Amazon Ads For Authors Guide & Tactics

June 7, 2023

With the rise of ecommerce, many authors have started selling their books online, especially in the ebook format — after all, they’re much cheaper and easier to self-publish. Amazon, in particular, is known for its ebook support, with the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) service allowing any author to self-publish (both digital and physical books) for free.

Since Amazon is home to a large variety of products, it can be hard to get noticed by potential buyers. Fortunately, Amazon allows you to advertise your products, and with Merch Jar, you can easily optimize your ad campaigns to achieve the best results.

What is ‘Amazon Ads’?

Amazon Ads is a PPC (pay-per-click) Amazon advertising service where you only pay when a shopper clicks on your ad. They operate on an auction-based system, which involves placing bids on certain keywords that are relevant to your product.

When customers search for those words on Amazon, your ad has a chance of appearing on the search results page or competitor product listings. Amazon chooses which ads to display based on how well-targeted your keywords are and how much you bid.

Different Types of Amazon Ads (With Examples)

Sponsored Products Ad

Sponsored products are ads for specific products which appear in search results and product pages. They help you reach customers who are looking at products similar or related to yours.


Amazon Sponsored Brands

Sponsored brands are ads that showcase your brand, which includes your logo, slogan, and a few of your products. They appear above search results in order to capture people’s attention. Sponsored brands are great for raising brand awareness and driving sales.


Lockscreen Ad

Lockscreen ads are mainly used to promote ebooks on Amazon Fire tablets and Kindle E-readers. These ads appear on the lock screen or the homepage (for Kindle E-readers). When readers interact with your ad, they should be taken to the relevant product page, where they can easily purchase the book.


Benefits of Amazon Ads for Authors

Campaigns are Quick to set up (no Creatives Required)

Amazon Ads makes it easy to set up ad campaigns without relying too much on visual design. Instead, you can just use your existing book cover and metadata (e.g., title, reviews, etc.) to generate your ads. Without the stress of creating new visuals, you can focus more on structuring your Amazon advertising.

It Helps Raise Your Rank as a Best-Selling Author

Amazon Ads help you drive sales by promoting your books to potential buyers. Since their PPC ads target keywords, they’re more likely to be shown to people interested in your niche.  As you generate more sales, you can raise your category rank and gain more exposure. Maintain a steady stream of sales by utilizing some Amazon Ad optimization strategies:

  • Lowering or raising bids based on ACOS (Advertising Cost of Sales)
  • Pausing poor-performing keywords
  • Promoting high-performing keywords

Amazon Ads Only Charge on a Pay-Per-Click Basis

Amazon Ads only charge you if someone clicks on your ad. Otherwise, you don’t pay a dime. This means you’re only paying when your ad succeeds in drawing in a shopper, not when it fails to get results.

How much you pay depends on your bidding, so make sure to budget carefully. This involves choosing your ideal target ACOS and setting profit margin goals.

Amazon Ads for Authors Best Practices

Step 1: Determine Your Goals

The basis for every ad campaign starts with establishing your goals. Amazon lets you pick your primary objectives, which you can later measure to see how well your campaign is doing. If you’re struggling to narrow down your goals, Amazon Ads has a quick multiple-choice survey you can take:


Once you’ve dedicated your goals, determine how you can monitor their success. For example, if your goal is to drive brand awareness, you can measure that by looking at how many impressions or clicks your ad receives.

Here are some other metrics you can use to measure performance:

  • Sales
  • Orders
  • Spend
  • CTR (Click-through rate)
  • ACOS
  • CPC (cost-per-click)

Knowing your goals can help you formulate effective marketing strategies since you have something to work off of. It can even help you decide which ad format to use. For instance, display ads are great for growing brand awareness.

Step 2: Create a Campaign

When it comes to actually creating your ad campaign, you must first decide what type of ad you want. For authors, especially first-time authors, it’s best to choose sponsored product ads since they have the most reach.

Lockscreen ads are limited to E-readers and Fire tablets whilst sponsored brands only appear on results pages. The latter also requires you to have at least 3 existing books for sale.


Next, fill out the form, which includes the following details:

  • Start date
  • End date
  • Daily budget (how much you’re willing to pay for clicks each day)
  • Targeting (manual vs. automatic keyword targeting)

Step 3: Ad format

Now we’re on to choosing the ad format. There are two to choose from:


A custom text ad allows you to add your own text, which you can use to describe your book in an enticing way (keep this relatively short). If you don’t want to include any custom text, opt for a standard ad instead, which won’t include text. That being said, custom text can help you sway curious viewers, so we do recommend writing a small tidbit if you’ve got the talent for it (you shouldn’t have many problems, you’re an author, after all!)


Step 4: Set up Your Keyword Targeting Amazon Ads Campaigns

Choosing the right keywords to target is quite a meticulous process. You can discover relevant keywords by searching for similar products on Amazon — look at the search suggestions for potential ideas.


Alternatively, you can use a free Amazon keyword tool (e.g., ahrefs) to find popular keywords related to your book. Once you’ve got a list of keywords in mind, it’s time to set up your targeting campaigns. ****There are three main types of keyword matching you can use:

  • Phrase (included in the search term amongst a series of words)
  • Exact (perfectly matches the search term)
  • Broad (a variation of the search term — e.g., synonyms, misspellings, plurals)

First of all, make sure to select the ‘keyword targeting’ option.

Image: Under the Targeting heading, an arrow points to the Keyword Targeting selection.

If your book has already been published on Amazon for a while, you can get some keyword suggestions along with recommended bid amounts in the ‘suggested’ tab.

Image: Under the Keyword Targeting heading is the Suggested tab, Amazon's list of suggested keywords for a book.

If you’ve only recently released the book on Amazon, go on the ‘enter list’ tab to add your own keywords.


Step 5: Take Advantage of Negative Keywords

Now let’s talk about negative targeting — these are keywords your ad won’t show up for. This can prevent your ad from being displayed to the wrong audience (i.e., unlikely customers).


You can apply these negative keywords to an entire campaign, which affects all ad groups under that campaign. Or, you can choose to only apply them to a specific ad group.

Step 6: Choose a Start and End Date

Whilst you should set a start date before commencing your campaign, you don’t have to set an end date right away. Try running your campaign for a week or so first to see how it goes before determining when it should end.


If your campaign seems to be performing quite well, there’s no need to end it anytime soon. However, if it’s costing too much money or not achieving the results you wanted, it may be worth shutting down.

Step 7: Control Your Costs

Your daily budget is the maximum amount you’re willing to spend on clicks per day. If you surpass this amount, your campaign is paused for the day. So, it’s important to set and adjust your budget according to your ACOS and ROAS (Return on Ad Spend).


Before setting your daily budget, decide how much you want to spend on each click (average CPC is $0.91). Once you’ve determined your budget, calculate your maximum clicks per day and see if you’re happy with that number.

Step 8: Review Campaign and Preview Before Going Live

After you’ve completed your ad campaign, you should preview it before actually going live with it. This way, you can spot any mistakes and fix them if necessary. Only once you’re satisfied with your campaign should you publish it.

Step 9: Tracking Your Results

After your campaign has gone live, you should keep track of its performance using a set of metrics. Try to monitor the results periodically (e.g., weekly or monthly) so you can quickly discover any important trends.

Step 10: Manage and Automate Ad Campaigns

Keeping track of metrics is great and all, but it means little if you can’t make changes to your campaign to improve results. Constantly monitoring your keyword bidding and ACOS can get really tiring, which is why it’s important to automate your ad campaigns with Merch Jar.


With Merch Jar, you can fully automate your bid management — we automatically raise or lower your bids to help you reach your target ACOS.


We also automate your keyword isolation, removing low-performing keywords whilst promoting the highest-performing ones. We’re also continuously searching for new target keywords to save you trouble.



Amazon Ads are a great opportunity for authors to promote their work — especially for newer authors looking to self-publish. Their pay-per-click system makes advertising books quite cost-efficient, but it doesn’t end at just creating a campaign. In order to achieve continuous results, you need to optimize your campaign with Merch Jar.

Here at Merch Jar, we strive to simplify your Amazon advertising through automation so you can focus on growing your business. Sign up today to start optimizing your campaign management.