If you don't know a thing about Amazon ads, start here

Amazon ads.

You either love them or hate them. Or you’re afraid of the idea of them and won’t go any further. I’m hoping to get you a little closer to the zone of loving/liking Amazon ads.

Of all of the marketing tactics that you can use to sell books online, I personally believe that Amazon ads have the potential to be the most profitable. The hardest part is the learning curve, and it can be a little steep. This post will give you a great refresher on how they work and will even walk you through setting up your first one!

Even if you have someone else manage your ads, I think Amazon ads are a super important skill set for all authors. So get to know the basics, and I promise it won’t be nearly as bad as you thought they were.

What does it even mean to run an Amazon ad?

Let’s start here just to be sure we cover the basics. You probably have a rough idea of what Amazon ads are, but it never hurts to break it down a little. There are basically 3 different kinds of ads:

  • Sponsored Product Ads

  • Sponsored Brand Ads

  • Lockscreen Ads

90% of the time, when someone is talking about ads, they’re referring to the first one, Sponsored Product Ads. These are ads that appear in 1 of 2 places: in the search results or on the product page. When you have ads running, you bid on placement in one of these places.

Basically, imagine a vendor market where everyone wants front and center placement and the event owner allows people to pay different event fees for better placement and visibility. That’s what Amazon is doing, and you tell them how much you’ll pay for that spot.

amazon ad types

Here’s the ads dashboard with different campaign types. You’re going to choose Sponsored Products most of the time.

Fortunately, everyone can’t have any old spot. Amazon wants their customers to have a great experience. So, for example, if someone is searching for “diet books” they probably don’t want to see a book on the “best steakhouses in the country”….although I could see someone being extra predatory and trying to get these poor souls that are likely craving some good food. But Amazon isn’t going to see this ad as relevant and won’t give it great placement, even if the advertiser is willing to pay for it. So, Amazon wants your money, but is not going to allow you to just serve up any old ad to be in front of people.

Let that sink in and be a major comfort for you. Amazon wants your money, but won’t necessarily waste your money.

So, while there’s always a chance of you throwing money down the drain, there’s actually a higher chance that you won’t spend as much as you would like to. That makes Amazon ads one of the safest bets when it comes to online advertising. (Worth noting here, Facebook will spend ALLLL your coins.)

Here is one place where ads appear. When someone searches for “Curly Crew Books” one of my books will likely pop up because I bid on that keyword. My book is also relevant since there’s a high chance that this is the series people are looking for.

Getting started with Amazon ads

Okay, so let’s jump into how you get started! Here’s what you’ll need:

A KDP account and a published book

I’m focusing on authors with a KDP account, opposed to those with a seller central, Advantage, or another account. I think the experience is the same, but not 100% sure. I know that this definitely works for us KDP folks.

A credit card

Amazon ain’t playing games with you unless you show up front that you have some form of payment. So be sure to have a credit card handy for initial ad setup.

Getting to the ads platform

The most direct way to access your ads dashboard is advertising.amazon.com. From here, you reach a page with some type of marketing or the page below. Either way, hit Sign In, then Advertising Console.

This is how my page looks. Ultimately, you want to get to the Advertising Console and sign in with the same username/password you use for your KDP account.

Setting up your first ad

I’ll be honest. The first couple of times you set up an Amazon ad, it can be super confusing. I mentioned earlier that we’re focusing on Sponsored ads. Within these ads, there are 2 main ad types:

Auto ads: This is where Amazon decides where you book should go based on your keywords, book description, and customer buying behavior. Basically, they do the work for you.

Manual ads: You tell Amazon where your book should go based on the keywords or categories you think are a good fit.

When you’re first starting out, auto ads are the way to go. It’s the most straightforward, and leaves less room that you get overwhelemed with the whole setup process and quit. Plus, they are super effective.

Want some help on how to get started with these, including what to enter into every field? Get my free Amazon Ad Cheat Sheet and get started on your first ad today!

Where to go from here

At this point, you can let your ads run and continue to go about your life. You’ll likely get some sales from your ads and it may even be profitable. However, you’ll very likely overspend and Amazon won’t learn how to best position your ads.

You’ll want to take the next step and learn to monitor and optimize your ads. It requires checking in on your ads regularly and doesn’t take a lot of time once you understand the ads dashboard. There’s a learning curve to it, but absolutely doable.

I’ll do a future post on how to monitor and optimize. There are a few resources I also suggest:

  • Kindleprenuer has a great free course on setting up and managing ads and is great for getting started

  • Bryan Cohen does these 5 day Amazon Ad challenges that are really helpful for diving into ads and getting familiar with the platform. (Tip: ignore the advice to create a bunch of ads…it’s a ton of work to manage and initimidating to even think about)

  • Join my Facebook group and ask any questions you may have!

  • Reach out to me for assistance in helping your set up and run your ads. I offer a service where I do this initial set up and optimize your ads in the beginning so that you get started from a good place.

Either way, I hope that this post has helped get you over the hurdle of getting started with Amazon ads and I hope you sell an insane number of books!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.