Amazon has two types of marketing campaigns, "sponsored products", and "product display ads". Can anyone point me to information about how effective these are? I'm especially interested in what works best for fiction.

  • Hi James! Your question is more about marketing than writing, so it probably doesn't belong here and may get closed. I haven't tried Amazon yet, I'm considering self-pub. But there's a wonderful community of self-published writers on Facebook -- SPF Community -- who will be able to answer this question for you and then some. They are experts in the field of marketing their own books. Good luck!
    – GGx
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 7:29
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    Hey. Thank you for the welcome. Isn't marketing what the "marketing" tag is about? I may have misunderstood. And thank you fro the SPF Community tip. I'll check that out now. Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 10:30
  • I didn't tag to close it as I wasn't sure either way. But three up votes suggests it's writing-related enough, so my bad. I've just started in the SPF Community and I've signed up for Mark Dawsons course (which is available again in November). So far they seem like a great team and answer questions promptly and helpfully. It's a huge community.
    – GGx
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 11:49
  • I think this is fine here and certainly on-topic. Unfortunately, it's not getting many answers. I'm lightly editing to bump the question so it gets in front of more eyeballs. Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 20:57
  • Thanks. I'm actually trying it myself. I'll let you know results. Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 23:34

1 Answer 1


Sponsored Products

You set the starting date, ending date, maximum spend (in $) per day. You can choose any number of keywords and your bid to place an ad for each keyword. This takes a little unpacking:

  • Maximum spending ($ per day): you are not charged when an ad is displayed (called an impression). You are charged when a viewer takes action by clicking on the advertising and being directed to your product site (cost per click). Obviously, this can get out of hand quickly, so you are provided a stop-loss in the maximum daily spending.
  • Bid (per keyword): when someone searches for your keyword and the page is rendered an automatic auction is held by all eligible advertisers (including you) who want that keyword. The highest cost per click (CPC) bid gets the advertising space.

There is reporting for the performance of your keywords. Although the data is not guaranteed to arrive for up to 14 days, it seems pretty good about updating every 24-hours.

You will generate one advertisement consisting of an approximately tweet-length amount of text and pre-set information about your book.

The campaign must be "reviewed". This seems to happen during business hours and takes any where from a few hours to a day. Changes made on the weekend may not get reviewed until the next business day.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Look at the reporting. It will tell you how your advertising campaign is progressing.
  • Experiment to get the right results. This is the advice I see everywhere.
  • If you are not getting impressions on your keyword, then you are either not bidding enough for it, or no one uses it. Try tweaking up your bid for a day or two. If the keyword isn't generating impressions at any price, you can reason that buyers aren't using that term.
  • If you are getting views but not clicks, consider that your product is inappropriate to the other results. Try searching for that keyword yourself and look at what kind of not-sponsored content appears. Are most people buying non-fiction when looking up "programming", but your book is a coding mystery? Maybe a different keyword is appropriate. If the keyword still appears appropriate, look at other sponsored ads in that space. Compare them to yours. Does your ad need some tweaking to get clicks?
  • Sales - Amazon Marketing Services is also good enough to track how many of these clickthrough ads turn into purchases. If people are clicking on your ad, but not buying your book, then you need to look at how you are presenting your work to see what you can do to close the sale.


  • For keyword ideas try to naturally find books like yours in the marketplace. The search terms you use are probably the keywords you want.

Product Display Ads

These are limited to e-books only. The minimum ad campaign amount is $100.

You can bid to have your advertising displayed when someone is viewing a product that you believe is similar to your own, or browsing in a category that you believe is appropriate for your work. The same bidding scheme for cost per click advertising applies, but you do not select any keywords and there are no tools to control your spending while you experiment.

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    That's a very nice answer, thanks for sharing your experience with others/future readers! I'll leave the bounty up for some time. Maybe someone else comes across this and has something to add. Or maybe it just gives your answer a bit more exposure. You deserve it.
    – Secespitus
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 11:43
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    @Secespitus I'm glad you did because if it weren't for the bounty, I wouldn't have seen this and it's excellent advice, thank you. And thank you for sharing James.
    – GGx
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 17:41

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