Trying to get the scoop on Amazon ads? You're in the right place.
Is Amazon KDP advertising worth it? Yes, there are a ton of benefit for self-publishers IF you know the difference between the types of ads that Amazon offers and how to make the most out of your budget. Advertising isn't really one of those "winging it" situations unless you have an unlimited budget, which is pretty rare.
By the end of this blog post, you'll understand each ad format, the biggest reasons for losing money, and the best bidding strategies to make Amazon KDP ads worth the investment. You’ll also get to hear from three students who started making enough passive income to quit their jobs and keep publishing.
See how KDP publishers are making six figures with zero publishing or tech experience. Get the free self-publishing blueprint for making money online with AI at our exclusive webinar!
Before you can craft the perfect Amazon Kindle advertising strategy, you need to know the basics. Let’s dive in!
These are the main ingredients of Amazon ads:
Pro Tip: You can access ad features through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing portal or your Author Central profile. Read more about setting up your Ads account here.
There are three main types of KDP ads you have to choose from:
Pro Tip: Our students focus on the sponsored ad type because they work.
KDP advertising is definitely a game-changer for book sales in 2024. With their pay-per-click (PPC) model, you only pay when a reader clicks on your ad. The magic of Amazon ads is in the fact that people browsing Amazon are already ready to buy, unlike Facebook, where people are scrolling to catch up with friends and family. This is a HUGE advantage!
The catch is you're responsible for choosing the right keywords and setting an optimal bid, which hinges on understanding your target audience.
Here's a snapshot of how advertising on KDP can work in your favor:
Later in this blog post, you'll meet some of our AIA students who had zero experience running ads and see how they started making more money right from the start. In some cases, it just takes ONE book's success to quit the 9-5 grind for good.
Here are some of the many, many benefits of running ads with your KDP account:
We've been hammering home the importance of a book's visibility a lot here, but it's because, in a lot of ways, it's the ONLY thing that matters. A solid book cover won't do you any good if your self-published book ends up on the 20th page of the Amazon search results when most people don't scroll past page 5. Good ads guarantee you end up on the first page.
Visibility is great, but you want people to go from "Add to Cart" to "Check Out." A great ad that leads to a great book description can do that!
Bottom line: An ad campaign should always be making you money, even if it's a marginal boost in income. (Instantly calculate your breakeven ACOS with our free calculator, or learn what the heck ACOS is in the first place!)
There is no guesswork in marketing or advertising. Each time you change a keyword or adjust your advertising campaign in any way, the data will speak to whether it was a good business decision or if you need to adjust your keywords, bidding strategy, etc, again. The KDP data dashboard isn’t perfect, but it has a wealth of information that you’ll need to keep scaling your publishing business.
Here are the parts of running Amazon ads that tend to trip people up the most:
If you accidentally add a zero to the amount you're willing to spend on your ad campaign, you're going to rack up an ugly bill (duh). But you'll also run into problems if you set up an ad campaign that targets keywords with the wrong search intent. And who wants to blow their budget because they didn't do the right research?
Intent Example: Fencing might refer to the sport or someone who's trying to put up a fence in their backyard.
Here’s a quick example of a hypothetical book title that has a clear unique value proposition:
Yoga for Moms: Finding Your Center In the Chaos
Some books just sell better during certain parts of the year. Don't let that get you down! A book you publish today could have a super slow season and then make hundreds of sales three months from now. The longer you build your publishing business, the easier it will be to spot these trends ahead of time.
Working with these trends is how you begin to establish your “fan base” of readers.
We partnered with an Amazon ads EXPERT who has run over $500,000 worth of ads over his publishing career to teach an entire module dedicated to advertising strategy for our AIA course...but even the experts have their off days. Not too long ago, Brian made a horrific mistake.
Earlier, we talked about double-checking that you don't add a zero to your bid, and while it might sound ridiculous, these things do happen. Instead of adding a zero, Brian accidentally misplaced his decimal point. So, instead of bidding $0.71, he bid a whopping $71. This means Brian paid 10x as much PER EVERY CLICK that his books got until he noticed his mistake.
Here's what his Amazon ads dashboard looked like for the day.
Luckily, Brian's a great guy, and he was a good sport about it. He even used this as a lesson of what NOT to do in our live coaching workshops.
If you’re worried something like this is going to happen to you now, don’t be! This mistake is 100% preventable by taking it slow and double-checking everything.
Cody started publishing even before joining AIA and eventually climbed the ranks as our Head of Coaching. He's a BEAST at everything he does and shares all his best secrets for how he started earning over $5k a month from his books, including how to simplify the ads process:
Renee was able to earn nearly $10k in a single month from a single book. How? She NAILED her customer research, and she shares how you can, too!
Before publishing, Ed was making $20k per year. After getting started, it wasn't long until he was able to sell two of his publishing businesses for over 6 figures in profit. Here's how!
Don't have a lot of extra cash flow to spend just yet? That's fine! You can get started with a daily budget of around $5 to $10 to start tracking ad performance and data without a significant financial commitment.
As your book sales and KDP page reads go up, you can gradually increase your budget by a few dollars at a time, observing how each new increment affects your results.
If you're not seeing a positive return, it's time to reassess your keywords and targeting options.
Pro Tip: It's better to pause campaigns that are underperforming and reallocate that budget to successful ones than to hold out hope that the campaign is going to turn around eventually.
Running ads should be a pillar of your publishing plan, but it's a good idea not to become too reliant on an Amazon advertising account and diversify your marketing efforts.
Here are some marketing strategies and other resources you can run in conjunction with your Amazon KDP ads.
We've already included a shameless plug for our comprehensive beginner-friendly AIA course here, which gives you instant access to live video walkthroughs for everything from finding profitable ideas to launching and promoting your book. The course has generated over $50 million in royalties collectively for thousands of students all over the world.
In case you're not in the market for the best publishing course out there (wink wink), here are some alternatives:
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Did you know? Our proprietary AI manuscript wizard does customer research at the click of a button and can generate an entire document with your competitor's strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to fill in gaps in the market.
Amazon advertising and self-publishing can be intimidating; we get it. Sometimes, it might even feel like you have to learn a completely new language to make your dreams come true. But we're here to show you that's simply not true!
In fact, we teach our students how to outsource all the complicated parts so even the busiest an non-tech-savvy people can make this work for them. The result?
Kiss imposter syndrome goodbye, and come see the results for yourself at our webinar!