August 30, 2014

Amazon, where do my sales come from?

This post was inspired by Hugh Howey's recent blog post titled, "Stuff I Want to Know." (This isn't the first time that Mr. Howey has inspired me, by the way.) In the post, he lists 12 things that he would love to know from Amazon. Given his clout, I'm hoping that most of his questions will be answered.

One question that wasn't on his list, and that I asked in the comments (the only time my name will appear on a page written by Hugh Howey, I'm sure), was where my sales come from. I would love to know if people find my books because of this blog, a review that a book blogger posted, a promotion I run, or some other source. For an author, or any seller, that information is golden.

John Wanamaker, a pioneer in marketing, is credited with saying, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." Digital advertising platforms have sprung up to answer that question. Google and other sites provide that information to some extent. I'm sure Amazon tracks the referrer URLs for all of their product pages. It should be rather simple to link a sale with the referrer URL that led to it. Even if Amazon doesn't reveal the actual URL but only the domain, that can be useful to. Do more people come from Twitter or Facebook? Are promotions from one site more effective than promotions from another? Even if Amazon tells me the referrer for product page views instead of sales, that's still better than nothing. Google's Blogger, where this blog is hosted, provides that information. Why can't Amazon? Here's to hoping the world's largest online retailer is listening.

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