Authors who’ve enrolled their books in Amazon’s exclusive program KDP Select might have noticed a new feature in their dashboards, tucked in among the various clickable topics. Amazon Marketing Services allows authors to setup an ad campaign for their exclusive titles, one that is designed to put their books in little “ahem” boxes next to customers’ selections based on either other areas of interest or the selection of similar titles.
AMS lets the author set the budget, time frame to run the ad, and the bid price of how much the ad will cost each time someone clicks on it. This built-in safety net can help authors not overspend on their campaigns, as the minimum budget threshold is $100, and that amount is only deducted from when a customer clicks on the ad. Most amounts per ad start at five cents, meaning the $100 budget would net 2,000 customer clicks before reaching the end.
It’s important to remember, though, that a click is not a buy. This is bare bones investment in putting one’s book in front of consumers, with no guarantees as to a purchase. However, the new AMS dashboard (located inside the KDP dashboard on the lower left after clicking Reports) will show the author how many clicks resulted in sales in order to demonstrate the viability of the program for that particular author and title. It will also show the number of times the author’s book has been shown to consumers (even without a click) so the author can get a better picture of how his book is faring in terms of interest based on keywords.
How does this information help the author?
For one, if the book isn’t getting any “impressions” (where consumers have at least been shown the ad), then there may be a problem with the book’s keywords. One of the two options for putting the book in front of readers is to base it on their browsing activity. If a book isn’t resonating enough with the algorithms for Amazon to suggest it to consumers, the author may need to go back and make sure the appropriate keywords are selected and more importantly that the maximum number of keywords have been used.
If the book has a high number of impressions but very little in terms of anyone actually clicking on the book, then that may be an indicator of first…well…impressions. The cover may not be appealing, for example, or the title may not be catchy. Given the information in the ad, it could also simply be a matter of price, so the author might consider a different price if consumers are simply not responding.
A high number of clicks that have not resulted in a sale can paint an entirely different picture. This is where consumers have actually followed through to the sales page for that particular book, so the cover, title, and/or price were appealing enough to grab the reader’s attention, yet something still prevented him from click Buy This Book. There may be errors on the product page (which is very off-putting and speaks to the quality of the book) or there may be too many low reviews for the consumer to take a chance.
Either way, for a nominal investment–one that does not even pretend to make any promises about finding new readers, despite what some bloggers may already be sharing–an author can come away with a more focused idea of what he may want to change about either this book or future publications. It’s important to understand that this is in no way a replacement for intentional and purposeful marketing practices.