Book Ads - A Simple Guide to Sell More Copies on Amazon
Are you a self-published author looking to sell a lot of copies of a book you're about to release on Amazon? Or maybe you're hoping to boost the sales of a book you already published on Amazon weeks, months, or even years ago. Whatever the case, you can significantly increase the sales of any book on Amazon if you run online book ads. This simple guide shows you how to get started with the three main types of book ads: Amazon AMS, Facebook, and BookBub display.
When should I run book ads?
Do you have a book you're about to release on Amazon? If it performs well while a new release, Amazon's recommendation algorithm may take notice and start automatically recommending your book to many target readers for free. Thus, heavily advertising your book as soon as it comes out is a great strategy.
Are you about to run a limited-time price promotion for a book, like a Kindle Countdown Deal? Ads can skyrocket the exposure of your deal in a short amount of time, helping you propel up the Amazon bestseller charts.
Do you have a book already released that isn't selling as many copies as you'd hope? Ads can bring a surge of readers to your book who may love it, yet just haven't heard about it.
If you're an author who happens to fall into any of these three categories, read on to learn about the different types of online book ads available to you and how to effectively use each.
Amazon book ads
Once you publish your book on Amazon, you can start running ads for it directly on the Amazon platform. Here's an example of ads for books on the site:
Kinds of Amazon book ads
Amazon offers two major types of ads for books: Sponsored Product and Product Display.
Sponsored Product ads are targeted by keyword. When someone enters a term relevant to your book in the Amazon search bar, an ad for your book could show up.
For instance, let’s say your book is a detective thriller. You could create an ad with “detective thrillers” as a keyword. You can include up to 1,000 keywords for an ad.
I’d suggest adding a lot of them, as long as they’re relevant. To quickly compile a large list of relevant keywords, use the Publisher Rocket tool.
With Product Display ads, you can target ads to the categories your book is in or even specify individual books similar to yours, and have ads show up for Amazon users who are browsing any book in a targeted category, or an individually selected title.
For example, for a detective thriller book, you may want to target your ad to all books within the “crime fiction” category, or narrow your targeting to just book X, book Y, book Z, etc.
With ads, experimenting is key. I suggest you create a variety of Sponsored Product and Product Display ads with various targeting methods, keeping your budgets low at first per ad (ex, $5/day). After the ads run for a few days, see how they’re performing in terms of sales.
If an ad does poorly, turn it off. If an ad does well, duplicate it with a higher budget and create other similar ads to test. If any of the similar ads do well, duplicate them with higher budgets and create other similar ads to test, etc.
Luckily, Amazon makes this process easy because you can see exactly how much sales volume each ad is generating right inside your reporting dashboard...
Measuring the success of an Amazon book ad
One of the best features of Amazon’s ads is the closed-loop reporting. In your advertising dashboard, you’ll be able to see exactly how much you’re spending on each ad, plus exactly how much sales volume each ad is generating.
Amazon is of course able to provide this information because it’s not only running your ad, but processing the payments of each sale.
Ideally, an ad would be profitable, ie your total sales would be more than your total cost. However, even if an ad isn’t profitable directly, it can still be beneficial.
If you can generate a good amount of early sales of your book (ie, during week 1 of launch), Amazon may start recommending your book to readers – these recommendations cost you nothing.
Theoretically, you can run an ad for your book during week 1 that is not profitable, however, generates enough sales to convince the Amazon algorithm to recommend your book. The additional sales you bring in from these recommendations can, over time, carry you into profitability.
With ads, experimenting is key. Test various ad types, targeting, and text. Try to get your ads as profitable as possible. For ads that are performing well, consider adding more budget to them. For ads performing poorly, turn them off.
Even if you can’t get any ad to be profitable, consider keeping on your ad that’s closest to profitable (as long as it’s leading to sales). As mentioned, these sales can activate the recommendation algorithm.
Also, people who buy one of your books have a much higher likelihood than someone else to buy your next book. Thus, you may spend money advertising book 1 without making a profit. However, when book 2 comes out, various readers of book 1 may buy book 2 without you needing to spend on any new ads. These sales of book 2 can lift your book 1 ad spending into profitability.
This effect is more pronounced if you happen to write in a series, where readers of one installment often eagerly anticipate the next.
If you write in a series, a strategy to consider is to heavily advertise book 1 (even if at a fairly large loss), while not spending any money on ads for additional books, hoping many of book 1’s readers go on to buy 2, 3, etc. The more installments a series has, the more profitable this strategy can be over time, even if the initial loss is quite big.
Amazon ads - and all book ads for that matter - can drive traffic to your book's product page on Amazon. Once a user is on that page, its content needs to convince the user to make a purchase. Thus, you want to be sure your cover, blurb, and more are as enticing as possible.
To learn more, check out my post on increasing the conversion rate for a book.
Facebook ads for books
Facebook has a massive audience, many of its members book lovers. A Facebook ad is a great way to reach a market segment that’s large and highly targeted. An example of a Facebook ad that was run for one of my books:
To run Facebook ads for your book, you need to first create an ad account on Facebook.
Once you do that, you then need to create a new campaign, and within that campaign create an ad group, and then the ad itself.
The purpose of this section is to give you an overview of ad options, not an in-depth tour of the software platforms. To learn more about Facebook’s advertising system, check out their free resources.
That being said, within this guide, I’ll provide some basic tips for getting started with Facebook ads for a book:
Like Amazon ads, experimenting is key. Test various combinations of photos, videos, targeting, text, and countries. While doing so, you want to measure your results to see what’s working and what isn’t.
A key metric that you can view within your Facebook ad account is “CPC,” or “cost per click.” This states how much Facebook is charging you for each click of your ad. Lower is of course better. Not only does a low CPC mean you’re getting more for your money, but that your ad is resonating with your target audience.
If Facebook’s algorithm determines that people like your ad, it will charge you less per click.
Since Facebook can’t tell if someone who clicked your ad went on to buy your book on Amazon, you won’t have access to sales-volume information for Facebook ads, unfortunately. Thus, determining how well a Facebook ad is performing isn’t straightforward.
Often, authors run Facebook ads on the belief that the additional traffic must be leading to some sales, even if they can’t exactly measure the numbers.
If you’re not okay with this open-ended approach, and would rather have exact data on profitability, you should stick with Amazon ads exclusively for your book.
BookBub display ads
In case you’re not aware, BookBub is a very popular website for book deals. Readers sign up to receive daily emails with links to books that are temporarily discounted.
BookBub is very selective about the discounted books it features in the “editorial” section of these emails, ie the top section. A lot of the titles are written by world-famous authors.
However, at the bottom of these emails, you can include an ad to your book, ie a BookBub display ad. Your book does not have to get past BookBub’s highly competitive vetting process to show up in the ad section at the bottom of the emails.
Just because your book appears in the ad area, does not exclude it for selection in the editorial area.
Here is an example of a BookBub ad I ran for one of my books:
Your book does not need to be discounted to appear in the ad section, however, since the viewers of these emails tend to be looking for deals, as a general principle, you should only advertise your book here if it’s priced at $2.99 or lower.
To create a BookBub ad, create a partner account on BookBub and do the following:
Like Facebook ads, you’ll be able to see what your CPC value is for each ad, but not the sales volume. If you’re not okay with this, then stick with Amazon ads exclusively.
Unlike Facebook ads, which perform better with large, targeted audiences, BookBub ads tend to perform better when targeted narrowly, ie to authors who may not have massive followings, but whose readership closely matches yours.
Here’s how to find these authors:
At first, each ad you run should be targeted to (1) your genre and (2) one author. You are still experimenting at this stage. Keep your budget low, say just $10.
Once the ad goes live, log into BookBub’s dashboard to check out the click count and CPC value. Make a note of the ads that are generating a lot of clicks at low cost.
Ideally, try testing out ads targeted to at least 10 different authors. You can then see which authors perform best for you (ie, plenty of clicks with a low CPC). Next, you can create a new ad targeted to (1) your genre and (2) the authors who performed best for you in your test, even if multiple.
Since this ad is based on proven performance, you can be more flexible with your budget. Based on your financial situation and goals, you may want to run this ad at a $100 budget, maybe $300, maybe more.
Once you have your group of proven author targets, you can further experiment with new ads, with variations in your image (colors, ad copy, etc), to see if you can get your CPC value even lower.
Advertising discounted books
Ads on Amazon and Facebook can help you sell copies of your book at any price. As stated, BookBub ads should be for the $2.99 price point and below.
A proven strategy for reaching a bestseller chart - and climbing high on the chart - is to heavily discount your book, ie down to $0.99, and put an advertising campaign behind it for a condensed period.
Amazon, Facebook, and BookBub can be a solid part of this strategy. The reach of your discounted book can be expanded with other advertising methods too. To learn more, check out my article on advertising discounted books.
More book marketing tips
Though online ads are a great way to quickly boost the sales of a book, they're not the only marketing tool available to an author.
I put together an ultimate marketing guide for authors that covers all this and more:
This post contains affiliate links.
Giveaway App That'll Skyrocket Your Audience Engagement - Outgrow
Are you looking to grow your organic reach online and increase leads and sales? Check out this free trial of Outgrow, a giveaway app that lets you create highly shareable online sweepstakes. You'll also gain access to Outgrow's additional digital-engagement tools - build quizzes, calculators, polls, and more.
Start your free Outgrow trial
Visit the Outgrow website to start your free trial of the giveaway app. No credit card necessary.
Who is Outgrow for?
Outgrow is for anyone who manages a business with an online audience. Do you have a social media following? How about an email list? If so, the Outgrow web app is for you.
The platform has two main benefits:
(1) Make your audience engage with you more online, leading to more sales
(2) Generate leads, making your audience even bigger
Though sharing photos and videos via social media and email can of course boost leads and sales, Outgrow's interactive content lets you add new, dynamic elements to your content mix. And no coding experience is required.
For example, with a giveaway, you can offer your subscribers and followers a chance to win something they'll love. With a quiz, people can answer some questions relevant to your industry and then learn about something unique to them, like a certain product that'll make their life easier.
People are used to getting bombarded by emails and social posts asking them to buy things. Free, engaging content will help you stand out from the crowd. Your business will be seen in a positive light. When you do eventually ask your audience to buy something, they'll be more receptive.
Outgrow lets you brand your interactive pieces of content. And they're very shareable. Your audience is likely to post your giveaways, quizzes, etc to their own social media accounts, spreading awareness of your business - and boosting leads - without you needing to spend a dime on advertising.
Ready to build your first piece of interactive content with Outgrow? You can start for free.
Outgrow offers various online engagement tools, such as:
Below, find images and explanations of each.
Browse a variety of giveaway templates, broken out by industry. You can customize the template with your own photos, images, and other branding.
Choose a prize you'd like to give away, then share a link to your giveaway. You can embed the entry form directly on your own website if you'd like and share a URL for your own domain. Outgrow will handle registration management, such as collecting email addresses, and let you randomly select a winner.
Once you have registrants' email addresses, you can have automated follow-up messages sent to them, encouraging them to learn more about your business.
View a bunch of calculator templates, grouped by industry. You define the inputs for your calculator and how they should be used to determine a numerical result that would be of interest to someone in your audience.
You have a lot of flexibility over the formula used to generate the result.
You can easily customize the look and feel of your calculator. Tap into over 100,000 stock images from Unsplash, plus add GIFs and videos. Results can be shown in appealing visual formats, such as tables and line, pie, and bar charts.
Embed the calculator on your own website, which not only creates a fluid user experience, but can up your reach on organic search.
Pages with industry-relevant calculators often receive a high number of backlinks from websites within their niche. These backlinks can increase your website's authority from the perspective of Google and other search engines and generate plenty of organic traffic, not just to your calculator's page, but many others.
Ready to give Outgrow a shot?
Choose a quiz template and customize it with your own questions and flow for displaying a result at the end. Ask your audience questions relevant to your industry and display a personalized insight at the end.
The branching feature allows you to create dynamic paths for each user based on their answers to previous questions.
These quizzes are not just entertaining and educational, but can directly increase your online conversions. You can add CTA buttons at the end of quizzes that direct people to sales or lead-generation pages relevant to their quiz result.
For instance, if you sell books, you can ask people questions about the types of books they like, then recommend one of yours at the end of the quiz, along with a link to buy it on Amazon.
Choose a template, customize the design, and enter questions relevant to your industry. At the end of the poll, you can output personalized messages based on answers, plus show respondents how their answers compared to the collective others.
Polls can not only offer your audience new insights, but you too. For instance, if you're trying to decide whether to build product A or B, the aggregated results of a poll can help you choose.
As people visit your interactive Outgrow content, you'll have access to real-time analytics. See view and engagement statistics at each stage of the funnel. Easily identify bottlenecks, then tweak them to improve the completion rate of your forms.
Based on respondents' answers to your questions, you can automatically segment leads into certain groups.
Outgrow directly integrates with various software tools. When respondents submit their email addresses, they can flow into CRM and email-marketing platforms and more. Some Outgrow integrations:
Outgrow's free trial lasts for seven days. To continue using the platform after the trial, you'll need to choose a subscription plan. Here's the monthly pricing for each (if paid annually):
Plans differ based on lead limits, content types, number of account users, and various other characteristics.
Learn more about Outgrow
Now that you know what Outgrow can do for your business, I recommend you start the free trial. No credit card is needed. You have nothing to lose. See if the app seems like a good fit for your marketing strategy, and if so, choose a subscription plan that's right for you.
On the Outgrow site, you can sign up for the free trial and learn what exactly is, and is not, part of each plan:
Hello Bar - Can it Boost Conversions on Your Website?
With Hello Bar, you can convert 83% more website visitors without doing any additional marketing. Capture lead email addresses and drive sales. No coding experience is required to install Hello Bar, and it seamlessly works with leading website-builder providers and email marketing platforms. Read on to learn more about Hello Bar, try it for free, and start boosting your conversions today.
What is Hello Bar?
Hello Bar is a software tool that lets you add attention-grabbing popups to your website, where you can display offers. Capture leads' email addresses within these popups or insert buttons that direct to landing pages for making purchases.
You can visit the Hello Bar website to try it for free:
Who is Hello Bar for?
Hello Bar is for the owners/operators of any business that collects leads or makes sales online, regardless of industry. Some uses for Hello Bar:
How does Hello Bar increase conversions?
Your website likely has many pages. Not all are centered around important offers. For instance, you may drive a lot of traffic to your site via Google, with people landing on informational blog posts.
When these leads are on your site, you want to get your key offer(s) in front of them in an attention-grabbing way, before they leave. Hello Bar allows you to do that. And its sleek, subtle design doesn't make offers feel spammy. Prospects pay attention. And take the desired actions.
Let's say you're in the music industry and you have a blog post on your site on how to tune a guitar. Many people land on that page after searching "guitar tuning" on Google. You also happen to sell guitars online. While visitors are reading about tuning, they're shown a Hello Bar offer for 25% off a new guitar.
Hello Bar pricing
Hello Bar offers various plans, each with a different price:
The main differentiator between the plans is the number of popups Hello Bar permits per month, which is dependent on your site's traffic. Be sure to choose a plan in line with how much traffic your site is receiving now and how much you expect it to grow.
To learn more about each plan and choose which is right for you, visit the Hello Bar website:
How do I add a Hello Bar to my website?
Steps to add a Hello Bar to your site:
Hello Bar popup types
Hello Bar lets you choose from five types of popup. You can use as many or as few as you'd like. Feel free to display certain offers via certain types of popups or use the same kind for all your offers. The options:
Use Hello Bar with Wordpress and other website builders
Once you create your Hello Bar account, you can easily integrate Hello Bar with Wordpress or another website-builder platform. Integration options:
Use Hello Bar with email marketing platforms
If you plan to collect email addresses via Hello Bar popups, easily integrate your Hello Bar account with your email marketing platform. When a lead submits an email address on your website, the email address will instantly be added to your email platform, available for automation and other kinds of campaigns.
Hello Bar directly syncs with these email marketing providers:
If you use MailerLite, or another email provider that doesn't integrate with Hello Bar at the moment, you can use the third-party tool Zapier to connect the systems.
Additional Hello Bar features
Ready to try Hello Bar for free? Just visit their website:
This post contains affiliate links.
Grammarly Plagiarism Checker - Why You Need It
Are you an author, journalist, academic, or student who's responsible for writing original pieces of work? The Grammarly plagiarism checker may save your career. In today's world, with so much content published and read online, you're at risk of inadvertently committing plagiarism by writing a sentence found somewhere else. Even if the chance of this is low, the backlash can be high. One instance of plagiarism can sink your career or graduation prospects. Luckily, you can protect yourself with the Grammarly plagiarism checker. Read on to learn more and start using this powerful tool.
What is the Grammarly plagiarism checker?
The Grammarly plagiarism checker is a feature of the Grammarly writing platform that compares a user's text to over 16 billion web pages, plus ProQuest-stored academic papers, and triggers an alert if any part of the user's text matches anything someone else already wrote.
If you want to try the plagiarism checker, visit Grammarly's website, open the "Tools & Guides" section, and click "Plagiarism Checker":
Is Grammarly a good plagiarism checker?
Yes, Grammarly is a good plagiarism checker. User text is scanned for matches against 16 billion web pages, plus databases of academic papers. Grammarly, a platform with over 30 million daily users, is trusted by individuals, academic institutions, and companies.
Is Grammarly plagiarism checker free?