My Experience with Amazon Marketing Services

In my continued desperate attempts to get people to read my books, I decided to try out Amazon Marketing Services. For anyone who doesn’t know what that means, it’s basically a marketing service run by Amazon where you create an ad that will show up when people browse related products. You set a CPC bid (i.e. how much you pay when someone clicks the ad), along with a max budget. Then you sit back and hope the people who click your ad are willing to take the next step and purchase your book!


My marketing adventure …

I set up the ad for my first book, Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It, back in January of 2017. The CPC bid I chose was $0.35 — as in, every time someone clicks the ad, I pay Amazon 35 cents. I tried a cheaper CPC bid (25 cents) but it wasn’t getting any views, so I had to up it a bit to make it worth Amazon’s time to actually show my ad.

My max budget was $200 although, SPOILER ALERT, I totally did not run through all that money. Hahaha, can you imagine? That would mean people would actually have to click the ad.

Sarcasm aside, I did see a tiny bit of return for my investment, although definitely not nearly as much as I put in. Here’s the stats on my campaign, which I ran for about 4 months starting in January of 2017:

amazon marketing services results may 2017


Let’s break those numbers down …

17,990 impressions: # of people who saw the ad (or the ad showed up while they were browsing Amazon and they ignored it)

199 clicks: # of people who clicked the ad (costing me 35 cents per click)

1.106% CTR: the ratio of clicks to impressions

199 DPV: same concept as “clicks” (not sure why this is a different stat)

$69.65 Spend: amount of money I spent to get people to click the ad

$0.35 ACPC: average cost per click (because I could raise or lower the click price if I found it wasn’t getting enough views)

6 estimated orders: # of sales they’re pretty sure happened because the customer clicked the ad

$15.94 Estimated Total Sales: the amount of royalties I made off selling those 6 ebooks (which doesn’t make sense because I know for a fact I make less than $2.66 per ebook sold …)


So what does this mean?

I spent approximately $70 to sell $16 worth of books. It’s possible some people clicked the ad, saw the book, decided to buy it later, and therefore their sales didn’t register with the “estimated total sales” measurement — but my sales have been fairly pitiful, so I doubt that. All in all, an interesting experiment, but a failed one in my opinion. I wish it had turned out better, but ultimately the point was to see if the system worked — and for me, it definitely didn’t.

I think this sort of “cost per click” system would work a lot better if the product being sold had a higher sell price — as in, you’re paying Amazon, say, $1 per click, but you make $20 if the product sells. That would make the initial payout worth it. For a $2.99 book, however, I just can’t see how this kind of marketing makes financial sense unless the purchase rate is much, much higher.


Anyone else have experience with Amazon Marketing Services, or something similar? I’d love to hear about it!

Categories: Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “My Experience with Amazon Marketing Services

  1. sugartek

    I get ya. Tried this on Amazon and yielded about the same. I tried marketing on FB as well and yielded a bit better, but not by much. However, my pay out was significantly less and I could change the audience based on who was clicking and who was not. Still not easy to market.

    • Hmm … I’ve heard that BookBub does pretty good in the book ads department, but I haven’t tried them out yet. I did try a Facebook ad as well, with similar results. Why does marketing have to be so hard? lol

  2. Interesting Michelle and have shared in my blogger daily to see in anyone who reads has an experience to share.

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 9th May 2017 – Sue Vincent, Kevin Morris, Texas Wine, J. A. Allen, Michelle Proulx | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  4. How many keywords did you use? Most people recommend that you use a lot – more than 100 at least. It’s also important to fiddle with the ad instead of just letting it go. One keyword getting you clicks but no buys? Disable it. Some of your keywords at your max bid with few buys? Disable.

    Did you do Sponsored Products or Product Display? Nearly everyone says that the former is much, much better.

    • I think I used 5 or 6 keywords — okay, so that’s good to know! WAY more keywords. I believe I did product display — I will definitely look into sponsored products, especially if it’s going to be more successful than the alternative. This was my first foray into Amazon ads so clearly I have a lot to learn 🙂 Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

  5. The more I see of these things, the more I become convinced they are just a money-making opportunity for Amazon. The reality is that us self-published authors can’t really make a dent unless Amazon decides, for whatever reason, to market or feature the book on their own.

    • That’s the thing — if I had several tens of thousands of dollars to spend on marketing, I bet the ads would be way more useful. But I don’t, which means the paltry amount of money I can offer up to an ad agency will probably accomplish next to nothing. If only there was a surefire way to win the lottery …

  6. I haven’t tried book promotion on Amazon, so this is nice to hear an update on one person’s experience. That’s true, it’s possible that someone saved your book and came back for it, but that part is so hard to track. Great post, Michelle.

    -Ryan Lanz
    A Writer’s Path

    • Thanks, Ryan 🙂 I know of people who’ve had wild success, and then of course there are people like me, lol. Looks like it’s back to the marketing drawing board for me.

  7. Really quality information, thank you so much.

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