Amazon Ads Roundtable: Pilot

Updated: May 21, 2021

Are you lonely?

Are you frustrated with Amazon Ads and don't know where to turn?

At times when things are tough, it can be hard to know where to turn.

That’s why the 3 of us, seasoned Amazon Ad PPC authors and advertisers (nerds), started this series of roundtable discussions to talk about everything Amazon PPC related. With hundreds of books worth of advertising experience between us - we’ve seen our fair share of successes and failures and are happy to now share it all, here, on this bi-weekly series.

Our goal: to make you feel a little less lonely as you embark on your Amazon Advertising Journey.

Who are the hosts?

Alex - If you don't know me yet, you can check out my full story here.

Denis - Internet Marketing Guru and Founder of Weekend Publisher.

Michal (on the right)- Amazon Advertising expert and Founder of

*Transcribed by, please excuse any grammatical errors as it is transcribed in the exact manner that we had the conversation to keep it as raw and real as possible*

In this first episode we cover:

  • Standard vs. Custom text ads

  • Overcoming bad reviews

  • ACOS - Good or Bad?

  • Success or failure in international markets?

And away we go!

Alex Strathdee 0:04

Cool. All right. What are your thoughts? What do you think? standard text ads or custom text ads?

Denis Caron 0:11

Yeah, I have a couple. I have a couple of thoughts with it. Like to get off my chest. So standard vs is versus custom add text? I say. So. It's for me, it's only, not just for me. But for everyone. It's only available in the US, which is interesting. I don't find it on the Canadian, I don't find it on the Australian, I don't find it on the British one. So it's only available in the US, which is interesting. I am towards the pro column, that the yes column that that I think it should be there. It is real estate that Amazon is opening up to you. And the more real estate that you can take. And the more you can set readers expectations, because I don't want to, obviously, we pay for clicks, right? I don't want a reader looking as best as we do with with my clients with my books, set expectations in terms of the title and the book cover. I don't want people clicking on my book, whose expectations aren't set, and they click on the book. And this isn't this is a term more for SEO for Google, but the bounce rate, like how many people actually just go to your page, and then just leave right away. Right? That's more of a term for SEO and Google and all that sort of stuff. But I don't want my bounce rate to be high for people just to go and like read the first couple lines of description be like, no, this isn't for me. So I think it's I think it will probably give you a higher quality clicks lead into a higher conversion. But I haven't tested it myself. But that's my those are my thoughts.

Alex Strathdee 1:49

Nice, I like it, Michal, what do you what do you come in with?

Michal Stawicki 1:52

Yeah, everything is not tested this wide and I have the same impression. And I actually have plenty of data which I could examine. But I never do. This exactly my way of thinking. I'm paying for clicks. So I'm very comfortable with discouraging people to click on that. Okay, it's not for me. Great. Great. Yeah, I want only people who are interested to one from the book page. Also, the technical part, the way we do stuff in resurrecting books. When you have the custom text, it's so easy to copy it and create a new one. And we ask the standard to create over 100 ads per book. So the process is so much faster and easier. with custom text. On the other hand, come on, it's so much pain in the butt. Because those Amazon manuals will tell you Oh no, you cannot tell this in your blurb or that or come on, I have for my own books, quotes of Jim Rohn like, actual quote and Jim Rohn. Okay, it looks like a review. You cannot do that. And come on Jim Rohn. Before I publish the book, how he could review my book. Oh, gosh, so yet there are pluses and minuses? What's your opinion Alex?

Unknown Speaker 3:33

Yeah, I want to run a test. First of all, because I agree with you, it's you know, it all comes down to the data. Here is my my theory that I've always worked off of, and you guys know, you know, we do things a little bit differently. Since we have our program, we like to really get our targeting to be as expansive as possible. So what we focus on is more the keywords things like that. Now, that being said, here's my thoughts is that people hate being advertised to. And even when I talk to peers, or friends, or even authors, when they're searching for something, can you guys hear my my messages are going off here? I gotta, I gotta, I can't. Alright, I was gonna make sure that's not an interference there. So basically, I think that people are adverse to ad copy. And so when they see a listing of a book show up on a search that they've done they type in business books, and they see the list of books, I think very few people notice the sponsor the Add tag, and think that it is actually just part of the listing. As opposed to if there is some text in there. Then to play devil's advocate here, maybe people will see that as Oh, this is an ad that's the same way with like all about you guys. But when I do a Google search, I never click on the first few links because like, I know they're adds. It says add next to them, I go away from those just because to me, that's, you know, I trust Google to serve up the most relevant stuff to me. So I think that the devil's advocate to custom text is seamlessly putting yourself into the list of a customer search. And I've seen a lot of books be able to convert, well, that being said, I am not opposed to trying everything and actually bring it out of the data. So I think what I'm going to do here in the next couple months, is run two identical campaigns with the exact same targeting, I'll maybe do this for five or six authors. And for one, I'm gonna do the standard text. And then for the other, I'll do some custom text. Now, obviously, there's gonna be some variants in there, like, you know, the custom text is going to be better for some books, or worse for others. But I mean, a lot of this is well, you just got to do the best testing that you possibly can. And I'd be curious to see what the results are. What are your thoughts on that?

Denis Caron 6:02

Yeah, I have done some testing with one of my nonfiction books, catch unicorn, demystifying book marketing for fiction authors. I'm not trying to sell the book, but I did do testing. But it wasn't it was two different custom texts. So it wasn't a standard and a custom, I was testing two different custom texts to try and find the voice that most appeal to do my targeting. Because of course, we only have 150 characters that we have almost nothing, right? Like it's so small. And what I was looking at was the CTR, and one performed better than the other. That doesn't really give us any data. But it might be good to see what... I'm all for testing for testing things as much. I mean, that's the key to success with ads, right is continually testing. I'm all for that. Yeah, yeah. But I agree. I also want to do like a set, you know, a set intentional study, just to test that ad copy, versus custom versus standard.

Alex Strathdee 7:09

Yeah. Just to piggyback off there, sounds like you guys have both done a lot of custom text ads. Michael, I know you're a fan of the quotes, you know, if the Amazon Gods allow you to get those pushed through and approved. What what custom text do you guys like to use the most?

Michal Stawicki 7:36

I am doing two things with my blurbs. One is matter of fact to create credibility. And that's why I'm using those quotes by you know, famous people really, or at least known in the space. And the other is like to narrow down what the book is about. I'm in the personal development space. So it can be wide. So I'm trying to tell, Okay, it's not for everyone but this specific, which by the way Amazon say it's prohibited you cannot do that. Like, in theory. Of course, they are approved manually. So it's like two different people in the approving team. One will let you through and the other will not so but that is what I'm doing. Also, I like I did some testing unwittingly because when in August last year, Amazon said that they will not track Kindle and paperbacks if both versions aren't in the in the ad. So, and at that time, you couldn't have custom text ad with both versions. So I started using without the text. So I had quite a few ads of my own books. And also there is a lot of anecdotal data outdoors or telling other outdoors that okay, I tested that. And then consensus was always like, there is no difference. So if there is no difference, it's easier for me to add, actually, and from like, without crunching the data. I can tell that. Yes, I didn't see much difference. Maybe I saw a bit more maybe a bit less. So the conversion rates were a little bit here or there. But it wasn't like 20%. So I would notice.

Denis Caron 10:12

Yeah, I definitely think it's worthwhile testing. Another thing, and I don't want to get too off topic here. But another thing that I might inadvertently be testing right now is another thing that that leads to CTR is review the review of the book. So I have a fiction book out right now, the first in this series. And I don't claim I claim to be a marketer, I do not claim to be a writer. So it's been it's rated 3.6. So it's only that three and a half stars, and it has like 30 reviews, just recently got published. And so it's only thrown three and a half stars. And I have noticed my CTR has definitely gone down with those books. So again, that's sort of a tangent, but that's another thing that, you know, sort of go into the thing to test something, you want everything else to stay the same, but just changing that one thing. But that would be another thing. I don't want to inadvertently, you know, throw bad reviews at a book just to test it out. But that that's certainly one thing to keep into consideration as well. Can I just present something on the screen just in case? Like there's someone that wants to show something?

Yeah. Hopefully it presents the right thing. Can you see that? The sponsored ads? Yeah.

So this is for like people who don't know exactly what custom text looks like. This is one form of advertising. This is like a product advertising. You see this on the product page, below, like the description, and there's a there's the carousel here. But this is what the custom text looks like. I highlighted I had this beforehand, just to show my clients what custom text looks like and where it appears. But this is a good explanation or a good example to show some people who are are sort of unaware or maybe not completely clear what custom text ads looks like.

Alex Strathdee 12:23

No, thanks for bringing it in. I realized, you know, the three of us, obviously, we live and breathe this stuff. But you're right for people who are you know, listening or watching this don't necessarily know. Thanks for bringing that on.

Denis Caron 12:36

Yeah, of course, man. Yeah. So yeah, the things that convert are obviously, you know, the cover, you know, the price too, and the fact that the reviews, the title, and, yeah, so that's why I was talking about, like, more real estate and how I am leaning. How I lean towards this do custom text ad, because they're given us the space, so why not take advantage of it. But I do agree that I like Michals idea there about, you know, intentionally testing.

Michal Stawicki 13:13

Yeah, when it comes to reviews, I can share a lot of, again, not pretty data, but my impressions, because I already had over 100 of customers, and advertise few 100 books. It's always like, greatest year when you have more reviews, and they are better. And the thing is, really, there was some time, like, two years ago when Amazon changed the the review algorithm. So the newest reviews were highlighted, and like more relevant, and very often, they were negative reviews. So and I could see that immediately in the performance of ads. So I had decent writing. I got one bad review, that rating was still decent. But this one bit review was featured at the top of the list of reviews. So that was the first thing they I mean the prospects. So when they scroll down, and the whole performance went down the drain.

Alex Strathdee 14:32

Yeah, I've had that happen as well. I you know, the second nothing seems to kill a book faster than bad reviews. I've seen that time and time again with quite a few books.

Denis Caron 14:42

Yeah, I mean, especially at the start, right. You ideally want our team, you know to leave those first good initial reviews because yeah, I mean, you get those first five reviews. 1-1 star review can just like really slow things down. You really got to dig yourself out like this book, that I was talking about this fiction book of mine. I'm trying hard to get to 3.8. You know, so it'll fill in four stars. Yeah. So I mean, you're trying to do it the most ethical way, right? Like without, you know, going to Fiverr and paying for reviews or something.

Alex Strathdee 15:16

So question for you there. That's a great point, I guess, for those authors that are getting stuck in those positions? Do they just scrap the book? Or how do you get those better reviews? How do you get that number up? How do you go about it?

Denis Caron 15:36

Hahaha Michal's laughing. That's the scenario I'm in now. Right? So I've committed to the three book series. So it's really about in this case, setting setting expectations. I think, I think that's one of the biggest things is the setting of the expectations. And that comes into effect. And that sort of full circle in my opinion, it comes into effect, with with everything, right, the cover the blurb, and then the custom text ad, which I was talking about the template, I think, first of all setting expectations. I mean, you could easily very, very easily find, you know, lots of examples in the fiction book space, you know, maybe overhyping or over promising and under lived under delivering and, or you know, mentioning something in the bullet point that you're going to cover and you don't cover or something. In my case, in this case, even though I was aware of it, it's still biting biting me in the butt. So this is a novella. It's 100 page novella, it's a shorty. So when people read it, they're like, this is way too short. Now, this is just an outline. Even though I have in the title, that's a novella. I have in the blurb in two spots. It's a novella. So what is the answer for that? I don't know. I don't know how to make it more apparent that it's a novella. Like maybe I have to break down what define what a novella is. But I think some of it is setting expectations. If someone is that that low, you have to think is it just a review of this initial set of reviewers? Maybe I got the wrong target audience with my reviewers? In which case, you know, you can get other reviewers and get the right target audience or Yeah, I think you have to have like, a gut check. And like, Is it the book? Right? And if it's the book, then it might be worth taking it down and revamping it and just doing a completely new relaunch? I know it's not ideal situation. But yeah, what are your guys thoughts?

Michal Stawicki 17:40

I think Alex more alluded to, okay, you have a new book, you're a new author, and how in the world, I'm getting new, more reviews, any reviews at all, by the way, I just got a girl from India, she has like, dozens of books and maybe two dozen reviews among them, or maybe even not. So it's, it's hard. And I would say, like, by the way, the tactic I say is the most successful in this room is begging, beg, beg, and beg some more, beg your friends, beg in your mastermind, beg your readers or subscribers on social media and then beg some more. And that's the way you are getting reviews like this, the most successful tactic ever. And the second would be ask other outers. But it comes with a price, because you will, they will ask you to read the books and review. So it's like huge time investment. But on the other hand, it's worth it. Because if I am going to read a book I want. And I'm asked by other authors, I won't post a negative review. I can give him my feedback pretty badly. But if it's a bad book, I won't post anything. So you're so much more likely to get positive reviews that way. Yeah, and it's always worth, you know, creating the fan base and have the launch team. And I'm actually changing my approach with my next book. I have just like, those 15 advanced readers, but I hammered them with emails like every single day if they don't review. That's opposite to what I did with the previous book, which was I had almost 100 of beta readers. And then I got I don't think I got the 10 right out of that. So because I was very loosely in contact with them, and now I'm going to be on top of them.

Alex Strathdee 20:14

Something I can add in here as well, I've started setting, I actually had a client, and I'll show my screen here, share this with me. This is his book, and he got these 56 ratings, I mean, five stars, it's worked out quite well for him. If we go back over here, so this is the platform he recommended. I don't get anything for talking about this. But something that I've just found super useful. I started sending clients to because they seem to have great results, is It goes with Amazon's Terms of Service, you know, or policies regarding reviews, where this isn't like a pay to play, it's just you kind of join up and it's sort of like a, you get, they call it something like tokens or something for reviewing other people's books. And then those review those tokens in return, you know, you get reviews. So it's like weird how it's like still kind of, you're incentivized, but at the same time, they somehow get away with it. And it's one of those that Amazon hasn't shut down or sued. Like they have so many. So this little bear swears by it, he you know, he gets a lot of reviews on all his books because of that. So just another option that you guys can look into or might be useful.

Michal Stawicki 21:30

Yeah, and as another granular tactic, which is very successful is whenever a reader reach out to you and praises your book, you reply, Oh, I'm so happy. And you just take snippets of his email or message and say it looks like a great Amazon review, why don't you post? And it works really well.

Denis Caron 21:54

Yeah, yeah. The the the cheeky answer that I give to people on like, how to get more reviews is to sell more books. So those, I mean, like, it's sort of, you know, like, Oh, great, yeah, thanks a lot, I got to sell more books to get more reviews, it's the whole chicken in the egg thing, right like, but those are really the best best reviews that you get is like from true fans who are warm, and you can entice entice them to leave the reviews by like and the call to action at the at the back of the book, you know, and the direct link, to leave a review at the back of ebooks, building your mailing list and having part of your drip program, you know, asking people to leave a review. Of course, like building your mailing list is obviously a gold standard. But to get those very, very first initial reviews, and I was going to actually do a full video on this because that, that, that that fiction book that I just got 30 reviews on, although it's reviewed 3.6 out of five, which is not great. But that was essentially a case study, I didn't contact a single friend, a single family I it's under a pen name, I didn't use anybody. So I did it completely from scratch. And the best resource, I've never heard of this Pubby. So I'm gonna be looking into this. But the best resource that I've found and that I recommended, what my clients have found, is BookSirens, I think it is .com or .co. But if you just type in booksSirens, they'll come up. There's a bunch of other ones, like booksprout. I know that they're revamping their whole system books for it, because I did get a email asking for my feedback on their platform. So I know that they're improving it. Like for example, just on this book. So it's in the mystery genre. So like a fairly big genre, it's not super niche, or anything that it's not as big as romance, but it's still pretty big. I got one review on booksprout. And I got some like eight to 10 reviews on BookSirens. And once you have that many reviews, obviously the more reviews, the better to advertise it. But once you at least have five or 10 reviews, you can start advertising it to at least have some some social, some social proof. And that would be kind of a question for you guys, what's sort of the minimum amount of I usually say five, five reviews, and that gets them into like some free book promotions as well. 10 but I've also like according to Amazon, it's through and through there. Like I had never done this but I did it just as some credibility, and I didn't learn anything new but like the Amazon ads certification course. And they said 15 reviews, make something they use that exact number 15 reviews make some product. I forget the word that they use marketable or something are primed to ready to be added or advertised. But I'm wondering what what you guys say is like the minimum number before you start advertising a book.

Michal Stawicki 24:50

I look more on the writing the number of reviews because it shows immediately as the number of stars. So you can have a few 100 your writing is low, and it will affect your CTR. On the other hand, you can have one, and people don't look very closely, they see five stars. Okay. And from my experience, I can say that this approach is more credible. I would rather say it's like, every digit more is better. So to have 10 is so much better than to have nine to have 100 is so much better to have 99 because people see those those number of digits? That's my take.

Alex Strathdee 25:40

Yeah, we don't take one of our criteria, when starting out is we won't take anyone who has less than five reviews, same same thing, like you're talking about, but I do what Michal is saying makes sense here, I mean, if you have one review, you know, one rating, and it's five stars, then, you know, it makes sense that some people might also have that. I mean, as long as you know, you're transparent with the author like well, we, you know, we'll just tell the author, we've had some authors pushback and be like, I know that it's gonna convert worse, I'm willing to take that risk, and you know we'll work on reviews. And, you know, we've had like one author, we took, I think we had one five star review, and now he's up to several five star reviews, so doesn't necessarily count him out. You know, we just we're up front about, you know, if you have less than five reviews, and it's probably going to be a harder battle for you to fight but doesn't mean you can't fight that battle.

Michal Stawicki 26:41

And in the case of international markets, it is a game changer if you have a review on that particular market. And there I use just this this role that Okay, one, one good review for five stars is good enough advertising, because not so many people review on those markets. So it's it's a game changer. And it's really a game changer, because I also I advertise a few books with no reviews at all. And like, it's a day and night between having one review and zero review.

Alex Strathdee 27:25

What else you guys got? A we still got still got some time on the clock here. What's a topic on someone's mind, you guys want to talk about

Denis Caron 27:40

international markets, I'd like to talk about that. Because I mean, truthfully, before I started working with this one client, I had never looked into the Australian market. And, I mean, granted, he has an Australian outback romance. So I mean, the numbers might be skewed there. So I mean, it's obvious to to advertise in Australia. But the CPCs are just so much lower, and the conversions are better. What I'm finding, and I'm finding that with with even in the UK as well, although it's much, much slower. It's much, much slower to get data, you know, you could run the exact same campaign with the exact same settings, you know, and you get like a third or a quarter of the actual data, now impressions, clicks and all that sort of stuff. But I have been finding that even with the conversion rate, that I'm getting cheaper clicks. Do you guys have much experience in the international markets with the with the ads?

Alex Strathdee 28:47

I can take this one first. So that's interesting. As an Australian myself, I actually don't That doesn't surprise me. I should I should look into the Australian market. I just know that like, whenever I go back there people like Amazon Oh, yeah, you guys love that in the US. But like, we don't use that here. But it's the same way with you know, it's, I feel like now is the time to get in. Because now's the time to start optimizing your ads so that I think traffic is only going to continue to increase in Australia. It's the same with you know, if you're advertising in Canada, you know, at the very start, you know, you were one of those people that want to jump in and build up your relevancy if you're targeting you know, earlier than anyone else, even though the traffic is slower and all that so I'm curious to see what happens over the next year, or even two years with the Australian market and as because I mean, obviously there's people in you know, not just people living in the outback and going here but Amazon but you know places like Sydney or Brisbane or you know, Perth where you do have these city centers and the logistics of Amazon shipping makes a lot more sense. That makes sense that Amazon's gonna continue to increase in in those in those places. UK I have not seen work well with self help, but I've seen work well with better with fiction. Americans, we love, we're self help junkies. So we love our self help books, Canada seems to do well with them as well. From what I've seen, maybe you can touch on that more Dennis. And then Germany is another thing. They seem to like the more intellectual books, I have a few books that are about, you know, international policy, things like that those do better than in Germany for me. Yeah.

Denis Caron 30:31

Sorry, I don't mean to cut you off. But they're, you're talking about like English speaking English books in Germany, right?

Alex Strathdee 30:36

Yeah. So I also ran a test I targeted on the English copies on the English books, I targeted, still the foreign language. And I did sell a few copies, nothing, I think to, you know, it's fine to anything that works, right? Like, that's the game we're in. It's just even the littlest thing that can give you the smallest advantage. So in Germany, I have a book that I was advertisement sells really well in the US looks like she has over 1000 reviews on Amazon. The book does does magic. So I wanted to see what would happen if I targeted German keywords in Germany, even though it's an English title. And it did still sell a few copies from those. I tried it on other books as well, though, and it didn't work. So I think, you know, it's just a great book. Anyway. So I think like, you know, anything works. Like, I'm sure you guys see this anything works with a great book, you know, it's like, it's the books that don't sell well, you know, it's gonna come down to the book, and just what the topic is, if people are interested in, you know, things like that, but that was just something that was interesting. Michal, what do you think?

Michal Stawicki 31:47

I have plenty of hours on the international markets I, I had, well, I still have the advantage account in Canada. So I was happily blowing that that field with no competition at all for a year. And that was Wow, golden years. That was great. So yes, those markets are smaller. So less data for sure. They are cheaper, because they're the competition is so much lower. And I'm still talking about English books. And bigger biggest difference. Always is reviews, like no reviews at all. That's the first difference. And then, of course, good reviews many and good rating. That makes a difference on international markets. And I have some Australian customers. And yet, yes, they are doing well in Australia, because they have like, approximately the same number of reviews in Australia and in the states. So it's like 30 reviews in states versus 30 in Australia. Oh, it goes a long way in Australia. Also, yeah, I use low bits as a default. So I never go into the range of 40 cents and up like never ever because I'm not playing with with targeted ads So there are interesting, like differences in volumes. I remember, like, when I started on those European markets like Italy, France, and with the lowest bid possible, like two, three cents. And I upped it to five and the volume was colossal. The difference of the move was called from, you know, a thousand impressions a day to 25,000 impressions a day, just with a few cents. So, yeah, it's not to break your bank and is there to find a sweet spot. But the volume is smaller. That's why what I do with my customers is I take them in the US we start in the US, when I see it performs, when it performs in in the US, then it will perform everywhere. And well assuming you have a review, then we go to all the markets they have sensible rating. And usually I can tell that, like the reviews are the only differentiator between markets because if the comps in the US are not performing the US, it comes to other markets assuming that review rating is similar.

Alex Strathdee 35:03

I have, I don't know if anyone else wants to add anything. But I have another question. I'm ready for you guys. Do you guys want to move on or anyone else? I want to talk about acos and obviously I think we all all Michal, you might work from the KDP account, I'm not sure, we only work from the AMS dashboard. So how do you guys go about the tracking of ACOS? What is your target ACOS, you know, obviously the paperback is different than the Kindle. You know, maybe you target your Kindles, maybe you target paperbacks huge topic, I know, maybe we won't have time to cover it all. But I'd love to get your guys's take just on how you handle you know, what metrics you really pay attention to.

Denis Caron 35:54

That's such a big topic. I mean, ACOS only tells part of the story. You know, it's such a small part of the story. First of all, as I talked about, just just about the factors that I see that apply to ACOS, I actually did a YouTube video, and I it was all about why ACOS is useless.

So yeah, I did. I did a YouTube video about like a month about a month ago about how my ACOS is and you find like, purists that like ACOS like your ACOS has to be under 20 or 30%. It's really tough. It's tough. So a couple of things that affect ACOS is your book and Kindle unlimited or not. Is your booking KDP Select or not? Because the ACOS doesn't, doesn't consider the estimated value per page reads, as well, which, which thankfully, Amazon gave us, you know, in the past year, so it Yeah, it does, it doesn't consider that. It also doesn't consider read through rate. So read through rate and fiction. So in series, it's very easy to determine not easy, but you can determine your read through rate is very clear. You know how many people read book one to book two to Book Three? and so on. So that that's another thing that affects it. With nonfiction. It's obviously you read through rate but your upsells as well. Like how many? Like do you have an affiliate offers? Or do you have coaching program and all that type of stuff like my, my book, cash unicorn book marketing for fiction authors, I mean, it's a business card book for me, right? So I don't mind, I don't even care about my costs. Because as long as it doesn't get like completely out of control, I'm not going to spend $3 a click, but like, I don't care about it, because there's upsells that make it worthwhile. Right. So what I've been finding more and more is that you're what you really need to figure out is your total value per reader and bid based on your total value per reader, that that's really the way to do it. And then just more or less ignore your ACOS. I think knowing your conversion rates, how many people go on to read other books or to purchase upsells because you're you're bidding against other people and this is goes into Amazon as a whole. Because you're bidding against you know the bid price in that relevancy, you know, you're bidding against other people who know their total value per reader. So they don't mind bidding 80 cents or $1, or whatever. So, you know, to to really get a lot of impressions and to get a lot of clicks, you know, I think it's best to totally understand that number. And to get to that number is not easy. It's just not easy, right? Like you need data you need time you need all this sort of stuff. Yeah, so ACOS and then if it's one fiction, if it's, it's really, really hard to advertise a single fiction book, if it's just gonna be a complete standalone, and they don't plan on coming out with any other books, it's very, very difficult to advertise that. If they only have one fiction book out now. You get into what's your total value per email address, to build your list and to build your, your reviews and all that sort of stuff. So that's why I kind of started when I was like, man, it's a big topic because there's so many things that that affect and it all depends on the individual's goals and where they are and what they plan on doing with the books and it's just there's so many factors at play. But yeah, I'll let I'll let someone else carry on.

Alex Strathdee 39:31

I was gonna say out of the three of us I'm definitely the newest in the space and the past year has been nothing but a huge lesson in what exactly we talked about. It's it just seems to come down to the total value of a reader as opposed to you know, the sale of the book. But Michal, I know you probably have a lot to help with here.

Michal Stawicki 39:54

Yeah, first of all, I advertise mostly nonfiction books. So they are stand alones And you can like, kind of figure out ACOS and base your calculations prediction based on that. But on the other hand, I'd say, ACOS for me is non-existent issue. I just ignore the thing, like unicorns and aliens and anything else. Because it has nothing to do with you, like nothing to do with total value witch conversion with reviews. Now, it's just a artificial measure and the total misleading that people are spending. I've seen our spending, like cosmic amounts of money on the ads because ACOS said it was alright or whatever the reasoning, but just ignore it. I will show you a window and show you how I look into the data. And there is no ACOS here. Do you see that? So like I exterminate ACOS from here, I see. I look at impressions, clicks, orders, and orders, like they are not very reliable, but they are telling some thing, especially if your book is in Kindle Unlimited, they sold very, very little of the story. The same with sales, which aren't really sales, but they aren't your royalties. But what Amazon charges readers for purchases. So this is the really hardcore data spent impressions clicks. Oh, and I look at those and this how I like I'm interested in CPC also. But I can I have it here in the table down there.

Denis Caron 42:03

Yeah. Let's look at the spend and the clicks. And I'm like, that's good.

Michal Stawicki 42:10

It's a good book. And yeah, so I never look at ACOS other than to tell someone come on. It's not a metric, you should look at it.

Denis Caron 42:28

It's unfortunate, because so many people look at it. And it's like, it's a sexy metric. You know, like, you could be like, Oh, look, I got 15% ACOS you know, it's a great screengrab. And to be like, Look, look at this, right, like, it is really good with that. But yeah. Yeah, so many factors are at play. But Sorry, go ahead Alex.

Alex Strathdee 42:49

I was gonna say, you know, Michal referencing that account, I mean, walk us through a little bit of what your optimization looks like. Like what you know, what do you if you don't mind sharing? I mean, what, what do you do to optimize something?

Michal Stawicki 43:25

So, well, my case is so much simpler, because those book are stand alones. And I usually, like I advise my customers to go out of Kindle Unlimited, because it makes very little sense for nonfiction, if you don't have a back end for it. So in that case, I look at impressions versus clicks. This is very important metric, like how it converts and it's, I'm not overly like concerned. In this case, it's over. It's over 2000 impressions per one click. And I'm not worried about this because it just means Okay, 2000 people didn't click good because I would have paid for or rather my customer for but for those clicks. But the rate here impression two clicks, okay, so it is in a decent range, like 2000 to two and a half. It still doesn't range in my book. The other metric I look into is clicks versus orders. And this is a beautiful example, it's 18 and a half for this book. And it's actually good for the totally random keywords I'm using, like no targeting at all. Just whatever comes to your mind. Put it on Amazon and people will see your ad click on it and buy or not. So this below 20, it's really good. If you can go go lower than that is simply great with untargeted approach. And those are mostly the things I'm looking into. I also have sales here, because they I use them as a rule. Sorry, rule rule of thumb metric, half of the sales is about royalty, especially if you advertise both the Kindle and the paperback version. So I could get granular for this account because it's only 10 sales in the last month. So I can see how many Kindles how many paperbacks I sell, but with the accounts with more volume, it just impossible to see how many paperbacks versus Kindles you sold? I use this sales slashed into half a measure to see if I'm if the customers at least breaking even. Any questions?

Denis Caron 46:22

I think that's a good topic for the next discussion is is advertising. Fiction versus nonfiction? I guess sorry, Michal. I guess you don't dive into fiction much. And Alex, I think you're you don't dive into fiction too much either.

Michal Stawicki 46:41

You're the expert.

Denis Caron 46:44

I am not finding much success with fiction books. Yeah, cuz, I mean, really the nonfiction. You could charge more for nonfiction and the sales are greater with with the physical copies, you know, hardcover, paperback, and the royalties are higher.

Yeah. So it's just it's, it is easier to do like just one standalone. Because in fiction, yeah, it becomes so much murkier, like so much more. So much fog, you know, with that read through rate?

Alex Strathdee 47:27

We've stopped taking clients who are fiction authors who just have one book, because the, I'm just not confident that they're gonna get a return on their money. So I agree with you, there's some that we work with, you have the I think we have one fictional through as one standalone book. And I think he just he has a 20 Awards. It's an extremely well written written book, and it just, you know, really just happened to, you know, hit it on the mark. And he's, I mean, he's the only one and you know, I, the vast majority, we just turn away now, the fiction authors that we work with long term are the ones who who do, you know, have that read through rate that you can count to get the ROI on it. But yeah, it's so much easier when you think about just searching on Amazon, it's so much easier to cater to the person who is going on there to find business advice, as opposed to someone who's looking for a romance novel, because they're just two completely different types of searches on Amazon.

Michal Stawicki 48:27

I hear some admitted success with fiction, but they are stand alones. So I'm using my system and I can like translates the metrics into those fiction books. And they are not in Kindle unlimited. But I advertise quite a few fiction books, and always with my low bits, and my untargeted approach. And it still works and it still depends a lot on the algorithm. So I have those successful fiction books not because they are so great, although they are good enough for sure. Good cover fit that the general and good writing and so on. But mostly because Amazon thinks highly of those books, so it shows it to many, many potential readers and some of them click some of them but So also, I in the past, I had a few like children authors. It was so hard like, Yes, I sold some. I even made money with some but it was so much harder to do. One is competition. The other is like, yeah, people are willing to spend money on business book but not you know, small book for the child's which will be thrown away in a heartbeat.

Denis Caron 50:06

Yeah, I haven't even tackled children's books. I'm just so nervous. It just seems like it's such a different world, you know?

Alex Strathdee 50:19

Well, this is, this has been a great variety of topics sounds like we already have something maybe on the docket for next week. I think that's fiction versus nonfiction, maybe a little deeper. And on top of that, maybe even chatting a little bit about targeted ads versus common word strategies as well. Because, you know, that's something that I think we could definitely dive deeper into. But any anything else you guys want to add here as we wrap up?

Denis Caron 50:45

No, I think that's good. Like the targeting we could talk for hours and hours about. Yeah, I think it's a really good topic next time. Yes,

Michal Stawicki 50:53

Yessir the next episode will be 14 hours.

Denis Caron 50:58

10 hour live stream talking about targeting.

Hopefully this has been a helpful first episode and we look forward to going heavy into everything targeting on the next one. Bids, Common Vs. Targeted, etc. See you there!

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