Archive for the ‘Courses’ Category

“In this course for Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) authors, you will learn about the targeting options for Amazon Advertising’s sponsored ads and determine the most effective targeting method to meet your objectives.

After taking this, you will know how to:

  • Recognize the targeting options available for both Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Products.
  • Explain the different keyword match types.
  • Leverage product targeting in your next Sponsored Products campaign.”

Okay, let’s do this. I’m taking the course.

It’s supposed to take 22 minutes. The last one was supposed to take 12, but took me closer to half an hour, but I needed to grab a coffee and had multiple interruptions. I didn’t track how long it took this time, again with multiple interruptions.

The first batch of “pulse check” questions were way too easy. The answers were literally in the questions.

Wow. So apparently you should add misspelled keywords for seekers who are typing challenged (like me typing on my phone!), and other causes of misspelled search terms entered. If I search “thrliler” the keywords won’t pick it up as a misspelling of “thriller”. Less important search words (if, and, of, the, when) are ignored when the algorithm matches search terms to keywords.

Ooh, again using crime novels as the example. I like these people.

Broad match keywords for customers looking for “crime novel”. Pretty much the broadest search option:

“Ads associated with these keywords would be eligible to display:

  • Crime mystery novels
  • Novels about crime

But ads associated with these keywords would be ineligible to display:

  • Criminal novels
  • Crime books”

Phrase match keywords for customers looking for “crime novel”:

Customers need to use the exact phrase, or close variations, and be in the same order as keyword term. It will also reach a smaller audience than the broad match, but your targeting is to more specific searches.

For your crime novel these keywords are eligible:

  • Crime novel eBooks
  • Best seller crime novels 

But these keywords are not eligible:

  • novels about crime
  • crime eBook novel

Then you get your exact match keywords, which are exactly that. The search term has to exactly match your keyword term. Their query words have to be in the same order and without extra words. Your keywords are “crime novel” and “crime novels”, but they searched “best crime novel”, so your ad does not show on their search. It narrows it down to cost you less, but also limits your ad reach to exact matches only.

I always wondered what these “negative matches” were about. Now I know! I, for example, will want search keywords like “crime novel”, “crime”, and “serial killer”.

But for my “negative matches” I would definitely want “true crime” so I’m not paying for clicks for people who want true crime stories instead of fictional crime stories. The same goes for “cozy” to weed out people looking for a cozy mystery. Mine is not cozy. That might have saved me some $$$ when I tried to do ads before!

If your recall, my previous attempts (how long ago now?) at paid Amazon ads resulted in it costing me more for the ads than my royalties for purchases. In total, from Sep 20117 to Sep 2018 I spent $87.40 on ad clicks, with an average cost per click of $0.28. That got me a total of $37.80 in sales. That’s the list price, not the royalties you earn. And not all of those ads even had any clicks, but at least you don’t get charged for that.

In the product targeting, I immediately had a question. Do my POD books qualify for “Prime Shipping Eligibility” and how do I find out? Because that is one of the target categories.

I logged into Amazon using my partner in all thing’s account, which has Prime and searched one of my books. Here is what I found. The book on the left would be the one uploaded to IngramSpark. The one on the right is pulling from Amazon. Note the price difference because to get the same royalties you have to price it higher on Ingram. This is prices in CAD, not USD. The US prices are lower, but still higher through IngramSpark than the Amazon book. Also, this book is now available in hardcover, but only through Amazon.

Only the book on the right mentions Prime in the product search screen.

As you see below, the IngramSpark book does not show the Prime emblem, but the Amazon KDP book does. So, I guess the answer to my question, “Do my POD books qualify for “Prime Shipping Eligibility”?” is yes to the ones uploaded to Amazon KDP, and no to books uploaded through another platform. But both show free shipping. That’s a bonus for me and the buyer.

When I searched using my own non-Prime membership, the IngramSpark book shows free delivery. Curiously, it also shows “Ships from United Kingdom and sold by Book Depository CA”. Funny that I assumed IngramSpark would print it in the US with ground shipping to Canada instead of shipping it overseas. Whereas the Amazon book lists “ships from and sold by Amazon.ca” and free delivery if you spend $35 on items shipped by Amazon.

So, both books benefit from Prime memberships with automatic free shipping and only the Amazon one is charging shipping for non-Prime members, but the latter might be a bonus because I bought Stephen King’s “Danse Macabre”, which I’ve been contemplating for some months when I decided I might also want his “On Writing” memoir. When I saw that I got free shipping because together they were over $35, I used my own account to buy them instead of the Prime account of my partner in all things. But for someone without access to theirs or someone else’s Prime account, they save the shipping if they buy two of your books, or your book and something else sold and shipped by Amazon. Or, as in this example, by spending a little more for your IngramSpark book.

*Note, this one did show the hardcover option too until I shrunk the Google window down. It hid it when it reformatted for the new window size.

So, while most of this course was stuff that seemed pretty obvious, I did learn something because I wasn’t really sure about what “negative matches” was. Turns out my suspicious was right, but I avoided it in my prior ads because I just didn’t really know.

Bring on the next challenge!

I started setting up my first experimental revisiting book marketing endeavor. But at the recommended $1.17 default bid per click, and if I use the “Dynamic bids”, I have to set my daily budget for $1.17 X 2 = $2.34 minimum per day in order for the dynamic bids to work. That puts my minimum projected expense for the 15 days at $35.01, which allows me to get one bid per day at this maximum charge. If I set a budget of $60 for the next 17 days, maybe I’ll win more than one click per day? Still, that’s a lot of money for me to spend for half a month of advertising that I’ve had no success with before.

How the bids work is that it will bid up to your maximum, but only charge you a little over the next highest bid under yours. It charges you that cost per click for that ad showing up in someone’s screen (only if they actually click on that ad). So, if I win a bid and am charged $1.56 and ten people click that add, I expect to be charged $15.60 for clicks. What are the odds enough of those 10 people will actually buy the book for the royalties to cover my cost?

I’m thinking zero.

Amazon, of course, recommends using their automatic targeting especially when you are not experienced at advertising with them (like many of us!). But since I don’t really have that $60 budget, and ideally you want your sales to pay for your advertising instead of losing money on it, I feel like I need to seriously undercut their recommended default bid, change it to set bids by target group, or switch to manual targeting with a very narrow target.

$60 over 15 days is a daily budget of $4.00. When it reaches $4 in clicks on any given day, it shuts down the ad until the next day.

Okay, so after some playing around, I chose: Garden Grove (paperback and eBook)

  • Manual targeting
  • Dynamic bids
  • Product targeting: /Books/Mystery, Thriller & Suspense/Thrillers & Suspense/Suspense…” category “Suspense Thrillers”.
  • I used the suggested bid ($0.38). That’s a whole lot less scary than bids of up to $2.34 per click!
Garden Grove

I had zero success coming up with anything in the search for negative product testing, so I didn’t bother. I’ll try that another time when I do the keywords targeting instead of product targeting.

Because the book is uploaded through multiple publishing platforms, I actually had to check the ASIN numbers to make sure it was the Amazon book. But it looks like any book pushed to Amazon from other platforms can also be used in the advertising campaign.

It’s cool that Amazon also happens to have these book discounted. Yeah!

Remember, when Amazon discounts the book on their own, they still pay you the full royalty as if it’s not discounted. Sweet and a bonus on my potential advertising dollars’ sales?

 I also rummaged around the KDP discussion boards before doing this and noticed some people say they only do the ads and only recommend doing them when there is a new book because of their lack of success also with the ads. I’m going into this eyes open knowing I’m likely to only lose money advertising on Amazon. But enough companies do it that it must be of some benefit to some, right?

And while I’ve only really seen people recommend advertising NEW books, what about everything else you’ve put endless hours of yourself into? My name and fame are not enough to sell my already published books and I don’t have anything new currently coming out. I’m working on it but am not there yet. The new books, that is, not the name and fame.

Okay, this campaign is going live. Wish me luck.

Oh, um, what? It shows the $1.17 default bid from prior to my changing it to the product default.

But on the dashboard screen is shows the $0.38 per bid, so I guess I’ll give if a few days and see what happens. I will be watching this closely because I left it at a $4 daily budget, which I can’t really afford because life is a budget and anyone who’s paying attention to life knows the cost of everything has been going way up the past two years while your job that pays the bills paychecks never increased with the cost of living pre-Covid and are trailing even further behind now. And the cost of everything is about to explode (gas prices already are) because of the horrendous actions on another continent of one person who I do not wish to soil my blog at this time with his vile name.

Keep writing, reading, and promoting my friends.

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  • Amazon – Marketing Resources: “Start with a Book” & Breaking Down the Price of a Book vs. Royalties
  • Amazon – Marketing Resources: A+ Content (New!)

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“In this course for Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) authors, you will learn about Amazon Advertising’s sponsored ad types, identify benefits and use cases, examine placements across devices, and select the appropriate ad type for your campaign objectives. 

After taking this, you will know how to:

  • Identify the benefits and use cases for Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Products.
  • Select the appropriate ad type for campaign objectives”

Okay, let’s do this. I’m taking the course. It’s supposed to take 12 minutes. It took me closer to half an hour, but I needed to grab a coffee and had multiple interruptions.

I already knew how the auction process works from doing it before. I paid more in clicks than I made in sales, so it was a fail when I did the charge-per-click auction campaign before.

When I get around to trying a sponsored brand ad, now I know that I’ll need to create a custom landing page. I’m assuming I’ll have to create it, anyway. I haven’t gotten that far yet to find out how that works.

Bring on the next challenge! I’m going to experiment with the first book marketing endeavor.

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The Enroll in free Amazon Ads training courses starts with a “Complete the quiz to earn a badge!” declaration with a “Get Started” button and options to choose course, do the quiz, and take a survey. Teenager number one made a face of disgust and properly done eyeroll at the badge thing.

But hey, let’s earn that badge!

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Damn. “Authentication Required”. You have to log in with Amazon (again) to unlock this additional content. Now, what’s my password again?… I also had to allow Amazon Advertising to access my Amazon account profile.

Cool. Apparently, I can “Earn certification”. “Demonstrate your proficiency and earn certifications in Amazon Advertising solutions.” And they have a help button. I usually need help.

It’s a 17 multiple choice question quiz and was focused to writers. Mystery thriller books even and running out of advertising funds and being unable to increase the budget. I feel embraced and understood for the first time, haha.

A few questions the answers included 4-character acronym terms I did not know what they meant. I know what KENP is, sort of. I don’t remember what words make the acronym but have an idea of its meaning. What is ACOS and CTR? I guess I’ll be learning that. I’ve chosen KENP a few times just because I didn’t know what ACOS and CTR are.

There was a question using children’s author, science fiction novels, and fantasy trilogy examples for those of you out there.

Do I get a badge? I failed! Pre-taking any of the courses and webinars, I scored 41% on the quiz. 7/17. Nope. You have to earn 80% or higher on the quiz to receive a badge. “Sucks to suck,” as teenager number one in the house would say. She was also completely unimpressed with my failing. This is the kid who gets mad if she gets below a 98% herself on anything, so I guess I burst her little bubble of my awesomeness.

The review didn’t let me actually review the test so I can re-take it and cheat to pass. I guess I have to actually do the courses and learn before I retake the test to earn the badge.

Oh well, that’s the intent anyway.

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