How to advertise a book on Amazon

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As an author, whether you have written one book or a dozen, having an Amazon presence is absolutely non-negotiable. With over 11 million books listed, there is of course a lot of competition for prime position in the search results pages on Amazon and – much as with Google search placement – you need a page one position, for the right keywords, to have any hope of selling enough books for the time and effort poured into your creation to be worthwhile.

While there are steps you can take to optimise your listing organically, advertising remains the fastest and most targeted way to get in front of the right readers i.e. those interested in your genre, who have purchased similar books or the works of similar authors and therefore, are more likely to want to buy or download your book.

So how do you get started advertising a book on Amazon?

The process for advertising a book is similar to that you would follow for advertising any other product.

First of all, you need to decide between the two available ad formats:

  • Sponsored products
  • Product display ads

Sponsored product ads can be used to advertise both eBook and paperback books. This type of advert can be used to advertise individual books to Amazon users as they browse the marketplace. These adverts are triggered by keywords and display on search results and product detail pages. Amazon recommends this form of advertising for those who are now to advertising books on Amazon.

Product display ads are a different type of ad campaign and are only available for eBooks. These ads are displayed in product detail pages and Kindle. They show to readers as they search for specific book genres or book titles. Targeting for product display ads is varied and can be related to products (including non-book products), categories and reader interests such as a particular genre.

As an advertiser, you are able to control costs for both types of ad campaign by setting budgets and bids. You also select the duration of the ad campaign, with Amazon recommending a minimum of two weeks for sponsored products and four weeks for product display ads in order for the ads to gain traction.

Setting up a sponsored product ad

  • Log into your account and select sponsored ads from the campaign type on the campaign dashboard.
  • Give your campaign a name, set its duration and tell Amazon your daily budget. Each time someone clicks on your ad, your daily budget will deplete.
  • Choose from automatic or manual targeting. Automatic is the easier option, as Amazon will decide when to show your ad based on what it knows about your book. If you aren’t confident with keyword selection or are just getting started, this is a good place to start. For manual targeting, you’ll need to input a series of keywords related to your book, its genre, similar titles and authors. Amazon recommends a minimum of 100 keywords per campaign.
  • Choose from custom or standard ads – with custom you need to input ad text, with standard it’s done for you.
  • Set your bid, preview your ad and then submit for approval.

Product display ads

The process for product display ads is almost identical:

  • Log in and select product display ads from campaign type.
  • Choose from product targeting, which will show your ad when a user is looking for products you select or by interest, which triggers ads based on genre.
  • Set your cost per click bid and confirm your budget.
  • Set the campaign duration.
  • Choose to receive impressions quickly or smoothly.
  • Preview your ads and submit your campaign for review.

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