Sponsored Brands for authors: Learn how to grow your business

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Topics we will cover in this guide


Amazon is a popular destination for readers to buy books, and with Sponsored Brands you can build your author brand and help readers discover your books. Here’s how to get discovered by new audiences, capture their attention, and showcase your brand.

Why Sponsored Brands?

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Chapter 1
Easy to manage

Easy to manage
Ads are self-service, so you’re 100% in control of your strategy, budget, and spend. It’s free to register, and you’ll only ever pay when your ads are clicked.

Increase your visibility

Increase your visibility
Standing out to shoppers starts with reaching readers in the right moments. Sponsored Brands ads help you connect with readers in these moments by serving eye-catching ads in these prominent positions.

Tell your story your way

Tell your story your way
Sponsored Brands gives you more creative control over how you represent your brand as an author. Bring your brand to life with a choice of formats, customizable images, and unique headlines.

Sponsored Brands placements

Below the top of shopping results

Shopping Results

Product detail pages

Product detail pages

Within shopping results


Creative options

Creative control means you have to make choices. Here’s what you need to know about creatives, destinations, and formats..

Creative: This refers to the visual element of your ad, i.e., the headline, images, or videos.

Destination: This is where shoppers land when they click on your ad. You’ll also hear this referred to as a landing page.

Format: These are templates that help you create an ad based on how you want to promote your books. There are two ad formats: product collection and video ads.

Product collection

SB authors mockup

This format allows you to promote multiple books using large, custom images. You can use images that represent your author brand, the theme of your books, or the storyline of a series.

We recommend linking your product collection ad to your Author Page as this can help shoppers explore your entire Book Catalog and build your Author brand by engaging shoppers with your curated content on Author Page. NOTE: Linking to Author Page is currently only available in US.

Did you know? Book advertisers who used a custom image in their Sponsored Brands ads saw an average 48% higher click-through rate (CTR) on mobile compared to advertisers who only used product images.1

Video ads

Tell your book’s story with video creative. This format displays auto-playing video in shopping results on mobile and desktop.

You can link your ad to a single books detail page or your Author Page.
If your goal is to drive conversion and purchases, you can use a video to promote a single product and link that video to the product detail page.

If your goal is drive awareness and consideration, you can use a video to link to your Author Page to showcase your entire book catalog and and build your Author brand by engaging shoppers with your curated content on Author Page. NOTE: Linking to Author Page is currently only available in US.

Video ad placement:

video ad placement

1Amazon internal data, book publishers, US, UK, DE, FR, IT, ES, December 2022 - February 2023. This is based on past data and does not guarantee future performance.

Getting set up to advertise

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Chapter 2

Now that you know why it can be useful, here’s how to use Sponsored Brands. There are a few things to get set up before you can build ad campaigns. This section will cover how to register and get your account ready. If you’re already advertising with other ad products, jump to the section on targeting for Sponsored Brands.

Registering to advertise

To register, simply visit Amazon Ads and click the Register button in the top right corner. Select the country where you want to advertise, and select either I have an Author Central account or I have a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account.

Once you’ve registered, you can sign in to the advertising console, where you can create and manage your ads.

When you have campaigns running, we recommend logging into the advertising console around twice a week. Make sure to check your notifications and our recommendations to help enhance your campaigns – you’ll find these by clicking the bell icon in the top right.

Requirements for using sponsored ads

  • You must have three or more eligible titles under a single pen name that adhere to the ad policy for books.
  • The titles you advertise must be available for sale in the country you’re advertising in.
  • Ads must meet the creative requirements in the Amazon Ads guidelines and acceptance policies.
  • The books you advertise must have been added in Author Central. For KDP authors, you can use your KDP login to sign in to Author Central.
  • You’ll need to have a credit card or debit card added to your account to pay for advertising fees.


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Chapter 3

Let’s start off with some definitions before we go into the different options you have for targeting your ads

Shopping queries: Words and phrases that shoppers use to look for products in the Amazon store. These could be a specific product and author they’re looking for, like “Hard Times” or “Charles Dickens,” or they could be more generic, like “classic novels.” You’ll also hear queries referred to as search terms.

Keywords: Words or phrases that allow you to match your ad with the queries customers use when looking for a book in the Amazon store. Your keywords should reflect queries relevant to the books you’re advertising, e.g., “classic novels.” This means that when customers use a shopping query you’ve chosen as a keyword, your ad has a chance to be shown to them.

Targeting: The process of defining the context in which you want your ads to appear. You have two types of targeting to choose from and can use one type per campaign.

Keyword targeting

This uses keywords to match your ads with queries customers are using, e.g., “vegetarian cookbooks.”

Product targeting

This matches your ads to either:

  1. Specific products, similar books, or the product page of these books.
  2. Entire categories or genres.

Keyword targeting

Types of keywords

Your campaigns should include a range of keyword types.

General keywords and genre-related keywords can help you increase your reach and visibility, as can keywords related to other books and other authors. Examples of these include “19th century authors,” “books about war,” and “romance novels.”

Keywords relevant to your own pen name and titles can help you cross-sell your other titles. These appear when customers browse for your books, or launch a new book or series. Think of these as branded keywords.

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Match types

With keyword targeting, you must choose your match types. Match types determine how closely a customer query must match a keyword for your ads to be shown. You’ll need to specify which match types you want to use, as well how much you’re willing to bid for each one. You might want to start off by using all match types for each keyword, then adjust bids depending on which match type performs better.

Broad match

A shopping query can contain the keyword terms in any order. It may include singulars, plurals, variations, synonyms, or related terms. The keyword itself may not be contained in the shopping query.

For example, the keyword “classic novels” may match queries such as the variations “classic books” and “classic horror novels,” or the related term “19th century literature.”

When to use it: Choose this option to expand your keyword coverage, helping to potentially increase the reach of your campaigns. We recommend starting your first campaign with broad match to allow you to measure keyword performance.

Phrase match

It’s more restrictive than broad match, but phrase match may generally result in more relevant placements for your ad. The shopping query must contain the exact phrase or sequence of words, and it must include plurals.

For example, the keyword “classic novels” may match queries such as “19th century classic novels” or “classic novels by women.”

When to use it: Use phrase match when you want to balance relevance with reach, or for keywords you’ve chosen based on high performance in your prior campaigns.

Exact match

The most precise match type, but also the most relevant to a query and therefore higher potential likelihood of conversion. The shopping query must exactly match the keyword or sequence of words in order for the ad to show, and will also match close variations of the exact term, such as plurals.

For example, the keyword “classic novel” may match queries such as “classic novels.”

When to use it: Use exact match when you know the exact keywords that result in the highest performance for your ads.

Product targeting – product

When targeting a product, your ad will be eligible for impressions on its product detail page, as well as on the shopping result pages where the targeted product appears among the top of the shopping results.

So, if your book is Wuthering Heights, you may use the ASIN for Jane Eyre. This would mean that when a reader searches for “Jane Eyre” or visits the book’s product page, your ad may be shown in the same shopping results or on the product page.

When to use it: Use product targeting when you know which books or products you want to trigger your ads.

Product targeting – category

Category targeting allows you to reach whole categories in the Amazon store. Your ad may be shown on the product pages under the category you've targeted or in shopping results when customers enter keywords related to the genre.

For example, if your book is Wuthering Heights, you may want to choose the categories fiction classics, Gothic romance, and literary fiction. This would mean your ad could be shown when customers search for the keyword “fiction classics” or for a book that is also in the category of fiction classics.

When to use it: When you’re not sure which individual ASINs to target or when you want to learn which ASINs in the category are relevant to your book. You can use this insight in your keyword or product targeting strategies of other campaigns.

If you don’t know which category you want to target, you can also use the suggested tab under the category targeting option for recommendations of relevant categories to target.

Negative targeting

This allows you to specify which keywords or products you don’t want to trigger your ads.

When to use it: If you have insights from campaigns you’ve previously run, to exclude irrelevant or underperforming keywords or products.

quoteUpDevelop a long, detailed, and effective negative keyword list and use this in the creation of each new ad. It’ll save you money, and it’ll help your ad take off in effectiveness.quoteDown
James Rosone, author, Frontline Publishing


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Chapter 4

You might be worried about getting your spend right, and we can help you manage it through a combination of bids and budget. First, here’s everything to know about bidding.

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What is bidding?

There are usually multiple advertisers targeting the same keywords or products. When shoppers perform shopping queries on Amazon for products, a real-time auction is run to decide which ads will appear for customer queries and what order, if any, they’ll appear in.

This is known as an auction-based or cost-per-click (CPC) system. This means that you will only ever pay when your ad is clicked –it won’t cost you money when your ad is displayed but isn’t clicked on. Ad impressions, which are the number of times shoppers view your ads, are free.

Your bid is how much you are willing to pay for a reader to click your ad. You decide how much you bid, and you can adjust your bid at any time.

The system considers both the bid values and the ads’ relevance to shopping queries. Relevant, better-performing ads are more likely to be shown than less relevant ones, and the more customers that click an ad in response to a particular query, the more relevant it becomes for that query.


Let’s say your book is a novel about war. Your campaign is targeting the keyword “war novels,” and you have chosen to bid $0.75.

There is also an author bidding $0.60 for the same keyword, and another author bidding on the keyword “war books,” also for $0.60.

Since you’re the highest bidder and the keyword you bid on exactly matches the shopper’s query, you will win the auction and your ad will be shown. However, you only pay $0.01 more than the second-highest bid – meaning that although you bid $0.75, you will pay $0.61, one cent more than the second-highest bid of $0.60.

flow chart

What is a budget?

You have two options for your budget.

  1. Daily budget
  2. This is the amount that you're willing to spend on your campaign each day. The daily budget amount is the average over the course of a calendar month. This system allows you to benefit from high-traffic days. At the end of the month, you won’t spend more than the daily budget you’ve set, multiplied by the number of days in that month.

    Daily budget ($10) x days in the month (30) = monthly budget ($300)

    Once your campaign exceeds the budget for the day, your ads won't be eligible to run until midnight, when the daily budget resets.

  3. Lifetime budget
  4. The lifetime budget is the total amount that you’re willing to spend on one campaign for as long as it runs. Once your campaign has reached the lifetime budget limit you’ve set, it will stop running ads. Lifetime budget requires an end date and a minimum budget of $100.

    Lifetime budgets are spent as quickly as possible and won’t be paced throughout the day. This system allows you to benefit from high traffic periods; however, a smaller budget could be spent in a few minutes.

Budget tips

  • Try out the suggested bid and range, which are based on the bids that have historically won auctions for the type of books you’re advertising and keywords you’re using. They’re refreshed on a daily basis.
  • If you’re not sure where to start with your budget, a suggested budget is the amount to keep your campaign active throughout the day. If you don’t see a budget suggested, we recommend starting with $10 a day.
  • By using automated bidding, you allow Amazon to optimize your bids for other placements below the top of the search page. The targeting bids you provide apply to top of search and are used as a maximum starting point for other placements. Amazon may then decrease your bids for other placements based on your observed conversion rate for those placements.

Setting up your campaign

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Chapter 5

Now we'll walk through the step-by-step process to setting up your campaign.

Campaign name

The campaign name is visible only to you, so give your campaign a name that’s easy to identify and includes details on the advertised books and targeting tactic. For example, if you create a Q2 campaign using keyword targeting to advertise your thriller books, you could name your campaign “Summer2023_keyword_thrillers.”

Run dates and budget

Set your run dates — we recommend having no end date, to allow you to gather learnings — and your budget. We recommend starting with $10 a day.

Select an ad format

Choose product collection to aid in your discovery as an author or promote a selection of your books.

Choose video when you want to showcase your books dynamically. Here’s what you need to know about video asset requirements.

For landing page, we recommend linking your ad to your Author Page as this can help shoppers explore your entire book catalog and build your Author brand by engaging shoppers with curated content on your Author Page. NOTE: Linking to Author Page is currently only available in US.

Choose your books

    For landing page

    1. If you choose Author Page as landing page, you can select the books to appear in your ad in the "Creative" section at the bottom of the campaign creation page. All books in your catalog will be part of the campaign, but only 3 books selected in the Creative section will appear in your ad. NOTE: Linking to Author Page is currently only available in US.
    2. If you choose new landing page as landing page, you can select the books you want to advertise from the list of eligible titles in your catalog. Titles with the highest customer review scores will make your ads more attractive to shoppers. You can also include titles for which you want to increase traffic.


    1. For the best results, we recommend choosing books in the same genre or with similar keywords. It helps to make your targeting as specific as possible while ensuring it’s appropriate for all the books for your ad.
    2. We recommend that you add all book formats to your campaign to ensure that your campaign includes conversions for all formats. Please note that audiobooks are not eligible for advertising.

Choose your targeting tactic

You might have already run campaigns with Sponsored Brands or Sponsored Products and have insights into which keywords or products performed well for you. Make sure to include these in your targeting, and use negative targeting to exclude any that didn’t perform well for you.

Don’t worry if this is your first sponsored ads campaign. You can use our suggestions for which keywords or products to target. Or, choose category targeting to help you learn more about which books in the category are relevant to yours. You can then use this insight in your next campaign.

If you know what you want to target, choose keyword targeting when you know the shopping terms that customers use to search products similar to yours, and product targeting when you have specific books you want to target.

If you are using keyword targeting, we recommend running your first campaign with all match types to help you learn which keywords and products work well for your campaigns.

Tip: When adding keywords, if you want a certain term to always appear in any broad-matched keyword, add a broad match modifier by adding a “+” symbol before the word.

For example, if you use the keyword “classic + novel” with broad match, the ad will only match queries that contain the word “novel.” The ad will match “19th century novels” or “classic Russian novels,” but not “classic books.”

Remember, you can only use one targeting type per campaign.

Define your bidding

You’ll receive suggested bids based on what is most likely to help you win the auction. Try using these suggestions to start, then tweak them over time depending on performance.

That’s it—you can now submit for moderation review.

Set up your ad creative

Ad settings

Here is where you name your ad. This name is visible only to you, so choose a name that helps you identify the creative elements of your ad (the headline, custom image, or video). You can create additional ads in an ad group by going to the ad group page of your campaign in the campaign manager. Ads in an ad group share the same landing page and targeting. Create ads with different variations of the headline, custom image, and products to help find which one resonates most with your audience.

  1. Brand name and logo
  2. All Sponsored Brands ads must include an author profile picture or publisher logo so that readers can identify you as the author. This image must be at least 400x400 pixels and under 1MB. Make sure to review the full list of image requirements and examples for your profile picture and publisher logo.

  3. Headline
  4. Take your time with your headline. It is your opportunity to use your writing skills to attract readers. We suggest you don’t embellish or compare yourself to other authors, and stick to 50 characters or fewer. A couple examples of well-written headlines are:

    • Discover easy vegetarian recipes from PenName
    • The latest thriller in the terrifying XYZ series
  5. Custom image
  6. From January 31, 2024, new campaigns using the Sponsored Brands product collection ad format will require a custom image that meets policy. This provides the opportunity to choose custom images that represent your brand, the theme of your books, or your story. Existing non-video campaigns without a custom image will stop being served after May 31, 2024, so please amend before this date.

What to do next

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Chapter 6

Ad group settings

Ad groups are collections of ads within a campaign that share the same set of targeting tactics or creative type. They can help you organize your campaigns more efficiently. Consider grouping products that fall within the same genre.

You can create additional ad groups in the campaign manager after you launch your campaign.

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Understand what success looks like

Make sure to check in on your campaign a couple of times a week to see how it’s doing. This will help you find areas to improve, such as by adjusting your bids or daily budget.

One key benefit of Sponsored Brands is that it helps you to scale awareness. With this in mind, consider your reach and visibility over conversions. Although it may be tempting to want high sales volume and a low average advertising cost of sales (ACOS), those shouldn’t be your only goals. Sponsored Brands helps you promote discovery with shoppers who are browsing what to buy, and driving first-time purchases often costs more than driving repeat purchases. Your goal should be to get shoppers to see and click on your ad, so you’ll want to measure your impressions and CTR in your advertising reports.

How to review your performance

You can review your performance in the campaign manager. There, you can select the date range and customize the columns, so you only see the time period and metrics you’re interested in.

You’re probably eager to see results right away, but remember that your first campaign is an opportunity to learn where to refine your strategy. We have a suite of reports to help you.

Optimization strategies

  1. Use your search term report
  2. Download your search term report to identify high- and low-performing searches from customers. Add high-performing keywords and products as new targeting parameters to an ad group, and add low-performing keywords and products as negatively targeted.

    In addition to manually choosing your keywords based on their performance in your previous campaigns, you can add suggested keywords to your campaign. The suggestions are based on keywords that performed well for you in the past, as along with those that performed well across Amazon more broadly.

  3. Keyword report
  4. The keyword report will show you search volume and performance trends for your products and categories. Narrow down your keyword list and set budgets for the targets that you really want. You can take the same approach as with keyword targeting, by categorizing products based on performance.

  5. Optimizing bids
  6. You might want to adjust your bids to help win more auctions for keywords or products that drive conversions.

    Download a search term or keyword report to look at where you’re getting sales but have low impressions. You can then adjust your base bids for these keywords or products.

  7. Test and learn with ad groups
  8. Ad groups help you compare which strategies best engage readers, so you can optimize your campaigns.

    All ad groups within a campaign share a budget and run dates. You can test all of the elements within your campaign, creating ad groups with different ad formats, targeting, destinations, advertised books, and creative elements such as images and headlines.

    To create multiple ad groups for your campaign, set up your campaign first, then navigate to it in campaign manager and select “Create ad group.”

    You can also create multiple ads within an ad group. These will all share targeting, budget, run dates, and ad format. You can create ads with different advertised books and creative elements. This enables you to test and learn which creative resonates most with your readers.

    To create multiple ads for your ad group, set up your campaign first, then navigate to your campaign and then your ad group in campaign manager, and click “Create ad.”

Remember: It may take some experimentation to find the strategy that works best for you. The key is to keep learning and refining.

Common problems, and solutions that may help

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Chapter 7

Common problem: Low or no impressions

  • Try adding more keywords
  • Test match types to reach a broader audience
  • Increase the bid on keywords that have low impressions and whose CPC is similar or equal to your bid, especially for high-performing keywords

Common problem: High impressions but low or no clicks

  • Test your ad creative, experimenting with the headline and image
  • Add specific keywords from your category that help define the product for an audience more relevant for your ad
  • If you’re only using broad match type, add phrase and exact match types
  • Identify terms with a high CTR from your search term report, and include those as keywords.

Ready to get started?

Ready to get started? Sign in to the advertising console to launch your Sponsored Brands campaign.

Thank you for reading

Sponsored Brands for authors: Learn how to grow your business