12 Replies to “Amazon Recommendations and Also Boughts”

  1. Hi David thanks for the detailed explanation regarding amazon. Just wondering (and this question s slightly off topic) if there is a specific reason you don’t sell your book off your website as well?

    1. I have sold direct from my site in the past and may do so again in special circumstances, but the general reason why I avoid it is simple: selling direct from my site will cannibalize my sales on other platforms. And if you look at Amazon in particular, a sale there will have sale-babies – visibility on Amazon begets sales, which begets further visibility. If I sold direct, my visibility on Amazon would be greatly reduced, Amazon would recommend my book less, and I would make less money. A lot less.

  2. Excellent article.

    Our Also Boughts were messed up with YA Romance/Urban Fantasies when we did a Goodreads Giveaway. Our book is an Epic Fantasy in the Tolkien/Sanderson style. (Multiple threads and a huge cast of characters.) Many YA/Romance/Urban Fantasy readers bought the book which gives additional evidence to your article.

    It took months to get this straightened out.

    1. Well done on getting it untangled – can be tricky sometimes. I had a BookBub Featured Deal once on a not-quite-right category, but accepted it as I figured it was better than nothing. Boy, was I wrong. Probably took six months to fix up those Also Boughts.

  3. Interesting observations. Even tho they might not impact recomendation engine, as a reader I find most of the books through Also Boughts and them going away would be really inconvenient for me alone.

    If I get sent to a book on Amazon from anywhere else, I usually end up spending few more minutes browsing Also Boughts and sometimes end up in the wormhole…

    It amounts to probably 70-80% of my book discovery. Other places on Amazon do not get as much attention. I still think that is a huge loss for authors’ ”organic” reach on Amazon if ABs go away. It’s good that it wont be deadly one and this is somewhat of a relief. But I’m sure I’m not the only one with serious dependence on ABs for book discovery.

    1. It’s hard to know how dependant readers are on Also Boughts. There’s no doubt that some readers use them. But I do doubt that most readers use them in the manner you describe. Still, I will definitely accept that at least a moderate amount of on-page discovery would be lost if they were axed permanently (but, again, remember that cuts both ways and ABs will bleed sales from you sometimes as well as lead people to you).

      I can be more certain that *Amazon* knows if readers use them like this, and in what quantities. And I’m also fairly certain that if they really were used by most readers in this manner, they would be far too valuable for Amazon to mess with.

      Personally, I strongly suspect that most of what we call “visibility” on Amazon, which is so valuable and drives so many sales, is much more about the millions of targeted book recommendations that are made on site every day, and the millions of targeted book recommendation emails that go out to readers every single day – some of which will be influenced by ABs (or the connections that ABs represent, to be exact), some of which will be more personalized to your buying and browsing history.

      That’s my take, at least.

      1. I am sure those recs matter, but say recommendations on homepage, many people don’t even land on homepage. It’s a well known fact in marketing online that people mostly land NOT on a homepage. I rarely look at it.

        Email with recommendations, that must be a huge thing for sure. Wouldn’t be surprised if they are on same level with ABs or the only thing to beat them.

        But yeah, we’re both speculating at this point. And all logical. So anything is possible.

        I guess the closest way we can come to knowing is if authors with big email lists do a poll about this with their readers. That wouldn’t be absolutely data, but at least some ‘more accurate’ direction. Those polls would be cool to see.

        As always, appreciating the research! These are useful to read in any case. Happy to drop links to these around.

  4. Was this a free deal or a 99c promo? Are this books in KU or not? My response might be different, depending.

    In general though, it’s normal enough to get scrambled Also Boughts after a promo, but they usually right theselves after an update or two.

  5. Glad the blog and NL subscriptions are merging – I was missing some of the blog posts!
    A question about Also Boughts after a BookBub featured deal – is there anyway to stop them being completely messed up? I just opened the KIndle app on my Chromebook, not coincidentally to read Following after the blog post and NL nudged me that I hadn’t yet! I notice every single book in one of the recommendation rows based on books I recently bought all had BookBub featured deals in the same week, because the last book I bought was from the BB newsletter. The genres in the recommendations were all over the place! I wonder if this has contributed to less than stellar results after my BB FDs for boxed sets, where it’s more challenging to market next-in-series.

  6. I understand that Amazon’s sophisticated recommendation engine carries on regardless of its shenannigans with the also boughts. But right now I am making a renewed push to create Amazon Ads using the also bought carousel on my book pages as keyword targets.

    Luckily that carousel seems to come and go. Yesterday it was absent. But the day before it was present on the book for which I wanted to create an ad. (The ad is now serving impressions.)

    Still, if the carousel goes away permanently…well, I’ll be disappointed that I know longer have that as a resource for targeting. Just sayin’. 😉

    1. Oh for sure. But that’s more of a “nice to have” than the mission-critical worry that Also Boughts can sometimes inspire. My point is that the truly critical stuff is unaffected.

      Btw – check down the bottom of the page. Sometimes Also Boughts get shoved down there.

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