Campaign update: four days in

The Unbroken campaign has been running now for four days. In those four days, I’ve made a few adjustments in response to the data from Adwords. The biggest adjustment was an increase in my bid price for the search campaign. I had started with a default bid of just .15 cents a click. Despite having little or no competition I wasn’t able to get my ad to display for my search terms. The good news is that Google’s algorithm finally adjusted downward. The data indicated that if I were to raise my bid to .40 cents a click, my ads would start showing.

So I raised the default bid from .15 cents to .20 cents and then set individual keyword bids at .40 a click. My intention is to let Google start displaying my ad and after a few days start lowering my bid price. The goal is to find the lowest bid amount that will still trigger the ad. There isn’t someone over at Google controlling all of this. It’s all done through their search algorithms. As Google begins accumulating data on my campaign with regards to impressions, click through rates, search relevance, etc., the better they become at determining what the competition is for these keywords and keyword phrases. I’m fairly certain that after only a week or two at .40 cents a click I will be able to get the average cost per click (CPC) lower than .40 cents. But even at .40 cents as a bid price, it is a good investment from a marketing standpoint.

Here are the search results today, November 25, 2010, for the keyword Unbroken.

You’ll see that my ad is in the number one position on the sidebar. Amazon has the number one position at the top of the search results. Not bad. In just four days I’ve been able to get my book to show alongside the search results for anyone searching for Laura’s book. Additionally, my ads are appearing all over the web alongside reviews of Unbroken. At a cost of just .15 cents a click. There is no cost if no one clicks on the ad. So there is value in just having the name of the book appearing alongside Laura’s book. As I’ve said before, using the technology in this way is like going around to every bookstore in the world and placing my book on the shelf next to Unbroken.

Now before you head over to Google Adwords to start the process for your book, there are a couple of things you need to know. First, all the technology in the world isn’t going to make a difference if you don’t have a good book to market. I’m obviously biased, but I have the reviews to back up my claims that this is a great book. I have a website with a wealth of content. And I am targeting a book that appeals to the same type of reader. If I were to try this on just any best-selling book, I’d likely tick more people off than find new readers. Additionally, I know and understand how to use the technology. If you jump in blindly you’re likely to waste a lot of time and money. (Just so you know. You can hire me to do this for you. Check out for more information.)

It’s too early to tell what impact this campaign is going to have on sales, but here is a screenshot from my Amazon book page.

This is the section on every Amazon book page titled “Customers who bought this item also bought.” Unbroken is showing up on the ninth page for my book. Since one of my main goals was to introduce my book to general nonfiction readers and not just readers of aviation titles, I would say that I’m making progress. My book is not appearing on the list for Unbroken‘s book page. But that is one of the goals for this campaign.

Lastly, I want to talk about ethics. Some may argue that this type of marketing is unethical because you are, in effect, riding the coattails of another author. Well, if that were true then Amazon is using unethical practices because they’ve been doing it almost from day one. It’s all about finding readers. No one is going to buy your book if they’ve never heard of it.

I started reading Unbroken yesterday on my Kindle. All you have to do is browse around this site and you’ll see that I am a fan of nonfiction. I’ll be adding my review of Unbroken as soon as I finish it.

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