Marketing Monday: The Results
sale, and now I can run this thing down by the numbers:
- 0-dollars spent on this ad campaign
- 1- That's the total number of books sold
- 1- That's the total number of reviews garnered from this promotion.
- 5-The number of stars in the review we got. You should read it, they said some really nice things about us.
- 1.9+ million- starting sales rank (general Amazon ranking)
- ~1.2 million mid day rank after our 1 sale, but before the review (general Amazon ranking)
- 185,791 end of day (well, just before I went to bed) and after the review (general Amazon rank)
- 11,460 in Fairy Tales beginning of day
- 1565 in Fairy Tales end of day
- 12,966 in Mythology/Folktales beginning of day
- 2124 in Mythology/Folktales end of day
- 21803 in Short Reads (under of two hours or less than 60 pages) beginning of day
- 1751 in Short Reads end of day
So what do all of these numbers mean?
Some answers. First of all, the lone sale definitely came from filling out the forms and putting ourselves on the weblists. Since we didn't pay to get into these email campaigns and websites, I guess you could say we got what we paid for. Fine. I also know that this definitely means that me and my other co-authors have totally tapped out our fan bases for this book. I know this because I know the sale came in before midday (my time) and we put out our social media blitzes afterwards.
Secondly, despite the fact we only picked up one sale, it tells us a little something about Amazon and their ranking system, which should help us going forward. While the Amazon algorithm is this well kept secret, and I am definitely not in the camp of "chase the algorithm", I do think we should all have an intuitive feel for what Amazon wants in a book and what it takes to get Amazon to "work for us."
First of all it tells me that review matter. Look at that general Amazon ranking on the day we sent out the emails. It went up after the sale. I just did a quick check before going to my kid's soccer game. I didn't have notepaper handy, so I didn't write anything down in the other categories, but...I did text the general number to tell my husband we had a sale. I know at this point we did not have the review because I refreshed the page to update the numbers.
It was a soccer day, and my schedule was pretty packed, so I didn't have a chance to check the numbers again until right before bed. I was shocked to find we only had one sale, and yet our rank had climbed after the review. It was a great review, and that made me feel good. But I didn't think a single review would move the needle so much. It did. So what conclusion to draw?
It means that having good reviews in important. But I think even more importantly, in the proportion of good reviews to books sold. I mean, that was a HUGE jump! So I have to ask myself why? And it occurs to me we have two possible explanations.
1) A lot of books sell about as many copies as we have sold, but most of them don't have any reviews. Having reviews posted in about the the time it would have taken for a customer to read it, and having the review posted as an "Amazon Verified Purchase" weighs into the algorithm. Amazon now assumes as it's day one of our sale, and we've gotten a good review, then our book is "stickier" than other books with our sales level and bumps us up the ranks.
2) Our ratio of total books purchased to total books reviewed and review well makes us "better" than other books with the same level of sales and more likely for their customers to want it.
Why is it important? Well, this gets into the little "also bought" line at the bottom of your book page on Amazon. Ranking plus data = and "also bought" list. I think if we had sold enough books to get an "also bought" line at the end of our books, then we would have moved up the pages on the also bough lists of similar items. It's just a theory, but also boughts are important. Why? Well, this is where your coattails are. In order for the Amazon algorithms to kick in it has to have enough data and be worth Amazon's time.
If also boughts didn't work, Amazon would not keep showing them. And this is based on Amazon, and their math nerds. They track down variables, run the data, and show their customers what they believe their customers want and therefore get more of their customer's dollars. If you are considering running AMS ads (Amazon Marketing Services) or Facebook ads you need to sell enough books to get an also bought list. If you are writing a first in a series, these books should be by a bunch of different authors (later in the series, you are most likely to get your own books, you'll have to scroll to get to other people's works). You want to target these other author's readers. Look, readers read. And as an author, you know that even the fastest writing author can only put out so many books a year. You aren't stealing this author's readers, you are giving this author's readers filler while they wait for the next book to come out. Pick authors whose rankings are higher than yours. Read their also bought lists, target those authors' readers as well. Bit by bit you will build up a fan base to keep your writing career on target.
I hope I've given you something to think about.