There’s been a lot of posts circulating about the question regarding whether or not Amazon Marketing Services Ads include purchases of paperback books in its total for “Estimated Total Sales”. I ran an experiment, and I can conclude that yes, AMS Ads do include paperback sales.
Honestly, I don’t like the column for “ACoS”, because we never actually see that amount come into our possession – ever. So what I’ve done on my own spreadsheet in Excel is to include a column for “Average Cost of Royalty”. While the percentages end up being a bit higher, I know that it’s a truer reflection of my costs based on the income I have coming in.
This screenshot was taken today – yesterday my ad was at 10.50% with ACoS. This is the newest ad I created for one of my book titles on Amazon. So you see the Estimated Total Sales column? That includes a $4.99 Kindle book sale and a $16.99 paperback book sale. Today the ACoS is at 11.33%, but typically my ads hover around 10% on any given day.
Some book bloggers talk about spending their “spend”, like mine up above for $2.49 to make their total sales (like $21.98 above) well worth it. I would agree, only those sales aren’t exactly accurate. You don’t see the sales money – you only see a portion of that.
My paperback royalties are around 40%. So on a $16.99 book, I see $6.90. My Kindle books are at 70%, so for a $4.99 book I see $3.49. Not bad. But my cost for getting the $10.39 ($3.49+$6.90) is currently $2.49, and that’s actually 23.9%.
I actually like the percentages that are being reported; they’re a lot lower cost-wise than some bigger authors I’ve seen discuss AMS ads. I think 10% is pretty good; having around 24% (in reality, not reported on Amazon’s report) of my total revenue going to advertising – well, I’d like that to be better, but I’ll take it.
Now, keep in mind, I do most of my book marketing on Pinterest and through my author newsletter. And I don’t spend a ton of money on ads, either – maybe $400-500 a month, tops. I get way more email signups through Pinterest as an author and blogger than I do anywhere else. I highly recommend using Pinterest if you’re blogging or if you’re a nonfiction author like myself.
I know for a lot of people paying those weekly bills with Amazon gets to be tough without seeing a lot of royalties until the very end of the month. You have to spend what you think is commensurate with your royalties. I would not recommend spending a ton of money on ads if you’re not making sales on a daily basis. To me, that’s a clue or a hint from Amazon that something needs to be re-worked.
What is a good ACoS metric? I think it really depends on the genre of your book. I know that in another month I’m going to be posting an update as I plan on increasing the spend on my test ad shown above to $10/day, just to make sure I’ve got it nailed down and we’ll see what the additional spend looks like.
Here are some pointers, though, that I’ve come to notice with using Amazon ads, and I hope that they’ll help you:
- Give your ad enough time for customers respond before tweaking it – I recommend a week
- Work your keywords first before changing your bid amount
- Research what customers are searching for on Amazon using the search bar and letting it populate with searches
- Focus on your niche and books similar to yours
If you want help with your Amazon ads from someone who has experience in getting low ACoS, just reach out to me. I have a service available where all I do is manage ads for people. Just let me know how I can help YOU!