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Should your Amazon ads use keywords or ASINs?

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Advertising and Marketing

Amazon advertising is the mainstay of advertising for many successful self-published authors, but it takes a lot of learning to succeed. One common conundrum for new advertisers is whether to use keywords to find new readers or advertise using ASIN numbers. There are differing opinions on this approach, so Ginger has dedicated this week’s blog post to helping you decide which option is best for your books.


What is the difference between keywords and ASINs?

Every product sold on Amazon has an ASIN, which stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number. It’s a 9-digit code that quickly identifies exactly which product you’re trying to list out of the millions of things you can buy on Amazon. Self-published eBooks have their own unique ASIN, while paperbacks (even print-on-demand books made with Amazon’s printing services) have an ISBN number for the publishing industry. However, if there is an electronic version of a traditionally published book, it will have its own ASIN number, and all versions of the book – e-book, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook, if available – will be available for purchase on the special ASIN product page. .

So this means that ASIN codes can be used to instantly identify one specific product – and there are benefits to using them in your advertising strategy.

Keywords are something else. These are individual words or strings of words that people type into the search bar on Amazon’s home page. For example, “MC Romance” is a keyword that a reader might enter if they are looking for a romance book about a motorcycle club.

You can use specific book titles as keywords when you’re looking for a specific book, but Amazon’s search bar doesn’t use them to direct people to a specific product page. Instead, Amazon will show you a list of search results generated by both their organic and advertising algorithms, and there will usually be several different products advertised before you see the top organic result, and there’s a chance it might not be the book you’re looking for .

So this means that keywords are used to identify groups and categories of products – and they are traditionally used as the primary means of finding new readers with Amazon advertising.

I say “traditionally” because that’s not always the case nowadays. As Amazon’s ad panel has evolved and expanded, it’s become much easier to target your ads using ASIN codes specifically, which can give authors the ability to show their ads not only in general search results, but also on a specific product page for a specific book. This has now become a favorite strategy of many self-published authors.

But which approach is best? And how do they both work? Let me explain below.

Keyword targeting vs. product targeting

When you start your ad campaign with Amazon Ads, the Sponsored Products campaign type allows you to choose between keyword targeting and product targeting.

Keyword targeting

With keyword targeting, you can upload a list of keywords that will help your book show up to potential readers when they search for things on Amazon. For example, if you search for my author pen name “Simon Scarlett”, the first results you’ll see are my own ads using “Simon Scarlett” as a keyword.

The benefits of using keywords to target your ads include being able to show your books when potential readers search for something specific on Amazon. If you write, for example, horror stories, you can use the keyword “Stephen King” and hopefully your book will appear in the search results when someone searches for the latest Stephen King book.

The main benefit of using keywords is that your book is something that someone can actively search for. I successfully used keywords to promote my popular science book on intermittent fasting because people used to find the book using terms like “intermittent fasting book” and “intermittent fasting for men”. Using Google keyword generatorI created a list of hundreds of potential search terms and was able to profitably advertise using them to promote my book.

However, keywords don’t work as well for other types of books – especially fiction. This is where the power of product targeting really comes into play.

Product targeting

When you choose product targeting for your ad campaign, you’re offered another way to enter your targeting data – a field where you can upload or copy and paste the ASIN codes of products that you think would be a good fit for your potential readers. .

With product targeting, instead of showing up in Amazon’s search results, your ad will have a chance to appear on the pages of the specific product you’ve specified by ASIN number. For example, using product targeting with my nonfiction book, I was able to make it look like one of Products related to this item thread on one of Amazon’s best-selling Intermittent Fasting books.

Because Amazon has designed its advertising content to resemble organic offers, having your book appear on the product pages of similar books is a very effective way to target readers directly. I find this especially effective when I’m promoting my fiction books because the keyword targeting for my genre of books is very competitive – not to mention that my readers usually find me not by searching for MC Romance books, but by my books. on the product pages of the authors they are currently reading.

In fact, marketing is waiting Robert J. Ryan even said that 80% of paid clicks on Amazon are generated by ads that appear on product pages, not search results – which might seem to suggest that using product targeting with ASIN numbers is much more effective…

…except it’s not that simple

The truth, however, depends on the book you’re trying to promote and what your version of success looks like. From a personal perspective, I’ve created successful advertising campaigns using both keyword targeting and product targeting, and your success or failure has a lot to do with your approach.

For example, one of my most successful advertising campaigns is for my non-fiction book about intermittent fasting, and keyword targeting is clearly the most successful option for me. I built a list of almost 1000 keywords and search terms related to intermittent fasting and balanced it with a very modest bid of only $0.25 per click. Each keyword may only get a few impressions a day, but I have so many that those impressions soon add up, and because I keep my bids low, I know I’ll always make an average profit.

Conversely, I have a very successful advertising campaign for my art books that uses product targeting exclusively. This is a Defense advertising company, which means I use the ASIN codes of my own books to make sure they appear in the Products related to this item tape, not my competitors’ books. I am aggressively bidding $1.50 on some of these ASINs, but because the reader will bounce from my book to another in my books, I’ve found that the click-to-buy ratio is enough to keep a company in the black.

So both approaches work, but it will take some trial and error to figure out which one works best you.

If you want to know more…

If any of this sounds intriguing to you, be sure to check out our other blogs on the topic. Remember this too
Hidden Gems Offers Individual advice on advertising and marketing of your bookswhich can help you type your ads much faster than you could by figuring it all out for yourself.

Good luck!

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Our guest author today

Ginger is also known as Roland Hulme – a digital Don Draper with a Hemingway complex. Under the pseudonym, he has sold more than 65,000 copies of his romance novels and reached more than 320,000 readers through Kindle Unlimited – using his expertise in marketing, advertising and social media to reach an ever-expanding audience.

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