Amazon Marketing Services: A Guide to the 3 Types of Ads for Authors

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about AMS ads from authors looking to increase their marketing efforts.

Amazon Marketing Services is, as you can guess, Amazon’s ad platform for sellers. Although vendors selling products like paper towels have many options under the AMS roof, authors are limited to just a few: Sponsored Product Ads, Headline Ads, and Product Display Ads.

Sponsored Product Ads

These are the most popular form of ads amongst authors, and they’re the easiest to use. With SPA’s, you target various keywords that buyers search. You can choose up to 1,000 keywords per ad (or per book). Just like you chose 5 keywords for your book itself, now you get 1,000 of those.

That might sound like a lot, and sure, it is, but most of those keywords won’t generate much at all.

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Sample sponsored product ad, shown on the detail page for another novel.

The best keywords are actually your “also-boughts”. You know the section on Amazon which shows buyers what other shoppers purchased after looking at the on-screen product? Those are referred to as “also-boughts.” It’s accepted across the industry that these are your best bet for choosing keywords. Put the author names and book titles as keywords in your list. Then go to those books’ pages, and look at those also-boughts. Keep going on and on, creating a sort of “chain link,” until you hit 1,000.

This is a time-sucking process, yes, but you can always pay someone else to do it for you.

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Sample “also-boughts” for a novel. Shown on the book’s detail page.

Headline Ads

Similar to SPA’s, Headline Ads also target keywords. The nice thing about SPA’s is that they’re ideal for a series of books, because they allow you to show three books in the ad, not just one. Headline search ads have  been updated to show at the top or the sidebar of the screen.

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The only caveat is that for whatever reason, they tend not to be shown as often as SPA’s.

Product Display Ads

PDA’s are targeted by related items on Amazon, which can include items beyond just other books. Let’s say you’re trying to advertise a book about gardening. You might choose some related items such as a garden tool kit, a pair of gardening gloves, or garden shears.

For other genres, such as fiction, it will make the most sense to choose other novels in the same genre.

These ads tend to show in the sidebar, or below the “buy” button on a product detail page:

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Product Display Ad example in a sidebar.


If you have any questions on which ad is best for you, give us a shout. We also offer marketing assistance at DP. If you’re interested, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

2 thoughts on “Amazon Marketing Services: A Guide to the 3 Types of Ads for Authors

  1. Ben says:

    Thanks for the hyper-targeted advice, Kristen! It’s a lot easier to put effort in to ads when you know where to start.

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