Seth Godin has this book called The Dip. It’s all about knowing when to quit and knowing when to push through because you just need to put in the time and effort. It’s a good little book and one I try to keep in mind with this writing thing.
It occurred to me this morning that it sort of kind of applies to running AMS ads as well.
I was trying to help someone out with their ads this week, but it didn’t go well because the other person was very quick to give up on the ads, so ended up pausing the ads before they’d even run a day and then turning on other ads on the same books the next day (which in my experience can interfere with ad performance), and it looks like has now turned off ads that were actually performing for them and gone back to non-performing ads that look sexier because of number of impressions.
(I say this in my book, but for those of you who haven’t read it: To judge your ad’s performance you need to do two things. One, look at your book’s sales as reported on your KDP dashboard, not your AMS dashboard–because it’s anyone’s guess when they’ll show up on your AMS dashboard. And, two, if your book is in KU, monitor your book’s rank. Not your page reads, because those come with a few day lag usually, but your rank. Each time your book is borrowed, your rank will reflect it.)
Anyway, back to the point. It can be hard sometimes to know when to quit and try again and when to keep going on the path you’re on.
I’ve heard people say that they start an AMS ad and let it run for a couple of weeks before they touch it. I don’t do that. I’ve had ads that immediately racked up impressions and clicks but had no sales or borrows to show for it and I shut those down within a day or two. Good thing, too, because they cost me $20+ each for nothing.
I’ve also had ads that started out completely dead, but when I pushed up the bids they started to move and became well-performing ads for me. Letting them sit there dead wasn’t going to change anything. They needed to be worked to find what would get them going.
(Although I have heard at least one person say that some of their ads have taken a month to finally start moving, so you could try that, too.)
What I see a lot of people do is try one ad, usually with the wrong keywords and bids, not get the results they wanted, and then quit. Or try one ad that would be good if they gave it time, decide it isn’t working, try another, decide it isn’t working, try another, etc., etc.
AMS require a steady, consistent approach. Try something with a clear goal in mind. See if it works. Tweak things to see if those will impact it any. Tweak something else. If you see movement in a good direction, try to zero in on why. Only when you’ve tried what you can do you give up and try something new.
And, at least in my opinion, if you aren’t getting sales/borrows, it isn’t a successful ad no matter how many impressions or clicks it gets. You might be able to fix that by changing your blurb, because everything needs to be aligned–book cover, ad copy, book description–to get a sale, but exposure alone shouldn’t be your goal with AMS ads. It should be about generating sales and at a profit, ideally.
Now, I’m not going to tell you what strategy is “the one” because I’ve seen a number of strategies work. I know of one person who did very well for a very long time with low bid ads. I know of another who has done well running hundreds of ads on the same book. I do well running one higher-bid ad per book.
But I can tell you that starting and stopping and switching strategies before they have time to play out will likely cost you a lot of money with no discernible results.