Meeks Explains Amazon Ads (2)

Meeks Mastering Amazon AdsBrian D. Meeks.[1] 2017. Mastering Amazon Ads: An Author’s Guide. CreateSpace.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

In April I began advertising with Amazon Ads, sometimes called AMS ads. In the summer, I cut my bids about in half and started showing a small profit on the ads at the cost of reducing my sales volume. Over the last six months, I have gone from selling most of my books in person to selling more online and my Kindle sales have exceeded paperback sales. If sales continue at current rates, I will exceed the benchmark of having sold more than one thousand Christian, non-fiction books.[2]

Against this backdrop, when I learned that Joanna Penn was hosting a podcast[1] with Brian Meeks, a former business analyst, on AMS Ads, I was all ears. When I learned that Brian also had a book on the subject, I immediately ordered a copy.


Brian Meeks begins his book, Mastering Amazon Ads, with these objectives:

“Later in this book I’m going to cover many aspects of marketing: how to improve your ad’s performance, return on investment (ROI), some of the misconceptions about Amazon ads, and dozens of other pieces to the puzzle.” [SIC].(7)

AMS offers two kinds of ads: sponsored product (SP or keyword) and product display (PD or interest) ads (16). Because SP ads run almost immediately and PD ads take a day or two to kick in, many people write off PD ads as not profitable (8).

Brian advocates PD ads because they are easy to set up and serve a different market—PD run on Kindle, while SP ads do not (8). Because the ads serve different markets, they do not compete with one another which implies that authors should run both kinds of ads to maximize their sales. Consequently, I began testing PD ads even before I finished reading the book.


Before writing full-time, Brian worked as a business analyst and he advocates testing the assumptions that go into creating AMS ads. But how do you know that your ads perform as well as they might? Brian says test and measure performance among the alternatives.

Brian advocates measuring ad performance by taking daily snap shots of ad statistics provided by AMS. Key performance indicators are:

Click Through Rate (CTR).

How many impressions (views of the ad) are required to get a click?

Brian likes PD ads because the CTR is lower (fewer impressions are required to get a click) and conversion rate is lower (fewer clicks are required to get a sale) (19). In my own test comparing my first books’ SP performance with its PD performance, I notice today that the CTR for my SP is 1,298 to 1, but for my PD is it 340 to 1. This implies that my PD ad generates about four times as many clicks as my SP ad. (Brian’s own test showed five times as many clicks). Brian sees the CTR as a measure of ad copy efficiency (21).

Conversion Rate (12-13).

How many clicks are required to get a sale?

The conversion rate from clicks to sales combined with the bid give the cost of a sale. If five clicks are required to get a sale on average and the bid is $0.11 per click, then the ad cost of a sale is 5 *$0.11 or $0.55.

Return on Investment (ROI).

Are the ads profitable?

According to Brian (13), the ROI for ads is calculated by subtracting ad costs from ad revenue (price times the royalty rate) and dividing that number by the cost of the ads.

Continuing the above example, if a Kindle sale generates $3.47 ($4.95 * 70%) and costs $0.55, then the ROI on that ad is: 531% ($3.47 – $0.55)/$0.55). If the Kindle sale generates $0.35 ($0.99 * 0.35), then the ROI is: – 36% (($0.35 – $0.55)/$0.55).

Clearly from this example, the bid offer and the book pricing work together to determine whether ads are profitable. If the bid is too high or the book price is too low, then the ads are not profitable. Brian makes both observations repeatedly in his discussion and examples.


Brian Meeks’s Mastering Amazon Ads: An Author’s Guide is a helpful book for authors who want to sell books on Brian’s writing style is accessible and his analytical advice is useful for those not comfortable in working with numbers.



[1] @ExtremelyAvg.

[2] According to different sources, less than five percent of independent authors sell a thousand books and most sell none at all. For this reason, the thousand book threshold garners attention.

Meeks Explains Amazon Ads

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T2Pneuma Releases “My Travel Through Life” By Stephen J. Hiemstra In Kindle Ebook


CONTACT: Stephen W. Hiemstra (son), T2Pneuma Publishers LLC (, Centreville, VA, 703-973-8898 (M),

CENTREVILLE, VA, 05022017: “My Travel Through Life:  Memoir of Family Life and Federal Service” by Stephen J. Hiemstra (Father) is now available in Kindle Ebook (ISBN: 978-1942199137; ASIN: B071YSTF44). It is also available in paperback (ISBN: 978-1942199038) on according to T2Pneuma Publishers LLC of Centreville, Virginia. For more details, see:


Stephen J. Hiemstra (Phd) chronicles his early life, schooling, military service, and service in the federal government.  In this rags to riches story, read about how an Iowa farm boy finds love, earns a doctorate, serves his country, combats hunger, advises presidents, and starts the first doctoral program in hospitality anywhere.

Stephen is a Professor Emeritus at Purdue University and former Senior Research Fellow in the School of Business and Public Policy at George Washington University. He is the founder and Director of the hospitality Ph.D. program in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Purdue University.

Stephen grew up on a mixed, grain-livestock farm in near Oskaloosa, Iowa. He is a graduate with a bachelors and master’s degree from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. He received his doctorate in agricultural economics at University of California at Berkeley in 1960, after service in the U. S. Air Force. He is currently retired and living in Falls Church, Virginia with Hazel, his wife, of 60+ years.

Key words for this book include: agriculture, food, hospitality, economics, Iowa, USDA, Purdue.



His role in the evolution of USDA’s programs that now feed millions of Americans should not be understated. There is much more to learn and enjoy in this very readable journey of a very productive life.                                                                – John E. Lee, Jr., Retired Administrator and Professor Emeritus


As we learned from Dr. Stephen J. Hiemstra, life is a journey where we travel from moment to moment, from research to education, from government to university, from discovery to discovery.

– Hailin Qu, Professor, Oklahoma State University


Dr. Hiemstra was a brilliant thinker, problem solver, patient with those who didn’t have his intellect, and a man of God. He was a statesman, leader, and, more importantly, my friend.

– Dr. Carl A. Boger Jr., Professor, University of Houston


Other books by T2Pneuma Publishers LLC include:

  • A Christian Guide to Spirituality
  • Una Guía Cristiana a la Espiritualidad
  • Life in Tension

For more details, see:

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Kindle Edition of A Christian Guide to Spirituality Now Available

Cover, A Christian Guide to Spirituality

This morning a Kindle Edition of A Christian Guide to Spirituality was released and is available for purchase on

Details about both the paperback and Kindle editions are available at:

For those of you unfamiliar with Kindle Books, you do not need to buy a Kindle to read Kindle books. publishes a number of free Kindle readers.  Personally, I like the Kindle reader for PC, but there is also one for IPhone which I use.

Kindle is preferred by many readers because:

  1. Kindle books are cheaper,
  2. You can make the typeface really big,
  3. It is portable on your phone or computer, and
  4. The entire book is searchable.

Authors that I have read claim that EBook users read more books than anyone else and that they make more money on EBook sales than paperback book sales.

Perhaps you asking why it took me so long to come out with a Kindle version?  The paperback version is rendered in a fixed, Adobe Acrobat format, while Kindle (and other EBooks) are a flexible, *.mobi format.  For the former, I had to learn to use Adobe InDesign to get things done right; for the latter, I had to learn to Scrivener—a popular authoring program (  Needless to say, learning new software does take time.

In addition to the book reviews available on, I recommend that you look at an academic review published this week by Michael A.G. Haykin.

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