100 minimum is tough. I hope to see them make some changes in the future.

  • alan

    Hi, useful post, thank you. Looking at the stats did it generate a profit? It appears to me that the PPC was far higher than the estimated sales (and I guess that’s total book sales NOT the commission Amazon pay you so it’s further reduced)

    • MFishbein

      Hi Alan – glad to hear you’ve found it useful. I think KDP ads are most beneficial 1) during launch when you want to get that critical mass of downloads so that Amazon will promote you across its platform and/or 2) if you have a backend offering, such as a premium product or service. In those two situations, you can profit even if your ads don’t profit on the initial sale. Hope that helps.

  • Excellent article and intro to Amazon’s ad platform, thank you. Can see this working well when you’re promoting a book where the primary purpose of the book is to build authority and drive traffic and leads to a website from where you sell other products/services. Potential for delivering highly targeted leads very cheaply.

  • Patrick Vaughn Jackson

    Thanks for the info! Within what range are you seeing the cost of clicks for product display ads? If I have to pay the same CPC or even nearly as much as what I am paying for my Amazon FBA ppc campaigns, I don’t see how it can be profitable selling my $2.99 kindle books with KDP ads.

  • Jc

    Many thanks Dave! I loved the info and I hope our audience will like it too. I added a link to your blog post in my Guide On How To Self Publish an Ebook which I recently published.

    • THanks JC. Wow…what an article. I just posted it on Facebook and thank for including me.

  • I will only add that “Sponsored products” works better now, because advertised books are introduced on the book’s page under “Customers Who Bought…” section.
    I could break even with 2.99 Kindle books.

    • Nice! Yeah, like I said 10 months ago, I’m bullish on this platform because I KNOW Amazon will get this right and those that jump on it and master it soonest, will see the biggest return.

  • hmm, so will it be profitable for a $2.99 fitness book that I published 10 months ago? Or should I raise the price to $4.99?

  • Also, it looks like no one uses Product Display Ads, only Sponsored Products. I don’t see any ads on the side where those Product Display Ads are supposed to live, right under the Buy buttons on the right. Why is that? Should we stick with Sponsored Products?

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