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Amazon Ad vs. Facebook Ad: A real life comparison

Faceoff:Amazon vs. Facebook ads

Last weekend I ran a 99¢ special on my book, Your Novel This Month as part of the Prep_tober kickoff for NaNoWriMo. Since I have no mailing list and a small website following, I knew that I would need to pay to promote the sale.

At this point I already have an Amazon ad that is making a small return on investment and I wanted to reach a bigger audience. Facebook with its thousands of writing pages and groups seemed like a logical choice. I could target my ad to a specific audience: writers, and Facebook would show my ad to those who fit this description.

Setting up the ad was easy and I made a custom graphic that was more interesting than what Amazon auto populated. I set the budget at $10/day and ran it during the three days of the sale.

While the ad generated over 20,000 impressions, it only received 301 clicks. This is a better than average click through rate CTR, which means Facebook did a fair job of placing my ad with the right audience.

The Cost-per-click (CPC) was .09¢ for a total of $28 for the entire campaign.

The results:

The number of sales generated was 9 (That’s it. 9 books.) for a conversion rate of 3%. As a comparison the average conversion rate for a Facebook ad is 9% across all industries. At 99¢ each, I generated $8.91 in sales. This means that for every dollar I made, I spent $3 for an average cost per sale (ACoS) rate of 314%. If the book had been full price and the sales the same, the ACoS would have been 110%

Let’s compare that to the performance of my Amazon ad

(these numbers are for the month because Amazon doesn’t break the numbers down into weeks)

My Amazon ad had 160 clicks at an average CPC of .30¢ each. Yes, this means that per click I paid over 3x the amount. Both ads pointed to the exact same landing page, but the Amazon ad generated 17 sales for a conversion rate of 11%. This conversion rate is far above the average. And this does not include any KU pages read as a result of the ad.
*Since many of these sales were full price, comparing the ACoS wouldn’t be fair.

Since both ads point to the exact same page (my book’s landing page on Amazon) we know that it isn’t the landing page. The only difference is the source of the ad traffic

People who clicked on my ad on Amazon were far more likely to buy my book than people who clicked on my Facebook ad.

So the question is, why is the traffic generated by the Amazon ad so much better at generating sales than traffic generated by Facebook when the target is viewing the exact same book landing page?


My conclusion is that people who are on Amazon are looking to buy books. This is the same reason that specialty candles will sell better in a candle shop than they will in the produce aisle in the grocery story. People in a candle shop are looking to buy candles.

Unfortunately, selling books is more art than science and its more luck than anything. My book is non-fiction. Fiction will likely produce completely different results.

What were your results with paid ads? Amazon, Facebook, or any other paid promotion. Let me know in the comments

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M.L. Keller is a freelance writer and editor. Her blog "The Manuscript Shredder" is focused on helping emerging writers hone their craft.


  • DRShoultz

    GREAT post! Thanks for sharing. I’ve had similar disappointing sales results with Facebook ads, although your .09 per click is less than half of what I’ve seen with my ads. I get a little better clicks per sale than you experienced, but still, it rarely covers my costs. I have no experience with Amazon ads, although after reading your post, I will give it a shot.

    • M.L. Keller

      It definitely makes a difference if you are trying to sell fiction vs non-fiction. My friend’s PNR ad on amazon is currently costing her money. So there’s no guarantee

  • D.E. Haggerty

    Interesting post. I’ve had similar results. My Amazon ads have a much better ACOS than Facebook. I was off Facebook ads for a long time because of this, but I’ve just decided to give them another try using the lessons I thought I’d learned over the years of marketing books. So far, same result.

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