1.7 million in revenue so far in 2022 [🔑Key Lessons]

In this post, I’m going to share what worked for us in the past 7 months and my key lessons for this year.

Hopefully, you’ll find something useful in this post.

 

📈 Track Amazon Sales in Ads Manager – Yes It’s Possible!

Most people think you can’t track sales because we’re sending traffic straight to Amazon and there’s no pixel on Amazon. Part of that is true but luckily for us, there is a way to do it.

The reason why it’s important to track sales is to be able to see what audience and what ads are bringing us, readers.

How to set up a Facebook purchase event that tracks who buys your books?

The way we did it is we created a page on the author’s website with a free book, where people can subscribe to a newsletter. I installed my Facebook pixel on this page and I set up a purchase event.

Whenever someone would visit this page the pixel would fire a purchase event.

We made sure that this link is only available at the back of book 1 in the series. So only people that bought book one would have access to this page. This way not only do we get to track purchases inside Facebook ads manager, but we build an email list just with buyers.

Note: For a purchase event to show in the ads manager, a reader would have to click on the ad, buy the book from amazon, read the whole book, and then click on this link placed at the back of the book.

It takes time for the process to be complete so the cost per purchase you see in the ads manager is not accurate, however, it gives you enough data to identify where your true readers come from. The more you spend, the more clear the data is.

If you are already running Facebook ads, there is no reason why you shouldn’t do this. It gives you a clear idea of what is working for you. 

 

🚀 Our Facebook Ads Strategy

Facebook is one of the strongest points in this case. 91% of our marketing spend goes here.

Our Strategy is quite simple: we only run ads to book 1 in the series. And we only do cold traffic.

We mainly focus to break even on book 1 and in some books we even lose money.

The more money is generated on book 1, the more money the series will make. We could run ads on book 1 at a profit at lower spend but that will ultimately result in lower profits overall. 

Breaking even at a higher revenue or even losing money on book 1 is more profitable for us compared to making a small profit on book 1 on lower revenues.

🎯 Our best audiences:

Our best performing targeting are interests, mainly author interests. We do run some lookalikes as well and we tested a lot of variations but going back to interests always seems to give us the best results.

🖼️ Our best creatives:

We have low CPC ads and high CTR ads. Our average CPC last month was $0.10. We spent 62k on FB ads alone.

We’ve learned that even if I have higher conversion ads with higher CPC I’ll still generate more readers if I have lower CPC ads with a lower conversion rate.

👉Here’s an example to illustrate my point:

Spend: $1,000
CPC: $0.18
Clicks: 5,555
A conversion rate of 8%
Books sold: 444

Spend: $1,000
CPC: $0.10
Clicks: 10,000
A conversion rate of 6%
Books sold: 600

155 more books sold with 0.10 CPC vs 0.18

I get an increase of 35% in sales by lowering my CPC and with a lower conversion rate.

Even if my conversion rate is lower, with is normal at lower CPCs, I believe the key is that I almost get double the traffic to my page.

 ❗It’s important to mention that low CPC ads work best for us when we made sure we already found a good audience. I get the same people my higher CPC ads would get me plus some more.

We’ve tested both versions and we thought that if the conversion rate was higher rank will improve and it will work better but the bottom line was low CPC ads always got us more revenue than higher CPC ads with higher “conversion rates”.

However, we do have cases where some books are super profitable with higher CPCs (0.15) and we don’t touch them. As long as they are profitable we don’t mess with them.

Most of the time we adjusted ads on a well-performing book we made it worse.

 

🧠 We understand how profitable each series is

This can be a bit technical but I’ll try to make it as simple as I can.

Finding out how much a series is worth can give you a lot of clarity on what you can expect to get back from advertising.

We took all the sales and page reads from each series and created a simulator ( a big spreadsheet ) where we were able to determine how much money a series generates per 1$ generated in book 1 revenue.

A real example from one of our 10 book series is if we generate $1 in book 1 revenue, the series will generate $5.45 once read thru is complete. This is based on all the data we collected in the past years, so the data is quite accurate.

This helps me understand what I can expect from a series in terms of profit.

If book 1 generates $100/day in book 1 revenue then I can expect the series to generate $545 per day.

We have a different 10 book series where if we generate $1 in book 1 revenue, the series will generate only $1.75 once read thru is complete. 

This is because read-thru between books is much lower compared to the previous example.

So if book 1 generates $100/day then I can expect the series to generate $175 per day.

In both cases, I spend 100/day I get back 100 per day in book 1 revenue but my return on spend is very different. I get $370 extra per day in the first case compared to the second

👉 And this is not because of the ads, It’s because the read thru is higher in one series and each reader will read more books in the series therefore will generate more revenue.

The point is that I know what I can expect from each series, I know some series will generate higher returns and some series will generate lower returns and the only way to make money on a low-return series is to spend more.

On some series, you can spend 10k to make 10k and on some, you spend 5k to make 15k.

And if a series has a lower read thru the only way of making more money is to spend more.

 

📙 Amazon Ads Strategy

We spend less money on AMS because we are more efficient with Facebook, but Amazon has its part.

We tested running no amazon ads vs running them alongside Facebook ads and we’ve learned that we make more money if we run AMS. 

Actually, they go hand in hand with Facebook.

👉Sponsored brands

Overall I’d say they perform the best.

We do around 500 keywords per campaign and we use suggested bids. We apply the suggested bids every 7 days. We tried applying them daily but on 7 days works much better.

Most of the revenue on our amazon ads comes from retargeting keywords, (our author name and our books name). And this is because we spend a lot of ads on Facebook and a lot of people keep seeing the same name over and over again. Then they search for it on Amazon.

We also do Sponsored product ads targeting ASINs, and they work quite well for us.

We have a campaign where we advertise Book 1 in a series that targets all of our own ASINS. I checked to see what ASINS were performing the best and I was surprised to see that the ASINS that were getting us the most sales were books that were on preorder or the last books in the series.

Yes, a book on preorder got a lot of new readers into book 1 in the series. The reason is that Amazon gives the most visibility to new books. And will push your preorder to new readers that will end up buying book 1 in the series. Pretty cool.

 ❗A few important things:

Having only one type of campaign per book performs best for us. As soon as we add more campaigns for the same book they both perform much worse.

So we keep 1 sponsored brand campaign per book and 1 Sponsored product campaign targeting ASINS per book. No more.

 

✉️ Email List

We don’t do it. We prefer people to buy a book and sign up at the end of the book. This way the email list is built based on people that buy our books instead of people interested in a free book. Then we know we can rely on the email list to sell more books in our upcoming launches.

 

✍️ Cover Redesign

We had a series that was dying out, no matter what adjustments we were making to the ads, we had a hard time getting the book to make as much money as it was making before.

After trying everything we could on the ads side we thought it was time to change the cover and see if that helps. The covers were decent before just not amazing.

There was one book that used to make over $200 per day and now it was down to $80 per day. A change that happened slowly over time.

I looked at all the books that I knew authors were advertising heavily and I looked at the covers. I noticed a clear pattern, landscapes, and a clear color people used. So we went to the graphic designer and gave him clear instructions on what colors to use and what to cover should contain. We made sure the cover fits a scene in the book.

👉 We changed the cover, and slowly the book started making more money. We went from making $80 per day to making $160 without increasing the spending. Pretty crazy.

It seems that with a new cover you can reach again to those people that didn’t want to buy the book in the first place.

We’ve spent almost 2 months testing and interviewing graphic designers to make sure we get the best talent.

Tips on getting good cover designs:

Give clear information and examples of what you want your cover to look like and give designers space to be creative within your guidelines.

Designers hate making tons of adjustments and like to work with people that give them space and freedom. The key is to have guidelines that fit within other well-performing cover designs.

 

Short recap whit key lessons that helped us in the 7 months 
  • We always track purchases.
  • Our Facebook strategy is to generate as much money on book 1 in the series at break-even or at a loss.
  • Our best performing audiences are author interests
  • Low CPC and high CTR ads generate the most revenue for us.
  • We understand how profitable each series is and spend the most money there
  • Amazon ads: We keep one type of campaign per book, no more.
  • We no longer run email ads, we build the email list with buyers.
  • When nothing works we redesign covers.

I hope that some of the things I mentioned here resonate with you and I hope they can help you take things to the next level.