I was helping an author promote her recently published book using Amazon KDP advertising. I found myself wondering if perhaps you might want to know the process too?
This is a deliberately simplified tutorial. I won’t dig deeply into the more advanced topics such as the manual targeting of adverts using keywords. I also won’t be using negative keywords during this example campaign. These two topics themselves each deserve a dedicated article and I do understand, dear reader, that your attention is a limited resource.⏰
Let me know if this tutorial helps you? 🙏
Let me know if you think I left something important out?
An Overview of Our Amazon KDP Advertising Tutorial
- Accessing KDP Ads Campaigns
- Selecting The Campaign Type
- Choosing Your Ad Format
- Naming Your Ad Group
- Selecting A Book to Promote
- How You Target Readers
- Setting a Default Bid
- Negative Targeting
- Your Campaign Bidding Strategy
- Campaign Duration and Budget.
- Valid Billing Info
– Final Thoughts
1. Accessing KDP Ads Campaigns
Choose the book you want to promote
Select the “Promote and Advertise” link from the relevant section on your bookshelf.
Focus on the section of the page labelled “Run an Ad Campaign”.
Select the Amazon marketplace where you want to run the ads from the dropdown.
Then click on “Create an ad campaign” button. (Big yellow one.)
Example: I want to run ads for readers browsing from the US. 👉 select amazon.com from the dropdown
OR maybe I would rather run ads that target readers from within the UK. 👉 select amazon.co.uk
2. Selecting The Campaign Type
Select the “Sponsored Products” option. (First on the LHS.)
Here is Amazon’s brief explanation of the different campaign types seen below.
Important: Note the prominent alert at the top of the screen “You need to add a payment method…”. (We will tackle this later, near the end of the ad setup…)
3. Choosing Your Ad Format
Select if you would like “Custom text ad” Or “Standard ad”.
Custom text ad allows you up to add up to 150 characters to entice readers. (Minimum of 50 characters.)
Standard ad will show only the cover and title info to readers. (Recommended option)
4. Naming your Ad Group
For those authors among you running multiple ads in a campaign – naming each ad will help you maintain a semblance of order. As I was only running a single advert for a single (e)book title, I was happy to leave this with the default label seen below.
5. Selecting A Book to Promote
Select the “Product” or book you would like to promote.
I would recommend for those authors with multiple books formats (eBook/ paperback/ hardcover/ audiobook) that you focus on the cheapest and easiest format for readers to access.
Recommended format: eBook.
6. How You Target Readers
Automatic Target: Amazon decides how and when to show your advert to readers.
Manual Targeting: (Advanced) Only show my advert to readers who enter specific keywords into Amazon’s search bar. Alternatively, target readers based on them browsing a specific book or category.
Recommended option: For most authors who are new to advertising, I would recommend letting Amazon automatically decide how to target readers with your new book advert. Once you have tested your first KDP ad campaign, only then would I consider refining your campaign by “Manual Targeting” of your adverts.
7. Setting a Default Bid
Advertising your book with Amazon KDP is very similar in theory to advertising products or services with both Google and Facebook. Once you have decided how your adverts should target readers, the next step is deciding how much you are willing to pay Amazon per click. This is known as cost-per-click.
How the bidding works.
Every time a potential reader is browsing Amazon’s shelves and your book advert is displayed, you have unknowingly just participated in an online auction. Amazon compares the different bids offered by all competing authors (customers) who wanted their books (products) displayed to that particular visitor, where usually the higher bids would be given preference.
Your default bid entered is the amount you are willing to pay every time one of your targeted readers is browsing and clicks on your advert. Amazon will recommend a cost-per-click range for your advert. Example from this campaign (as seen in pic above) was: $0.67 – $0.82
Recommend bidding option: My advice for those of you who might be unsure is to select a bid within Amazon’s suggested range. Then further refine your bid, either in the next campaign or after monitoring performance of your current campaign.
8. Negative Targeting
Perhaps you are looking to target readers who love a good historical romance read. However, what happens if the reader instead searches for “historical romance erotica”? You could add the word “erotica” as a negative keyword to remove your advert from only those specific searches.
What happens if you wanted your latest memoir advertised to readers who might have an interest in business? However, if your reader types in “free business memoir”, would you still want to be listed? Again, adding “free” as a negative keyword might help you not spend money on a reader who was not really looking for your book.
Negative keywords, products or categories helps you refine your advertising campaign. It helps ensure that you only end up paying for those visitors that genuinely are interested in your book. In short, a well-defined list of negative keywords will help your ad-budget stretch further.
For simplicity-sake, I skipped this section during this tutorial. This does mean that my advert would be casting a wider net.
More on the topic?
- Here is some helpful content on negative targeting from Amazon.
- Here is some helpful content on negative keywords from Google.
9. Your Campaign Bidding Strategy
Let’s say your default bid for your advert to display to targeted readers is $0.82 – how rigid would you like Amazon to be when each virtual “auction” takes place? Said differently, if you might be able to display your book advert to a given reader by raising your bid by a small amount, would you allow Amazon?
This setting allows Amazon to adjust each bid depending on your chances of winning. Warning, setting to “Dynamic bids – up and down” might mean an increase the costs of your campaign.
For this tutorial of KDP advertising I allowed Amazon freedom to adjust my bid on the fly. After the campaign had completed I would more than likely look at the invoices from Amazon and decide if this was a good decision or not.
10. Campaign Duration and Budget.
The final 3 ingredients needed before launching your book advert?
- Choose a name for the overall campaign. Something simple.
- Selecting your ad campaign duration. Select the start and stop dates from the drop-down calendar. I am not sure the time zone Amazon might be using for this calendar, take that into account with any promotional dates you may be announcing.
- A daily budget. What is the ($) amount you feel comfortable spending each day of the campaign?
And that is it 🥳
Well, almost. For those of you who have not yet added in your billing details – time to whip out the credit card. Amazon won’t allow your book advert to run if you have missing or incorrect billing details.
11. Valid Billing Info
Enter valid credit card information with Amazon. You can click the blue link “Billing and payments” we saw at the top of the screen.
That’s better. With valid credit card details saved, our campaign is now successfully launched 🎉
Final Campaign Approval
Similar to the book publishing process through KDP, just because you receive the “Congratulations” message from Amazon, it does not mean your advert is yet successfully enabled.
Always give yourself enough time before the launch date to make small changes to the campaign based on feedback that might be received from Amazon. Monitor your inbox closely after submission as Amazon normally emails final approval of your campaign after you have submitted. Something like this:
Looking for Reports?
Wondering where to find the reporting screen once your ad campaign has started? Here is a link to Amazon’s Campaign Manager = https://advertising.amazon.com/cm/campaigns
Test. Refine. Repeat
Don’t be discouraged if your first foray into the advertising space with Amazon does not yield the anticipated spike in sales. Advertising with Amazon is simply another weapon in your marketing arsenal.
Your first advertising campaign with Amazon should be treated as a fun experiment. I would urge you to monitor the campaign results each day, taking note of what worked as well as what didn’t. Then focus on improving your results with subsequent campaigns.
Very few authors easily would earn back the money invested into the marketing funnel. Not quickly. Any money spent on these advertising experiments should be treated as money put into slot machines at the casino. If you have to choose between this advertising campaign and your next meal, your priorities are wrong.
Pouring money into marketing a book with a poorly-designed cover would be a mistake. Likewise advertising a book whose words were not lovingly cuddled by an experienced editor would also be madness. Before investing money into marketing, have you truly produced the best book possible?
Worried your designers might have cut corners? Rather find a book-doctor asap before returning to and attempting this tutorial 🛑
This tutorial is just scraping the surface of what is actually a very deep topic. For best results, invest in several cups of coffee and time spent browsing the loads of freely available info from Amazon and other authors shared online.
Here are a few helpful links for those of you who wanted to learn more.
- Reedsy article on Amazon Ads for authors.
- KDP Support pages for Amazon advertising
- Amazon Advertising FAQs for authors.
- Online courses from Amazon for KDP Authors
I honestly hope this article helped you.
This article took hours of time to prepare, edit and then post. If you made it this far – thank you! A comment or share would really mean the world to me.
//Dedicated to Marella