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Book Promotion: 11 Top Tips For Best AMS Advertising Practice

Book Promotion: 11 Top Tips for Best AMS Advertising Practice

Headshot of John Doppler

ALLi's Watchdog John Doppler shares the collective wisdom of his authors' collective about AMS advertising

In this post ALLi Watchdog John Doppler shares the insights he has gained from a great collaborative project with the author collective of which he's a part. By working together on their AMS advertising, they've amassed a larger data set and therefore more statistically significant insights than an author working isolation. He has generously compiled this checklist of top tips to optimise the success of YOUR Amazon keyword ads.


I'm managing AMS ads for a few authors in my collective, and the also-boughts for every book we're promoting are among the best I've seen.

Effectively being able to choose your also-boughts is a fantastic fringe benefit to an AMS campaign.

Also-boughts are the books Amazon lists on your book detail page to show what other customers are buying alongside yours.

screenshot of also-boughts on amazon page

This is how also-boughts show up on Amazon

It's a factor in which books Amazon suggests to readers.

If a significant percentage of Book A's readers also buy Book B, then Amazon is likely to recommend Book B to folks looking up A, because they know that it's a good match.

So, having similar also-boughts can:

(a) help drive traffic to your book

(b) persuade shoppers that this is a book they might like

With Some Provisos…

It's not quite a two-way street, though. If people who buy your book also buy JK Rowling‘s books, then Harry Potter might show up in your also-boughts, but you haven't got a prayer of showing up in Rowling's also-boughts. She has a lot more sales, and there will be best sellers that have more sales in common with her books than with yours.

AMS can be wildly erratic, and it takes time to fine-tune your campaigns, so don't let that get you down. There's some trial and error involved.

11 Top Tips for More Effective AMS Ads

  1. Gather as many high-quality keywords as you can — 300 minimum. (I prefer authors and titles, because those have been the most reliable source of sales for me, but I may just stink at choosing keywords.)
  2. Use manual targeting. Amazon rarely has good suggestions, so take what's useful, but ignore suggestions like “book book book”.
  3. Use small budgets, multiple campaigns, and modest bids to test your early campaigns.
  4. Ramp up your budget and bids when you know your campaign is effective. I generally start at $10 per day. (Amazon is very, very unlikely to spend that amount.)
  5. Try different variations of your ad copy to see what resonates with your audience.
  6. Be patient: it may take up to two weeks for a sale to register on your AMS dashboard. Watch your KDP dashboard for incoming sales to give you an early idea of whether your campaigns are paying off.
  7. If your book is in KU, be aware that KU downloads don't show up in the AMS dashboard at all. Monitor your downloads to see if there are any increases that might be attributable to the ads.
  8. If your campaign is not getting any impressions, try recreating the campaign. Amazon can be very erratic, and given two identical ads, one may skyrocket while the other doesn't get displayed at all.
  9. If your campaigns are consistently not getting impressions, you may need more keywords, or better keywords. Be sure they're relevant to your book's genre and subject.
  10. If your campaign is getting impressions but few clicks, that means people aren't intrigued by your ad. Take a hard look at your cover to be sure it's up to standards, rethink your targeting (keywords), and try different ad copy.
  11. If your campaign is getting clicks but no sales (and you've waited a few days for slow sales reporting to kick in), then either your ad is attracting the wrong people (e.g., marketing clean romance to thriller fans), or more likely, your book's description isn't closing the deal and needs to be reconsidered.

I've been looking at AMS ads to guide your also-boughts — but if your also-boughts are clean and strong matches, they'd be perfect candidates for keywords. The two work well together!

Important Note: AMS ads are available to anyone who publishes through KDP; no exclusivity required.

However, you must control the account that published the ebook, so authors who don't go direct to KDP (e.g. via Draft2Digital, PublishDrive, or an assisted publishing company) generally won't be able to take advantage of AMS.

OVER TO YOU Do you have any top tips to add to John's great list? We'd love to share them – please feel free to add them via the comments box!

11 top tips for better #AMS advertising - a must-read post for #selfpub #authors by ALLi Watchdog @JohnDoppler #Amazon Click To Tweet

From the ALLi Author Advice Centre Archvive

Author: John Doppler

From the sunny California beaches where he washed ashore in 2008, John Doppler scrawls tales of science fiction, urban fantasy, and horror -- and investigates self-publishing services as the Alliance of Independent Authors's Watchdog. John relishes helping authors turn new opportunities into their bread and butter and offers terrific resources for indie authors at Words on Words. He shares his lifelong passion for all things weird and wonderful on The John Doppler Effect.


This Post Has 13 Comments
  1. John – great article. Do you know how and author who is using IngramSpark to distribute their ebooks and print books to Amazon can use Amazon Ads? Do they have to have the books on KDP or is there another way such as Seller Central? Thanks!

  2. Hi John–Now AMS ads are called Amazon Advertising, and I watched a webinar by Mark Dawson on the changes, but it definitely seems more complicated and less rewarding than the old way with AMS ads you describe. How would you compare the two?

  3. Great advice, John.
    JJ Toner and Maggie Lynch, too.

    I have a question. My AMS ads have all started up well, with thousands of impressions, dozens of clicks, and enough sales to justify the cost and effort. But after a few weeks, they all slow down to almost nothing.

    Why? What can I do, other than adding ads on regular basis?

  4. Hello John,

    One of the most frustrating things with amazon ads is the marketing stats you get. I started to make screenshots to compare two days and get my daily stats. After that I decided to brush up my programming skills and created some nice charts. This helped me to improve my ads and I am happy to announce that this tool is soon available for authors.

    Let me know if you are interested in testing…



    Thomas Herold

    1. Thomas, Your site and software look great. But, there is a difference between “testing” and “buying”. Your post from about two weeks ago says “testing”. I only saw purchase possibilities on your site. Are you looking for beta testers or customers?

      1. Hello Stephen,

        I actually could use another 1-2 tester right now. The site is open for the public right now as must bugs are already out.

        Let me know if you are interested


  5. Thanks John for your insight!

    I have a question for you. I am generating impressions and clicks (1 click per 1000) but not sales.
    I figure it could be for one or several of the following reasons:

    -My blurb sucks. I have reworked my blurb 1001 times, and think the last one might be the right on.We will have to wait and see if this last one generates sales.

    -I only have 1 review on .com. (Several others are coming soon on .ca) I was thinking of buying a Kirkus review, and hope for a ‘cash hook’ to include on my description.

    -I am attracting the wrong people. I have tried to fix this by including information in my hook to portray what type of book it is. For example, my book shows up with non-fiction buddhist books, so I have added ‘A novel’ as subtitle to not attract ppl who believe my book to be non-fiction.

    -Price is too high 3.99 for a debut novel.

    -They don’t like the sample…(here I am screwed).

    What do you think is the main reason people are not buying, review, blurb, price, sample..

  6. I use KDPRocket to generate lots of keywords, and I wouldn’t reject any. I only pause keywords that are costing a lot of money without enough sales. In one of my ads, the keyword ‘BOOKS’ has generated heaps of impressions and sales.

  7. It’s important to keep in mind the randomness of AMS Ads before despairing.

    I just last week rebuilt my ad farm completely and issued all new ads for 4 products: book 1 and a book bundle for two different series. The ad text is almost identical for each pair of book 1 and the book bundle, and the keywords are identical for the pair, and probably 90% identical across the series (keyword count = 10000). And they’re in the same genre and have similar 3D bundle images, etc.

    And yet… for both series, the bundle has 3-5 times as many impressions as the single book, and one series has 3-5 times as many impressions as the other.

    Other than the fact that the most impressions are for a bundle that was recently released (do they pay attention to that?), there’s very little difference, but the full range of impressions across the 4 ads is 95K – 1400K. If you were looking for rational causes that you can control, I believe you would look in vain.

  8. Good summary of top things to do. I would also add YASIV as a source for authors and titles. Though the links to me on YASIV aren’t over 80 or so, I often use the links from a popular author who I think writes books comparable to mine. It enhances my keywords list exponentially.

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