Advertising can be utilized to help drive sales and ranking while providing you with incredibly valuable data regarding how your product interacts with the market. By taking the time to test and fully understand the abilities of the Amazon advertising platform, you can begin to build out more complex strategies to truly accelerate growth in a competitive landscape.
That said, while advertising can be an incredibly effective way to drive ranking and increase sales, there are instances where you may need an additional push to truly dominate your market. In these instances, external traffic can be implemented to aggressively drive a product to page one for a high value keyword.
While your product can be relevant for (and drive sales through) dozens of keywords, in most markets, one to five keywords are going to provide the majority of the audience market-share. Therefore, having favorable organic ranking for these terms is crucial for maximizing the sales potential of your product.
There are different methods and strategies when using external traffic and it’s important to know that while incredibly useful, these tactics can be costly and certain applications can be a violation of Amazon’s Terms of Service. Much of the language in their Terms of Service is vague and up for debate but ultimately, anything that improperly accesses or uses data from shoppers, routes traffic away from Amazon, or seeks to artificially inflate reviews will be seen as a violation.
Another thing to note is that Amazon’s SEO tends to work in equilibrium. The products on page one are there because they sell best. While driving ranking through PPC provides your product with opportunities to organically sell better and more naturally progress it to a competitive level within the market, using aggressive external traffic to drive ranking ultimately forces the product to page one through a manufactured demand. While this can be effective in pushing the product to the first page, if the listing is not competitively positioned (with an adequate number of reviews, attractive price, etc.) it is likely that it will not continue to organically sell the same volume of units as the naturally ranking competitors. In this instance, ranking can decline when the manufactured traffic from your external campaign is cut off. Thus, an external campaign can be a bit of a gamble as you’re pushing a product’s ranking to page one and relying on the increased visibility to lead to organic sales growth, which will in turn help the listing to retain ranking.
While there are several different methods for setting up external campaigns, this article will cover the basics of the two most common tactics.
Sometimes referred to as a giveaway, a promotional launch involves the use of a service such as Viral Launch’s Launch Platform in order to drive ranking for a high value keyword. Essentially, you select a keyword to target, determine how many sales need to be funneled through that keyword over a period of time, and provide that number of products at a deep discount (typically through one time use promotional discount codes) to an audience of shoppers. It is also crucial that you connect the offer with a URL that is tied to your targeted keyword so that as shoppers navigate to Amazon to purchase your product, the traffic is directed through the proper search term.
By doing this, Amazon sees your product generate a large flow of sales through a specific keyword. In time (anywhere from 3-14 days), Amazon begins to recognize your product to be more relevant for that keyword than the current page one competition, and your listing’s ranking begins to improve. Ideally, once the promotion ends, your listing has favorable ranking and is able to generate enough organic sales to help the product ‘stick’ on page one. Because you can’t control Amazon or organic market fluctuations, there is no guarantee that a specific ranking will be obtained, however at Viral Launch, we regularly review data to ensure that launches are effective at driving organic ranking.
While there are different ways to execute on this strategy, they will all involve a keyword target, a necessary sales volume to drive ranking, a URL to funnel the traffic to your target keyword, a discounted offering to persuade buyers, and a group of shoppers to market your offer to. Without each of these elements, it will be unlikely that your campaign will succeed.
Keyword Target – The search term that you wish to drive ranking for. You can typically target any keyword that your listing is indexed for. That said, considering that this tactic typically involves selling products at a price below break even, it’s advantageous to target keywords that have a high search volume, thus enabling an organic sales potential to make the campaign profitable.
Sales Volume – In order to effectively drive ranking for a keyword, you need to use the promotion to outsell the current page one competition for a number of days. It’s important to understand how many sales are being accumulated by your targeted competition and outpace that in order to effectively overtake their ranking.
Targeted URL – While generally selling more units will provide some positive movement for your product, aggressive ranking improvement is largely contingent on sales being driven through a specific keyword. When running an external promotion, it’s important to direct your traffic in a way that drives traction for your targeted keywords. This can be achieved by providing buyers with a targeted URL. There are several variations of targeted URLs but all of them must in some way link to an Amazon page which uses your targeted keyword as a search term.
Discounted Offering – Because your campaign’s ability to drive ranking is centered around being able to generate a volume of sales that surpasses your competition, you need to provide an offer to shoppers that will lead them to immediately purchase your product. While you can technically offer any discount (provided that you can still obtain the quantity of sales needed), it’s typical to offer a limited number of products at a discount which hovers around 90% off. While this may seem dramatic, the intent is to provide these units at a steep discount in order to ensure that you can generate the number of sales necessary.
Buyer Group – Finally, you need an audience to provide your discounted offer to. You can use social media, email lists, or a service which has cultivated an audience of discount shoppers. It’s important to acknowledge what you’re looking for in this audience. While possible, it’s unlikely that these shoppers will be repeat customers and/or specifically interested in your product or brand. Ultimately, in most cases, these shoppers are using your offer to receive a cheap product (and hopefully have some interest in it), and you’re using them in order to drive keyword ranking for your listing.
While it is possible, given the resources, to run an external promotion of this type by yourself, there are several different options for services that can help to simplify this process. For instance, when using Viral Launch for an external campaign, our coaches can assist in keyword selection and necessary sales volume, and the platform will generate an appropriate URL and distribute your offer to a cultivated buyer group.
Though this tactic can obviously be costly, it is a very aggressive method to drive keyword ranking and help take a product to the next level of organic sales.
For reference, here are a few examples of campaigns recently run through Viral Launch:
Keyword Search Volume: ~9,000 searches/month
Starting Rank: 188
Ending Rank: 13
Category: Beauty & Personal Care
Keyword Search Volume: ~11,000 searches/month
Starting Rank: 159
Ending Rank: 8
Category: Health & Household
Keyword Search Volume: ~66,000 searches/month
Starting Rank: 174
Ending Rank: 15
Facebook Campaigns (Using ManyChat)
If you’re building a brand, running a promotional campaign can be frustrating in that you’re driving the sales traffic, but you’re failing to connect these discount shoppers with your brand. Essentially, your promotional campaign creates a give and take relationship with the buyers. You use the buyers to ranking for your product, and the buyers use you to receive a discount.
Using social media however, you are able to make a closer connection with your audience and by running an external campaign. While a social media based campaign can be more advantageous from a marketing campaign, it can be a little more complicated to set up and it can be a little less reliable in its ability to drive an effective amount of traffic as the campaign is tied to the amount of engagement that your social media posts and advertising are able to generate.
If you are looking to utilize a social media based campaign to drive keyword ranking for your listing on Amazon, ManyChat is typically the best/easiest way execute on this strategy.
ManyChat is a chatbot software that allows for heightened engagement with your social media (Facebook) audience. Basically, to run an external campaign through ManyChat, you would set up ads which offer a discounted product through engagement with your brand’s Facebook Messenger. Once the chat dialog is opened, ManyChat walks the user through the steps of claiming and redeeming a coupon code for the product, driving the traffic through a targeted URL.
Either using posts through your facebook page or advertising, driving external traffic through ManyChat begins by establishing an offer and presenting it via social media. In this offer, you’ll want to lay out the discount being offered and request that the user clicks on ‘Send Message’ button to receive their discount.
When the chat window is opened, ManyChat takes over with a pre-scripted process for providing the discount and funneling the traffic through your targeted keyword. When developing the copy for your ManyChat campaign, it’s important to understand that you do want to have some level of engagement (a step or two) before receiving their coupon to ensure that your buyers are receptive, but you want to avoid being too wordy or complicated in order to hold their attention. Making them click a button or respond with a simple message is a good way to draw in your audience.
Once you have drawn in a buyer with an engagement statement, you’ll need to provide them with a coupon and instructions for claiming the offer. You also want to make sure to provide a link to Amazon through the offer and you’ll want that link to be a targeted URL for the purpose of driving rank.
One thing to note is that you will need to integrate your ManyChat campaign with another service such as Zapier to deliver coupons from a list, thus making the process a bit more technically complicated. You should also factor in cost of advertising on Facebook when comparing and contrasting a launch platform with a social media campaign. If you have a large audience and a good amount of engagement on social media, this method may be cheaper/more effective. Additionally, while you will have more control over price and the ability to target a more beneficial audience, you’ll also have a bit less control over the scheduling and redemption of your campaign than you would with a launch platform.
To recap the basic steps for a ManyChat campaign:
Create ads and posts to provide an offer to your audience and direct them to messenger for engagement with ManyChat.
Develop a ManyChat script, first implementing some sort of simple engagement step.
If someone engages with the chat, provide them with the coupon code, steps to claim the code, and a link to purchase (using a targeted URL for the link)
While ManyChat gives you a lot of control over the messaging and branding, it’s important to keep in mind that you still need to abide by Amazon’s Terms of Service when driving traffic to their site. It can be tempting to ask for reviews through the ManyChat process and this was initially a very popular way to offer incentives for review generation. That said, Amazon is aware of this tactic and given the recently unveiled information that Facebook has been sharing information with Amazon (and sellers have been suspended in the past for using ManyChat to drive reviews), it is highly recommended that you avoid using ManyChat for any review generation purposes.
While advertising on Amazon is really the best sustainable way to drive growth for a product, it’s common to need an additional push to really maximize your visibility and sales potential. In these instances, using external traffic can provide you with the aggressiveness needed to drive your product to the front of the pack for high value search terms.
When advertising isn’t enough, a launch or social media campaign can give your listing an added boost. Though there is a degree of risk (considering that the effect of the promotion is dependent on Amazon’s SEO algorithms), using a proper strategy and an external campaign is an extremely effective method of generating peak visibility for your product, providing the opportunity to maximize organic sales. While there are several different structures and services to assist with external promotions, these processes can be a bit complicated and ensuring that you have a proper strategy is the key to being successful. If you’re thinking about exploring this option to help drive your product to the next level, feel free to reach out with questions to firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with one of our coaches.
You’ve spent countless hours researching markets. You’ve found a product and a supplier to make it. You’ve ordered samples, finalized the design and packaging, researched the keywords, built an awesome listing, and now your product is finally live on Amazon.
In the endless sea of products being sold on Amazon, it’s unlikely that your product will magically float to the top, but you also need to take steps to ensure that it doesn’t sink to the bottom.
Further keeping with the metaphor, Amazon’s sea can be cruel and unfair, but it demands respect. Established products frequently have reviews that were purchased or incentivised, providing a continued advantage over the competition. Today, several sellers still obviously violate Amazon’s thorough and complicated policies in an effort to get a leg up on their competition. There are regularly new tactics and services to buy reviews, influence metrics, and sabotage listings, and while some sellers seemingly exploit these options with impunity, Amazon does serve as an aggressive judge, jury, and executioner when black-hat tactics are discovered. In the blink of an eye, Amazon can shutter your store and revoke access to their marketplace, and it’s not uncommon that honest sellers find themselves caught in Amazon’s net and hit with account suspensions. Despite all of this, Amazon’s dominance over e-commerce continues to grow, providing unparalleled opportunity for sellers.
Assuming (and highly recommending) that you are playing by Amazon’s rules, when launching a new product, you’re faced with the task of cutting through all of the more established competition to get your product in front of customers. While it’s hard to definitively prove, and while you shouldn’t expect a major influx of sales, it’s commonly believed that Amazon does provide a ‘honeymoon period’ to new products, in which they are given a bit of a boost in visibility and performance to help them gain traction. That said, it’s important to implement every tactic possible to drive sales in the first few weeks of activity. If you are unable to drive any account activity, in time, your poor sales history can begin to weigh on your product’s ability to gain favorability with Amazon’s search engine.
The following article will walk you through the first actions that should be taken when launching a new product. Whether you’re a new seller with your first product, or simply adding an additional listing to a large catalog, these universal strategies can help you to build the necessary foundation of sales and ranking traction to succeed long term.
The first step in developing an effective strategy for launching a new product on the Amazon marketplace is to develop a deep understanding of your competition. When releasing a brand new product, your listing will have no reviews or sales history and your competition may be well established in the market. Therefore, it’s likely that in a head-to-head comparison, your competition is going to have the upper hand.
That said, there are a number of tactics that can be implemented to either circumvent your competition or exploit their weaknesses. In order to do this, you must first understand your competitors and how they are interacting with the market. Using Competitor Intelligence, you can easily analyze the tactics of your competition to build a thorough strategy.
The primary benefit of Competitor Intelligence is that it provides you with in depth keyword data for a competing listing. This data enables you to view relevant keywords for the market in relation to their performance. You can see the listing’s organic ranking and advertising rank (PPC positioning) for each keyword, alongside search volume metrics, opportunity score, and relevancy score.
By comparing search volume to organic ranking and ad strategy, you can start to develop an understanding of what keywords are driving the bulk of sales for your competitor and see an overview of where they’re focusing their advertising budget.
Along with this, you can also observe the keywords that your competitor is not indexing or ranking for. This data can also be important as you may be able to note keywords which are being overlooked, implying that these search terms can be efficient opportunities for driving additional sales!
You’re also able to select and track individual keywords in order to receive updates on rank change, indexing changes, etc., allowing you to quickly adapt to any fluctuations in the market or strategy of your competitor.
On the Product Analysis page, you can directly compare metrics with your competition while reviewing historical trends. With a new product, this data can be a quick and easy method of understanding any competitive advantage that you may be able to emphasize in order to persuade buyers.
When first launching a new product, you will have no reviews and no sales history. While your product may be the best product in the market, you will have no explicit advantage over established product listings.
Although you can (and absolutely should) implement quality images and use your copy to highlight features that demonstrate superior value or quality in comparison to your competitors, ultimately the search results on Amazon provide shoppers with:
This means that your ability to provide a complete value proposition to potential shoppers is relatively limited. Through this lens, one of the easiest ways to begin to build traction for a new product is to start off by pricing competitively.
Setting a product’s price point below your competition is one of the best methods to draw sales away from more established listings. While it’s very unlikely that your product is review competitive, and similarly unlikely that you will have better ranking than much of the competition, appealing to value can help to draw in more budget minded shoppers.
The social proof provided by reviews helps to provide quality assurance to shoppers, meaning that even if your product is objectively better, a competitor’s review status makes their product less of a risk. Because of this, beating your competition on price provides an alternative comparable tangible value, which has the potential to objectively influence sales.
While it can be a difficult decision for any brand owner to cut into their profit margin, one of the most fundamental mistakes that a seller can make is thinking in the short term. It takes time, effort, and money to build a business. You may not obtain the expected return from your first run of inventory, but taking measures to steadily gather sales in the early stages of your product can be a strategic investment to build a foundation for long term success.
Although traditional business rhetoric would suggest that lowering your price immediately tarnishes the perception of premium branding, this is not the case on Amazon. In a crowded marketplace with limited control over your brand’s messaging, a low price is a powerful asset for driving traffic to the listing.
Keep in mind through this stage that your price is not permanent. As your product begins to gain momentum, you can start to raise price until you hit the amount that you’re ideally shooting for. That said, it’s important to understand that the market dictates price. While you (more or less) have the ability to sell your product at any price you wish, the overall field of competition really establishes the fair market value. At every stage of your product’s lifecycle, it’s crucial to consider this when deciding on your selling price. In order to sell effectively, you will always need to remain competitive with the market.
Additionally, testing a few price points can be worthwhile. In certain instances/markets, an aggressively low price may work against you as it can create the perception that a product is of lower quality. For instance, an extremely low price and no reviews may be a cause for caution with an ingestible product such as a supplement. It’s important to make sure that you’re monitoring data to ensure that you’re getting improved click through and conversion rate (unit session percentage) to develop evidence to support the effectiveness of your price point.
Also, lowering price alone will not help to put your product in front of consumers. It will only help persuade shoppers to select your listing over a competitor. You need to combine a low price offer with marketing and advertising strategies to drive sales. For these reasons, it’s extremely important to make sure that you’re monitoring performance. If you’re failing to keep a close eye on performance and the overall effects of any variable changes on Amazon, you could be missing out on critical data to help you sell more efficiently.
Providing a value appeal to shoppers can be an effective strategy in response to the review quantities of competing products, but that still begs the question: How do you generate reviews?
Prior to an October, 2016 change to Amazon’s terms of service, building a base of reviews was a simple process. Sellers could simply give away a quantity of products to receive ‘honest, unbiased reviews’, effectively buying a review base. However, in time, consumers and (probably more importantly) news outlets, began to notice that a vast quantity of products being sold on Amazon had massive quantities of reviews that appeared to be purchased or positively influenced, thus implying that consumers cannot trust the statements that are intended to provide them with quality assurance. Because Amazon very transparently prioritizes customer experience over all else, they quickly enacted policies to forbid any incentivized reviews as a response to the criticism.
Unfortunately, sellers quickly learned that typical shoppers don’t leave reviews, meaning that this policy change quickly created a divide between established products with large review quantities, and new products which were subject to organic review growth rates.
Review generation, however, was (and is) an extremely important aspect of selling successfully. Practices for driving fraudulent reviews continues to be driven further and further underground; with Amazon playing cat and mouse, enacting stricter policies and liberally doling out account suspensions.
Reviews are a social currency on Amazon and a review quantity and rating alone can largely make or break a product listing. Like any blackmarket good or service, where there is demand, there are entities who look to profit through offering a supply. To this day, some sellers do venture into black-hat tactics to drive reviews, or use reviews to sabotage competition. And while some sellers are able to slip through the cracks, Amazon typically catches up and dispenses swift justice.
As a (hopefully) honest seller, who is looking to avoid the Amazon’s punitive wrath, opportunities to compliantly stimulate review growth are limited, but extremely valuable.
Entering Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program is the best way to quickly get a start on your review generation. This program was seemingly developed by Amazon as a means of compensating for their strict policy changes by allowing new listings some opportunity to gain momentum. The Early Reviewer Program is eligible to SKUs that sell for more than $15 with less than 5 reviews. Amazon charges $60 per SKU and will run their program for a period of one year, or until five reviews are generated. Through this period, shoppers who purchase the product will receive an email from Amazon offering a $1-3 Amazon gift card in exchange for a review on the product.
While it’s not a magical solution to make you review competitive, the Early Reviewer Program is an affordable opportunity to help get a new product listing started. This small advantage enables you to establish some social proof to help sway customers.
Beyond this, and while it’s somewhat of a grey area with regards to Amazon’s policies, sellers also utilize product inserts and email follow-up campaigns to generate reviews.
With either of these tactics, it’s critical that you utilize completely unbiased language and stay away from statements implying or steering the customer towards positive feedback (ex.: “If you love our product, please leave us a review on Amazon.”). You cannot attempt to route negative reviews to your own customer service and you similarly cannot use language that only encourages reviews based on positive reception. You also cannot offer any sort of gift, coupon, or incentive in exchange for a review (ex.: “Please leave us a review to receive a coupon for a 50% discount on your next purchase.”). Even if you’re looking to provide a free gift or coupon to all buyers, regardless of reviews, it’s advisable to not offer any type of promotion, incentive, or gift while requesting a review.
It’s also worth noting that Amazon is deliberately vague about the overall compliance of follow-up email campaigns. It is directly stated that you cannot incentivize or influence reviews in any way and there are restrictions as to how you can utilize email campaigns (i.e. you cannot use emails correspondence to pull traffic from Amazon or market other products to buyers). We have not encountered any issues with use of unbiased email and insert language but Amazon has been known to test buy products to monitor these tactics.
Building a review base for a new product is quite possibly the biggest challenge that you will face when selling on Amazon. While shoppers place an extraordinarily high value on rating and review quantity when making purchasing decisions, less than one percent of shoppers will leave a review for a product they purchase. That said, in most markets, you don’t need thousands of reviews to effectively sell. You just need enough of a review base to provide confidence to your customers.
The value of reviews definitely can’t be understated and it’s important to use the tools at your disposal to stimulate growth. That said, it’s definitely worth it to abide by Amazon’s policies and approach your product with a long-term perspective. Reviews help to drive sales, but in order to drive reviews, you need people to buy your product. Use the Early Reviewer Program to your advantage but also prioritize strategies to generate sales first, and let the reviews develop over time. While it’s not necessarily fast, this strategic perspective will help to ensure that you’re able to facilitate some sales activity which will continue to build momentum as you progressively accumulate more reviews and better ranking.
While it’s definitely valuable to understand your market and competition, along with review generation and the use of price as a variable to persuade buyers, it’s equally important to understand how to place your product listing in front of potential shoppers. After all, if the best, lowest priced product has a listing on Amazon, but shoppers can’t find it, can it make a sale?
It’s not good enough to have the best price or the best offering if your listing is buried in the results. You also can’t generate reviews without sales. So, considering the reality that Amazon is an extremely crowded marketplace, and that it’s unlikely that your brand new listing will automatically end up on the first page of relevant search results, you’ll likely need to pay for visibility through Amazon’s advertising platform.
However, before you jump into setting up campaigns, there are a few methods that you can utilize to collect important data and work towards efficient campaign performance.
Using your understanding of the competition and your competitive price point, you can delve into product targeted advertising. A product targeted campaign is a campaign that specifically focuses on another listing. Typically appearing on a listings detail page, a product targeted ad can seek to lure buyers to it’s listing by appealing to a shopper interested in a related product. There are two main tactics to explore when using product targeting.
First of all, you can run campaigns directed at competition. It’s important to note that in order to be effective with this strategy, you need to find products that have good visibility and traction (thus allowing you to piggyback on their traffic) and you also need to have some competitive advantage (lower price, better reviews, features, color etc.) in order to reach and lure shoppers.
For instance, if you’re selling a hammer, and a shopper is viewing a listing for a hammer, in order to pull their interest, your hammer has to be cheaper, better liked, or have visibly better features in order to draw the shoppers focus away from the product that they’re currently viewing.
The second main tactic involves using product targeting to align your product with complementary listings. The same concept applies to selecting complementary products to target in that it’s advantageous to look for products that have a large quantity of sales and page one ranking for valuable keywords. The difference is that instead of trying to pull sales from your competition, with complementary targeting, you’re ideally seeking to have your product purchased in addition to the targeted complement.
An example of this would be running ads for your same hammer, targeting items such as tool belts, tool boxes, or boxes of nails. The idea is that while someone is shopping for a box of nails, they may realize that they also need a hammer, and your ad placement may result in a convenient purchase.
To easily identify competing and complementary products to effectively target through this campaign type, you can use Listing Analyzer by Viral Launch. After running an analysis on your listing, you can use the Competing and Complementary Products tab to view and sort related listings. By filtering these results to meet your objective (higher sale price, high sales volume, etc.) you can quickly identify ASINs to hone in on with product targeted campaigns.
While both of these tactics may result in lower engagement, and typically won’t assist organic visibility growth as much as keyword targeted campaigns, they can help you drive some additional sales. Additionally, product targeting can be helpful when first launching a product because you’re able to specifically align your ads with individual products, allowing you to hone in on products that your listing has a competitive advantage over.
Another method to effectively cut your teeth in with PPC and gain some additional visibility is through an automatic campaign. Auto campaigns are more or less the ‘easy’ format for running PPC. While manual campaigns provide you with the ability to target specific keywords and products with varying degrees of specificity, an automatic campaign will defer to Amazon’s algorithms to establish targets for your advertising.
While you may instinctively think that it’s a better strategy to fully control your campaign spend and targeting, an automatic campaign can be a helpful way to hit on a broader range of keywords and drive some wider visibility. Additionally, there may be specific keywords that you convert surprisingly well for. Also, because there is less of a targeted approach, your advertising spend will tend to be algorithmically dispersed, which can result in a lower cost per click, meaning that it’s possible to continue running very efficient automatic campaigns over a long-term period as a means of increasing and rounding out traffic.
In addition to this, it’s important to regularly review your advertising reports. When running ads, it’s easy to get caught up in the concept of spend vs. return. Obviously, inefficient advertising can feel like wasted money. That said, it can be advantageous to instead look at advertising spend as a means of purchasing data. Though it’s far from perfect, Amazon provides access to a number of reports which can give insights into your campaign performance. These reports can be valuable resources for understanding how your product is reacting in the market and how to effectively compete. For instance, using the Advertising search term report, you can review which keywords are getting impressions, driving clicks, and converting into sales.
As you continue to run automatic campaigns, regularly reviewing data can provide you with insights into which keywords are driving revenue, inevitably allowing you to create more focused manual campaigns focused on well performing keywords.
Using automatic campaigns is a great way to familiarize yourself with Amazon’s advertising platform if you are a new seller, and it’s also a great way to begin to generate some sales and visibility if you’re a launching a new product.
Assuming you’ve done thorough keyword research, running some more specific advertising campaigns, which we refer to as discovery campaigns, is another way to drive focused traffic. A discovery campaign is essentially a manual campaign which is established to test the PPC performance of your high value keywords.
Ideally, you have a list of keywords used to write your product’s listing. Within this list, there should be a range from high competition/high value terms down to low competition/high opportunity terms. Pulling from this list, you can begin to test small groups of keywords (around 5 per campaign) with manual testing to monitor their performance.
By closely reviewing reports, you can begin to determine which keywords are generating interest (by receiving clicks), and which keywords are generating sales. It’s also important to monitor how your budget is being allocated. You may find that a few of your keywords are receiving a very limited amount of impressions (implying that other keywords are consuming your campaign’s budget). If this is the case, you’ll want to restructure your campaign or increase budget to ensure that you’re adequately testing each term.
If a keyword is spending without generating sales, it may be worth removing it from the campaign. That said, the fact that it is spending implies that it’s receiving clicks. For this reason, it may be worth reviewing the competition for this keyword to determine any tangible values that are hurting your listing’s ability to drive a sales.
On the flip side, if a keyword is effectively driving sales, it may be worth breaking the keyword out into its own campaign with a dedicated budget. In this way, you can ensure that you’re dedicating a thorough budget to the terms that are most efficient. If you’re able to maintain ACoS, you may more or less be able to reliably generate profit by fueling these campaigns with spend.
If keywords are not performing, you typically will want to rotate them out of your discovery campaigns, however, you may not want to completely throw the keywords out. As your product begins to build momentum and generate reviews, it’s likely that your listing will convert differently. Therefore, as your listing becomes more competitive in the market, some targets that were previously inefficient may become more relevant.
When launching a new product on Amazon, there are three major variables that you should immediately begin focusing on:
Competitive advantage: Understanding how to position your product with a tangible value proposition (most commonly achieved by pricing below your competition)
Review Generation: Given the Amazon’s restrictive policies around reviews in parallel with their importance to consumer decision making process, using every policy compliant tactic to your advantage in order to grow a review base is critically valuable and continues to improve your listing’s ability to sell effectively.
Visibility: You cannot expect shoppers to find your product simply because you’re listing it on Amazon. Using PPC to drive visibility is one of the only ways to truly get your product in front of consumers when launching a new product. Knowing how to set up some basic early campaigns to begin to target keywords and advantageously align your product with other listings in the market is the best way to begin to drive revenue.
Keeping these three points in mind when launching a new product can help you to contextualize an overall strategy for effective product growth. Amazon is crowded and your competition won’t always play by the rules. But by approaching the market strategically, and with thought towards the long term, there is still limitless opportunity to be successful.
As more of a moral point, reviews are consistently the most challenging aspect of beginning an Amazon based business. That said, while our increasingly Amazon-based society relies on reviews to inform our purchasing decisions, most of us are guilty of not contributing by adding our own opinions after purchasing products. If it were a cultural norm for shoppers to leave a review, consumers would benefit from more well rounded recommendations, and small businesses would more easily be able to establish themselves.
While lofty and idealistic, maybe reviews should almost culturally be viewed as a tax; a few minutes taken to write your opinion in exchange for the overwhelming convenience of e-commerce. While that may be too ambitious to actualize, taking a few minutes to think about how much a review can mean to the plethora of small business owners who are grinding to achieve success is worthwhile. Though it’s easy to forget, lending a hand by leaving a review makes it that much easier for someone to overcome one of the many hurdles that come with deciding to start your own business.
If you are in the process of launching a new product or are interested in selling on Amazon, Viral Launch is always willing to assist. Feel free to contact us at email@example.com with any Amazon related questions. Our expert team of coaches are excited to help you dominate!
We are taking a deep dive into the foundation of every successful strategy on Amazon: keyword research.
When looking to private label a product on Amazon, it’s extremely evident that the markets are flooded. Now more than ever, it can be an incredibly difficult feat to drive sales for a new product with no reviews and no sales history. That said, there is still a (literal) wealth of opportunity in the Amazon space for savvy sellers who package a well developed strategy with their product offering.
At Viral Launch, we’ve seen one recurring fundamental reason for a product’s failure on Amazon… lack of strategy. It’s not good enough to source a product, throw up a listing, and wait for the sales, and (perhaps unfortunately) focusing on sourcing a product that’s objectively ‘different’ or ‘better’ than your competition doesn’t matter much when you’re given one image and around 100 characters to draw the attention of shoppers.
Everything on Amazon comes down to strategy, and strategy is the result of thorough research. Sourcing the right product and ensuring that it’s positioned correctly in the market is the key to driving success on Amazon. While we have recently published two lengthy posts which cover how to generate product ideas and how to launch and rank products, due to ever increasing importance, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the foundation of every successful strategy on Amazon: keyword research.
The Strategy Behind a Well Crafted Listing
It’s important to recognize that while many people think of Amazon as more of a digital store, the reality is that Amazon.com is first and foremost a search engine. For this reason, when creating a product listing, it’s important to understand that your written content must serve dual purposes.
The first purpose is to produce an attractive listing. Like an advertisement for your product, you need to ensure that you’re using persuasive language and providing a value proposition to help sell your product. If your content doesn’t make sense, doesn’t read attractively, or doesn’t adequately explain the tangible value of the product, shoppers will inevitably be inclined to choose a different product.
The second purpose of your listing is to appeal to Amazon’s search engine. Because your product is inevitably found through customer search queries, ensuring that you’re understanding the keywords that shoppers are using to find your product (and understanding how to prioritize them in your listing) is critically important for driving success. With this, diversifying your keywords as much as possible helps you to index within the results of more searches, thus widening your listing’s potential visibility.
Ultimately, a well optimized listing (a balance between keyword rich content and sales language) is the cornerstone of a successful product. If you focus too heavily on making a persuasive appeal to your shoppers, there is a good chance that you’ll end up limiting the quantity of searches for which your product will be indexed. On the other hand, if you focus too heavily on overloading your listing with high value keywords, it may show up in more searches but it’s likely that the product’s conversion will be low. Even if you can get your listing in front of people, if it doesn’t read well, or draw people in, you’re not going to be able to maximize your sales perspective.
Great listing content is a fusion between art (sales language) and science (keyword research). The art of this equation is something that comes from understanding your product and the benefits, differentiating factors, and qualities that can persuade buyers. The science comes from market research, data analysis, and in most cases, a quality set of tools to help your pursuit.
This article will be addressing the science of keyword research.
While the purpose of this article is educational and not a sales pitch, and while there are several tool suites that can be utilized to help you conduct research, this article will be referencing the Viral Launch research tools for ease of reference.
While some of this should even be done prior to sourcing a product, when beginning to analyze keyword markets, Keyword Research should be the foundational reference point for building your listing content. To start, you’ll want to search for your product’s primary keyword. This is logically the keyword that you would search if you were looking to buy a product in your market. From there, Keyword Research will populate a list of associated keywords along with key metrics such as search volume, relevancy score, etc.
This list of keywords of populated keywords contains many of the important search terms that you should seek to prioritize in your content. Because Keyword Research is algorithmic, however, you’ll need to review these results to pull out the best keywords to include.
For starters, sort your results by search volume. This should give you the most competitive keywords in your market. These are the terms being searched most heavily by shoppers and have the potential to drive a large volume of sales. That said, they’re also going to be difficult and expensive to rank for, meaning that while it’s important to include these terms in your content, you’re going to want to target some quick-win keywords as well that can help you to drive sales early on.
It’s important to note that you’ll also want to remove any ‘branded’ keywords from consideration. For instance, if you’re selling socks, keywords like ‘Nike socks’ may have high search volume, but since you’re not Nike, these keywords can’t be targeted by your content.
Once you have identified a good selection of high volume keywords, it’s important to now look for keywords with high opportunity. A high opportunity keyword is a keyword that is not included in the content of many/any competing listings. Within Keyword Research, opportunity is scored from 0-1000. Keywords with a 1000 opportunity score means that no listings on page one have this exact phrase keyword included in their content. The lower the score, the more listings include this term.
To identify high opportunity keywords, it’s recommended that you sort by opportunity score, and look for any keyword with an opportunity of 750-1000 with a search volume of at least 1000 searches per month. There are typically plenty of keywords that have high opportunity, but if no one is searching for them, there isn’t much potential to drive sales. Because each section of a listing has a character limit, it’s important to prioritize keywords that have better potential to drive sales (i.e. keywords that have search volume).
Finally, performing a quick review of high priority and high relevancy keywords will help you to catch any other terms that may have been missed. Particularly, priority is determined by assigning a score based on search volume and opportunity, meaning that it will help to show keywords that are easy to rank for while having some degree of customer audience.
It’s also recommended that you repeat this process by searching several high volume keywords within Keyword Research. Though the majority of the keywords should overlap, ensuring that you’re not missing any other valuable keywords can be helpful.
As you collect these keywords, you are able to move them over to your keyword bank, allowing you to create your listing within Listing Builder. You’re also able to copy and/or export your list to a CSV file. It’s highly recommended that you keep an organized record of your targeted keywords for reference for tracking and advertising purposes.
While using Keyword Research is a great way to understand your market and build a collection of high volume keywords, it’s also important to understand your product market within the context of the competition. By understanding what keywords your competitors are running ads to, driving sales through, prioritizing, and/or ignoring, you can begin to build a strategy around how to position your product within a market.
With Competitor Intelligence, you can review your competition’s keyword data and use their data to your advantage. Through keyword analysis on several market competitors, you can construct keyword lists based on a few different considerations.
Primarily, Competitor Intelligence can show you what keywords are driving sales for your competition. The tool is able to present any listings, organic ranking for each keyword, ad placements, and keyword search volume, allowing you to review and monitor the keywords that correlate to a bulk of your competitor’s sales. Through this, you can start to build a profile of the keywords that drive the most sales for listings in your market and prioritize your listing content accordingly.
Additionally, using Viral Launch’s Reverse ASIN 2.0 technology, Competitor Intelligence will also show relevant keywords for which your competitor is not indexed and/or ranked for. Comparable to opportunity score, if there is little to no search volume for these keywords, they may not be worth prioritizing. However, if your top competitors are missing a few quality keywords in their listing, it may create opportunity for you to drive sales with little competitive resistance. Especially early on in the life of your listing, understanding how to drive easy sales by capitalizing on the missed opportunities of your competition can be a useful tactic to begin building visibility, sales history, and reviews. This data has the power to help you drive sales through opportunities that your competitors don’t even know that they’re missing.
Ultimately, through viewing the keywords that your competitors are using to drive sales, as well as the overlooked keywords which have the potential to drive sales, you can ensure that you’re not missing a single opportunity!
For Existing Product Listings:
If you have an existing product listing that you’re seeking to improve, the best strategy is to start by using Listing Analyzer. By linking your Seller Central account to your Viral Launch account, you’re able to seamlessly pull your product catalog into the Viral Launch interface.
From the Listing Analyzer tab in your Viral Launch dashboard, you can run an analysis on your product. Our software will pull metrics and keyword data from your listing, presenting you with an overview of your product in comparison to the market, along with a listing quality score. Through this tool, your listing’s images, reviews, competitiveness and copy are analyzed and you are also provided with a list of competitive and comparative products.
Additionally (and most importantly within the context of this article), Listing Analyzer will also provide you with an extensive list of keywords which are relevant to your product market. This data is relatively similar to Keyword Research (with regards to the metrics provided), however you are also able to review whether or not the keyword is being utilized in your listing.
From this list, you are able to select keywords that are relevant to your listing and move them into Keyword Manager to monitor, track, and/or incorporate into your listing.
On a final note, it’s important to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward when it comes to optimizing your listing with the strongest keyword spread possible. That said, if you are working with an older product, particularly if it’s selling relatively well, changing your listing content can create a ‘reshuffling’ of your keywords within Amazon’s system. Because of this, you can sometimes see a short term detriment to ranking and sales as your listing is reincorporated into Amazon’s SEO structure. Therefore, while it can be beneficial in the long term to fully optimize your listing, you may need to weigh this against the potential setbacks to determine if and when to change your content. Ultimately, while this can be a good tactic for working with a new listing, altering your content becomes more complicated as your listing ages.
For a New Product Listing:
If you are beginning your keyword research prior to having an active listing on Amazon, you will want to begin your process by building out your keyword list through the use of Keyword Research and Competitor Intelligence.
Once you have a listing on Amazon, it’s advantageous to run your product listing through Listing Analyzer to further ensure that you’re maximizing your keyword/ranking potential.
While you do need an existing listing in order to run an analysis, it’s worth it to think of Listing Analyzer once your product listing is up on Amazon as a final check to verify listing quality. At this point, you can review the provided keyword data through the tool and make any final adjustments if you notice any missed terms.
Note: If you are running an analysis on a brand new listing, it’s unlikely that you will have a perfect score, as review quantity, revenue generation, etc. in comparison to the market factor in to the assessment. While you want to note these data points as a means of knowing what’s needed to maximize competitiveness for your market, early on, the best use of Listing Analyzer is to verify your keyword list and review competing and complementary products for the purpose of product targeted advertising.
Now that your keyword bank is compiled (and hopefully added to your listing), it’s time to start benefiting from your research. Keyword Manager helps you to track your keyword bank and understand how and where you’re driving sales.
Considering it’s almost impossible to go a single day without encountering the immense reach of Amazon, it’s obvious that the largest e-commerce marketplace is also an insanely saturated e-commerce marketplace. While employing thorough keyword research into your listing is a critically important element of success, it is very unlikely that you will magically appear at the top of the search results. Amazon favors products that perform and as a new product, you have to prove that you can get sales in the market in order to gain visibility. Driving sales is not always easy, especially with a new product with no reviews or sales history, but with the proper strategy around marketing and advertising, you can begin to generate sales and improve keyword ranking (thus driving organic visibility).
By utilizing Keyword Manager to track your relevant keywords, you can monitor your progress to better determine which keywords are producing the most growth, and which keywords you’re having more trouble with. You can use this data to develop a strategy to continue building momentum, and you can ensure that you’re not missing a beat by establishing notifications and hourly tracking on your most critical search terms. If your ranking fluctuates, or your ad positioning changes, you’ll be able to respond quickly and efficiently to address the situation.
While Keyword Manager isn’t explicitly a keyword research tool, it’s a great resource for helping you to fully capitalize on your keyword strategy. With the ability to review organic and sponsored positioning, prioritize by opportunity and search volume, and track your movements in your market, Keyword Manager gives you the tools you need to harvest the fruits of your (keyword research) labor.
As more sellers enter the Amazon marketplace at an accelerating pace, the importance of thorough research and a deep understanding of your product market is crucial for driving success. Robust keyword research is the cornerstone of any successful strategy for launching a product on Amazon. Developing a well prioritized bank of keywords helps you to establish a wide breadth of searches through which you can gain visibility and sales, while also enabling a deeper understanding of how to use PPC and marketing to effectively grow your product.
Ensuring that you have the broadest range of keywords possible, and knowing how all of your keywords interact with the market informs you on how and where to drive sales and ranking. Through adequate keyword research, you can understand where your competition drives sales, which keywords generate the most sales for your market, and which keywords you can most easily gain ranking traction for.
The importance of performing your due diligence when performing keyword research cannot be overstated. Implementation of this process will ensure that you’re well positioned to take on the competition and achieve success with your business. To learn more about how to successfully launch and rank products, check out our blog post here.
Increasing sales and ranking products in the organic search results on Amazon is more challenging than ever. As more people chase the Amazon gold-rush, products are flooding the market, increasing competition, and making it more difficult for a product to stand out. Is it possible that the immense opportunity that Amazon provides has disappeared… lost in the endless sea of products?
While competition continues to increase, Amazon continues to carve out a larger portion of eCommerce as a whole. Getting your product in front of your customers is an increasing challenge, but the amount of customers, and the dollars being spent, are increasing as well.
Amazon is still a limitless pool of potential, but the tactics that made people overnight millionaires back in 2015, spurring a movement of ‘gurus,’ expensive courses, and inspirational videos, are no longer effective. The ability to simply list a product on Amazon and find success diminishes with each new day… and each new product. That said, the ability to use Amazon to make money and build a successful business is still extremely viable.
Luck is not replicable. Strategy is.
It may take more time and effort to drive success on Amazon, but if you learn how to source, launch, and rank products effectively, you’ll be able to do it again and again and again.
As a company dedicated to driving success for Amazon sellers, Viral Launch has constantly evolved to meet the demands of an ever-changing marketplace. We’ve delved into the markets, analyzed our data, tested our strategies, and are now bringing you the guide to launching and ranking products on Amazon in 2019. More than giveaways, this comprehensive strategy will walk your product from listing to first sale to success!
Table of Contents:
Phase 1: Advanced Keyword Research & Listing Optimization
Step 1: Keyword Research
Step 2: Review Your Competition
Step 3: Listing Builder
Step 4: Analyze Your Listing
Step 5: Track Your Keywords
Step 6: Photography
Phase 2: First Profitable Sales Generation
Step 1: Early Reviewer Program
Step 2: Competitive Pricing
Step 3: Analyzing Your Competitors
Step 4: Product Targeting Campaigns
Step 5: Amazon Auto Campaigns
Step 6: Discovery Campaigns
Phase 3: Aggressive Amazon PPC & Pricing
Step 1: Aggressive Pricing
Step 2: Aggressive PPC Campaign
Phase 4: Accelerating Rank With Outside Traffic Promotions
Option 1: Promotional Launch
Option 2: ManyChat Facebook Campaign
Phase 1: Advanced Keyword Research & Listing Optimization
To preface the first section of this guide, I’d like to reiterate that this article will focus on ‘launching and ranking’. For this reason, I will be skipping over the stages of product research and sourcing, beginning with listing creation.
Having said that, making intelligent sourcing decisions is a crucial first step towards success on Amazon. Because of this, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide with new strategies for Amazon product research. If you’re just starting on your Amazon journey, or are looking to expand your business, this guide has invaluable tactics to help you think tactically when making sourcing decisions.
As Amazon becomes increasingly competitive, the need for a great product at a great price becomes increasingly important.
Without further ado, Phase 1:
As Amazon has become more crowded, the importance of a product’s listing has dramatically increased. Policies regarding listing content continue to become more rigorous, and market saturation continues to limit potential visibility. Because of this, making sure your listing is strategically optimized is key to building the foundation for visibility and sales while providing valuable selling messages and quality assurance for your customers.
When writing the listing for a product, it’s important to note that this is likely the sole information that customers will read. The title needs to describe the product and lure in shoppers, the bullets need to highlight relevant features, and the description needs to provide a carefully crafted selling message. It’s a minimal amount of information but it has to be enough to tip the scales in your favor.
Even more importantly, listing content serves as the foundation for search engine optimization within the Amazon marketplace. The content used in a listing is the content that Amazon will use to determine relevance for shopper search terms. While the content of a listing may influence purchasing decisions, it will similarly determine whether or not a customer is even seeing the product.
Both sides of this equation are important. Your copy obviously needs to make sense and establish a value proposition, but in order for customers to find your product, you need to meet shoppers where they’re at by establishing a strong network of keywords.
Because Amazon is crowded, it’s unlikely that a well optimized listing alone will provide you with favorable ranking, but it does provide an absolutely crucial foundation for driving success. To use a fishing analogy, a big net will catch more fish than a small net. Simply casting the net doesn’t guarantee a catch, but if you’re in the right location, a wider net will lead to a larger haul. A well-optimized listing allows you to cast a larger net. You still need to find the consumers, but showing up in more searches allows you the opportunity to capture more sales.
Step #1: Keyword Research
When creating a listing for a new product, developing a list of important keywords is a crucial step towards ensuring well-optimized content. Finding the right keywords allows you to make sure you’re using the right keywords. While the development of your listing content may seem obvious, outlining what the product is, what features it has, what it’s made of, etc., without performing thorough keyword research, you may be missing thousands of potential shoppers who are looking for your exact type of product.
It is critical that you use the exact language your prospective customers are using when searching for your product. You may call your product a “posture corrector”, but thousands of potential buyers refer to it as a “posture brace”. Knowing the exact keywords customers are using when shopping is critical to getting your product in front of them.
For this reason, it’s highly recommended that you utilize software for this process. Your main keyword may be obvious, but understanding what other terms are relevant, how competitors are using keywords, and if there are any underutilized terms can give you an incredible competitive edge. The right keyword software will allow you to easily compile a list and maximize your potential exposure, saving you time and providing you with the best possible content. Viral Launch’s Keyword Research is an industry favorite and can make this process painless.
When looking at keywords, it’s important to look at them from three different perspectives: search volume, relevancy, and opportunity.
Search volume is going to involve purely looking at the keywords that are generating the most traffic. In other words, these are the terms searched most often by shoppers through Amazon’s search bar. These keyword markets are likely to be the most competitive, but if you’re able to drive organic keyword ranking for these terms (and you will by the end of this post 😀), you’ll likely be able to drive a large volume of sales. Despite the fact that high volume keywords are typically accompanied by stiff competition, this is where the bulk of your audience will be shopping.
Using the example ‘white paper bags’, you can filter by Exact Search Volume in Keyword Research to see the most utilized search terms in a market.
While terms like ‘bags’ and ‘paper bags’ are keywords that would obviously be prioritized, terms like ‘goody bags’ and ‘party bags’ could have been easily missed without using a keyword tool, thus missing out on access to a large pool of customers.
You may also notice that the column titled Broad Search Volume next to the Exact Search Volume. This metric refers to searches which contain the keyword phrase (including those which don’t exclusively contain the phrase). So where the keyword ‘bags’ holds an exact search volume of 60,622 searches per month, terms like ‘party bags’, ‘diaper bags’, or ‘nylon bags’ would contribute to the broad search volume, which explains why this term receives almost 8 million broad searches per month.
It’s important to note that just because a keyword has a large search volume does not explicitly mean that you should prioritize it. A keyword also has to be relevant. For instance, the keyword ‘diaper bags’ receives over 17,000 searches per month. However, if you’re selling white paper bags, your product is going to perform horribly for this keyword. In broader context, if sellers were solely concerned with finding large search volume, regardless of product (and disregarding Amazon’s restrictions), their listings would just include terms like ‘Nintendo switch’, ‘Legos’, and ‘iPhone’. The product may show up somewhere in these search results, but it’s not going to convert because it’s not finding the right audience.
This brings us to the next point: targeting keywords based on relevancy. Keyword Research provides a relevancy score based on how related that term is to your seed keyword. With that said, you will also want to review and consider the keywords for relevance. Returning to the example of ‘white paper bags’, a keyword like ‘white paper bag with handles’ may show a high relevancy score based on your seed keyword. That said, if your product does not have handles, you probably want to avoid this keyword because the product won’t convert well. Noting the search volume related to bags with handles may be a valuable insight when making sourcing decisions, but assuming that you’re already selling this product, your keywords have to align with the product that is actually being sold.
While relevance is the second consideration for compiling a keyword list, it’s recommended that you sort by Priority Score, instead of relevancy score if you’re using Keyword Research. The priority score will sort results based on a combination of relevance and search volume. It doesn’t matter how relevant your product is for a given keyword if no one is searching for it. Considering search volume can help to ensure that you’re actually reaching shoppers. So through this metric, we’re helping you prioritize your truly important keywords.
Finally, you should analyze keywords based on Opportunity Score. The opportunity score within Keyword Research assigns a numerical value to the level of competitiveness within a keyword market. Essentially, if an opportunity score has a perfect rating of 1,000, it means that none of the products on the keyword’s page one search results are using the exact keyword in their copy’s front end. This means that, by including the exact search term within your content, you will have an advantage with regards to ranking.
Again, this has to be considered alongside search volume. It’s easy to find high opportunity keywords (severe misspellings are unlikely to be used by competitors), but it doesn’t matter if you’re on page one for a keyword that no one searches.
It may take a few extra minutes to review this section, as you’ll want to typically review the opportunity score between 750-1,000, looking for any keywords that have an exact monthly search volume of 1,000 or more. You can identify high volume keywords that also have high opportunity by using filters in keyword Research. These keywords can provide quick wins to help stimulate sales in the early stages of selling.
Step #2: Review Your Competition
Another important tactic for conducting keyword research and understanding your market involves understanding the strategy of your competitors. While there are a lot of important insights to be gained from your competition, knowing how your top competitors are positioning their product in the market can clue you into where they’re spending on advertising, where they’re driving sales, and what keywords are being missed (which your listing can target for easy wins). Viral Launch’s newest tool, Competitor Intelligence, can help you review and use this data to maximize your keyword strategy.
If you’re not familiar with reverse ASIN tools, conceptually, Competitor Intelligence is a tool that can pull keyword and ranking data from a specific product to reveal insights into the performance of your competition. However, Competitor Intelligence differs from comparable tools through its use of Viral Launch’s Reverse ASIN 2.0 technology. In addition to being able to view the keywords a listing is ranking for, Reverse ASIN 2.0 makes it possible to also see relevant keywords that your competition is not ranking for!
Competitor Intelligence allows you to input your a competitor’s ASIN and review market and keyword data while comparing it to your product. Through this, you can see your competitor’s ranking for each keyword, their ad placement, and what keywords they are (and are not) indexing for. Using this information, you can review your top competition and either know how to go head to head with them, or drive easy sales by circumventing their strategy.
If there are keywords that your top competitors are not indexed for, which have reasonable search volume, these keywords may be low hanging fruit for you to capitalize on. Additionally, there may be some surprising keywords that your competitors are ranking well for that you may want to target as well. Through Competitor Intelligence, you can easily identify keywords based on your competitor’s strategy and pull them into your keyword bank for reference, listing optimization, and tracking. Along with this, the alert system built into Competitor Intelligence can send you notifications if the ranking or strategy of your competition changes.
If you have an existing product, Competitor Intelligence allows you to measure your product against your competitors, allowing you understand any variables that can be targeted with your market strategy. It will help you to understand what keywords your competition is emphasizing, provide side by side price and review comparisons, and historical performance metrics.
If you’re utilizing Competitor Intelligence for initial keyword research (prior having a product live on Amazon), reviewing your market’s competition can help you to build a keyword framework for effectively launching your product and gaining early sales. While Keyword Research is a great starting point for understanding your market and associated search terms, Competitor Intelligence can take your research to the next level by contextualizing your opportunity in relation to your competition.
In all, Competitor Intelligence provides another tool for researching and implementing keywords. By allowing you to review the strategy of your competition, it can help to inform your tactics for efficiently driving sales as your product’s history on Amazon evolves. Early on, prioritizing quick wins may help you to drive additional sales while avoiding head-to-head strategies. As you develop sales, reviews, and traction, understanding how your competitors are driving sales allows you to efficiently cut into the direct market share of your competition. Using Competitor Intelligence, in combination with Keyword Research and Listing Analyzer, you can ensure that you don’t miss a single valuable keyword.
Step #3: Listing Builder
Once you’ve conducted your research, you’ll want to use your list of keywords to build out your listing. Viral Launch makes this process easy. While you’re conducting your research, you’re able to select and migrate keywords to a bank, using the buttons at the bottom of the page.
When all of your desired keywords are added, you can click on the ‘Create Listing’ button to navigate to Listing Builder. Listing Builder will allow you to create your listing while checking off keywords from your bank. As you write, the tool will automatically cross off used words and calculate your reached search volume, while providing a quality score based on the percentage of total volume reached.
While Listing Builder will cross off words that have been utilized in your copy and automatically update your reached search volume, it’s important to note that not all content fields are created equally. Because of this, keyword priority should also be considered during listing construction. Though you will index for keywords used throughout your listing, your title will hold the most indexing ‘weight’, meaning that you will find it easier to drive keyword ranking for terms included in the title in comparison to other sections.
By utilizing the ‘Sort By’ option in Listing Builder, you’re able to arrange your bank by volume, priority, and opportunity. Priority should be your first view, ensuring that you’re reaching keywords that are relative, opportunistic, and have search volume. From there, you’ll want to review keywords with high search volume to verify that your title is covering searches which generate the largest audience of shoppers. Finally, you’ll want to review opportunity (while still keeping an eye on search volume) to make sure you’re not missing out on any potentially easy wins.
Even with all of the right keywords, by building your listing with keyword priority in mind and using your keywords in the right way, your listing will likely see additional benefit.
Additionally, if you’re already selling on Amazon and your listing is already live, you’re also able to import your current listing to see how it stacks up to your keyword list. Once you’ve got a perfectly optimized listing that will set your product up for success, simply export the copy and upload it to your Amazon listing.
Step #4: Analyze Your Listing
While establishing great listing content is achieved through thorough keyword research, it’s also advantageous to perform comparative analysis. You want to make sure that your listing looks and reads better than your competition. You also need to be aware of your listing’s strengths and weaknesses. Certain variables such as review quantity may be harder to influence, whereas other elements may be improved. If you don’t exceed your competition’s quality or quantity of photos, you might need to improve this content.
While it can be done manually, there are options to streamline this process using software, such as Listing Analyzer. Where listing builder helps you to construct your listing content, Listing Analyzer helps you to delve deeper into validation.
If you have an existing listing, the research process can be started with Listing Analyzer and you can use its data along with Keyword Research and Competitor Intelligence to more or less work backwards to improve your listing quality. If you’re starting with a new product, Listing Analyzer can be a good reference point for ensuring the quality of your research.
This process begins by opening the Listing Analyzer page within your Viral Launch dashboard and running an analysis. This process can take up to 24 hours to pull relevant info and generate your report, but will typically complete in 5-10 minutes. Once completed, you’ll be able to view your results.
When viewing the ‘report card’ for your listing, you’ll see three tabs at the top of the page: ‘View Analysis’, ‘Find Keywords’, and ‘Find Competing and Complementary Products’. The default View Analysis tab will show a graded score for your listing. Based on listing copy, photography, revenue, and reviews, this data is compiled into a score between 1 and 100. The total score can provide an overall perspective on how strong or weak the listing content is, while the specific sections of data give perspective on where you can make improvements on your content.
In the next tab within Listing Analyzer, you’ll find relevant Keyword data for your product. This data is generated based on the content of your listing and will show you comparable data to Keyword Research with the addition of noting whether or not each keyword is included in your listing. For convenience, there is also a toggle to include or remove keywords containing competing brands names. While it’s definitely important to understand the competitive landscape, because you typically can’t index for (and in a lot of cases should specifically target) competing brands, being able to filter out these terms can be helpful in order to focus on building your listing and strategy around your product.
Note: Using trademarked terms in your listing’s content can lead to the product being suspended. You can target trademarked names in PPC.
The final tab allows you to look at competing and complementary products. Though this is conceptually simple, this tab allows you to view statistics on listings that compete with, or complement your product. If you were selling a white paper gift bag for instance, a competing product would be another white paper gift bag whereas a listing for wrapping paper or tissue paper would be complementary.
It’s valuable to review competitive information because you can see how well your competitors sell, cluing you into market potential, while also allowing you to compare your product’s review quantity and rating, price point, etc. This can be informative when determining needs and advantages. Is there a consistent variable driving a low review rating? Is your price competitive? Are there products that are selling well with lower review quantities, or does a large quantity of reviews appear to be necessary in order to be competitive? Understanding these questions can help you to frame your strategy. You can highlight a feature in response to a negative quality of your competition, ensure that you’re being competitive on price, and employ a focus on review generation if necessary.
While you’ll work against your competition, complementary products are more likely to be purchased with your product, potentially providing you with more unique marketing/advertising opportunity. Utilizing opportunities to align your product with these complementary comparisons can potentially help you to generate additional sales. While it can be difficult to achieve, obtaining a ‘frequently bought together’ label bridging the relationship between your product with a complementary can provide a unique benefit.
Step #5: Track Your Keywords
Whether through Keyword Research, Listing Analyzer, or Competitor Intelligence, you’re given the option to add keywords to a keyword bank for your product. Adding as many keywords of value to this bank can help to provide you with as much ongoing data as possible as your product progresses.
This tool can provide you with relational keyword data, specific to your product. On top of general search volume data, you’ll be able to see whether or not your product is indexed for the term (visible somewhere in search results), and where your product is showing in the organic keyword ranking and where your sponsored ads are positioned. You also have the option to track keywords within keyword manager and set up notifications which will alert you when ranking fluctuates. This can allow for rapid response if you’re noticing declining trends.
Because Amazon continues to get more competitive, quickly responding to market conditions can provide a crucial competitive edge.
Pro tip: Track your top 5 keywords hourly with notifications to respond in real-time to changes that could be impacting your sales.
Step #6: Photography
Along with Listing Analyzer’s ability to review content, it will also provide a quality assessment with regards to photography. This assessment is algorithmic however, and is therefore only able to assess the quantity of photos, file size, resolution and whether photos are on white background.
That said, due to the scale of Amazon and the depth of competition, it is incredibly important to have quality photography. Pictures taken with a cellphone or pictures of your product photoshopped into a stock image will not cut it. It’s easy to find products that sell well with bad listing photography but this should not be used as justification for taking shortcuts in this department. A product with extensive sales history and a stockpile of reviews may not need to rely as heavily on photography. However, as a new product, you need to take every competitive edge possible to succeed.
Because humans process visual information first, ensuring that your product is visually represented well allows you to draw in more prospective buyers. Top notch photography provides quality assurance to shoppers along with the impression that they’re buying from an established brand. A great set of images can help your product stand out from the crowd and drive an increase your conversion potential.
Photography is one aspect of your Amazon listing that we highly recommend you to outsource to professionals. Viral Launch does offer photography services but there are many options to explore. The primary considerations should be that the product is photographed (rather than photoshopped) on a white background, that you’re also including lifestyle (in use) photos, and that you are not utilizing any stock imagery.
Phase 2: First Profitable Sales Generation
After following the steps to developing quality content for your listing, it’s time to start selling. When launching a new product – with no sales history, no reviews, and minimal visibility – it can be a challenge to get things going. Even with a well-optimized listing and a great network of keywords, it can be hard to get your product in front of consumers. And with no reviews, it can be even harder to drive sales.
During the early phases of a product’s life cycle, there are crucial steps that can be taken to set yourself up for success.
Step #1: Early Reviewer Program
Growing a product’s review base is probably the single most difficult aspect of launching a product. Over the past 2 years, Amazon has enacted strict policies on review generation in an effort to combat the practice of purchasing reviews.
With each new policy, sellers have been developing more creative tactics to circumvent Amazon’s policing. The truth is, review manipulation is still frequently implemented, but it is a dangerous game. Amazon tends to shoot first and ask questions later when it comes to review policy violation. There are still methods of buying reviews, but Amazon frequently deals swift justice, suspending accounts and withholding revenue.
As the landscape gets more competitive, and options for review generation become more limited, the reality is that it’s very difficult to catch up to established players in the market.
The majority of shoppers use reviews as social proof to verify the quality of the product they’re looking to purchase. At the same time, the majority of shoppers are unlikely to return to Amazon to leave a review on purchased products.
While this isn’t the most ideal solution, Amazon has developed a program to provide sellers with an early start.
Essentially, you’re able to enroll in the early reviewer program for $60 per SKU – assuming that you’re brand registered, your product is priced at more than $15, and you have less than 5 reviews. As your product sells, Amazon will send emails to shoppers, requesting that they leave a review while offering a $1-3 Amazon gift card as compensation. Amazon will continue to solicit for early reviews for one year, or until you’re able to generate 5 reviews (whichever comes first).
This program won’t help you to drive 100+ reviews in a short period of time, but it provides initial assistance (which can be few and far between in the Amazon world). Taking advantage of this program will help to drive a bit of early social proof, which can help to get the ball rolling and assist in sales generation.
If the previous step didn’t provide enough evidence, Amazon can be a bit of a popularity contest. When starting out, it can be challenging to draw the attention of shoppers without the social proof provided by reviews.
Because of this, finding other ways to draw the eyes of customers is crucial for getting some early sales and helping to begin the forward trajectory of a product. With sales history being a major factor in a product’s ability to obtain favorable ranking within search results, finding ways to stimulate sales early in a product’s life is key to building momentum.
One of the most effective ways to cut through the reviews of your competition is to undercut them on price. While it’s not always advantageous to severely lower your price (causing your product to be labeled as an ‘add-on’ or damaging the quality perception), pricing your product strategically low in the early phases can help appeal to more price sensitive shoppers.
Your product may be of higher quality than your lead competitor, but if you have zero reviews, your competitor has 100, and you’re selling at the same price, your competitor will get the sale every time.
In some cases, pricing competitively can even mean selling at a loss. This can be hard to stomach, but if it provides you with a better chance of being successful in 3-6 months, it can be worth it.
As you establish some sales history, reviews, and organic ranking, you should be able to increase your price to a profitable level. Shoppers will buy products at higher prices if they’re convinced of quality (i.e. shoppers will buy your product if you have visibility and reviews to reassure them). In the meantime, it’s important to grab the sales that you can get, and providing a bargain to shoppers who are willing to put faith in your product can be well worth it in the long run.
Step #3: Analyzing Your Competitors
When launching a new product, your listing will not have the sales history or review base of your competition. For this reason, understanding how to competitively position your product to drive initial sales and successfully grow is critically important. Competitor Intelligence can help you to review this information and properly position your product.
By highlighting a few competitors to compare your product to, you can review different metrics such as their sales, reviews, price point, and history. You can also set up automatic notifications to alert you to any changes in these conditions. For instance, If a competitor recently raised their price, you may want to increase your ad spend and/or target their product through a product targeting campaign to draw shoppers away from their listing. If they received additional reviews and/or lowered price, you may want to divert your efforts away from the competitor to better allocate budget and/or implement additional tactics to increase your value proposition.
More broadly, if your comparison have a lower price and/or more reviews, you may need to make adjustments if you’re looking to target them head on. If they have more reviews, you may be able to beat them on price. If they have bad reviews, you may be able to highlight an advantage to your product that may be a disadvantage in theirs. If you can’t necessarily beat them on any head-to-head comparison, you may want to review their keyword data and target keywords that they are ignoring in order to gain some traction.
Along with this, it can be advantageous to be a bit selective with your competitive analysis. Reviewing the top contenders in a market can help you to isolate some advantageous positioning but if you can find competing products that are performing relatively well which have an obvious disadvantage (like a higher price point, less reviews, or poor reviews), you may be able to piggyback off of their visibility through product targeting to drive additional sales.
In all, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your competition can help to inform your strategy as your listing develops on Amazon. Picking battles in the early phases of your product’s life can help you to drive some early momentum. As you become more competitive, your tactics can become more assertive, leveraging more market advantages that come with a listing’s age.
Step #4: Product Targeted Campaigns
Amazon allows you to not only target keywords with advertising, but to target specific products as well. Product targeted campaigns can help you drive visibility for alongside your competition. This tactic can be especially valuable in instances where there is a strong differentiator between your product and the majority of the market.
Product targeted ads will be presented within the detail page (product listing) of the targeted ASIN. Ads are presented below the listing’s bullets points, providing shoppers with an opportunity to view additional/alternative products when reviewing the details of a listing.
Particularly relevant when targeting complementary products, if your product receives enough sales through a product targeted campaign, it is possible for your listing to be highlighted within the ‘Frequently bought together’ section, allowing for additional sales potential through providing ease of purchase to the consumer. As you can see in the above example, an extension cord and HDMI cable are recognized as being frequently purchased with his product. While it’s difficult to directly influence this, being able to align your listing with a complementary can provide you with some additional visibility, which, in turn, can drive additional sales.
If you have a higher price point, a unique feature, or some other aspect that may make it hard to compete in the high volume/low price market, you can run product targeted campaigns to align yourself with comparable competitors and potentially piggyback off of their success.
Returning to the Competitive and Complementary Products from Listing Analyzer, you’re able to quickly put together a list of advantageous target competitors as well as looking for strategically related products.
The filter menu can be utilized to sort by different metrics such as selling price, revenue, review count, etc.
We suggest applying filters to find products with:
Higher price point
and/or lower review rating
The higher the sales quantity for each ASIN found, the more potential traffic you may receive by showing on that product’s listing. The trick to driving thee most efficient and effective traffic is to have a better offer than the product your ad will be showing on. By using the filter criteria listed above, you are able to help guarantee your product is more enticing than the competitor’s
Using the arrows to the right of each column heading, you are also able to sort by value. This can be helpful to toggle between complementary or competitive listings (allowing you to organize your strategy), as well as sorting by revenue to find products that are generating a large quantity of sales, thus providing you with opportunity to meet more traffic.
When identifying valuable competitors and/or complements to target, you’re able to select individual products and export your list to a CSV file to reference when establishing your campaigns.
Using the ‘white paper bags’ example, your bags may have handles (which justifies a slightly higher price) while most of the competition does not. As a way of circumventing the bulk of the competition, you could focus on running product targeted ads against well performing competitors that also have handles. If your price point is slightly lower, you may be able to grab some of the sales from customers who are viewing your competition. This tactic allows you to reach customers that are looking for a very similar product.
Additionally, product targeted campaigns can be used to focus on complementary markets as well for similar results. If your white paper bags are primarily designed as gift bags, running ads targeting gift wrap tissue papers might help you snag some auxiliary sales. A shopper may be looking for gift wrap items, and will be able to kill two birds with one stone when viewing your ad alongside the other gift wrap items that they’re shopping for.
While it’s highly likely that white paper bags would convert poorly for a campaign targeting a keyword like ‘tissue paper’, there still might be opportunity to drive some sales through aligning your product with specific products in a complementary market.
While Listing Analyzer can provide you with products to review, it’s important to employ a bit of critical thinking along side the data as well. If your product is a white paper bag with handles, it may not be the best strategy to focus on competition without handles. You may also want to avoid lower priced competitors and/or competitors that sell packs of 50 bags if you’re selling in packs of 5. By targeting asymmetrical competitors, you’re likely reaching a less receptive audience. With regards to complementary products, this point is equally relevant. If you’re selling white paper bags, you may want to avoid (or at least test the effectiveness of) targeting white tissue paper as opposed to color options. Understanding your product and how people are shopping for it will help to drive success for these campaigns
As a final (but critical) point on this topic, while product targeted campaigns will not provide the same degree of benefit to organic ranking that you’ll find with keyword based PPC, a major advantage to product targeting is that it’s typically one of the most cost effective advertising options.
In the above example, by targeting competitive and complementary products, we were able to generate $1,095.60 with less than $200 in spend and an average cost per click of $.40. Because it’s newer and less understood, and because targeting a product is typically less competitive than targeting a keyword, product targeted campaigns are usually relatively cheap and can be a really effective method of driving additional visibility and sales. There are definitely additional benefits to keyword targeted campaigns (which will be discussed next), but a sound strategy using product targeted campaigns can be a great tool in your belt for driving low cost sales.
Step #5: Amazon Auto Campaigns
When listing a new product, regardless of listing quality, it’s likely that it will be buried in a sea of similar products. The listings with strong sales history are the listings that rise to the top of Amazon’s search algorithm. Because of this, it’s important to try to get your product in front of consumers through pay-per-click advertising.
Reflecting on Phase 1 of this article, keyword optimization was heavily discussed. Ensuring that you understand your product market and the keywords utilized will help to ensure that you’re opening yourself up to as many sales as possible.
That said, in practice, you can’t necessarily dictate the search terms that will generate the highest returns for your product. Sometimes, well converting keywords can be a bit of a surprise. In other cases, you may convert well for high traffic keywords, but it may be incredibly costly to actually obtain visibility, thus nullifying the benefit.
Early on, running closely monitored automatic pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns can help you discover profitable keywords. These can be quick wins to help drive ranking and build momentum.
Amazon’s algorithm is primarily based on sales generated through a specific search term, regardless of whether or not that traffic is purchased. By running PPC, you can start to drive keyword ranking. While it may take an immense amount of traffic to drive ranking for some of your high volume keywords, you can sometimes drive ranking for lower volume/longer tail keywords with relative ease.
It’s recommended that you set up an automatic campaign with a manageable daily budget. As the campaign runs (and hopefully generates sales) you’ll want to download your advertising reports and review the search terms that drove sales at a reasonable ACoS (advertising cost of sale). As you find profitable (or at least effective) keywords, you’ll want to start setting up manual campaigns targeting those specific keywords. You may also consider adding the word as a negative keyword to your automatic campaigns to avoid redundant spending, however in some instances, we find that the automatic campaign will continue to deliver cheaper traffic than the manual . This strategy will effectively ensure that you’re continuing to drive visibility for the keywords that work, while allowing your automatic campaign to continue to seek out new terms.
The above example is an automatic campaign for a product being managed by Viral Launch. As you can see, ACoS has stayed extremely low, along with CPC, while generating fair volume of sales. While great keyword targets may be identified through this campaign, it is also driving sales through really efficient spend. While it may make sense to break out keywords into individual campaigns, an average spend of $.18 per click is really low, meaning that it may also make sense to leave these keywords in the campaign.
In some instances, advertising may not be initially profitable (particularly if you’ve lowered your sales price in tangent) but getting your product in front of your market and driving early sales can benefit the long-term sales history of the product and provide you with some powerful insights on how and where to focus your efforts.
Step #6: Discovery Campaigns
While an auto campaign can be helpful to identify keywords for which your product will convert, the major downside is that you can’t focus your spend. Auto campaigns will push ads through a wide breadth of keywords, meaning that while you can add negative keywords to your campaign, some of your ad spend will inevitably go to non-advantageous searches. It can also sometimes be hard to get enough data on a specific keyword to understand whether or not they’re profitable.
This is where your keyword research will yet again come to your rescue. In addition to setting up an auto campaign to help clue you into any surprises, what we refer to as a discovery campaign can help to more quickly isolate beneficial PPC targets.
Through the phases found in keyword research, you should have collected a list of high volume, high priority, and high opportunity keywords. Using this list, you can establish manual discovery campaigns targeting 10-20 keywords to test conversion potential.
With regards to high opportunity keywords, you may find instances during research where low-mid volume keywords have a high opportunity score, meaning that they’re underutilized by your competition. In these instances, paying attention to these keywords can pay off, allowing you to exploit them with PPC. High opportunity keywords may not have a large volume of searches when comparing to other terms, but they’re typically easy to drive ranking for. Because your competition isn’t prioritizing them, typically being indexed (including the term in your content) and driving some engagement through PPC can quickly improve your ranking for the targeted terms.
Additionally, it’s relatively common to find that high opportunity keywords are affordable to target (again, because of lower competition). Therefore, driving traffic to drive ranking for these terms can regularly be pretty cost effective. You may not be able to drive a large volume of sales with a high opportunity keyword, but, provided it’s affordable, an extra few sales still make sense to go after.
To do this, you’ll want to select manual campaign, input your keyword list, and run a campaign with broad or phrase match targeting (which will allow for slight variations on your search term list).
Using your keyword research to your advantage can drastically improve and expedite the discovery of profitable keywords. While an auto campaign can be a great opportunity to gain insights, a discovery campaign uses research to better focus your strategy. By isolating search terms that quickly convert, you can begin to construct profitable campaigns which can help to jump start the success of your product.
Phase 2 Conclusion: In very low competition markets, or micro-niche’s as we call them, simply scaling a product through Phase 2 of this guide can be sufficient for achieving keyword ranking and maximizing sales potential within the given product market. Within no time, successfully completing Phase 2 will have allowed you to build a very solid foundation of efficient and effective sales. If this traffic is not enough to move the needle and/or you want to move faster, then Phase 3 is the next step in growing a product’s success on Amazon.
Phase 3: Aggressive Amazon PPC & Pricing
At this point, the foundation for establishing your product should be underway, some sales volume is presumably being driven through PPC advertising, and reviews are (hopefully) beginning to trickle in. Perhaps most importantly, you’ve gained some valuable insight into your market and where your product performs best.
It’s now time to be aggressive!
Step #1: Aggressive Pricing
While you may want to start raising the price for your product, you still want to be careful at this point. It’s likely that you still don’t have a large depth of reviews in comparison to the competition, meaning that the primary sales proposition is going to have to be value (outpricing your competition).
Any increases in price should be carefully monitored to gauge market reaction (changes in click through rate, conversion, etc.). Keep in mind that the primary objective is still sales volume. You’re trying to establish a product for long-term success.
For this reason, you want to carefully review your market when setting your price. Make sure that you’re pricing competitively in comparison to all of your keyword markets. While one keyword, such as ‘white paper bags with handles’, may have a higher average price, another keyword, like ‘paper bags’, may have a lower price. Because you’re competing in both spaces, you need a price that is competitive in both spaces.
Reviewing your initial keyword research along with your advertising performance can help you determine the markets to prioritize (and the prices that you need to beat). As you start accumulating reviews and drive a reliable flow of sales, you can start slowly stepping up your price point to see if you can squeeze more revenue out of your products, but if this price increase leads to a decline in sales, you should always opt to drive more sales until the product starts to really gain momentum.
Step #2: Aggressive PPC Campaigns
Along with a competitive price point, now that you have collected some early insights from your advertising, it’s time to get aggressive with PPC as well. At this point you’ve presumably collected some data on your advertising campaigns. You should be looking for keywords (or products) that have led to continued sales without an astronomical ACoS.
When reviewing this data, you’ll want to begin to isolate keywords that perform well and break them out into their own manual campaign with a dedicated budget. Targeting a single keyword will ensure that you’re continuously providing a budget to the term, increasing your impressions. As long as keywords continue to perform well, targeting these keywords will provide you with a steady stream of sales.
When doing this, you’ll create your own list of keywords that are targeted by your campaign. You can absolutely create multiple campaigns and it’s recommended that you put each keyword into its own campaign, or at the very least, keep the keyword list to a minimum. You want to be sure that the keywords that are driving profitable sales have the necessary (and dedicated) budget to reach their potential.
Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to select broad, phrase, or exact targeting for these terms. Broad match will run ads for any search term that contains all of the keywords from your target, in any order and including plural/singular form (ex. paper white gift bag). Phrase match will run ads for any search term that contains the full keyword in correct order (ex. white paper bags with handles). Exact match will only run ads when the exact keyword is searched (ex. white paper bags). Typically when trying to direct ad traffic through specifically profitable keywords, you will want to run exact match campaigns. It can sometimes be worth testing to see if variations of the keyword perform comparably well.
It’s also important to understand the broader context of your cost and spend during this phase. Rather than solely reviewing your ACoS when looking at your campaigns, you should also be noting how total sales are affected. When running steady campaigns, you should ideally be seeing organic ranking improvements for the keywords that are driving sales. Through this, your organic sales potential is similarly increased.
Even though your ACoS may not be at a profitable level, if it’s contributing to an upswing in organic sales, the overall impact of the campaign may be profitable. In many instances, you may find that even when your product is ranking on page one, running ads to a keyword may still stimulate an increase in organic sales. Because repetition impacts consumer behavior (which is why you see the same commercials several times), you can usually see an increase in organic traffic if customers are seeing your ad first. While advertising on Amazon still proves to be very effective, savvy shoppers may mentally filter out the sponsored product results when conducting their search. That said, seeing the same product more than once still has the potential to leave more of a mental impression.
Overall, many sellers make a huge mistake by not reviewing advertising data. The data can be one of the most valuable aspects of advertising in general. Through it, you’re able to learn where your product competes well and where your specific target audience is most receptive. Through this, you can advantageously direct your advertising and ranking efforts to reach markets where you’ll see the most benefit.
Learning from your automatic campaigns and aggressively targeting valuable opportunities can be the key to driving success for a product long term. While these tactics are a strategy for stimulating growth for a new product, this method is something that should be utilized throughout a product’s life in order to continuously maximize success and retain competitiveness in a dynamic market.
Viral Launch Results:
At Viral Launch, we have been experimenting with new ways to drive sales and ranking since our foundation. Knowing that Amazon would become more saturated, it has been a crucial emphasis to understand how to remain competitive in an ever changing market.
Employing the tactics we’ve covered, we have been able to drive success for several recently launched products:
Category: Toys and Games
Date Listed: October 16, 2018
VL Start Date: October 26, 2018
First 30 days performance (10/26 – 11/24)
Next 30 days (11/25 – 12/24)
Ad performance: Spend: $2,503.73 Sales: $7,508.83 ACoS: 33.34% Clicks: 3331 Average CPC: $0.75 Orders: 330
The third example is a perfect representation of how this strategy can work. As you can see, upon taking over managing ads for this product, spend and ACoS skyrocketed. Assuming a profit margin of 50% (for simplicity) while only looking at ad performance, it would appear that this campaign has been unsuccessful. Our campaigns were in the red and the client would not have seen a return on investment for their product.
What is frequently overlooked, however, is that advertising also impacts organic performance. While spend and ACoS increased dramatically under our management, organic performance similarly increased. Where the product previously saw a total revenue of $48,866.60, our methods generated 4.8 times more revenue over 60 days ($238,709.61).
The end game of any business should be generating profit. In this example, while ad spend may have been less efficient, the total effect drove more profit for this product. Again, assuming a 50% profit margin, the initial performance resulted in a profit of $23,050.54 after ad spend. Using our tactics, total profit was $87,514.77 after the first 60 days of management.
Phase 4: Accelerating Rank with Outside Traffic Promotions
Now that the foundations for launching a product and establishing early sales has been covered, there is one last tactic that can help accelerate your products growth. While typically costly, a promotion to drive external traffic can rapidly drive organic keyword ranking, pushing your listing to page one and opening you up to a massive inflow of sales.
There are numerous options for driving external traffic and certain functionalities and implementations will vary, however the overall strategy is relatively consistent. The intent is to reach an audience of traffic outside of Amazon, provide an incentive (typically an exclusive discount) to stimulate buyer interest, and funnel the traffic to Amazon to drive a high velocity of sales.
Option #1: Promotional Launch
An external promotion essentially involves advertising your product to an audience of customers (most commonly through social media or a third party deal site), typically while promoting a dramatic limited-time discount. As customers see your offer, they’re directed to Amazon to purchase your product. If targeted, an external promotion can direct the flow of traffic through a specific keyword target, resulting in a large influx of sales associated with keyword. As sales volume increases, your product’s relevance for the search term increases within Amazon’s algorithms, thus leading to a ranking improvement.
It is important to note that any sort of promotion can only directly increase visibility. If your product or price is not competitive, if you’re targeting a keyword with low search volume, or a keyword for that your product does not convert well for, it is unlikely that you will see a dramatic increase in sales. However, when run properly, this tactic can rapidly unlock sales potential.
Viral Launch’s foundational Launch platform is a quick and easy way to implement this tactic. Using a cultivated buyer group, the Viral Launch platform, and guidance of trained Amazon coaches, this tactic can be harnessed to quickly and effectively improve your sales potential. For reference (and without revealing client information), here are a few examples of recent results:
Category: Vitamins & Supplements
Units Given: 175
Keyword Search Volume: ~4,000 searches/month
Starting Rank: 42
Ending Rank: 4
Units Given: 225
Keyword Search Volume: ~8,000 searches/month
Starting Rank: 56
Ending Rank: 11
If you’re looking for more information on how our launch platform work and/or would like to discuss strategy for your product, feel free to reach out to us through firstname.lastname@example.org, or by opening the chat window in the bottom right corner of the Viral Launch website.
Option #2: ManyChat Facebook Campaign
If you’re looking to utilize social media to drive sales velocity, a Facebook campaign using a chatbot like ManyChat can also be an effective strategy. ManyChat is a platform which allows you to build a chatbot in order to engage with consumers and distribute coupon codes.
While requiring a bit more tech savviness (and while results can be a little less reliable than a promotion platform), utilizing social media campaigns can provide you with more control over your promotion and provides you with more ability to create a brand voice and social media presence.
Essentially, the process works by creating a Facebook ad which offers a discounted product. In order for customers to receive the discount, they’re asked to click the send message button within the ad.
When customers engage, a chatbot initiates, guiding customers through the steps of receiving the coupon before leading them to Amazon to finalize the purchase.
The ManyChat platform allows you to establish quick reply buttons to simplify customer engagement. It would provide the discount code, and instruct them to copy it before clicking on a button to be directed to Amazon.
When crafting this type of campaign, it’s important to develop copy that will draw in customers and make the process simple.
The following steps can help simplify this process:
1) Start with a question that grabs your customers’ attention.
2) Use emojis to enhance emotions and help the customer engage with the ad
3) Use the “send a message” feature to drive the customer to your ManyChat sequence
4) Keep it simple and explain how and why this offer is so great
5) Use scarcity to get the user to redeem the promotion quickly
Keep in mind that the objective is to drive engagement while minimizing customer effort as much as possible. The process has to be quick and easy to follow while hitting on main value propositions.
This process can allow you to run promotions yourself, while simultaneously establishing some social media presence. It’s important to note that this will require some understanding (or homework) on how to establish an effective campaign. You will also need to utilize an additional service such as Zapier to distribute unique coupon codes to your buyer. This can require a bit of technical work.
When using a launch service, you’re able to better control the flow of traffic to drive consistent sales in accordance of a daily schedule. A campaign through Facebook, on the other hand, is subject to organic demand. Because you’re not reaching active shoppers/deal seekers, consistent engagement can be harder to achieve.
As a point of caution, Amazon’s ToS is ambiguous with regards to use of external promotions. While the promotions themselves are technically ToS compliant, applications of them are not. Using a promotion to drive reviews, spamming customers with marketing messages, etc. has the potential to lead to a suspension.
Think of external promotions like a power saw. It can be a powerful tool to rapidly get the job done, but if you’re trying to use a saw as a hammer, it’s not going to fix your problems. A promotion can rapidly drive visibility and ranking, but if your product isn’t poised to convert well, or if you’re targeting the wrong market, it’s may not drive sales.
When used correctly, a power saw can make work quick and easy. When misused, it can cut your finger off. When a promotion is used properly, it can make ranking fast and simple. When misused, it can get your Amazon account suspended.
All in all, an external promotion is a tried and true method for increasing sales velocity, providing an opportunity for a product to realize sales potential. In the face of ever increasing competition on Amazon, ensuring that you have a solid foundation provides a greater assurance of long-term stability. Beginning to establish a review base while developing a strategic PPC strategy is key to fostering a successful product in 2019. External promotions can provide the extra push to allow a product to take off, the history and data provided through the previously mentioned tactics will help you to better understand your product and your market while setting you up for success.
The Amazon landscape continues to change and a new product inevitably faces more difficulty than the products launched in previous years. Amazon continues to be more restrictive, markets continue to get more saturated, and competition continues to increase.
If you’re making intelligent sourcing decisions and using your resources to your advantage, there is still an immense opportunity to launch new products. The gold-rush may be all but over, but there’s still plenty of gold in Amazon’s river for savvy sellers with a good eye.
When launching a new product, it’s important to be aware of Amazon’s Terms of Service, generate reviews wherever you can (within Terms of Service), take opportunities to drive visibility and sales (through PPC), and learn from the data to refine your tactics.
These strategies may keep you from making immediate profits, but you’re not panning for gold, you’re building a business. You can succeed but you need to play hard and smart while thinking long term.
Build your base, understand your product, use data to your advantage, and invest in making the product successful. Working on stimulating growth early in a product’s life will plant the seed for future success. If you have any questions about this process or how Viral Launch can help you to drive success, we’d love to hear from you! And to get started with Viral Launch tools, loaded with capabilities to help you take your business to the next level, create a free account here.