Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Why I’m running an ad campaign on Amazon for my book and is it working?

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In late 2016, I started running ads for my authentic storytelling content marketing book on Amazon. Some hardcore organic content marketers, of course, prefer to never run ads and everything should be organic (aka unpaid distribution). And while organic works to a degree, deliberately using advertising can help us spread our messages quicker and make us some money.

I can’t tell exactly where book sales from the ad campaign have come from, but I do know that during the campaign:

  • I sold books in 5 countries and 4 continents (see map below)
  • Revenue was almost to ad costs

map of where books where sold

How do book ads work on Amazon?

I published my book through CreateSpace.com and to start an ad campaign I had to go to the Kindle system. I’m targeting other popular content marketing authors. So my book shows up in the recommendations near their books.

I was able to write my own ad copy and set it to spend a certain amount before it automatically shuts off. I picked a $100 budget. There are three versions of the ad and they look like this:

amazon-ad

amazon-ad-2

amazon-ad-3

Easy breezy to get started, extend and update within the Kindle dashboard.

Recommended reading:

What I learned from turning my blog posts into a book

How to be more like an eight-year-old when sharing our authentic stories

How well do ads on Amazon work?

And overall, how well has it gone? Here’s an overview so far:

ad-results

On $30 spent my book has been seen over 100,000 times in the listings near other similar books, 119 clicked over to see more and I had a 0.11 percent click through rate. I still think that click through number is tiny, but as my advertisement friends would tell me that’s not a bad click through rate. Amazon estimated that four orders were placed and estimated my sales at $27. In other words, the ad campaign didn’t make any money yet, but overall has only cost me $3. So not a huge cost at all and my book has been seen by plenty of people with over 100 wanting to see more.

Overall book sales (not just tied to the campaign) are trending up as well since I started the campaign, so some of those sales may have been influenced by the additional reach the campaign offered.

Will I continue running an Amazon ad campaign?

As long as the cost and return break even, I will likely continue. Certainly, I hope that at some point the campaign makes a boat load of money, but it’s a good start. I’ve run other ad campaigns – including on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – that cost more money than they made. Or at least that I could attribute to them. Certainly, some people might say these campaigns were about brand awareness and they were to a degree, but they all had calls to action to buy something, sign up for a training or hire me to speak.

Certainly, there are different entry points. The book costs $15 but to hire me to speak a conference would usually have to pay in the thousands. So those are different investments obviously.

Overall, I’m glad I tried the Amazon ads for my book and see continuing using it. I may test targeting some other books on the next campaign to see if that helps some more as well.


Christoph

Christoph blogs on The Authentic Storytelling Project and is a globally recognized content marketing expert. The IMA named him Internet Marketer of the Year in 2015. He works with healthcare organizations and other brands around the globe.

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