How E-Commerce Brands Can Best Bounce Back In the Wake of the Coronavirus

While coronavirus has impacted nearly every aspect of the global economy over the past few weeks, e-commerce brands have been hit especially hard. Retailers with major ties to China have struggled to deal with significant interruptions to the supply chain as well as travel limitations between countries. 

The good news for e-commerce brands is that the spread of coronavirus in China has been slowing down, allowing factories to reopen. The bad news is that coronavirus is still a major concern worldwide and it is difficult to predict how its spread throughout the world will affect business. 

Because of the continued concern for the world population’s health, it’s imperative that e-commerce brands take careful steps to navigate this global issue, minimizing risks and maximizing opportunities. Here’s how you can revitalize your brand, despite any recent effects of this recent disease.

Increased Customer Communication

With the frequent shipping delays, inventory shortages, and unknown an unknown timeline for the end of the coronavirus, some businesses have been worried about dealing with upset customers. But even the best brands can’t control for unexpected events like global disease. Customers will understand this as long as you keep them in the loop. 

It’s true that upset customers can wreak havoc on your brand. Fifty-two percent of customers tell others to avoid a brand after a bad experience, and 47 percent of customers have switched to a different brand due to bad customer service. It’s essential to take care of your customer, so when circumstances are out of your control, the best thing to is update customers as the situation evolves.

You’ll earn the trust and loyalty of many people simply by being honest and showing you care. Share your estimated timeline for progress with customers and be clear that you will continue to update that timeline as you receive more information. When your operations are back to normal, you’ll have an even more solid customer base than before.

The Online Advantage

Rising anxiety about coronavirus is causing many customers to stay at home. This means e-commerce brands have a major advantage over brick-and-mortar. This is an excellent moment for online retailers to reach out to customers who need products, but don’t want to expose themselves to germs in public spaces.

In fact, e-commerce has helped the economy during disease outbreaks in the past. During the SARS outbreak of 2002 and 2003, Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce company, took off. Cell phone and Internet companies also thrived at the time. Due to the lack of reliable information about the disease provided by broadcast news, many people turned to their phones and computers to learn how to protect themselves. 

The SARS epidemic was tragic, causing numerous deaths throughout Asia. While millions of people were confined to their homes, however, the e-commerce sector worked to allow life to go on by offering services online. 

E-commerce has the chance to help the world economy during the current coronavirus outbreak in the same way that it helped during the SARS epidemic. It’s important to capitalize on this moment in order to keep your business alive as well as help those people who need your products.

Allowing Remote Business

The spread of a global disease is one of the many reasons to be grateful we have 21st century technology to work with. While there are plenty of aspects of business that must be conducted in person, administrative work, client meetings, and company-wide communication is possible to be conducted remotely. 

Especially if you are located in a region with a growing number of coronavirus cases, the more people who stay home, the easier it will be to contain the disease. The worst thing for your company would be for an outbreak to spread through the ranks of your entire company, completely immobilizing business. 

For those positions that require in-person work, be sure to emphasize the importance of employees watching for symptoms of sickness and staying home if they suspect they may not be fully healthy.  

Diversify Fulfillment Centers

Many e-commerce retailers have seen benefits of having fulfillment centers in a variety of geographic regions. It leads to faster shipping times and the ability to hold greater inventory, avoiding products being on back-order.

Diversifying your location for this centers is best practice in business at all times, not just during a global disease. But the rise of coronavirus has shown that if you are following this diversified location model already, the disease’s impact on your company will not be quite as harsh.  

Although multiple regions in China were hit by the coronavirus, some experienced more severe outbreaks than others. If you have fulfillment centers and warehouses in multiple locations, you increase your chances of being able to keep some of your company’s operations running during an outbreak. 

You’ll also benefit from using multiple fulfillment centers during a disease epidemic because you’ll be able to hold greater amounts of inventory in order to make up for a potential slowing of production in factories. Many businesses are currently seeing products run out without the ability to replace them due to the interruptions to the supply chain caused by the coronavirus. If you can inventory shortages, you’ll be able to win over the customers from other businesses that were not able to meet customer demands. Strong inventory management during a time like this is one of the biggest things that will set you apart as a brand.

Validate Your Product Ideas With Viral Launch’s Amazon Market Intelligence Tool

Now that you’ve got both feet on the ground as an Amazon seller, the tricky part is finding what products will put you ahead of the pack. You can look at snapshot estimates from a random collection of sourcing tools, piecing together what you hope is an accurate picture of the market and product — or you can improve your chances of sourcing only the right products by making use of the right Amazon market intelligence.

Viral Launch’s Market Intelligence tool gives you the most comprehensive access to Amazon-wide insight across billions of different data points. With it, you can make truly informed decisions and validate any product before you ever launch it.

What Real Amazon Market Intelligence Looks Like

Intelligence is nothing without data, which is what makes our Amazon Market Intelligence tool so valuable. It’s the only tool that can collect and leverage data points from across Amazon’s entire market. With the data the tool gathers for you, you can glean the kind of insight and analysis that can help you almost predict the success of any product launch. For example, the billions of data points you’ll have access to can help you assess markets and products by:

1. Name brands: See whether any big household names or Amazon itself is selling in the market. It will be easiest for you to compete against other smaller brands, so stay away from markets that are dominated by one brand or a few dominant brands.

2. Sales spreads: If a few products are claiming most of the sales in the market, it’ll be harder to claim a piece of the pie, especially as a newcomer. Look for markets where sales are spread pretty evenly between the products on the first page.

3. Competitors’ intelligence: Finding a few products dominating sales spreads isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Use the Market Intelligence tool to reverse-engineer their strategies. For example, track what keywords the dominating products use in sponsored ads and make a list of your own variations.

4. Market trends: Sales trends tell you a lot, but if you want to determine which trends are fads and which are actual depictions of the market, you’ll have to look at data from across a few years. Use market trends to avoid investing too heavily in the next fidget spinner.

5. Price margins: Even with a great product, you won’t make a profit unless you can cover Amazon’s fees and still stay price-competitive. You can research the cost of sourcing units from a site like Alibaba, then plug it into our Amazon FBA calculator.

6. Product reviews: Speaking of being competitive, you can enter the competition a lot sooner in a market where mediocre performance is the norm. Research reviews throughout the market and pay special attention to those that are generally low.

7. Product fulfillment: Finally, stay away from markets filled with FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) or AMZ (Amazon original) designations. If your products are FBA, then you can compete more effectively in markets that are mostly filled with FBM (fulfilled by merchant) products.
Data can mean the difference between entering a market and thriving in it — or sinking fast due to poor intelligence. With our Amazon Market Intelligence tool, you can make sure you end up on the thriving side every time. To learn more, sign up for a free trial today!

A Beginner’s Guide to Amazon’s FBA Process

If you plan on selling high-volume products on Amazon, you may want to choose the Fulfillment by Amazon shipping plan. Under the FBA process, you send your inventory to Amazon. Upon each order, Amazon stores, picks, packs, and ships your stock from its warehouse.

It can save you a significant amount of time and reduce the burdens of storing and shipping your product. However, that doesn’t automatically make FBA the right choice for every new Amazon seller, so we’ve outlined a few of the most important things you need to know before starting the FBA process.

Calculating Your Amazon FBA Costs

In many ways, FBA is the most convenient shipping option, though there are a few fees you should be aware of. For example, FBA’s fulfillment fee is a flat, per-unit fee based on the size and weight of each item (e.g., standard or oversized).

You’ll also be responsible for a monthly inventory storage fee, which is based on the average amount of space your inventory takes up in the warehouse. This volume is calculated when inventory is fully packaged and ready to ship, according to Amazon FBA requirements.

Before you choose, you can use Viral Launch’s Amazon FBA Calculator to estimate fulfillment fees for listed items that are similar to your product. You can compare them to the costs of fulfilling orders yourself by using Amazon’s FBA Revenue Calculator.

Weighing FBA Pros and Cons

There’s a certain amount of convenience that comes with having Amazon keep, package, and ship your inventory to your customers on your behalf. For example, when you opt into the FBA process, you instantly gain access to lower overall shipping rates, hands-off purchase fulfillment, and several other benefits. You’ll also get to:

  • Make your products Prime: An analysis of buyer shopping patterns for Amazon revealed that Prime members spend about twice as much as nonmembers (an annual average of $1,400 versus $600, respectively). When you sign up for Amazon FBA, your products automatically become part of the Prime marketplace.
  • Win the Buy Box more often: When buyers search for an item that multiple sellers have available, most purchase the item from the Buy Box. Sellers that sign up for FBA have a higher chance of winning the Buy Box than other sellers, even if their items have a slightly higher price tag.
  • Fulfill orders from other websites: Many Amazon sellers have stores on more than just Amazon’s marketplace. If you do, then multichannel fulfillment may be the greatest benefit to choosing FBA. You can take advantage of Amazon’s lower-than-average shipping rates to fulfill orders from your own website and other e-commerce sites.

These advantages (among others) can make running your e-commerce business a breeze, but FBA also comes with a few cons. For instance, the fees and fulfillment costs associated with the FBA process include having your items shipped to the fulfillment center, and you don’t get to choose the warehouse. Consider that you’ll also have to:

  • Take a step back from inventory: Having Amazon fulfill your orders also means giving up much of your physical access to your products. This may make it more challenging to track specific items and orders, and you’ll have to rely on Amazon to resolve any issues involving inventory or order fulfillment.
  • Keep up with tax obligations: Until you enable and set up Amazon’s sales tax collection, Amazon won’t automatically collect sales taxes for your products. You’ll have to collect sales tax from buyers in and out of the state in which Amazon stores your products. Therefore, it’s important that you fully understand your tax obligations.
  • Prepare and label your items: Part of handling your inventory includes assigning appropriate barcodes to each item so Amazon knows what to pick. You may have to opt for Amazon’s FBA Label Service to ensure accuracy. Or you can speak to your manufacturer about providing labels at a lower cost.

Enrolling Your Products in Amazon FBA

Perhaps you’ve weighed the pros and cons and decided Amazon FBA is the right process for your products. Now, it’s time to put that process into action. After you’ve added a product to Seller Central and created its listing, you can enroll it in FBA by first going to “Inventory,” then clicking “Manage Inventory,” and finally selecting “Send Inventory.”

From here, you can enter your ship-from address — likely your manufacturer’s address. You can also enter the number of units you’re sending to Amazon and who will be responsible for preparing and labeling them (you or Amazon). Then, print labels to send your manufacturer, and you’ll be assigned a warehouse to ship your products to.

Keep in mind that some products require specific preparation so that they arrive at the Amazon fulfillment center in good condition. You can provide specific prep guidance and instructions in the “prepare products” step when creating your shipment, with the option of having Amazon do the prep work for a per-item fee.
For more detailed instructions or for help finding a winning product to sell through the Amazon FBA process, start a free trial today.

The Amazon PPC Ad Types: What They Offer and How to Manage Them

Creating a successful Amazon PPC campaign isn’t just a matter of spending money on some keywords and then hoping to build sales. The strategy, research, and structure of a campaign are what determines its success. And even if you’ve done some thorough preparation, not keeping an eye on how well it’s doing will be a recipe for failure. 

 Every business has a specific vision of what an effective PPC campaign is. It could increase organic rank, drive sales of a seasonal product, or be consistently profitable. However you define PPC success, knowing the full scope of what’s possible within each of Amazon’s advertising channels will help you devise the ideal campaign for your brand. The keywords you target, the spending thresholds you set, and the performance metrics you use are all crucial to building a strong campaign. 

 As you juggle these different tasks, Viral Launch’s PPC tool, Kinetic, can make managing your campaigns easier and help you achieve your Amazon advertising goals. The data it provides on your ads’ performance can ensure your PPC campaign is structured effectively, targeting the right keywords, and spending efficiently. 

 Kinetic also offers automated features that will help you save time by taking bidding adjustments off your to-do list. It doesn’t force predefined rules on your campaign automation or only provide limited data. Similar to Viral Launch’s other software tools, Kinetic gives you the customization, flexibility, and data to make your ideal Amazon PPC ad strategy a working reality.

Here we’ll cover the various Amazon advertising channels—Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and Product Display ads—and how Kinetic can provide benefits to each kind of PPC campaign. 

Breaking Down the Amazon PPC Ads: Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands & Product Display Ads

 

The goal of an Amazon ad is pretty simple: convince a consumer to purchase your product. Yet making that happen is both complicated and expensive, and Amazon provides sellers with three different advertising channels for increasing brand awareness and gaining sales opportunities. Whether you choose to use one or a combination of them, each one provides different avenues for reaching consumers and specific advantages.

Sponsored Products Ads 

The first thing you’ll likely see on a search results page is a Sponsored Products ad. They appear at the top of results, as well as alongside them and at the bottom of the page. They provide an excellent means of generating visibility and enticing people to check out your product. As the name implies, these are product-focused ads meant to increase sales. 

 

Sponsored Products ads feature your product’s photo, your title (or part of it), the average reviews, and your price. These components alone are enough to draw a consumer’s attention and give her enough information to know if the offering is worth pursuing. When it appears next to competitors with weaker reviews or higher prices, the ad can really stand out and steal some sales from those other brands. These ads primarily target consumers who are weighing different options and are ready to make a purchase. Brand awareness can be generated here as a bonus, but the primary objective is to drive sales. 

 

Where a Sponsored Products ad shows up relies on a variety of different factors. It isn’t just your keywords and your bids (although you still need to target the right keywords and offer a competitive bid). The impressions and clicks it earns also play a factor. The better your ad performs and the more sales your earn, the higher your ad placements will be.

 

Also, an increase in sales will also help boost your organic rank. Having greater visibility in organic search results will lead to receiving more impressions, views, and conversions. Our CEO Casey Gauss has often spoken about how sales and rank create a flywheel effect in which sales help increase organic rank, which helps boost sales, and the self-perpetuating pattern builds from there. 

Sponsored Brands Ads 

 

Being a recognizable brand means a great deal. Promoting your products is essential, but promoting your brand can help create a personal connection with consumers that paves the way to brand loyalty. 

 

While Sponsored Products ads will help with product promotion, Sponsored Brands advertisements will allow you to show the personality behind your brand. Previously known as Headline ads, these ads appear as a banner ad on a search results page (at the top, middle, or bottom). They include your logo, a headline, and three featured product ads, each of which link to their product pages. By clicking the ad, a consumer will be taken to your brand’s Sales page or a customized landing page that showcases your three products and some information about your business. 

 

Because of their size the information they convey, Sponsored Brands is an effective way to gain attention and establish your business as a market leader. This kind of presentation conveys the legitimacy of your brand and gives people a way of learning something about your brand. By telling a little about the story behind your business, you can motivate consumers to support your brand. These ads can also be used for seasonal campaigns. If your brand’s products go through sales spikes at certain times of year, running Sponsored Brands ads can start generating some attention to help ramp up your usual sales increases.

 

The target audience for these ads would be top-of-funnel consumers who are learning about the possible choices within a market. The goal is to plant a seed of awareness about your business and make a strong impression that can eventually lead to a sale when a consumer is ready to make a choice. 

Product Display Ads 

 

If you’re looking for some widespread exposure across a number of different placements, Product Display ads can make that happen. These ads appear not only on search results pages, but on product pages, the customer reviews page, and in Amazon’s follow-up emails to customers. So they cover a lot of ground and reach people at different stages of the sales process. 

 

Product Display ads are essentially a combination of Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands ads. They’re used to promote a specific product, similar to Sponsored Products, but they’re similar in size and appearance to a Sponsored Brands ad. A Product Display ad will showcase one item, along with a headline, the product photo, your review count, and price. Similar to a Sponsored Products as, the aim is to gain some visibility and drive some sales. 

 

Unlike either of these ad types, Product Display ads don’t target keywords. Instead, they target products and consumer interests. When targeting products, you focus on competitors’ products or related products within your main category. Interests refer to the categories and subcategories a consumer has searched within. The more specific your target is, the better. Rather than just targeting “Pet Supplies” for a dog leash, you could specifically target the subcategory of “Standard dog leash” or “Retractable dog leash.” By focusing on one of these detailed subcategories, you’ll have a better chance at connecting with your ideal customers.

How Kinetic Can Help

 

Each of these ad choices offers effective ways of getting your products in front of consumers, but they each have various challenges, which Kinetic can help you solve. By providing you with a complete overview of all your PPC campaigns, you’ll be able to verify what’s working and discover what isn’t so you can build on your successes and make improvements where necessary. 

Keyword Targeting

Knowing the right keywords to target is vital to your ads’ visibility and performance. Otherwise, you’re wasting your budget on keywords you can’t compete for or that aren’t relevant to your product. Using Kinetic, you’ll be able to accomplish the following:

  • Find which keywords are performing the best for you and capitalize on their results. 
  • Discover new keyword opportunities that previously missed and expand your campaign’s visibility. 
  • Create automated tasks around your new targets. These customized keyword-related rules can raise or lower your bids based on your ACoS, orders, and clicks. The control is in your hands.

Controlling Spending

Once you have the right keywords targeted, you’ll need to ensure you’re spending efficiently. You might have an ad that’s getting some good exposure, but if it’s eating up your budget, you’ll be reducing your profit margin. Kinetic can help you avoid those problems in the following ways:

 

Monitoring Performance

One of the big PPC misconceptions today is that once a seller has an Amazon ad campaign underway, the hard work is over and all that’s left to do is watch the sales roll in. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple and this kind of approach will only lead to wasted spending and little to no success. Kinetic gives you the ability to view your campaigns at a broad overview perspective as well as at a deeper detailed level:

 

 
 
 
 
 
 Click here learn more about how Kinetic can energize your PPC campaigns and connect with your ideal consumers. Not interested in managing things yourself, let us do it for you with Kinetic Assist.

The Importance of Amazon Ad Placement Data and How to Benefit from It

Good Amazon PPC decisions can’t happen without good data. Any opportunity to gather valuable data about your ad campaign is an opportunity to grow your business. 

 

So if you’re struggling to build a profitable PPC campaign, analyzing the right data will help you develop some effective solutions. Or if you’re hitting your PPC goals, your data will be a crucial resource in keeping that success going. You may even find that your ads are missing some growth potential you weren’t aware of. 

 

Each ad placement—top of search, rest of search, or product pages—will deliver different amounts of traffic and could require different amounts of spending. The traffic you get on page 1 will be much different than on page 5. Understanding how your ad’s placement is paying off (literally) will help you know how well your campaigns are increasing your visibility. 

 

Whether you’re keeping a close eye on your ad placement or unsure of how to start, Viral Launch’s software tool Kinetic will give you the data you need to monitor your performance. It provides a simplified and agile means of managing your ad campaigns, allowing you to make improvements or adjustments quickly. Whatever your PPC goals, Kinetic will help you pinpoint the most effective placements for your ads and create sales-driving campaigns for your brand.

Why Amazon Ad Placement Data Matters 

When you’ve got a good ACoS, you might consider your PPC campaign a success and want to leave everything exactly as it is. Why fix what isn’t broken? All you need is some automation so you can set it and forget it.

 

The trouble is that what’s successful on Amazon now won’t deliver the same results a month, a week, or even a day from now. Taking a hands-off approach will inevitably lead to a loss in visibility and be a gift to your competitors. Monitoring, analyzing, and adjusting are all necessary tasks in a successful PPC campaign, and you’ll need to know which placements are giving you the best outcome and which keywords or ASINs are your best targets. 

Know Which Placement Leads to the Best Results 

After some effort, your ad is now finally appearing at the top of page one. You’ve taken a step up from the middle of search and expect to see a boost in visibility. As it turns out, you unexpectedly find that the middle of the page was better for your campaign, as it consumed less of your budget and led to a greater number of impressions. 

 

Your ideal ad placement will be dictated by your budget and PPC goals, as well as the data you collect. You’ll need to examine your ACoS and click-through rates, and determine which placement will deliver the best performance. An ad at the top of search will increase your product’s visibility, but the cost per click (CPC) will be more expensive. With lower placements, you’ll drive a lesser amount of traffic, but the clicks will be less expensive. Without knowing what each ad placement can deliver, you’ll be missing opportunities to connect with customers and narrow down your best placement spot.

Know the Keywords or ASINs That Deliver the Best Performance

Keywords aren’t just important to your products’ organic ranking. They’re also vital to getting your ads in front of your target audience. Your ad placement data can convey which search terms you’re competing the best for. You can then focus on those that will deliver the best return while pausing those that might not be very effective. 

 

Let’s say your ad is targeting three different search terms: 

 

  • Garlic press 

  • Garlic press stainless steel 

  • Garlic press and slicer in one 

 

For “garlic press,” your Sponsored Products as is showing up on the middle of page 5 and not getting many impressions. “Garlic press stainless steel” is giving you some visibility the middle of page 3, and “Garlic press and slicer in one” is the best of all on page 1. By knowing what’s getting the best performance, you can focus on maintaining that success and start creating plans to make improvements for campaigns that are struggling. 

 

In addition to ad placement data, other performance metrics will be crucial to growing the success of your campaigns, and Viral Launch’s Kinetic provides all of those metrics in an easily accessible format. This PPC software tool will allow you to gain insights into your campaigns to help you continue to meet your goals and pinpoint where any adjustments should be made. 

 

Kinetic: Simplified and Efficient PPC Campaign Management 

Your ad’s placement will tell you a lot about your campaign, but it’s up to you to unpack the data behind it. Our PPC tool, Kinetic, provides an efficient and in-depth way to evaluate your keywords, budget, structure and overall performance. By providing a full range of data no other tool provides, Kinetic will give you better control over your campaigns and strengthen their performance.

Sales, Spending & Placement Data

Knowing your best opportunities for growth should be an underlying goal for all your PPC campaigns. By telling you exactly where your ads are showing up, Kinetic can determine which placements are giving you the best performance. 

 

You can also learn whether product pages or search results are giving you the most visibility. If product pages are best, you can devise a strategy for targeting competitors’ products with a more expensive price than yours. With your ad running next to them, you could potentially steal sales from those brands. By using Kinetic in combination with Viral Launch’s Competitor Intelligence, you can research your competitors’ products and locate some untapped opportunities for growth. 

Kinetic also provides organic sales data, so you’ll be able to determine how your ads are helping boost your organic search rankings. The greater visibility your ads provide, the greater your sales will be, and an increase in sales will help improve your organic rank. Making improvements to your PPC campaigns will help increase your products’ visibility, and monitoring your ad placement data will be important to knowing where and how to make adjustments.

Manage and Maximize Your Bids and Budget

You can’t have a discussion about PPC management without talking about bids and budget. Keeping your spending as efficient as possible is an ongoing challenge, and Kinetic can help you tackle your budget challenges. 

 Kinetic’s customized automated rules will enable you to create thresholds for each campaign based around ACoS, clicks, orders, and ad rank. This customization isn’t limited to a few predefined functions. The flexibility it provides is unique to PPC software and puts all the control in your hands.

You can set your bids to increase or decrease based on specified conditions, such as if your ACoS is less than your breakeven ACoS and the click rate is larger than a certain amount. Or you can pause keywords that aren’t performing over a certain target. You can also add bid modifiers to target top or bottom of search and make adjustments to improve or maintain your PPC campaigns. 

 All of these automation features will help you reach your PPC goal, whether that’s a profitable campaign, a lower ACoS, increased organic rank, or all of the above. Kinetic gives you an endless amount of possibilities in the automation you can create to use your budget more efficiently and strengthen your ROI.

Monitor the Performance of Your Keywords

Targeting the right keywords is absolutely essential for your ad campaigns. Keyword research is an indispensable task and one that shouldn’t be thought of as something you only use at the beginning of a product launch. Making sure you’re targeting the right keywords for your products and ads should be an ongoing process. 

 The data Kinetic provides will tell you how well your ads’ keywords are performing and their profitability. You’ll be able to make decisions on which keywords should be paused, set as negatives, or broken out into their own campaigns. Any keywords driving a large amount of sales or consuming the majority of your budget are good candidates for having their own campaigns. By breaking them out, you can then increase your visibility and conversions, and Kinetic can help you manage those new campaigns. 

Kinetic also offers search term reports you can view, so you don’t have to rely completely on Seller Central. Unlike Seller Central, you can easily compare and flip between different date ranges within the tool, instead of having to download one report at a time. Whenever you need to compare your seasonal data to previous months or years, Kinetic is an ideal solution. The tool also enables you to more easily aggregate your campaign’s performance by search term, which is more complicated in Seller Central.

Improving and Refining Your Amazon PPC Campaigns 

Making the right decisions about your PPC ads depends on your ability to evaluate your keywords, budget, and performance. It’s vital to know how many impressions, views, or conversions your ad receives at different placements, whether top of search, rest of search, or product pages. By analyzing your spending data, click-through rates, and impressions, you can have a clear idea of how well your ads are performing.

 Whatever challenges you may be facing with your PPC campaigns, Kinetic will help you develop customized and effective solutions. In addition to ad placement data, the tool provides quality data on keywords, campaign performance, spending, and Sponsored ad rank. Designed to make your PPC management more efficient, it will help you find weaknesses, develop improvements, and put them in action.

The team here at Viral Launch is committed to providing Amazon sellers of all sizes with the resources for attaining long-term success. Our expertise has been built on tens of thousands of product launches, and Kinetic’s sophisticated but easy-to-use capabilities will help your brand achieve their PPC goals and simplify the challenges of advertising on Amazon.

 

 

Improve Your Amazon PPC Bidding Strategy and Energize Your Campaign

Landing an Amazon PPC ad at the top of page one of organic search results is no small accomplishment, and it’s the result of a series of smaller accomplishments. Targeting the right keyword, knowing the best placement, having a strong sales history, and making a winning bid are all essential to creating a successful campaign. 

 

And even after making those accomplishments, your work isn’t over. When it comes to bidding for Sponsored Products ads, you have to continually monitor your bids to ensure you’re not missing good opportunities or overspending for the conversions you’re getting. 

 

Avoiding the PPC pitfalls that will drain your budget and lead to a weak performance depends on following the right bidding strategy. Navigating Amazon’s PPC ecosystem is both complicated and expensive, so It’s important to have a complete understanding of the bidding capabilities Amazon provides and how you can take advantage of them. 

Amazon’s Dynamic Bidding Strategies 

Earlier this year, Amazon made news when it released three new ad bidding features that enable Amazon sellers to place bids on their Sponsored Products ad placements. These “dynamic” bidding capabilities take place in real time and will raise or lower your bids for you, based on a variety of factors, including your sales history and review count. These features help sellers compete in auctions where they’re likely to win or avoid spending budget where they’re not competitive. 

 

The three options are as follows:

 

  • Dynamic bids – down only: Your bids will be decreased when Amazon determines your bid won’t likely win the auction. This is based on historical campaign data.
  • Dynamic bids – up and down: Amazon will raise or lower your bid, depending on the competitors’ bids and whether you have the likelihood of winning.
  • Fixed bids: Here your bid remains static without changing. 

 

Making the best choice depends on your PPC goals. What you plan to achieve will guide your choice, such as if you’re looking to boost your sales or to run a profitable campaign.

 

Amazon also provides the Adjust Bids by Placement settings, which allow you to increase your bids even further depending on the placement. Top of search on page one and Product pages are the two offered settings, so you can enter a percentage, depending on how much you want to spend. When aiming for these specific placements, these adjustments can make your bids more competitive. 

 

Once you’ve got a strategy in place, Viral Launch’s new PPC management tool Kinetic can help you gather more data than any other software can provide and strengthen your campaigns. Being successful on Amazon requires more than just offering a great product at a competitive price. PPC ads are essential to having a profitable business in the Amazon marketplace, and Kinetic will help simplify the complexities of this challenging but vital task.

How Kinetic Can Help Your PPC Bidding Challenges

Monitoring and adjusting your PPC bids can be the most time-consuming part of your entire campaign. As an in-depth PPC management solution, Kinetic can simplify your monitoring activities, locate weaknesses, and help you make improvements. The tool provides an overview of how all your campaigns are performing and gives you an efficient means of controlling your PPC spending through its customized automation, saving you both time and budget.

Working with Amazon’s Bidding Strategies

Choosing the best strategy depends on your PPC goals and which stage your campaign is in. You also need to anticipate how competitive you’ll be in the auctions you’re bidding in. Doing some research will be a necessary step, and Kinetic will provide accurate, helpful data for structuring your ads. As your campaign grows and build some history, you’ll likely move from one Amazon bidding strategy to another.

Fixed 

We recommend starting a new campaign with Fixed since you don’t have any ad history built yet. Fixed bids are a good way to prevent spending money in auctions that you won’t likely win. This strategy will keep all your bids at the same amount. 

 

Amazon recommends using this strategy as a way of increasing product awareness, rather than conversions. The goal here would be getting your brand and products in front of as many consumers as possible in order to start earning sales later on. 

Down Only

Once you’ve begun developing some ad history, the Down Only option will help you start becoming more competitive. As the name implies, Amazon will only lower your bids in auctions where you aren’t likely to win. This is a good way to prevent spending money in auctions where you’re not competitive. 

 

As your ads begin generating some performance data, Kinetic can tell you which keywords are delivering the best performance so you can start devoting more of your budget to them in order to build on those gains. 

Up and Down

Once you’ve got some keywords driving a lot of conversions, this two-dimensional strategy is the best option. An Up and Down strategy should only be used if you’ve been in the market for at least a week and have built some ad history. If you use this for a new campaign, Amazon won’t have any basis for knowing if you’re able to convert for a particular keyword.

 

By letting Amazon increase or decrease your bids depending on the auction, you’ll be giving the keywords a greater chance to deliver. With this kind of strategy, you’ll need to plan to increase your spending, so you’ll come closer to, or actually reach, your spending threshold. 

 

If Up and Down is working well, you can create an automated rule in Kinetic to increase your budget to maintain the success. You may find that your cost per click (CPC) will vary, with some clicks being more expensive than others. You’ll be getting slightly fewer clicks, but for high-converting keywords, and spending more than you were at earlier stages of your campaign, but gaining more sales. 

Turning Non-delivering Keywords into Delivering Ones 

Running an efficient campaign requires adding any non-delivering keywords as negatives. You don’t want to devote any time or budget to anything that isn’t working. Although adding under-performing keywords as negatives is a necessary task, Kinetic can help with determining what isn’t working and if the fault is in your spending, not the keyword itself.

 

If you verify that you’re targeting a keyword that’s relevant to your product, any problems are likely due to your bid or budget being too low. As an example, if you have a 50-keyword set with a $20 per day budget, that means you’re spending less than a dollar for each of those keywords. By increasing your budget, you can start seeing some delivery on those keywords and use your budget more efficiently.

 

Also keep in mind that how much you bid determines which auction Amazon will put you in. 

Using Kinetic’s automation, if the impressions or clicks your ad is getting are less than a certain amount, you can increase your bids and participate in a more valuable auction. When that occurs, you’ll likely see some improved performance. Sometimes just increasing your bid, while staying within a certain range, can help an ad’s performance for a keyword or when trying to attain a certain placement.

Eliminating Overspending and Lowering Your ACoS

Increasing your spending isn’t always the right solution, and you might discover that you’re spending way too much for the impressions or views that your ad is getting.

 

Kinetic’s automated functions can help you control and improve any inefficient spending, such as any keyword that’s spending but not converting. If you’re working with a 50-keyword set, you may find that only 12 are converting. Based on Kinetic’s data, you can automate Kinetic to pause the other 38 keywords that aren’t converting and then determine whether they’re relevant to your product or if you need to adjust your price.

 

Controlling your ACoS is a typical challenge and if it’s too high, you’re paying too much per click or your conversion rate is too low. Let’s say you were targeting the first Sponsored Products ad position and seeing a low conversion rate there. The best solution would be to lower your bid to attain a lower ad position where you can pay less per click. Once you can achieve a relatively constant conversion rate, your ACoS will decrease, but the trade-off is that you’ll get less traffic at that position. This same kind of strategy can help when trying to create a profitable PPC campaign. The result will be a lower ad position, but one at a more profitable level that still drives enough traffic to earn a strong amount of conversions.

 

As another example, if bidding on a keyword is getting you to the first row of ads but with a high ACoS, you can set a rule to improve your spending. In Kinetic, you would create a rule that would decrease your keyword bid by 30 or 40% whenever your ACoS is greater than your breakeven ACoS and your click rate is greater than 20. Once this rule is in place, you can begin gathering data on its performance to see how well it’s working. When your ACoS drops, you can create a rule for maintaining that level of spend. 

Reducing Your Monitoring Frequency

Although Kinetic isn’t a “set it and forget it” kind of tool, it can free you up from checking your campaign’s spending, keyword performance, and placement throughout the day. Its automated rules can adjust or pause your spending based on the conditions you create, so you won’t be making manual adjustments in Seller Central. 

 

If you usually monitor your campaigns on a weekly basis to see how certain adjustments have performed, Kinetic can provide all the data you need and enable you to download search term reports, rather than using Seller Central. However frequently you choose to monitor your campaign, Kinetic will help you optimize it with adjustments that will improve your visibility and conversion rates. 

Learning Where You Can Best Compete

The keywords you target play a huge role in how successful your PPC ads are. Keeping a constant eye on the keywords your ads are targeting is one of the crucial tasks of monitoring your campaigns. 

 

In the past, the usual strategy was to bid for the top keywords in a product category. Since those were the main keywords, that was the most logical thing to do, but the outcome would be a low click-through rate and an even lower conversion rate. To add insult to injury, your organic ranking for that keyword would drop. 

 

A smarter strategy is to discover which keywords you can best compete for, and Kinetic can help you verify your targets or find missing opportunities. By targeting the right keywords, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance at conversions and avoiding wasted spend on the wrong choices. You’ll then be able to achieve some visibility and sales for your products, and in turn help boost your organic rank. 

 

Amazon’s algorithms are paying attention to every aspect of your PPC performance, so if you target keywords you can’t compete for, it will actually have a negative effect on your campaign. Instead, examine your data, find your best targets, and adjust your spending. 

Streamline Your Bid Strategies, Strengthen Your PPC Campaigns

Having a huge budget at your disposal, as great as that might be, doesn’t automatically mean your PPC ads will be successful. It’s your overall PPC strategy, including your bidding decisions, keywords and placement targets, that will determine the success of your PPC campaign. 

 

Whether you’re aiming to increase sales, boost brand awareness, or run a profitable campaign, Viral Launch’s Kinetic will help you achieve your PPC goals. Its automated features will give you greater control over your bidding tasks and help you use your budget more efficiently. You’ll also be able to quickly pinpoint weaknesses in your campaigns, make improvements, and increase your ads’ impressions, clicks, and conversions.

 

Amazon’s PPC advertising ecosystem is complicated, and PPC is a major challenge for any Amazon sellers, no matter the size of the business. Each of Viral Launch’s software tools can help your Amazon selling efforts, and as PPC becomes more important for business growth, Kinetic will be an indispensable asset in simplifying your advertising challenges. With this customizable tool, you can ensure your PPC campaigns are built on accurate data, an optimized structure, and competitive bidding strategies.

Click here learn more about how Kinetic can energize your PPC campaigns and connect with your ideal consumers. Not interested in managing things yourself, let us do it for you with Kinetic Assist.

Amazon PPC Advertising: The Essentials for Building Your Ad Campaign

The average Amazon consumer probably doesn’t know much about Amazon PPC advertising, but the ads themselves will be a familiar sight.

The average Amazon consumer probably doesn’t know much about Amazon PPC advertising, but the ads themselves will be a familiar sight. When scrolling through search results and viewing product pages, a series of product ads is always competing for the buyer’s attention

Every Amazon seller wants their products to be found as easily as possible, and Amazon pay-per-click (PPC) ads are one of the central tactics in making this happen. Optimizing a product listing is crucial to having a strong ranking, yet it requires much more than that to be competitive, and PPC will play a huge role in getting products in front of their intended audience. Knowing how to start an Amazon PPC advertising campaign can seem intimidating, but understanding the basics is the first step in learning how to take advantage of its inherent sales possibilities. Here we’ll provide an overview of Amazon PPC advertising and the advantages it can provide for increasing product exposure and sales.

Learning the PPC Facts

Let’s start with some fundamentals. The advertisements that appear on Amazon’s search results pages and on product pages are what Amazon refers to as Sponsored Products ads. “Sponsored” refers to the fact that these ads are paid for by the product’s seller.

 The ads appear based around keywords entered during a product search. As a seller, you’ll bid for a keyword related to your product, such as “thank you cards.” Whenever someone searches for that keyword, the amount of your bid will determine the position of your ad. If you have the highest bid, you’ll win the first position. The second-highest would claim the second spot, and so on. You don’t actually pay for the bid until a consumer clicks the ad to view the product page, which is why these ads are known as pay-per-click.

Another important topic is CPC or cost per click. This cost reflects the efficiency of your ad spending based on how many consumers clicked your ad. If you spent $80 on an ad, and 40 people clicked the ad, your CPC would be $2. The significance of CPC is that it indicates how well your ad is performing. To differentiate, PPC is the overall advertising plan, whereas CPC is the performance gauge of your plan. Note that Amazon PPC ads are available only to sellers on the Professional plan.

What You Can Gain from PPC

Visibility

Sponsored ads enable a great means of exposure with your target audience. PPC ads draw attention to your product, providing a photo, price, and title (or the first part of it). It also shows if you’re a Prime member, when the consumer will receive it, and your review rating. These basics all form the hook that will intrigue someone to click the ad to learn more. Consumers can then compare your offering with those of your competitors and become familiar with your brand.

Sales

Greater visibility leads directly to greater potential for sales. In some cases, sponsored ads have enabled no-name businesses to steal sales away from larger, more established brands. By doing so, a smaller business can build enough sales to compete with those large brands and take market share away from them.

Performance Monitoring

Within Amazon’s Seller Central, you can monitor your Sponsored Products performance and make adjustments depending on how well you’re doing. You can reduce or increase your bids on the keywords you’re ranking for or choose to stop bidding on keywords that aren’t going well. All this allows you to use your ad budget wisely and fine-tune your campaign.

Keyword Categories

Not everyone searches for products using the exact same keywords. Giving your ads the biggest potential for exposure requires connecting your ads with the different possibilities of search terms. Keywords are categorized in three different groups:

  • Exact: Just as it sounds, this would consist of an exact match of a keyword, such as
    “thank you cards.” In this category, your ads would only appear for searches for this exact match.

  • Phrase: This category would be a step beyond exact match but include the phrase itself in the
    same order as exact match. Many different derivations may exist, but the keywords must appear
    in the right order. Here are some phrase match examples:

    • Thank you cards with envelopes

    • Thank you cards baby shower

    • Thank you cards wedding

  • Broad: This category provides the broadest potential for your ads to appear. Keywords can
    appear out of order and include modifiers. Examples would be

    • Card thank you funny

    • Gift cards thank you

    • Cards thank you religious

By using a combination of all three categories, your ads can appear in front a wide array of consumers and increase your chances of clicks and conversions.

Using Automatic and Manual Campaigns

As you start your campaign, you have a couple of different campaign options when it comes to targeting keywords. You can either take a manual approach and choose which keywords you want your ads to target, or you can allow Amazon to do the targeting for you automatically, based on what it considers the best keywords to be for your product.

 Automatic is the best place to start and will enable you to compete in the auctions that make sense for your product. When using an automatic campaign, you’ll set your budget limits and Amazon handles the rest. After you’ve begun, Amazon will send you a report breaking down your performance, listing your keywords, clicks, and conversions. You can determine how frequently you’d like to receive the reports, which can be generated every 12 hours.

A manual campaign will put all the control in your hands, but you’ll need to do your research before choosing your keywords. It’s best to use a manual approach after you’ve had an automatic campaign under way and now you want to target specific keywords that you’re ranking well for. You’ll also be able to bid for exact, phrase, and broad matches, and you’ll be able to set your bids depending on your budget and performance.

Weeding Out Negative Keywords

As your campaigns grow and certain keywords are performing well, you can start eliminating those keywords that are no longer relevant or aren’t leading to conversions. Amazon’s algorithms will monitor any keywords that you’re bidding for that aren’t generating clicks, and your organic rankings will consequently suffer. Removing those poorly performing keywords will help your spending be as efficient as possible and help you focus on the keywords you can compete well for.

 Also, when it comes to those keywords you’re converting well for, you can devote an entire campaign to that specific keyword. In order to do so, you’ll need to remove that keyword from an existing campaign by making it a negative one. You’ll then create a manual campaign devoted to that keyword.

Putting Your PPC Campaign in Action

Now that you have an understanding of what PPC can help you achieve, you’re likely already thinking about how you can put it to use in your Amazon selling endeavors. In addition to being something any seller should put into practice, PPC can have distinct advantages when launching a new product or for getting seasonable products some attention during specific times of year. Taking advantage of the advertising channels that Amazon provides is crucial for giving your products some valuable exposure and a reliable means of increasing your chances for sales.

 As you get started learning your way around Amazon PPC advertising and get some hands-on experience, the team here at Viral Launch can answer questions and provide help when needed. Our Amazon PPC expertise and insights have been built on years of launching thousands of products. We’ve helped new brands establish themselves in the Amazon marketplace by using our sales and rank strategies to lay the groundwork for long-term success.

Are you interested in putting some of this strategy to work for you? Start your free trial of Kinetic, or learn more about how our team of in-house experts can run your ads for you with Kinetic Assist.

Amazon Dynamic Bidding & Bid Adjustments: 10x CTR Overnight

Amazon is constantly introducing new and effective tools to manage your Amazon advertising campaign performance. Perhaps one of the most impactful as of recent is the new Amazon dynamic bidding and placements features. Pay attention as this is having a big impact on client’s performance.

If you’re an Amazon seller, you’ve probably spent a considerable amount of money on Amazon Advertising. If not, you should certainly consider the impact it can have on your business’ overall profitability and share of the coveted “digital shelf.” When looking at our customer’s sales, our data shows that 15-40% of total sales are driven through paid search and it’s on the rise. If you’re not paying attention to this, your bottom line may be suffering severely.

However, Amazon Advertising is complex and is becoming more and more confusing with each update. Not to mention, these updates are happening with increased frequency. Understanding the Amazon Advertising platform and all of its capabilities is the first step in successfully setting up your next campaign.

One of the biggest drivers of campaign performance is the amount you’re paying per advertising click. This guide sheds some light on the new bidding strategies offered within Amazon Advertising and the direct implications they have on your sponsored ads strategies.

What is Amazon Dynamic Bidding?

As of the New Year, Amazon Sponsored Products campaigns are equipped with three (really two) new bidding strategies. These new bidding options are as follows:

  1. Dynamic bidding – Down only
  • When ‘down only’ is selected, Amazon will lower your bid in any auction where your ad is “less likely” to convert. Any campaign that was created before January of this year is using this bidding strategy. In practice, let’s say your bid is set at $1.50. In auctions where Amazon deems your ad less likely to convert, they may lower your bid to $0.60.

So what does this mean for advertisers? Amazon is deciding, in real-time, whether or not your ad is likely to convert a sale from a click in that particular auction. Based on past ad performance, buyer behavior, and presumably several other data points, Amazon is able to determine the likelihood of clicks turning into conversions. This is likely to result in ads receiving fewer clicks during times where conversion has been historically poor.

2. Dynamic bidding – Up and down

  • When using the ‘up and down’ bidding strategy, advertisers give Amazon discretion in adjusting bids both up and down based on the likelihood of a conversion. This setting permits Amazon to raise your bids up to 100% for placements at the top of the first page of search results. Amazon defines top of search as the first grouping of sponsored ads on the first page of search results. For all other placements, e.g. product pages and rest of search, Amazon will only increase your bid by up to 50%.
  • Practically, let’s say your bid is again set at $1.50 with dynamic bidding – up & down selected. In auctions where Amazon identifies a likely conversion opportunity at the top of the first page of search results, they may raise your bid to $3.00 based on a 100% bid adjustment. For opportunities outside of the first page of search results, (product pages) your maximum bid would be $2.25 based on a 50% bid adjustment. Inversely, Amazon may lower your bid to $0.60 in auctions less likely to convert.

What are the implications of Up and Down Dynamic Bidding?  Again, Amazon is deciding, in real-time, whether or not your ad is likely to convert a sale. In instances where your ad is more likely to drive a sale, your bid will be automatically increased. In auctions less likely to convert, Amazon will automatically decrease your bid resulting in fewer clicks on ads during poor conversion times. Assuming this works as Amazon intends, this could be a great way to drive down CPCs and increase conversion rates on your ads!

3. Dynamic bidding – Fixed bids

  • When using a ‘fixed bids’ strategy, Amazon will not deviate from your set bid. Again, if set at $1.50, Amazon will not adjust your bid based on the likelihood of a conversion.

Why use this bidding strategy? This bidding strategy gives the advertiser the most control over the performance of their ad. With fixed bids, you’re able to set your exact bid while not having to worry about an algorithm deciding whether or not to show your ad in particular auctions. This strategy would be best for a new ad campaign without any history. This way, your ad will continue to deliver and gather data without Amazon changing bids, affecting deliverability. You could use fixed bids until your campaign has accumulated enough data for you to decide which bidding strategy would work best.

Amazon Ad Placements

There are a few different placements recognized by Amazon, e.g. top of search, rest of search, and product pages. Before going any further into strategy, let’s define each of these placement types…

  • Top of search (first page)  – Amazon defines top of search as the first grouping of sponsored results on the first page of search results. Depending on the layout of the search results page and the number of products per page, this could mean 2-4 sponsored results. The two ads in the screenshot below represent the top of search for the keyword “fish oil.”
  • Rest of search – This refers to any ad spot that is not in the first grouping of sponsored products on the first page of the search results for a given keyword. The screenshot below shows sponsored results in the “rest of search” placement.

Product pages – These placements are shown directly on product detail pages in the “sponsored products related to this item” section. You can find these ads by visiting a product detail page and scrolling down past the listed bullet points. The screenshot below shows a list of sponsored products on the detail page of the #1 ranking product for “fish oil.”

Now, we’ve established a good understanding of the different placements of Amazon ads. Let’s get deeper into the weeds and discuss how strategies should differ for each placement.

Implementation Strategy – Bid Adjustments by Placement

Bidding by Placement

If you’ve been selling on Amazon for awhile or have at least dabbled in Amazon Advertising, you’ve almost certainly heard of Bid+. This was the old mechanism that allowed Amazon to programmatically raise your bid in an auction where you may not have the highest set bid. This old system only allowed Amazon to raise your bid, at most, 50%. With this recent update, Bid+ has been retired, though advertisers are now able to input their own maximum bid increase percentage. Even more, you’re able to input a maximum bid increase percentage unique to each placement!

Top of Search (first page)

As mentioned above, Amazon has retired Bid+ and replaced it with bid by placement. For auctions in ‘top of search’, you are now able to set your own maximum bid increase percentage. Prior to the update, Amazon set your default max bid percentage increase at 50%. Now, advertisers have the ability to input their own percentage up to 900%…

This can increase your bid and spend your budget extremely quickly. For example, let’s say you sell a fish oil. You have an existing campaign with ad history that has sold units at a reasonable rate for at least the last four weeks. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say all of your bids are set at $1.00. You then adjust your maximum bid increase to 100% for auctions in the top of search. If dynamic bidding – up & down is your selected bidding strategy, you could potentially pay up to $4.00 per click. We’ll do some quick math to explain… $1.00 bid increased by 100% = $2.00 due to your setting for adjusting bids by placement. Since the campaign is using an up & down dynamic bidding strategy, Amazon may increase your bid by another 100% taking your bid from $2.00 to $4.00 for auctions most likely to convert.

In the same scenario, if dynamic bidding – down only is selected, your max bid would be $2.00 for placements in the top of search. $1.00 bid increase by 100% = $2.00 due to your setting for adjusting bids by placement.

Product Pages

Keyword targeting campaigns deliver in different placements, including on product pages. For example, looking at a campaign that has received 85,959 lifetime impressions, over 70,000 of those impressions were received through product pages. With the new placements reporting feature, you’re able to view a breakdown of ad placements on existing campaigns.

Before deciding whether or not to set your maximum bid percentage increase for product pages, make sure to analyze your past performance for those placements. In this instance, you can see how much better the ad performs when delivering for the targeted keyword(s) compared to product pages. In this case our product page placements are still well within our ACoS target of 30%, so we would consider adding a max bid increase percentage to get more clicks in these auctions.

How are keyword targets delivering for product pages? When a buyer searches a keyword, a list of search results is populated… a process we’re all very familiar with. However, when the buyer clicks on an organic or paid search result, another list of products is shown in the product pages placement that we learned about earlier. The ads that are shown on a detail page are still attributed to the keyword the ASIN was trafficked through. This is new information never before available to sellers and has huge implications on keyword selection!

Why do my existing campaigns have a 50% increase for top of search? Any campaigns that were created before the update, and had Bid+ enabled, will have a 50% maximum bid increase for top of search. This setting should behave similarly to Bid+ if left unchanged.

Above, you see an active campaign using different maximum bid increase percentages based on the placement. For top of search, we’re willing to bid up to 50% more than our set keyword bid in order to get quality clicks. On product page placements, our bid adjustment percentage is only 25%. Since most product placement ads are shown on detail pages of direct competitors, they have a much lower likelihood of converting sales. However, they typically have much lower CPCs than search terms do! This means advertisers can afford to have a lower conversion rate and still stay within a desired ACoS range.

How should I incorporate bidding by placement into my campaigns? This bidding strategy is best for existing campaigns already running within your desired profitability threshold. This bid increase percentage will allow for more clicks in the top of search. If your product converts historically well through the ad, you’re likely willing to pay slightly more to get clicks, especially in auctions where Amazon deems your ad most likely to convert. Keep in mind, in order to get the same level of traffic, you may need to increase your daily budget. Spending more per click allows for fewer clicks if budget is not scaled up.

For brand new campaigns, we do not recommend using dynamic bidding – up & down. If this bidding strategy is used on a new campaign, you likely won’t see desired results. Without historic performance data, it would be difficult for Amazon to accurately predict which auctions have the highest likelihood for a conversion.

How to 10x your Click-Thru Rate Overnight!

If you only take away one tactic you can apply to your business from this blog post, let it be the following. This strategy could more than triple the CTR on your campaigns in less than 24 hours!

Since Amazon has given us visibility into the placement breakdown of existing campaigns, we know that in most cases, we are delivering many more impressions on detail pages than we are for keyword searches. An analysis of campaigns VL has managed over the last few months shows that 83% of total impressions happened on detail pages! The rest of search produced 13% of impressions and top of search received 2.5%.

How can I make sure to deliver for keywords rather than product pages? When we discovered that more than 80% of our total impressions were being shown on detail pages rather than for keywords, we were shocked (to say the least). We quickly rallied to figure out a way around this and we think we’ve come up with a great solution. We tested this theory and proved it out, though we’re working to collect more data before releasing a full case study.

That said, we have enough examples to prove that this method works and will drastically change how your ads deliver. When setting up a new campaign or editing an existing one, you are able to change your bid adjustment percentage based on the placement type. In order to ensure you deliver for more search terms than product pages, you can set your bid very low, while setting an aggressive bid modifier for top of search. This ensures that your bid is very low for product pages while still allowing for aggressive bids to be placed on auctions showing in top of search!

For example, we took an existing campaign, reduced the bid from $1.52 to $0.30 with an 800% bid adjustment for top of search (effectively a bid of $2.40 for just top of search, $0.30 for product pages, and $0.30 for rest of search). By doing this, we were able to reduce total impressions for detail pages to ZERO. Furthermore, we were able to improve CTR nearly tenfold in a matter of two days by eliminating poor performing ad placements on product pages.

Conclusion

Dynamic Bidding strategies are still in Beta phase, so it’s very likely adjustments will be made to the algorithm as Amazon gathers more data. In the meantime, this guide explains how these new bidding strategies should be implemented into your existing campaigns. When exploring these new bidding strategies and how they may influence your campaigns, make sure to test them on existing campaigns first! A new campaign has no historical data making it essentially impossible for Amazon to determine when an ad is more or less likely to convert. By applying an up & down bid strategy to a top performing campaign, you may be able to drive more conversions with a similar amount of ad spend!

Viral Launch’s R&D team has spent the last 12 months managing and analyzing hundreds of successful Amazon Advertising campaigns. As we gather our own data around these bidding strategies, we’ll be sure to share the tactics producing the best results so advertisers can boost the effectiveness of their ads.

Are you ready to increase your visibility and sales with marketing automations now?

Our SPACE Managed Services is a powerful sales and ranking engine that applies a holistic approach to driving organic and PPC results on Amazon.

More than a PPC management interface, we leverage our data, expertise, and technology to devise a custom strategy and implement the latest Amazon advertising tactics to achieve your goals. We focus on results. Click HERE to learn more.

Amazon Gated Categories: What You Need to Know

If you’re looking to become an Amazon seller, you’ll quickly learn that research plays a huge part in your success. From product viability to profit margins and keyword research, you’ve got a lot to do. One aspect a lot of first time sellers don’t think (or know) to research is Amazon gated categories.

Millions of products spread out over hundreds of categories are available to buy and sell right now on Amazon. From electronics to baby products and supplements to snacks, the possibilities are endless.

But not all categories and products are created equal. Some fall under gated or restricted categories. And before you source your Amazon FBA product, you need to be aware of what these categories are because they require special approval to sell.

If you don’t do your due diligence and source a product in a gated category you could be stuck with a ton of inventory and no way to move it.

To make sure you avoid this mistake, let’s dive into gated categories.

What Are the Amazon Restricted Categories?

The Amazon ecosystem is constantly in flux, but right now there are around 20 Amazon restricted categories and subcategories. The list of categories/subcategories that have some sort of restriction or approval/ungating process includes:

  • Automotive and Powersports
  • Beauty
  • Clothing, Accessories, Shoes and Luggage
  • Collectibles (Books and Coins)
  • Entertainment Collectibles
  • Fine Art
  • Fine Jewelry
  • Gift Cards
  • Grocery and Gourmet Foods
  • Kindle Accessories
  • Sexual Wellness
  • Sports Collectibles
  • Textbook Rentals
  • Toys and Games (during the holidays)
  • Video Media (DVDs, Blu-ray)
  • Watches
  • Wine
  • Supplements

Have you committed those to memory? There will be quiz later. Just kidding, but it would be a good idea to keep this list in mind when you’re perusing potential product ideas.

The next question we should probably answer is:

Why Does Amazon Put Restrictions on Certain Categories?

It’s pretty simple really. Amazon’s main goals, as is the case with any business (or it should be at least), is customer satisfaction and brand perception. Now with almost half of all sales on Amazon coming from third party sellers, the company has to have a way to protect its reputation. That’s why Amazon adds restrictions to categories which are susceptible to issues with safety, quality or counterfeiting.

While these restrictions are great for Amazon and in turn the shopper, it can make life difficult for sellers. That’s why you have to make sure you’ve done your research to figure out if that goldmine product you’re about to source would fall in a restricted category.

If it does and you’re fine with a few extra steps, these next parts may be for you.

How Do you Start the Approval Process?

Ok, so let’s say you’ve decided to sell in a category that requires an approval process. How do you get started down the path to getting approved to sell? Fortunately, this part is pretty straightforward. Typically, to get the ball rolling on the approval process you will follow these steps:

  1. Head to Seller Central, then click the inventory link and select “Add a Product.”
  2. Perform a search and look for any product you know that is listed in the specific category.
  3. Once you’re in the search results, click the link that says “Listing Limitations Apply.”
  4. Choose “Request Approval” and begin the application.

While some sellers get approved automatically or within a few hours, don’t worry if it take a little extra time for you. For some, getting approval can take up to a week. To check the status of your application all you have to do is go back to the Add a Product section of Seller Central and look for the “Selling Application Status” on the page.

What Does the Approval Process Entail?

Like a lot of things on Amazon, the answer is – it depends. While the approval and “ungating” process can vary from category to category, there are still a few blanket things you want to do to make sure you stay in Amazon’s good graces and increase the chances of getting approved. Some actions that can influence the approval process include:

    • Pro Selling Account: For nearly all restricted categories you must have a Professional Selling plan or agree to upgrade to a Professional Selling plan within a certain amount of time, typically 30 days after your application is approved.
    • Good Standing: In addition to having a Professional Selling account, Amazon also wants to see that your account is in good health. So keep your late shipment rates, defect rates and pre fulfillment cancel rates and returns as low as possible to increase your chances of getting approved. Unless there are quality issues with your other product(s), this aspect mainly applies to FBM, because if you’re selling FBA you should be hitting these metrics easily.
    • Invoices: In some categories, like Grocery and Gourmet food, Amazon requires that you provide them with acceptable documentation like product invoices and any other information they request about your products.
    • Images: For the Automotive and Powersports category, Amazon requires sellers to have compliant product images that can either be reviewed on an independent website or image hosting site.
    • Questionnaire: Some categories, like Sexual Wellness and Jewelry also require you to fill out a questionnaire in addition to providing images.
    • FDA Review: Some products are subject to FDA approval and may have additional requirements, like listing guidelines that you must adhere to.

 Want Some More Information about FDA Regulated Products?

Check out our recent podcast on the topic:

As you move through the approval process Amazon will indicate what of the above aspects it needs from you as the seller. Because this is done online with areas to upload or enter information, having all pertinent documents and info ready to go will help speed up this process.

Keep in mind, all categories will be different when it comes to what it takes to get approval to sell. For instance, sellers wanting to break into the Grocery and Gourmet Foods category have to follow specific guidelines.

Here are some of the guidelines straight from Amazon for the Grocery and Gourmet Foods category. As you can see from the image below, there are requirements for a number of aspects including packaging, labelling, shipment dates and much more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, as you might imagine for food products, Amazon also requires sellers to maintain proper temperature control, as you can see below.

Final Thoughts: Should I Avoid Selling in Restricted Categories?

Hopefully after reading this blog post, you have a little better idea of why restricted categories exist and what the process for getting “ungated” entails. Now, if you think the process for getting approval to sell in one of the gated categories is too complex and time-consuming, (especially if you’re a new seller) that’s perfectly fine. However, if you’re willing to go the extra mile, this could be a good strategy for you.

Think about it this way: There is a ton of competition across all categories on Amazon, right? But wouldn’t it make some sense to think that categories that require these extra steps and work, might be a little less crowded for the reasons I mentioned above?

What I’m saying isn’t necessarily profound, nor is it sure to make you instantly rich. That said, you don’t have to avoid restricted categories like the plague just because you can’t open an account and immediately start selling.

These are the types of decisions that you’ll have to make throughout your selling journey. To set yourself up for success, you’ll need to make sure you’ve done plenty of research and have gathered the right data.

Here at Viral Launch, we want to provide you with all the information you’ll need to become a successful Amazon seller. For more on Amazon selling strategies, we encourage you to subscribe to our blog, check out our Youtube channel, and listen to our Follow the Data podcast.

There’s a (Web) App for That: The Top 6 Best Amazon Seller Apps and Tools

When it comes to selling on Amazon, there’s always an abundance of items on the to-do list. As many brands are made up of just one person or a small team, there’s a lot to keep track of from picking a product and managing inventory to creating a listing and advertising… and everything in between. So how do you keep track of everything? Luckily, there’s an Amazon web app or tool for nearly every step of the selling process.

Here’s a list – in no particular order – of some of the best paid and free Amazon seller web apps designed to help you take your e-commerce business to the next level.  

Take your Business On-the-Go with the Amazon Seller App

Before we get started, we should first mention one smartphone app every seller should have.

This might be pretty obvious for more seasoned sellers, but it’s definitely an important one. This is essentially Amazon giving sellers a free tool to help make their selling experience a whole lot easier and organized even when you’re on the go. You’d be crazy not to take advantage of it, right?

  • What it does: In short – a lot. This is essentially Seller Central in your pocket. With this app, you can analyze sales, quickly make pricing changes, view fees, create listings, upload photos, manage orders, respond to messages and much, much more.
  • Why we love it: For starters, we love it because it’s free. It’s also great because it has many of the major features and functionality of Seller Central available to you at any time. With this app, you’ll be able to manage your business from just about anywhere.
  • How to get it: This app is available for free in the Apple or Android app stores.

Ok, now that we’ve covered the Amazon Seller app, lets get back to the best third-party web-based apps and tools for sellers!

1. Take the ‘Ew’ Out of Reviews with Feedback Genius

Amazon reviews are a touchy subject to say the least. That’s why finding any tool that helps sellers manage and gather reviews within Amazon’s terms of service is like coming across an oasis in the middle of the Sahara. One of the most popular review apps is Feedback Genius from Seller Labs.

  • What it does: Reviews serve as social proof on Amazon, and they’ve got a major impact on clicks and conversions. Therefore, reviews are extremely important, and sellers must have a solid review-gathering gameplan. Feedback Genius is a powerful Amazon seller tool to help sellers gather and manage reviews as well as communicate with buyers through automation and helpful notifications.
  • Why we love it: Feedback Genius is great because it takes a lot of the legwork out of review aggregation and management. This app allows sellers to automate the bulk of their messaging to buyers and set up notifications so you never miss a review or feedback.
  • How to get it: Visit the Seller Labs website and create an account. New users can also try out a 30-day free trial!

 

 

2. Track Inventory and Run Ad Campaigns with Teikametrics

Making sure you’re on top of your inventory and successfully managing your advertising campaigns are extremely important aspects of selling on Amazon. Knowing how much product you have left and when to restock helps you to maximize profits and maintain ranking. And getting in front of shoppers through sponsored ads expands your sales potential. Luckily, there’s an FBA-focused tool out there that can help you keep track of inventory and advertise your products called Teikametrics.

  • What it does: This tool helps Amazon sellers create and follow smart inventory systems and sponsored ad campaigns. Manage your investments, track replenishment, and find your true profitability with Teikametrics’ FBA platform. You can also automate your sponsored ad campaigns to increase profitability. It’s all in one place.
  • Why we love it: Teikametrics is great because it’s designed with the FBA seller in mind. You get help managing inventory to reduce stock-outs while also learning valuable strategies to improve sales velocity and ranking. And when it comes to PPC, Teikametrics’ automated bidding allows you to get the best placement for max profitability without lifting a finger.
  • How to get it: Visit the Teikametrics website to create an account and get started.

 

 

3. Utilize Viral Launch’s Suite of Tools to Launch your Business into the Stratosphere

Here at Viral Launch, our mission is to provide sellers with the best information and tools out there for their selling journey – whether it’s from us or not. So with that being said, please forgive us for this shameless plug. Our Viral Launchpad (see what we did there) is based around 4 main tools:

  • Product Discovery: Our product finding tool allows you to find individual products that meet your criteria, review initial keywords, discover successful brands, and search subcategories for up-and-coming products. It also has advanced filters allowing you to customize your research process to get personalized results.
  • Market Intelligence: Once you’ve used Product Discovery to find a few products you’re interested in, it’s time to use Market Intelligence to verify your choices. This tool lets you verify demand for products by showing you estimated sales numbers, keyword search volume, trends, market conditions and much more.
  • Keyword Research: Like we mentioned earlier, finding the right keywords to include in your listing is huge. Our tool allows you to search a general keyword associated with your product and then presents you with a list of other possible keywords. Along with the keyword list, you’ll also get data like Search Volumes, Priority Score, Relevancy Score, Opportunity Score, Trends and more.
  • Launches: Also known as giveaways, launches are a great way to help move your product up in keyword ranking. At Viral Launch, our clients work with one of our Amazon Seller Coaches to target a major keyword for their product with a lot of search volume. Then, we determine what number of units to give away at a discounted price and for how long. Amazon recognizes these sales which in turn moves the product up in rankings for the major keywords, getting it in front of the eyes of more shoppers.

 

 

4. Own Your Taxes with Avalara

Is there anything more fun than doing your taxes? Oh, wait, there is? That’s right, unless you’re a CPA or an Excel whiz, taxes are tedious at best and massively confusing at worse. As an FBA seller, taxes can get even more confusing as changing legislation makes things increasingly difficult. Not to fear, Avalara is here with tax tools designed specifically for the needs of Amazon sellers.

  • What it does: Among other tax solutions, Avalara software automates sales tax compliance. Amazon sellers can easily understand how much they owe in each state that they have nexus. Avalara can even prepare and file your returns according to a filing calendar. It’s like having your very own accountant on your payroll!
  • Why we love it: Avalara provides real-time rate calculation and automatic return filing. No more manually entering data and other tax information… with Avalara’s sales tax engine, the right rates and rules will be applied every time!
  • How to get it: It’s simple, visit the Avalara website, sign up and get started!

 

 

5. Make Accounting Easy with Quickbooks

Whether you’re a solo Amazon seller or part of a small team, there’s a lot to keep track of. From expenses to taxes and everything else, that’s a lot of work to put on the shoulders of one, or in some cases, a few people. But with Quickbooks Online, you can keep track of all the important aspects of your business all in one place.

  • What it does: It might be better ask what Quickbooks Online doesn’t do. Sellers love this tool because of the wide range of services it offers. With Quickbooks Online, you can keep organized books with everything in one place. Automatically import and categorize your transactions, and you can even share your books with your accountant for seamless collaboration. This way, when tax time rolls around, you’re set up for a painless experience.
  • Why we love it: To be successful in any business, you need to know how much cash you’ve got on hand and how much cash you’re spending. Quickbooks Online allows you to see in real time how much money you’re making and spending… all in one place.
  • How to get it: Visit the Quickbooks website and sign up for the plan that best fits you and your business! There’s also an option for a free 30-day trial. If you’re having trouble setting up Quickbooks for your Amazon FBA business, get help from the pros. Find a bookkeeper like CapForge Bookkeeping Pros, who specializes in FBA, and they can help you set up your books correctly. After a free consultation, you’ll understand how CapForge can simplify your Quickbooks for peace of mind.

 

Bonus Round: International Sellers

6. Take Your Business Worldwide with WorldFirst

One of the main reasons Amazon provides sellers such a massive opportunity is because of the sheer size of their user base. Millions of shoppers from around the world are browsing Amazon every single day. But with different rules and regulations in each overseas economy, selling worldwide can be tricky. With the help of WorldFirst, you can build your business overseas and easily bring your money back home.

  • What it does: Amazon requires you to open a bank account in any country where you sell products, which can cause logistical headaches and great confusion. WorldFirst allows you to set up Amazon receiving bank accounts in overseas marketplaces like USD, JPY, CNY, GBP, EUR and CAD.
  • Why we love it: One of the best things about WorldFirst is that it’s extremely cost effective. For starters, it’s free to open an account which makes it easy to get started. There are also no fees for receiving money and no monthly charges.
  • How to get it: All you have to do is visit the WorldFirst website and sign up for an account.

 

 

Combine Amazon Web Apps and Tools with Hard Work and Dedication

While the tools and apps listed in this guide are great resources, they aren’t the end-all-be-all for whether or not you’ll be successful on Amazon. By that, we mean that merely signing up or using these tools won’t ensure success. It’s also completely possible these or other popular tools just aren’t right for you and your business – and that’s fine!

The best way to maximize your chances of successfully selling on Amazon is to combine tools like these with hard work and plenty of research. It’s also important to make sure you stay up to date on any changes that may be taking place within the Amazon marketplace.

The great thing is a lot of this information can be easily found online, it just takes some effort on your part to find them. Like we mentioned above, Viral Launch hopes to be your source for information about all things Amazon. We encourage you to subscribe to our blog, check out our Youtube channel or listen to our podcast Follow the Data.