Amazon Ads: Harness Their Power

POSTED ON Feb 24, 2023

Sarah Rexford

Written by Sarah Rexford

Home > Blog > Business, Marketing, Writing > Amazon Ads: Harness Their Power

Amazon ads often feel like the magic or secret sauce behind book sales. Especially for authors who self-publish and have full control over their marketing, using Amazon ads seems like an obvious choice.

However, actually succeeding at using ads on Amazon can feel daunting at best at worst and anything but magical. Ads are a crucial selling point for your book, and the opportunity to market your book on the same platform on which you sell it can also work in your favor. 

Imagine browsing Amazon looking for books. You see an ad for a book that looks like one you’d love. You click. A few clicks later you have made the purchase, and as soon as tomorrow, you’ll be reading. This is the power of Amazon ads. 

Actually targeting ads to the right readers and knowing how to use them in general is the foundation you need to get started. 

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3 Issues You May Encounter With Amazon Ads

Book advertising specialist and author, Matt Holmes, has seen the pros and the cons of Amazon ads. In his ad guide for authors, he mentions several reasons why Amazon ads don’t succeed for authors. Below is a short list:

#1 – Loose Targeting

One of the first aspects to consider when choosing to use Amazon ads is who exactly you want to target. If you wrote a book proposal for your manuscript, refer to your target audience section for guidance. 

When making ads, knowing who your target readers are is crucial, but so is knowing your secondary, and even tertiary, audiences. You don’t want to target your audience too tightly, but you want to know enough about who you want to target that they do see the ads.

#2 – Keywords With Low Search Volume

Keywords are a vital factor in the success of pretty much any online copy and this doesn’t stop when it comes to targeted ads. If you choose keywords with too high of a search volume, you risk not standing out from the rest. 

However, if you choose to use keywords that are so unique their search volume is nearly nonexistent, you likely won’t bring in readers. Do your research before committing to your keywords. 

#3 – Too Few Reviews 

Amazon reviews are often a large contribution to success marketing, and the reviews don’t just impact your book, but also your ads. You may want to hold back on ads until you have a good handful of reviews (consider trying for 10-20). 

If you worry about how to get reviews, consider putting together a launch team (or street team). A launch team helps you launch your book and is a great way to get reviews so you can start using your ads. 

What You Need To Know 

Ryan Cohen, who started Chewy and later sold it for $3.35 billion, says “When you search Amazon the default search used to be best-selling product. Now the default search is really sponsored ads.” 

The United States is projected to have 278.33 million online shoppers in 2024. While not every shopper is a reader, and not every reader is in your target audience, that is a LOT of potential customers. To say online ads are important is a massive understatement. 

Here is a three-point list covering a bit of what you need to consider before investing in Amazon ads:

  • What is your purpose in running ads?
    • Do you want to build brand awareness?
    • Encourage purchases? 
    • Create buzz?
  • Who do you want to target?
  • What are you willing to invest? 

With financial investment in mind, let’s move on to the costs associated with Amazon ads.

What Should You Invest?

How much you choose to put into advertising is entirely up to you, your goals, and of course, your budget. There are, however, four aspects Amazon lists when deciding how much you want to put into your ad costs. 

#1 – Marketing Budget 

What is your marketing budget, and how much of this budget are you willing to spend on ads? Remember, marketing is not restricted to ads alone. There are countless other ways to market. Online ads have a far reach when done well, but they are not the only way to market.

Ask: What is the best area for me to invest my marketing budget and how much is the correct investment for me to invest in Amazon ads? 

#2 – Your Bid

Your bid is simply the number you decided to pay for online users to click on your specific advertisement. When you use ads through Amazon, “You can use automatic bidding (your bid will automatically be optimized to help you reach your objective), or you can choose manual bidding and set your own bid.”

#3 – CPC (otherwise known as cost-per-click)

With CPC, every time an individual chooses to click on your ad, there is a cost attached. If you create a sponsored post, such as a product or brand, unless someone actually clicks on your ad, you do not pay for the click. 

#4 – Cost-Per-Thousand-Impressions 

The technical term for this is the cost per mile, abbreviated as simply CPM. When your ad hits 1,000 impressions, you want to know the average it will cost you. What is the financial investment behind paying Amazon to deliver this many impressions to your audience? 

The Psychology And Guessing Behind Paid Ads

Today more than ever, self-published authors are not only creatives, but familiar with marketing, design, promotion, and of course, knowing their audiences. 

There is a type of psychology behind creating ads targeted to your ideal audience. There is also guesswork involved. While it can feel like nothing is a guarantee when you decide to use Amazon ads, the more you learn and grow, the better you will understand the process. 

One of the most important aspects of successful marketing is knowing who you want to target. If you say, “My books is for everyone,” how are you going to know who to target your ads to? Consider the following questions to help you gain a better understanding of your audience:

  • What most excites my reader?
  • What bores them or makes them sad?
  • What type of book did they read last weekend?
  • What is their ideal vacation? 
  • If they had to be a character in my book, who would they be and why? 

These questions may feel random, but think about them in relation to targeting your ads:

  • What type of ad will grab your audience’s attention? 
  • What design will evoke their emotion?
  • What type of copy will interest them? 
  • What’s a sweepstakes they would love to enter? 
  • What is their personality and how can you target to it?

Do you see how both lists align? When you know what excites your reader, you have a much better grasp of exactly how to design your ad, from color choices to copy. 

While you may want to play it safe and run a trial ad or two, once you feel confident and start seeing results, consider taking the plunge. 

Amazon ads can broaden your reach, grow your audience, and increase your fan base. Just like everything, it takes time to learn, but the benefits can be so rewarding!

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