I’m not saying you can’t trust Amazon. I mean why wouldn’t you be able to trust a giant in the industry? But seriously, it is important when running an Amazon ad to do your own analysis with regard to the ACoS. The ACoS is the Advertising Cost of Sales and this is “the amount you’ve spent on a campaign divided by total sales during the campaign run dates” Sounds good, right?
Um… not exactly.
There is an inherent flaw with the total sales figure provided by Amazon. Only those wonderful readers who immediately click ‘buy now’ are considered sales. Personally, I’ve only heard rumors of the existence of these one-clickers. I’ve never actually come across one in person. This sounds simple enough. You click on the ad and then – praise the heavens! – you actually buy the book as well. Ching Ching! I make some royalties, Amazon takes a cut, you get a book you adore (I hope!), and all is well. Not quite.
The first – and obvious – problem is the kindle unlimited program. Amazon does not include pages read in the ACoS. I understand this would be difficult for Amazon. They would have to keep track of pages read from a specific customer for a specific product resulting from the customer clicking on an ad. Hmmm… maybe not too difficult. Perhaps Amazon could take a moment from developing complicated algorithms to figure this one out.
The second not-so-obvious problem is that the vast majority of readers are not one-clickers. I confess. I am not a one-clicker. I always – ALWAYS – read a sample before I buy. Apparently, I’m not the only person who does this. (Yes, it’s true, I am not unique. *Sobs*) Amazon does not track those customers who download a sample as a result of an ad and then later purchase the novel. In fact, I’m not sure Amazon tracks samples downloaded at all. (WHY? Oh great one, why?)
What does this all mean? It means that writers must keep track of their sales in order to determine the real ACoS. You’ll want to include pages read for at least a week after the Amazon Ad ends as well as there’s a good chance these reads are the result of your ad. (Hey! It’s not an exact science.)
Anyone run into other problems with calculating ACoS? I’d love to hear about it.