A good kindle keyword research and competition analyzing tool is a must-have for authors who are serious about upping their marketing game. Kindle Keyword research will help you create Amazon ads that convert and choose Kindle keywords that better place your book in the market. More importantly, they give you insight into the Amazon market and a better understanding of how your book will do.
All in all, they are really valuable tools for serious authors.
However, when it comes to choosing a book marketing tool, there are really only two worth looking at: Publisher Rocket and KD Spy. So, which one is best? Which one is worth the money?
Well, I own both Publisher Rocket and KD Spy. So, having used both over the years, I can help you to compare the two and help you see which one is the winner. And yes, there is a clear winner.
So, in order to best show you their capabilities and compare them, I’ve broken down my analysis into four features and capabilities that I will grade them on.
I’m all about getting the most value for my money, so I’m excited to dive in and find out which tool is better. So, let’s find out who’s the winner…
The below comparison table shows two things:
|Amazon Ads Keyword Research|
|Ease of Use|
|Return Policy||60 Days||30 Days|
* Reported Coming Soon
Okay, so now that you can see some of the specifics of the two softwares, and my overall winner for certain features, below are the specifics on why one won best for that specific feature.
There are different types of keyword research, but they all rely on a similar principle. Figuring out which keywords will help put your book in front of the right readers–thus leading to more clicks and sales.
Right out of the gate, KD Spy has some awesome keyword features. KD Spy works in your browser as an extension, meaning you click on it while you’re on Amazon to use it. Simply put, KD Spy pulls all of Amazon’s ‘seed keyword’ predictive results for a specific keyword you input with a click of a button. Check out the image below.
All you have to do is enter a keyword then hit ‘Pull Results A-Z’ to get the entire list of Amazon’s predicted searches. These are keywords that real customers use.
KD Spy shows you the number of competitors for each keyword, the average monthly revenue authors are earning for those keywords and how competitive they are with a simple three light system: green being the easiest and red the ‘no-go.’
You can then hit analyze for a specific keyword and learn more about it.
In the case of the keyword above–it’s popular, has minimal earning potential, and quite a bit of competition. You can export keyword information at every step of the process.
You get the top 20 results, their average sales rank, revenue, price and number of reviews. I like that all of the information is right on the page and you don’t have to look around for it. It’s a great snapshot of any given keyword.
There are handy links at the top which allow you to see the result, analyze them, access a word cloud (more on that in the extra features section) and track the rank of a specific book. The keyword analysis button is pretty snazzy. Check this out:
By hitting that button, I can easily evaluate whether the keyword is worth my time. If a book has a lot of green highlights as seen in the image above, it means you can easily compete against it with yours. Pretty neat.
Publisher Rocket is a downloadable software that works directly on your desktop. Just from a little tinkering, I find it’s a robust tool for keyword research. The section for keyword research is clearly marked and the software itself is easy to navigate and understand. Check out my search below:
All the relevant information is displayed on one page for each keyword. You can export everything (as you can in KD Spy) and instead of a traffic light system for measuring competition, you get a score. The lower the score, the better. It’s a pity there’s no direction (that I can see) about how low a score should be to be the best for an author who wants to compete for a keyword.
CRITICAL: Another amazing feature that Publisher Rocket has is the Estimated Amazon Searches Per Month. You can literally see how much a given keyword has been searched for–that means you can tell how relevant it is and how much use it will be to you in your ads and your Kindle keyword section. This is something KD Spy does not have, and yet, is probably the most important part to keyword choice.
A neat advantage of this keyword search is that you can check out the competition for those keywords by hitting the ‘Competition’ button.
Three things I love right away:
Overall, the layout is simpler than KD Spy’s but I do find myself scrolling and clicking more than I do with KD Spy.
I like that KD Spy has a traffic light system and felt that it was clearer than the scoring because it gave me a general idea of the competition rather than an abstract number I didn’t quite understand other than–high is bad, low is good.
However, Publisher Rocket has a few features that set it apart. It has covers in its keyword competition results and tells you the age of the books, and it tells you how popular a keyword is with the estimated searches per month value. KD Spy gives you the publication date of a book, but not the actual age. Plus KD Spy doesn not tell you the searches per month.
For these reasons, Publisher Rocket inched ahead.
Analyzing your competition and understanding which categories they place their books in or which keywords they’re using to rank highly in the Amazon Bestsellers lists can change up your marketing strategy.
Naturally, KD Spy allows you to analyze competitors through your keyword research tool as shown above, but there are other ways to check out competition. For example, by using KD Spy to analyze author pages. To do this, I simply head on over to an author’s page and open KD Spy.
Here, you’re privy to all the information you need about the author. You can organize their books from best to worst selling, see how many monthly sales they’re making per book, their reviews, their total and average revenue and their sales ranks for each book as well as an average. By clicking on ‘S’ you can see the search results for a certain book in Google (which I found a bit… meh, not that important).
What’s cool is you can toggle between the Kindle and Paperback books an author has up for offer, as well.
Interestingly, you can actually track an author’s book over time to see whether it’s selling consistently by hitting the ‘T’ on the page. That’s an amazing tool–especially if you want to figure out what an author is doing to sell well.
Finally! I get to see the cover of a book in KD Spy… and I get to track the book over a period of time, which is both creepy and cool (that’s why it’s called KD Spy I guess). I like that all the book’s information is right at the top for reference and that you can track the rank over time.
If I check out the same author using Publisher Rocket’s Competition Analyzer, I get these results:
Once again, what I like about these search results is that there are covers on the page for me to admire and take inspiration from for my stories. I can also check out the book sale’s page (you can do this with KD Spy too) and I’m privy to information about the monthly and daily sales for each book.
Notably, though there’s no option to organize the results for competition analysis and while I love that the age of the book is shown, boy, it would be neat if I could track a book’s Amazon Bestseller Rank (ABSR) like I can with KD Spy.
I can export results too, which is neat, and I love the general feel of the software when I’m working in it.
KD Spy tickled my espionage buttons here. With KD Spy, you can actually track a competitor’s book over time and that you can do that with multiple books. However, this feature isn’t fully functional, and requires a lot of steps to get to work, but it is there. While Publisher Rocket has some amazing competition analysis features, KD Spy squeezes ahead for me here. That makes sense to me since Publisher Rocket seems aimed more toward keyword research than anything else whereas KD Spy is the overall ‘spying on other authors’ package. But that’s just my opinion.
So… KD Spy wins the Competition Analysis category.
A little-known fact: you can put your book into up to 10 categories by contacting Amazon through Author Central. This gives you a big advantage–your book can rank highly in relevant but less competitive categories. But which ones should you select? That’s where tools like KD Spy and Publisher Rocket come in. Let’s compare them.
In KD Spy you can search for both kindle and book categories for your books–though you’ll have to be on the EXACT page on Amazon to do this. If you want to analyze a particular category, you simply navigate to that particular category on Amazon then hit the KD Spy extension in your browser tab. Check out my results below:
Notice that KD Spy gives you all the relevant information you need about a particular category, including how competitive it is, using the three light system. You can see monthly revenue, the average price of books, the average number of reviews, and even the page length of books in the category.
What’s neat is it shows you the top 20 and their ranks, and you can pull results past the top 20 and right up to the top 100. Very cool.
You can also do this:
By hovering over the information button in your chosen category, you’ll find how many sales you’ll need to hit number 1 in that category and then how many to hit number 20. This should give you a good idea of whether you can compete or not.
However, there are a couple of problems with KD Spy’s Category Capability:
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > United States > African American > Urban
Therefore, KD Spy falls pretty short on Categories since it doesn’t help me to discover new ones, or give me the information I need to actually change or add categories to my book.
On to Publisher Rocket we go! Once again, I’m excited by how clean and easy it is to work in Publisher Rocket. It’s an impressive-looking piece of software, but can it do what I need it to? Here are my results for a category search for urban fantasy:
It’s easy to search for ebook and book categories at the same time–in KD Spy, you need to navigate to the specific book category separately. Here, all the information is at your fingertips. Even cooler, you can copy the category strings out, and you can organize them according to their ABSRs at number 1 and 20 and how many sales it takes to get to number 1 and 20. You can also check out the category page.
There are over 11,000 categories on Amazon and Publisher Rocket gives you the ability to check out all of them and figure out how popular they are.
The only drawback is that there’s no competition indicator like there is in KD Spy.
UPDATE: Rocket, just added a new feature to their Competition Analysis called “Unleash the Categories” (I think they have a sense of humor). With this, when you are looking at other books, you can click a button and quickly see every category they are a part of on Amazon. This is a really cool new feature that helps authors in seeing what their competition is targeting and can help spark new ideas for categories to use. I LIKE this a LOT!
The fact that Publisher Rocket lists all 11,000+ Amazon category strings and you can organize them according to sales to number 20 or number 1 in each overarching category is a massive positive. It’s easier for authors to select those category strings and simply email Amazon with the ones they want to be entered into. Furthermore, the new Unleash the Categories is making hunting for new categories pretty fun.
Sadly though, KD Spy does not provide a list of Categories. Instead, you have to hunt around for them.
So… Publisher Rocket wins in the Category Search category in a big way!
Keyword research, as I mentioned before, is one of the most important things an author can do to further their marketing strategy. With good keywords, you can create great ads that help you sell more books. So what do these two tools offer by way of Amazon Ads Keyword Research?
Keyword research for Amazon ads is pretty much the same as research for Kindle keywords in KD Spy. You click on the ‘Keywords’ button, type in your keyword and pull the results from A-Z for Amazon’s suggestions.
It’s pretty neat, but it’s not tailored specifically to Amazon ads, not technically.
All of the same rules apply as in the keyword research section above. You get competition indicators in the form of traffic lights, you can analyze each keyword (see below), and export all of your results so you can upload them to your Sponsored Product Ads.
KD Spy’s keyword tool is super useful, and I enjoy fiddling around with it, but I would’ve liked a clearer indication of how many times a keyword is being searched for as I got when doing keyword research with Publisher Rocket.
What’s cool about Publisher Rocket’s Amazon Ads Keyword Research function is that… well, they have one! They have a completely separate section for AMS ads research, and that gives them a big thumbs up from me. Particularly, since I’ve been increasing my AMS ads spend and the more profitable my ads are, the better.
Check it out.
So Publisher Rocket takes my seed keyword (sci-fi in this case) and returns results in several categories:
I can also filter my results and decide which types of results I want to export. I get an excel spreadsheet with the results. I know you can upload spreadsheets directly to your Sponsored Product Ads to add keywords, but I never do this–I prefer to filter my results and paste them in. Still, it’s super handy that the results come in the form of a spreadsheet.
If I want to exclude a keyword without filtering it from the general filter section, I can also uncheck the box next to it.
All of this makes Publisher Rocket’s AMS keyword research function unique from its other keyword research tool.
The fact that Publisher Rocket has a keyword tool specifically aimed at AMS ads set it apart in this category. I love that it separates the results into different sections and filters them for you. While KD Spy is no slouch when it comes to keyword research, KD Spy doesn’t compare in this particular area.
So, Publisher Rocket wins the Amazon Ads Keyword Research category!
With most tools, you get what you pay for and nothing more. Let’s look at what extra features these tools have that will enable you to get ahead of the crowd of self-published books out there.
Let’s take a look at some of KD Spy’s cool extra features that we haven’t already discussed.
Compatibility: KD Spy is compatible with Mac and Windows, and available for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Brave browsers. It won’t be made available on other browsers in future–since there aren’t that many popular browsers around.
Tutorials: Once you’ve purchased KD Spy, you get your own login information to the site, where you have access to a series of welcome videos that explain all the features to you simply. You also get some pretty cool bonus materials.
Bonuses: You get three bonuses when buying KD Spy, completely free. An Amazon Kindle Tracking ROI sheet that helps you track your ROI per book, a free ‘Create Your Own Website’ course on Udemy, and three ‘Kindle Cheat Sheets’ that give you information and strategies for getting started as an author.
In-browser app: Depending on what you like, the fact that KD Spy is an in-browser app might be preferable to you rather than a downloadable app. I enjoyed being able to click and bring it up whenever I wanted.
While I was using KD Spy, I noticed a strange irregularity. I think it’s because of where I’m based, but when using KD Spy’s category search to check out books, I noticed that some of them have weird rankings that don’t match their positions on Amazon. That’s probably because of my location and the fact that KD Spy uses my browser to pull information from the store. Check out what I mean in the picture below.
Just something to be aware of!
Another point that annoyed me about KD Spy was that every time I clicked away from the Amazon tab I was in that had KD Spy open, it would automatically close. When I navigated back, I’d have to reopen KD Spy again and wait for all those results to load. Not a huge deal-breaker, but still irritating.
Compatibility: Publisher Rocket is compatible with both Mac and Windows! It’s not available in your browser.
Downloadable app: It’s a downloadable app, which I love–once you’ve bought a license for it, it’s your forever! It’s easy to use and looks great!
AMS Ads free course: Along with the awesome AMS Ads Keyword Research feature that Publisher Rocket provides, Dave Chesson also has a completely free Amazon Ads course that is super easy to use and goes well with Publisher Rocket. You can check it out here.
Easily accessible tutorials: Publisher Rocket has a series of awesome tutorials hosted by creator Dave Chesson–they’re easy to follow along and, like the app, are updated so you’re never left in the dark.
Which is better for you, KD Spy or Publisher Rocket?
It depends on what’s important to you, really. If you’re focused on keyword research, both of these tools perform well, but Publisher Rocket definitely pulls ahead with the sheer power of both Kindle and AMS ad research. It’s category analysis feature is amazing too, and the fact that it shows you the covers of the bestsellers in your chosen genre and the amount of Amazon searches there are per month for a given keyword.
If you’re interested in the brass tax of what an author is earning or how well a certain keyword is doing, KD Spy is a good choice, especially since it’s currently cheaper than the alternative, and it has a longer money-back guarantee.
In truth, I use both of these tools–KD Spy for competition analysis and Publisher Rocket for all things category and keyword.
But if I had to choose just one, as many authors will have to do, I would choose Publisher Rocket because I get more value out of the category search and keyword tools, and it does still do competitor analysis. Buying it has helped me sell more books actively, thanks to Kindle keyword research and Amazon ads, and it’s more than paid for itself many times over as a result.
Is it worth the $97? Absolutely. It delivers on all areas and the team behind Rocket keeps adding more and more to the program just about every month – which are free upgrades for all current owners.
So, Publisher Rocket is the better tool, and worth the larger price.
But, ultimately, the choice is yours… KD Spy or Publisher Rocket? Let me know what you chose in the comments below!