SSA #007: Facebook Ads vs Amazon Ads For AuthorsFeb 18, 2023
Read Time: 7 minutes
I've played around with multiple different Ad platforms and marketing channels over the years.
Some did ok, others did nothing for us.
And just a couple truly moved the needle; and by moved the needle, I mean, sell books.
As you might have guessed from the subject line of today's newsletter, the 2 platforms I'm referring to here are:
– Facebook Ads
– Amazon Ads
And, purely from a personal preference standpoint; I just find these 2 platforms the most enjoyable to use.
But that's by the by.
The critical thing here isn't what you enjoy doing the most (though that plays a role), it's more about what drives sales.
After all, you may enjoy posting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram 10 times per day, but can you truly say, with absolute certainty, that those posts you spend time writing, are selling books?
Yes, you could argue that positing on these social media platforms is building your brand, but ultimately, you need to sell books.
That's what you're doing all of this for right? Driving sales so that you can fulfill your vision as a full-time author?
Today, I'm going to break down the differences between Facebook Ads and Amazon Ads and help you decide which platform to focus on.
Unfortunately, many authors feel the pressure to be everywhere and do all the things.
When in reality, all you need are 2-3 traffic sources to drive consistent daily sales.
"Simplicity is an exact medium between too little and too much" – Joshua Reynolds (English Painter)
In the beginning, focusing on ONE platform is going to reap so many more rewards for you than trying to learn 4, 5, 6 different traffic sources, each with their own nuances and requiring their own strategies.
As the image below represents, your progress will be exponentially more if you focus on the lever-moving activities instead of trying to do all the things.
Relying on one platform to drive all your traffic is potentially risky. But with a relentless focus on ONE platform, your results in as little as 3-6 months are going to far outweigh what you would have achieved had you been trying to learn 3, 4, 5, or more platforms at the same time.
As a side note, Amazon exclusivity is potentially risky too, but it's a risk many authors are prepared to take with the enhanced upside that comes with being exclusive to Amazon; on top of that, there are many other avenues in which Amazon exclusive authors can diversify their income; but that's a topic for another day.
Most authors, whether exclusive to Amazon or not, start with Facebook Ads and/or Amazon Ads.
But each platform performs differently and isn't always suitable for every book, depending on where it currently is in its lifecycle.
So, let's dive into things and identify which platform is right for you.
In the beginning, this is where I started advertising my wife's books (before I got distracted and became a victim of shiny object syndrome for a brief time).
Facebook Ads have the advantage of purely being a traffic generator, unlike Amazon Ads, which, as you'll learn in a moment, is definitely NOT just a traffic generator.
By focusing on getting you as many clicks as possible, for the lowest cost possible, Facebook Ads have the ability to send a LOT of traffic to your books in a very short space of time.
I've had authors go through my Jumpstart Facebook Ads course who have seen a huge boost in sales within a matter of 1-2 weeks of implementing what they learn in the course; it can be that quick.
Facebook Ads can be a traffic tap you are able to turn on and off at will.
It's a creative platform that requires you to write Ad Copy (text) and make images, so if you're not that way inclined, it can be a challenge to find your rhythm with Facebook Ads. But the challenge is worth it, trust me.
Some of The Cheapest Clicks Around
Once dialed in, your Facebook Ads can be generating clicks to your book product pages on Amazon for as little as $0.10 - $0.20, sometimes lower.
Compare that to the likes of Amazon Ads, where you're looking at $0.40 - $1+ per click; you can see how much more traffic is attainable using Facebook Ads, even if you were to use the same daily budget on each platform.
Tracking Your Facebook Ads Performance
Before October 2022, there was no way to track conversions (i.e Sales and Page Reads) generated by Facebook Ads.
That all changed when Amazon gave KDP authors access to Amazon Attribution, which, in short, allows you to create unique tracking links and measure the conversion activity of all your off-Amazon marketing (i.e. Facebook Ads, BookBub Ads, Email Marketing, etc.).
If you don't have Amazon Attribution setup yet, I would highly encourage you to do so, as you'll have so much more insight into what is and isn't working and can act accordingly.
I've recorded a video that walks you through, step-by-step, how to set up your Amazon Attribution links and analyze the results:
You can only spend so much...
You will find that there comes a point of diminishing returns with Facebook Ads.
By this, I mean that you'll reach a point where, no matter how much you spend, you just can't spend more than that profitably.
There will be a cap to what you can spend; go past that cap, and your Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) will start to reduce significantly.
This point of diminishing returns will differ from author to author, depending on how many books are in their series and catalog as well as read-through.
From my experience though, working with authors across multiple genres, the cap seems to be somewhere around $150 - $300 per day, per series, per country.
Clearly, if you have a 20+ book series with strong readthrough, your cap is going to be higher, but it's there.
The same is not true with Amazon Ads, where you can profitably scale up to $500 - $1,000+ per day.
Speaking of which, let's switch gears...
Amazon Ads are much slower to build traction and momentum than Facebook Ads; something you may have experienced if you've dipped your toe into Amazon Ads before.
They also aren't too keen on taking your money!
By this, I mean that it can be difficult to encourage Amazon to deliver your Ads to readers in enough volume that you'll actually generate clicks.
Having said this, with the right systems in place as well as an account and campaign structure that allows everything you do to work in harmony together, you can soon see a big jump in sales from your Amazon Ads, as many authors who have been through my Jumpstart Amazon Ads course have experienced.
You Only Pay For Clicks
This is the most significant difference in terms of the costing model between Amazon Ads and most other advertising platforms, including Facebook Ads.
Amazon Ads only charge you when someone clicks on your Ads – this is the PPC (Pay Per Click) model.
Many other advertising platforms, Facebook Ads included, charge you on a CPM (Cost Per Mille) basis, meaning that you pay for every 1,000 impressions; whether people click on your Ad or not, you still pay.
With Amazon Ads, their PPC model means you can generate 100,000 impressions for zero cost.
In short, your books can be seen by hundreds of thousands of readers without paying a penny to Amazon.
To be clear, an impression counts when someone sees your book listing on a search results page or a book product page. They won't see the book description, A+ Content, the detail of the reviews, etc, on the product page itself.
As I mentioned earlier, CPCs (Cost-Per-Clicks) on Amazon Ads are much higher than those of Facebook Ads; you're looking at, on average, $0.40 - $1.00 per click, sometimes higher.
This is why, if you only have 1 or 2 books published, and your goal is to make a profit, Amazon Ads may not be the best route for you just yet.
Despite these higher-priced clicks, the conversion rate of Amazon Ads tends to be much higher than that of Facebook Ads; primarily, I believe, this is because readers are on a platform looking for books to buy.
The same is not true for Facebook Ads; people don't log on to Facebook to look for books!
If you don't have much in the way of sales history (ideally 3-5 sales per day, at least), then you may find Amazon isn't too inclined to show your Ads.
They would much rather show readers books that have a proven track record of making sales and earning money for both Amazon and the Author.
On top of that, the reader is happy, as they've come to Amazon and found a book to read – and customer satisfaction is what Amazon was built on in the beginning.
If you're already making good sales each day, then you shouldn't have an issue with deliverability, providing your targeting is relevant and you're bidding high enough.
Scaling Amazon Ads
The potential for scale with Amazon Ads is huge. More so than Facebook Ads.
Some authors spend $10,000+ per month on Amazon Ads, and still aren't at full capacity or reaching a point of diminishing returns, as they could be at half that amount on Facebook Ads.
The reason for this is that there is an ever-increasing inventory of Ad Space; placements that Amazon has allocated to Ads on its websites.
This includes both placements on the search results pages and on the product pages themselves.
The more books that are published (100's - 1000's per day), the more Ad inventory becomes available.
Clearly, not all these new books being published will be a good fit for your books, but even if just a handful of them are, your opportunity for scale increases every single day.
Your Book Cover Plays A Key Role
In the beginning stages of a new Amazon Ads Campaign, you may have a lot of impressions, as Amazon tests the waters with your book.
If, however, very few of those impressions turn into clicks, Amazon will soon start throttling the deliverability (and therefore impressions) of your Ads because there are plenty of other books out there for Amazon to give impressions to that are perhaps more likely to generate clicks (and therefore, a higher chance of making sales).
If or when you find yourself in this situation, the number one culprit is usually your book cover.
This is because your book cover is front and center in your Ad (and your organic listings).
If your book cover is of poor quality or off-genre, then it's not going to garner many clicks.
Amazon is taking notes and will act accordingly.
You'll receive fewer impressions and any clicks you do generate may become more expensive.
And from an organic perspective, if your books are appearing in search results but not getting clicks, again, Amazon is taking notice and may reduce their visibility.
Which Platform Is Right For You?
I'll keep this short and to the point to make it actionable:
– If the book you're planning on advertising is ranked above 50,000 in the Kindle Store (or the Books Store if your top-selling format is Paperback or Hardback), then focus on Facebook Ads.
– If the book you are planning to advertise is already ranked in the Top 50,000 in the Kindle/Books Store, you'll have enough sales history to run Amazon Ads.
These aren't hard and fast rules by any stretch of the imagination; they are there purely as a guide.
Amazon Ads can definitely sell books that are ranked over 50,000.
BUT, it's going to be slow.
If you're looking for traction and momentum quickly, wherever your books are ranked, start with Facebook Ads.
Whichever direction you choose to go, really focus on that ONE platform for 6-12 months. Get the Ads dialed in. Become a master at that platform.
Once you have those Ads ticking along, then layer on a second platform and go through the same process, whilst also maintaining your first Ads platform.
You're playing the long game here. Don't rush and don't feel the pressure to be everywhere. You don't need to be.
That's it for this week; thanks for reading.
To Your Success