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: SponsoredProducts, 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.
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.
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:
Monitor and control your bids to maximize your budget.
Create a strategy for lowering, raising, or maintaining your ACoS, depending on your campaign goals.
Set thresholds based around a specified number of clicks or your break-even ACoS using Kinetic’s automated rules.
Locate and pause any unprofitable keywords or add them as a negative.
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:
View a list of all your products with snapshots of each of their campaigns. Unlike any other software tool, you’ll have an easily viewable presentation of your products’ data, including total sales, organic sales, and ad performance.
Monitor the metrics for each of your campaigns, such as Sponsored ad rank and keyword performance. Without knowing where your ad is showing up, you won’t have a good handle on your ad’s success, and without seeing your keyword performance, you won’t know which keyword markets are the most valuable for your campaigns.
Control your campaign spending, keep tabs on sales from ads, and make adjustments when needed
Filter data by any date range to view specific certain timeframes. Kinetic’s search term data feature also offers ranges of search term data that’s easier and less time-consuming to access than having to create a report within Amazon.
Benefit from Kinetic’s recommendations on the rules you set up for your campaigns. If you choose to manually run the rules yourself, rather than automating them, you’ll receive recommendations from Kinetic that will help you better monitor what’s working and what needs improvement. The automated option will enable Kinetic to carry out its own recommendations for you, saving you time and effort. Both options will help in monitoring your campaigns and pinpointing where to make adjustments.
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.
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 stainless steel
Garlic press and slicer in one
For “garlic press,” your Sponsored Products are 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The title of a product on Amazon carries a lot of weight when it comes to organic rank and click-through rates, and if your listing isn’t in step with the official style requirements, the upcoming Amazon policy enforcement should motivate you to make some changes.
Amazon recently announced that on July 22 it will be “suppressing ASINs from Amazon Search that violate Amazon’s title guidelines.” According to the announcement, the reason behind this new enforcement is that titles that don’t comply with Amazon’s guidelines “result in a poor customer experience.”
As shown in the news release above, the announcement mentions some specific requirements:
No promotional language can be used, such as “free shipping” or “100% quality guaranteed.”
Other examples would be “Best Seller” or “Hot Item.”
No non-readable characters can be used, such as HTML code.
The length of a title can’t exceed 200 characters. Titles must include “product identifying information,” which describes what the product is, such as a garlic press or first aid kit.
Although not mentioned in the announcement, the Amazon Style Guide also contains a number of further requirements, such as prohibiting the use of all caps or special characters (such as ! or $.)
No one wants their business disrupted, so it’s important to understand the effect of what this new level of Amazon policy enforcement may have on your brand, and then take some practical steps to ensure you can maintain your visibility and sales.
What This Means for Amazon Sellers
The most important element of a product listing is its title, and having it optimized for organic search is a vital part of gaining visibility under any conditions.
The “suppression from search” for those who violate the title guidelines is open to interpretation, but the announcement indicates that this suppression would actually be a removal from search entirely.
Amazon mentions that if a product title is penalized, “[o]nce the issue is fixed, we will remove the search suppression and the ASIN will appear back on Amazon search.”
From this statement, the penalization wouldn’t be a matter of your product taking a drop in organic ranking and be languishing many pages deep in a search. It would be an outright elimination from organic search, and the effect on your product’s visibility and sales would bring your business to a halt.
Considering the amount of products that exist in Amazon’s marketplace, how quickly they will be able to roll out this tighter enforcement is uncertain. It likely won’t happen immediately, yet ensuring your title is compliant with the style guide so that your product remains searchable should be your current top priority.
Getting Your Listing Ready for Compliance
To avoid losing visibility, ranking, and sales, we’ve provided a list of crucial steps for becoming compliant with the title guidelines.
In case you aren’t clear on the guidelines or need access to them, we’ve created a downloadable spreadsheet, Amazon Style Guides by Category. It breaks down what the title counts have previously been for each category and provides links to the style guides for each category. The announcement states title character counts cannot exceed 200 characters, so it remains to be seen if certain categories will continue to be limited to 50 characters.
Another requirement in some categories is that businesses must include their brand name in their product titles. Although this helps promote your brand, it essentially restricts the character limit even more, forcing business to balance visibility, precision, and helpful information.
How To Stay Compliant
Before the deadline arrives, follow these five tasks help you stay compliant and avoid any issues:
1. Access your style guide from our spreadsheet and track down the category-specific limitations for your title. Find the exact character count and if you’re exempt from having to include your brand name. Keep in mind that Amazon updates style guides regularly, so be sure to stay up-to-date.
2. Write a new title, staying within the new limit for your category and including your brand name, if required. Our tool Listing Builder can help you quickly devise a new one and move any previous info from your title into your bullet points.
3. Set up organic rank notifications for a particular keyword in Keyword Manager. Go to the Notification Settings, and under Rank Change Notifications, choose to receive messages based on whether the rank increases or drops, or only if it drops. You can then specify how high or low you want the rank positions to be and in this instance you should set wide parameters for the notifications. The tool will then message you if your organic rank changes after the new policy goes into effect. (You can also receive notifications on your Sponsored Rank, as shown in the GIF below.)
4. Set up buy box and Best Seller Rank notifications in Competitor Intelligence for your ASINs. If any changes occur, we send an alert to keep you informed. Using CI, you can track keywords a competitor is targeting and indexed for, and see the keywords’ organic rank. You can then choose to receive change alerts for the keywords’ ranking. This can occur on an hourly basis, as shown below.
5. If notified that your ASIN is affected, implement your new title and bullets to your product listing. After you make this update, Amazon will re-index your listing. As a result, you’ll temporarily see a drop in your organic ranking. But based on your sales history, reviews, and traffic, you’ll see your rank resume its position.
Stay Compliant, Stay Successful
The recent announcement regarding titles has received a variety of different reactions. And many sellers may be asking why it took Amazon so long to enforce its own policy. No matter how you feel, ensuring your title meets Amazon’s policy requirements safeguards your listing. Since visibility remains crucial, avoiding penalization and a loss in visibility helps maintain your sales opportunities.
For any help getting in step with Amazon’s product title guidelines, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team ensures your product listing complies with Amazon’s style guide and remains optimized to increase your visibility, conversions, and business growth.
Keywords are what set your listing up to rank well and sell well, but there’s a catch. People also need to understand what your product is and what it does from your copy. How can you inform shoppers and do Amazon search optimization at the same time? Join hosts Cameron Yoder and CEO Casey Gauss for this conversation with Viral Launch Lead Copywriter Yale Schalk. And find out how to set up the best possible listing with these 3 Amazon SEO tips.
Contrary to common belief, getting ranking on Amazon is not about lowering your BSR. It’s about getting sales attributed to a keyword. Keywords are what set your listing up to rank well and sell well, but there’s a catch. People also need to understand what your product is and what it does from your copy. How can you inform shoppers and capture all your product’s keywords at the same time?
I’m Cameron Yoder, your host for Follow the Data: Your Journey to Amazon FBA Success. In this show we leverage the data we’ve accumulated at Viral Launch from over 30,000 product launches and our experience working with 6500 brands to help you understand the big picture when it comes to Amazon and, more importantly, the best practices for success as an Amazon seller.
In today’s episode I sit down with our Lead Listing Specialist, Yale Schalk, to talk about the best practices for writing an Amazon listing. We’ll talk about the keyword research, writing for Amazon SEO and how to convert shoppers. Let’s jump in.
So okay, we have Yale in with us today. Casey’s also sitting in on this.
What’s up, guys?
So we’re talking to Yale today about listing optimizations. First, Yale, thank you so much for coming in on the show. How are you feeling about being on the podcast?
Awesome. Awesome, Cam. Really, really excited to debut on our expertly-produced podcast, which by the way I just want to say that everyone should be subscribed to, and you know, every morning you wake up just find your nearest rooftop and shout it and tell everyone. But yeah, excited for that and really excited to kind of jump into some key information that I really know is going to help a lot of people out there.
Yale is also already on the ball with recommending the podcast, which is great. I love it. Yale is our Lead Listing Specialist, okay? And he’s been a veteran writer with 10 years of experience writing about retail products. So he’s written for brands like Nike, Adidas and Reebok and is known in the office for his excellent taste in sneakers, okay? So actually Yale, what is your favorite pair of sneakers?
Oh, wow, that’s – it’s literally an impossible thing to answer. You know, obviously, I was raised on Michael Jordan and Air Jordan sneakers, so I can at least narrow it down to that, but from there it’s all bets are off. There’s just too many.
Well, all that being said, Yale is definitely deserving to be on this podcast talking about listing optimization when it comes to Amazon specifically. But before we dive into Amazon-specific SEO and Amazon-specific listing ops, I want Yale – Yale, can you touch on just SEO in general, SEO as a practice?
Absolutely, for sure. So you know, when people think of, you know, the term SEO or, you know, properly search engine optimization, you know they think of Google, right? They think of, you know, their minds go right to Google because Google is this ubiquitous thing that is just out there. So but SEO is not confined to Google. You know, it’s like if you’ve ever seen the movie The Matrix, you know at the end when Neo sees everything in just this digital rain, and it’s just like streaming lines of green code everywhere, you know, I like to think of SEO like that. I think it’s, you know, it’s very much in the fiber of anything that you search on the internet, and it’s necessary, you know, any time that you type something into a search bar.
Yeah, The Matrix.
I love that analogy. If you haven’t seen The Matrix you just missed out on a great analogy.
Watch The Matrix, buy some sneakers, and then you’ll be set. So that’s general SEO, right? So can you move further maybe into like, I don’t know, Amazon or Google specifically?
Absolutely. So the way it works is basically that, you know, the input for a search is almost always language, and then the search algorithm uses that language to return a set of results, and then to get your content in that results list you have to give the algorithm basically what it wants. So then that begs the question, okay, so what does the algorithm want? In terms of Google SEO, that’s about proving credibility with, you know, relevant headings and meta-descriptions and links, and of course language for Amazon. It’s different from the standard SEO set up in that the results exist within Amazon’s platform. You know, for example, you don’t navigate to a different domain when you click on a result. So Google looks for site credibility with links and traffic, while Amazon looks for language, you know, or specifically keywords. So it’s really important for everyone to keep in mind that Amazon is really its own ecosystem when it comes to how searches are conducted and how those searches help determine the results you get when you or, you know, your potential customer, is looking for something.
And I think it’s important to mention that – I think this is a stat from either 2016 or 2017, but over I think it’s like 55% of product searches begin on Amazon. So when it comes to king of search engines, when it comes to product searches, I think Amazon takes the crown.
And that’s something I don’t think a lot of people think of, simply put, Amazon as a search engine. But in fact, like you said, it is, and listings in a sense really are all about SEO when it comes to Amazon specifically. So Yale, would you be able to introduce to us just some tips, maybe three basic tips that you have for everyone when it comes to listing optimization and keyword optimization on Amazon?
Absolutely, for sure. And you know, I think the good set up for this is like, you know, obviously everyone wants the highest visibility for their product. You know, ideally that’s page one. That’s what everyone wants to be on Amazon. So you really cannot afford to overlook the importance of keywords when assembling your product listing. You know you can have, and you know I never tire of saying this, but like you can have breathtaking photos, and you can have the most exquisite product description, but you know, without the proper keywords and the correct placement of those keywords in the listing, you know you’re basically – you know you’ve got a Ferrari with no engine. You know, it’s looking amazing, but it’s not going anywhere. So I just really want to emphasize, you know, first off that, you know, you can’t just throw information together and hope something happens. You know, I can tell you that it won’t. It doesn’t work that way. So it’s vital to get that keyword foundation in place.
So I would say for the first tip is plurals, plurals of words. So Amazon says that they account for plurals of words. So if you search swaddle blanket, you know, you’ll get different results than if you search swaddle blankets. So some listings will have, you know, both the plural and the singular form of the keyword while others won’t. So when someone searches blankets it’s, you know, hard for the algorithm to determine, you know, what exactly that person is expecting. So the algorithm is very smart, but it has its blind spots, and so one of the blind spots is it doesn’t know, you know, for example for this example that, you know, if you’re looking for multi-packs of swaddle blankets or if they’re looking for all the swaddle blankets on Amazon, so having both forms of the word, you know, or multiple forms of those words, those keywords, is really important for you to show up in any search related to your main search terms.
So tip number one, overall is suggesting to use both the singular and plural form of your primary keyword, or how many keywords do you think this would apply to?
I would say as long as you’re starting with your root keyword you want to kind of work in maybe the most common – and this is something that you’ll be able to kind of see in your keyword research, but and you’ll be able to notice patterns of what people are searching for, but usually you’ll just find like those simple little variations, those little, like little degrees of that root word, you know, just plurals and just different tenses of the word that people might throw in there when they’re searching for products.
I think it’s important to mention also, I think one common mistake, and I don’t know if this is one of the tips, but you know, people always want to know am I indexed for this word. So just because you’re indexing for a word does not mean that you’re driving the same amount of keyword power or keyword juice, however you want to refer to it, to those words. So this is an important concept, and you’ll hear more about it.
Let’s go on to tip number two.
Tip number two. Tip number two is keyword stuff the title. Yeah, you heard that right. Keyword stuff the title. So there’s been – this has always sort of been a philosophical debate on, you know, are you going to be rewarded if you keyword stuff? Are you going to be penalized if you keyword stuff? But I can tell you in the case of Amazon, in the Amazon world you’re going to be rewarded. So the title is definitely the most important, you know, real estate in your listing in terms of SEO. So you should really use as many keywords as you can fit, you know, without compromising quality or under-serving your character limit or overstepping that. I mean when you overstep that’s definitely something you’ll be penalized for, but so you know, what do I mean by compromising quality? So you know you have to make sure that you’re showing shoppers the information they’re looking for, like you know, things like ounces or fluid ounces might be important to consider, you know, if they’re considering price, or you know, certain features like dimensions or certifications like organic are there to include. So you know, this tip is really about just including as many super relevant keywords, you know, while leaving just enough space for those important, you know, product tidbits that people are looking for.
And I always like to say, you know, I would much rather have, you know, a 3% lower click through rate because my title isn’t as beautiful but rank for, you know, twice as many keywords or three times as many keywords simply because I’m putting them in the title versus having that super short, you know, elegant, you know, four-word title that has like my brand name and just a few other words. Let’s say it’s a frying pan, so brand, you know, stainless steel frying pan. There are so many additional words that you need to be including in your title to maximize the position and total volume of keywords that you can rank for; well, rank well for. And so yeah, I would much rather have this longer title, rank for so many more keywords than you have this beautiful title that may drive slightly higher click through rates.
Yale, what’s your opinion on having the brand name in a title?
It’s awesome that you mentioned that because I was just going to follow up on that point. Yeah, a thing that I really want to talk about for a second is not insisting on including brand names in titles. I empathize with, you know, every seller that, you know, wants to do that. I mean, everyone wants to have the competitive advantage and get their brand out there, but I would say that you have to apply a pass/fail in terms of your brand name. So look at it this way. You just have to treat it as another keyword, and if there aren’t a ton of people searching for your brand name, then it’s always a good rule of thumb to substitute in an actual, you know, high-volume search term instead of your brand name. And I know that there might be a conception out there that, you know, people aren’t going to see your brand and you know, that’s something like that’s going to be a disadvantage for you, but you know, don’t worry. It will show up – you know, your brand is going to show up in the subheading. You just want to make sure that you make the most use of the title.
Yeah, to summarize it, people, you know, aren’t searching your brand name. If they are searching your brand name they’re going to see it in the search results. It says, you know, by brand in most categories. And even if not, if they’re searching for your brand name they should know what your packaging looks like because you should have cohesive labels or packaging or whatever in your photos. They will recognize your brand. You should not be concerned about them recognizing or not recognizing your brand. And by including that brand name in your title you’re just wasting super, super valuable character space.
I think the question should be what more valuable words you can put into your title that would take the place of your brand name.
Yale, what is tip number three?
Tip three, prioritize keywords and then write your copy. Yeah, this is another thing that I’ve seen a lot where maybe sellers get focused on, you know, really fleshing out their copy, their listing, and they’re focused on, you know, stuffing as much information and even sort of messaging, you know, that they’ve come up with into the listing. But I would say that, as we’ve said, you know keyword is king, and you really have to sort of like lay that foundation first and then, you know, work in your copy from there. You know, again, it seems to make a lot of sense to look at your listing from your sort of branding ideas and everything like that. But you’ve got to get the keywords right, and then you know, then you can provide the insight and wrap everything around that.
I think this fits well, actually, with your second tip, which was keyword stuffing the title. In a lot of cases I think people have a rough time picturing where – and correct me if I’m wrong, Yale, but people have a tough time picturing where to get started with keywords, and so maybe they’ll write – they’ll try to eloquently put together like a string of words that connect well, maybe have some keywords in, and then they’ll try to like piece together other keywords that they want to put into the sentence that they’ve developed.
When in this case you’re saying like no, start with the foundation, like with your title. Let’s say with your title. Start with the foundation of as many keywords of like a bunch of high-end keywords, keywords that are going to convert or have a lot of traffic leading to them. Start with that foundation of all those keywords, and then maybe piece them together. Is that what you’re saying?
Oh, for sure, for sure. I mean you really do, like we said, with the title you really have to get the right keywords up there upfront and you know obviously try to assemble those in, you know, the most beautiful way that you can and sort of balance, you know, walk that line of getting the keywords and getting the product information up there for people, and then from there it’s really just a matter of prioritizing.
Yeah, and this is what I was kind of alluding to earlier that I didn’t want to go into because I didn’t want to steal Yale’s thunder, but just because you are indexed for a word does not mean you are driving the same amount of ranking power. So what this means is just because you have, you know, keyword XYZ in your description that yes, you – or a bullet point or whatever – yes, you will be indexing for that, but just because you are indexing because the word is in a bullet point doesn’t mean you’re driving the optimal amount of power, and you’ll drive that optimal amount of power by having it in the title, preferably the highest volume keywords at the beginning.
Yale, can you touch on just a little bit about how much energy people should be putting into their bullets, into their descriptions or their backend keywords? I think a lot of people tend to freak out about the bullets as much as they do the title. And you already mentioned that the title is going to be your primary keyword ranking driver, but where are the other aspects of a listing when coming into this?
Oh wow, yeah, so you the – yeah, of course, like we said, the title is obviously the most important part, and you know, where the keywords are really prioritized there. But from there I think the most important point for crafting your listing is to keep in mind that buyers by and large are on Amazon to basically scan information. They’re not there to, you know, read novel length listings, and a lot of the times yes, you know, obviously your product information is obviously helpful when they’re, you know, comparing products and trying to make a decision. But a lot of the time they’re just scanning that information, and they need it very succinctly. They need it very concisely, and that’s really going to a lot of times be the difference between, you know, someone adding your product to cart and checking out and, you know, maybe passing over and going with someone else. So yeah, definitely keep that in mind. You know, think of it in terms of a priority list. So the title is the number one priority, then the bullets number two, product description three, and so on. So yeah, definitely assemble your information accordingly.
Yale, is there anything else that you’d want people listening to know, even if it’s just in general, about listing ops or if you’d want to summarize in any way? What more, what else do people need to know?
I would say, you know, I think the thing that comes to mind most for me is that each segment of the Amazon selling process is so important. And you know, that’s really why Viral Launch exists. You know, we exist to help you get that right. You know, so I would say use our software. Get in touch with us to do your product photography. Get in touch with us to do your listings. You know, we really have – we’ve really refined and really perfected the entire process. So you know, we really are here to help you be successful.
That’s great. Casey, do you have anything to add?
No, Yale’s just been killing it. You know I think that too many people – you know, I’ve definitely seen plenty of people say, you know, I don’t have time for keyword research. I don’t have time to put into my listing so I just threw something up, and I’m moving on. Essentially people just look at it as just another box to check, and the thing is like Yale mentioned at the very beginning of the listing, or sorry, the podcast, the listing is absolutely critical to achieving success on Amazon, especially as you continue to enter more and more competitive markets. The greater the level of competition, the greater your listing needs to be from a, you know, keyword structure standpoint. So if this is not on point it’s going to be so much more difficult for you to drive rankings, to sustain rankings and to drive sales. And so if you aren’t willing to take the time to invest in this listing, you know, I think your Amazon FBA journey is going to be pretty difficult.
This is one of those – it’s another one of those no-brainers. It goes with photos. Like why would you not have the best photos possible? Why would you not have the best listing optimization possible? If you don’t optimize this, if you don’t put energy or effort into it, then you’re not going to get the results that you could if you would have put that time or those resources into it.
Yeah, it’s just another corner that people like to cut that really ends up biting them, you know, later.
Don’t cut corners. In this case one of those corners is listing optimization. So do not cut listing optimization.
Yeah, I got good feedback from somebody at a conference that I spoke at this weekend, and they loved the – you know, everybody’s looking for that silver bullet. And we say you don’t need a silver bullet. You need an arsenal. And one of those weapons in your armory needs to be an amazing listing.
Well thank you so much, Yale, for joining us and for providing so much valuable information on listing ops.
Well, that is all for this week. Thank you so much for listening to Follow the Data. For more insights and reliable information about how to succeed on Amazon, subscribe to the podcast and check us out on YouTube. For those of you who are looking for your next great product I have a series of product discovery walk-throughs videos on our YouTube channel that show you really how to leverage the tool. Just search Viral Launch on YouTube, go to our page and look for my face in one of the videos. Don’t forget to leave us a review and let us know what you think of the show. And if you really like the show and you like what we’re doing here at Viral Launch, tell your fellow Amazon sellers about us. We want to be a resource for sellers and the information source in this space. So please tell your friends, spread the word and share the show with other Amazon sellers.
Thank you, again, so much for listening. Feel absolutely free to hit us up on Facebook or tweet at us if you have any questions or feedback. And if you want to be featured on the show or have an Amazon related question or an idea for an episode, feel free to leave us a voicemail. Our number is 317-721-6590. Also feel free to just hit us up on Facebook or tweet at us if you want to be featured on the show, too. We can always take those questions and feature them on the show if you don’t want to call in. Until next time, remember, the data is out there.
Amazon’s market share was a whopping 68% among leading mass merchant e-retailers in the United States during 2015. Walmart took second place, with a mere 10%, according to Statista. To put Amazon’s enormity into perspective, the retail giant’s warehouses have more square footage than 700 Madison Square Gardens and could hold more water than 10,000 Olympic Pools!
We all know that Amazon is the online marketplace. Yet, most people ignore a simple yet critical fact: similar to Google, Amazon is a search engine.
Even Google recognizes Amazon as a force to be reckoned with. Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman at Google, commented, “Our biggest search competitor is Amazon. People don’t think of Amazon as a search, but if you are looking for something to buy, you are more often than not looking for it on Amazon…” Amazon gets three times more product searches than Google. Think about it: when you’re searching for a product, whether it be a phone charger or an HDTV, where do you typically end up? Amazon.
Once we interpret Amazon as a massive search engine, we can start to understand the importance of Amazon SEO. Learning how to rank on Amazon can put you in front of the millions of ready-to-buy shoppers on Amazon…far more than you’d ever find on Google!
An Introduction to Amazon’s Search Algorithm
Amazon’s product search algorithm is produced by an Amazon subsidiary known as A9. According to the A9 website, calculating search results starts well before a customer even touches the keyboard. A9 analyzes data, observes past traffic patterns, and indexes the text describing every product before a shopper ever runs a search. “As soon as we see the first keystroke, we’re ready with instant suggestions and a comprehensive set of search results.”
A9’s goal is to make it seem like the search is reading the shopper’s mind. Broken down, the process is quite simple:
Determine relevant search results for a customer’s query.
Score those results to present the most relevant results to the user.
In the past, A9 drove keyword ranking for a product largely through the keyword which that sale was driven through. Back then, there would be little attribution for any other keyword associated with the product. For example, if a customer searched “travel pillow,” clicked, and then bought the product, Amazon would attribute the sale to that keyword and give a boost for “travel pillow,” but not necessarily for “neck pillow” or “u-shaped pillow.”
A9 is continually making changes based upon human judgments, programmatic analysis, key business metrics, and performance metrics. This past spring, Amazon implemented a pretty major update to A9, making it so that EVERY keyword in your product’s title at the time of sale is fair game to receive a boost in keyword ranking! See data proving this hypothesis in our previous blog post on the topic.
If all words in your listing, especially those in your title, are taken into consideration during a sale, it’s more important than ever to have an optimized listing!
Optimizing Your Listing to Rank in Amazon’s Search Engine
When it comes down to it, every aspect of your listing should be impeccable. Over the past two and a half years, we’ve launched over 13,000 products and have crafted hundreds of listings, whose combined sales surpass $100 million in sales annually. With each listing we promote, we track multiple keywords, which provides us with a huge amount of data and insight! So, what makes a listing stand out in the eyes of both shoppers and Amazon’s algorithm? A listing that includes a title, bullet points, and a product description that are all keyword-optimized, informative, and concise.
When achieving keyword ranking, sales are king. But, you must properly integrate important keywords to achieve sales, especially in your title. Ranking for keywords is largely dependent on a product’s title. It’s crucial to place as many high-volume, relevant keywords in your title as possible. You’ll see far greater ranking attribution with keywords in the title versus anywhere else in the listing, as Amazon’s algorithm allows you to rank much easier for these keywords. Under normal conditions, it is even likely to outrank top sellers for an important keyword if you’ve included that word in your title and they are missing it!
You also must make sure that you’re indexed for as many keywords as possible, even more obscure ones, if you have the room. We’ve seen where a seller will run a launch for a specific target keyword that they are not indexed for, and then they don’t even show up as a search result.
A simple way to check if you’re indexed for a specific keyword is to search “ASIN keyword,” for example, “B006416DVC travel mug.” If the listing shows up, then it’s indexed. If not, then you need to add that keyword somewhere within your listing. You don’t want to miss out on sales simply due to a lack of keyword research! For example, if the word “women” was not present in your listing, your listing may not show as a result when a shopper searches for “sunglasses for women.”
Unlike Google, Amazon does not provide a keyword tool to help sellers determine valuable keywords for a specific product. Amazon also does not share keyword data with its merchants, making optimization difficult. In order to find relevant keywords for your listing, use a combination of keyword research tools and check out similar products on Amazon and Jet.com. Take a look at the top sellers, and use what is working well as a guide. Spend time doing research and take this step seriously! Without a keyword-optimized listing, your product will be buried in the algorithm. And sadly in that case, you might as well kiss your investment goodbye.
Informative and Concise
An informative, concise listing drives conversions. And once your product is ranking, it’s all about conversions. Your content should be written in a way that convinces potential customers that your product is exactly what they are looking for.
Informative copy paints a picture with words, accurately describing the product’s features and uses. You want to use this space to showcase the benefits of your product. What special features does your product have? What are the benefits to owning your product? What sets your product apart from similar ones? You should have a good understanding of your target customer, so use this as an opportunity to address any initial concerns they may have.
Concise copy helps a shopper quickly understand why your product is a perfect fit. Many shoppers don’t want to spend too much time reading, so it’s important that you get right to the point. While you want to make sure to thoroughly explain your product, you want to make the reading of the content as effortless as possible. And, although you want to use as many keywords as possible, you don’t want to come off as incredibly redundant. It can be a turnoff to buyers.
As our CEO, Casey, puts it, “Truly great listings are able to synergistically marry keywords with sales-inducing language.” And that’s the key, folks: an incredible blend that is sure to take your listing to the next level.
“Quality is the best business plan.” John Lasseter
You can read all of the blog posts, listen to all of the podcasts, travel to all of the conferences, and follow all of the gurus, and you might come out with an okay listing. But, you won’t have hundreds and hundreds of listings, backed up by millions and millions of data points under your belt.
After running thousands and thousands of product launches and building listings that drive over a combined $100 million in annual sales, Viral Launch is able to build the best Amazon product listings in the market. Our copywriters craft each aspect of a listing to optimize rankings in organic search, and these listing-experts use beautiful sales-inducing language to showcase your product, help it stand out from the competition, and convert on-page visitors into buyers. Our optimized listings contain the perfect balance: an unbeatable combination of keywords in a concise and compelling way that makes your product shine!
A Viral Launch Listing Optimization includes a brand analysis, thorough keyword research, ~2,000 characters of backend search terms, and a beautiful, fully-optimized title, about the product, and product details.
Take it from a happy customer: “It’s an excellent value. We could spend weeks doing that and not do it as well. It allows us to delegate and narrow our focus. Excellent service, and we look forward to future business.”
It’s finally here! Depending on who you are and the state of your business, mid-November through December 23rd is either the most thrilling and rewarding time of the year or the most dreaded and stressful. We hope the former rather than the latter is true for you! If it’s not, we are here to help you make it a season of prosperity and growth!
Depending on what you sell and where you’re ranked, you are likely already seeing a slight uptick in sales. The holiday season sales are here, meaning now is the time to take advantage and ride the wave of Amazon holiday sales throughout the season!
Riding the wave of holiday sales is just like riding any wave in the ocean: you have to be on top.
In terms of Amazon ranking, I don’t mean you have to be first click to be on top, but you do need to be ranking well enough for customers to be able to find and purchase your product. If you’re not on top (driving additional sales), then you will find yourself drowning, making it harder to reach the top and drive meaningful sales. If you are on top of the wave, you’ll be able to sit on the wave of organic sales throughout the holiday season, meaning BIG money with less effort if you’re in the right categories.
Why is it harder to catch a wave mid-way through?
Here are some numbers to help illustrate:
Keep in mind, in order to outrank a listing for a particular keyword, you must drive more sales than they are seeing.
Let’s say Listing A is ranking 10th on page 1 for keyword XYZ, and they are seeing 35 sales per day. Listing B is ranking 10th on page 3 also for keyword XYZ where they are seeing 1-2 sales per day largely thanks to sponsored ads. In order for Listing B to rise to the top and catch the wave, it would only have to overcome a per day deficit of ~33 sales per day.
As holiday sales increase, Listing A will be riding the wave of organic sales increases, so in the heart of holiday shopping, Listing A may increase to 90 sales per day. All the while, Listing B will likely only see a minor increase in sales, taking the product from 1-2 sales per day to 5-7 sales per day. That now means, Listing B would have to overcome a sales deficit of ~85 sales per day to reach the surface! That is a lot of money spent on promotional giveaways.
So with that said, NOW is the time to jump on top of the proverbial wave (as in page ranking), so you can ride the tsunami of Amazon holiday sales that is just starting to hit. We want you to have a successful and profitable holiday season, increased page ranking is one of the keys to achieving just that. Good luck!
P.S. Soon we will be posting some very important blogs that bust some major myths in the space that are misleading a lot of sellers regarding keyword ranking and Amazon’s algorithm. With over 1 billion data points, we have an enormous perspective on the space!
Need help Catching and Riding the Wave?
Use coupon: RideTheWave when signing up for a launch to take $50 off! You don’t want to find yourself drowning! The coupon is only live for the next 7 days. I also highly suggest talking with one of our Amazon coaches (which are completely free), to help ensure your success. In my opinion, our coaches are Viral Launch’s most valuable asset/service. These guys have a ton of experience and access to data that can help you achieve success no matter what that looks like. Feel free to shoot them an email at email@example.com and ask them anything, literally. They would love to help!
Please feel free to post any questions or comments in the comment section down below! Did this help? Are you on top of the wave? Are you seeing holiday sales? Let’s talk in the comments!
We Updated Our Seller Launchpad! (Seller Viral Launch Dashboard)
In case you have not checked into the Viral Launchpad this week, we have finally updated our seller dashboard to look better, navigate easier, and provide more data such as tracking your product’s keyword ranking throughout the launch for a variety of keywords all for free! The site is now web app based and navigates beautifully! Many more updates coming to that as well.
Let us know what you think!
Need a Pick-Me-Up? We Have A Free Starbucks Gift Card For You!
Today I posted a $100 Starbucks gift card on our Facebook page as a pick me up as I know how demanding preparing for holiday sales can be! I kind of doubt there is any money left on it, but head to our page and try it out. Also, if you like our page, you’ll get to see other posts like free Starbucks right away, and we have more coming to help you get through a successful season. Enjoy! 🙂
“Information is the oil of the 21st Century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” -Peter Sondergaard
Viral Launch was founded as a promotional Amazon product launching service. We built a massive list of discount hungry reviewers, created some software to automate the promotional process, and have been scaling ever since. The experience has been phenomenal.
Achieving Amazon Keyword Ranking
We’ve had the privilege of working with thousands of brands across every major category on Amazon. This has provided us with a tremendous amount of data and experience. It’s that data and experience that allows us to build better tools and services, stay ahead of algorithm shifts, as well as provide expert recommendations and coaching.
Throughout Launch Week we’ve provided discounts on our services that all play a crucial role in helping you build a successful Amazon business. Today we discuss a couple of aspects of the Viral Launch system that can help you achieve success in increasing your listing’s Amazon keyword ranking!
Our All-Knowing Program
As we’ve mentioned before, we track multiple keywords associated with every product that goes through our ranking platform. This has allowed us to create an incredible program, by which we are able to present it with a keyword a client wants to rank for, and it spits back the results of past launches targeting the same keyword. Essentially, our account executives can ask our all-knowing program, “Hey, what will it take to get a product ranking for this keyword?” in which the program spits back suggestions based on past launches. It’s amazing!
The program removes a lot of the guesswork (although our guesswork is generally spot-on), which has led to a lot of successful and satisfied customers! As we continue to build out this program, it will only become better equipped to provide more insights and make your launches even more effective!
Right now, one of the largest benefits to take advantage of is the FREE (for now) access to our account executives. The team has managed seller accounts, they’ve coached sellers, and observed thousands of products and launches. They have effectively, “seen it all” when it comes to the Amazon marketplace and are an immense help to the sellers they work with. They also have access to all the data we’ve generated from our over 9,000 product launches. That is insight only a very small amount of, if any, people in the world have access to.
Account Executives will help you:
Craft launch strategies
Analyze your products and market and provide suggestions accordingly.
Navigate both the Viral Launch & Amazon platforms
Be more successful!
Why do we offer our account executives for free? Because we want you to be successful. We want you to reach new heights whether it’s by using our platform or not. Our team increases your chances of success by offering their expertise when it comes to building a business on Amazon.
If you are interested in learning more specifically about how effective our launching service is and/or how it works. You can checkout a blog post of ours from May where we go a bit more in depth!
Today we have a one-time $50 off coupon for our industry-admired launching service as well as FREE access to our account executives.
To get setup with one of our team members, you can send an email with a brief note to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Amazon’s Latest Algorithm Change And How You Can Get Ahead
Originally Posted 5/12/2016
“War is 90% information” – Napoleon Bonaparte
As the secrets of the A9 ranking algorithm remain locked deep within the Amazon vault, we rely on data to reveal its inner workings and logical constructs. Without documentation and notification of algorithmic updates, staying ahead can be difficult. Even for sellers launching ten or so products, being sure of an algorithm update and its new principles can be extremely difficult. There is simply not enough data.
In today’s era of hyper competition and rapid technological change, data, and our ability to harness it, is our greatest ally. We pride ourselves on understanding the in’s and out’s of ranking products within Amazon’s organic search and we leverage data to develop that understanding. Over the past two years we have run nearly 8,000 product launches for 3,500+ products, and worked with sellers doing $100m+ /year on Amazon. This is not to boast, but rather to help illustrate the incredible volume of data we have been able to aggregate. We programmatically track the keyword ranking of each launch that runs through our platform, allowing us to know what parameters make for a successful product launch.
Approximately 60 days ago, we noticed a change in the results being produced from our promotional giveaways all else equal. We’ve seen plenty of times over the span of a week or so, odd behavior in terms of launches. This odd behavior typically lasts for around 7-10 days but then all returns to normal. Initially we believed the odd behavior was just another one of those weeks, but ~60 days later and this seemingly “odd behavior” seems to have stuck. We have been anticipating a ranking algorithm update for promotional giveaways for some time, but we had never anticipated that the update would have such positive effects.
Change Is Good (At Least This Time)
In order to explain the change in Amazon’s ranking algorithm properly, I feel it’s important to provide a brief backstory on how the algorithm allotted keyword ranking prior to the change. This will provide the context with which to understand the contrast.
The largest contributing factor to keyword ranking was sales (there are about 1,000,000 other things that contribute to a product’s ranking, but this is the largest and the one we will focus on here). Prior to the algorithmic change, what drove ranking for a particular word was largely the keyword which that sale was driven through. For example, if a customer searches “garcinia cambogia”, selects the product, and completes a purchase, Amazon would attribute keyword ranking boost for the product for the keyword “garcinia cambogia”. There would be little attribution for any other keyword associated with the product (ex. Fat burner, weight loss, etc.). Logically, it makes sense right? The more customers who purchase your product after searching a given set of keywords, the higher it will appear in organic search for that particular key term.
Fast forward to present day and we are seeing somewhat different results. Initially it may not sound like anything worth noting, but hear us out. Making adjustments according to the algorithm’s new rules can be a game changer, and we’ve seen it hundreds of times already.
We’ve always been told and known that the keywords in your product’s title is the most important and controllable field to place your product’s keywords. This is Amazon Private Label 101. Post algorithm change and that basic fundamental has become 100X more important. In the past Amazon boosted the keyword ranking for almost exclusively the keyword which drove the sale (Example, buying after searching the keyword “garcinia cambogia” provides a boost in ranking for only “garcinia cambogia”).
With the latest algorithm update, EVERY keyword in your product’s title AT THE TIME OF SALE is fair game to receive a MAJOR boost in keyword ranking! This means that when running a promotional launch, granted you have a product title that is optimized for keyword maximization, you could find yourself ranking page one for 10+ high to mid-competition keywords relative to your product. That means the ROI on promotional giveaways has skyrocketed! In the past, a targeted launch would allow a product to rank for a single keyword (up to 4 targeted keywords), whereas now we’ve run launches in mid-volume markets that walk away ranking page 1 for over 30 keywords!
Data To Prove Our Hypothesis
The team has been working hard to compile a massive amount of data to understand precisely how the new algorithm update is attributing keyword ranking. Running 200+ launches a day allows us to see exactly what is and is not working. We are breaking titles and bullet points down word by word to understand how Amazon is parsing the content and adjusting keyword ranking post-sale accordingly. I want to provide as much information as possible to help illustrate exactly how you can take advantage of the update, but one of our greatest assets is our massive aggregated data, so we don’t want to give away the farm. 🙂
This is not a particularly good title as I’m sure you can tell. In case you are unaware, the word “omega 3” is a very relevant keyword to the product. Let’s say we ran a healthy promotion to this product with a focus on the keyword “omega 3”. Prior to the algorithm shift, the product would have landed on page 1 for the search term “omega 3” just a few days after the promotion kicked off. Post-update, approximately 80% of the time, we see NO movement at all for the keyword because it was not in the product’s title or top few bullet points. We’ve tried using every URL on the market the Heatseeker, Dynamic, Organic, etc., but no movement. We saw this many times. Their launch was not all for naught as the launch did produce page 1 rankings for other keyword variations found in their product’s title, such as “fish oil pills” and “fish oil capsules”.
Illustration 2: Product Title: “Best Gym Jump Rope with Bag For Men by Fitness Brand”
This is a great example of the degree to which rankings are being affected by the algorithm change. If we were to run a small promotion to a product with the above title targeting the keyword “jump rope”, we would expect to find the product ranking for the search term “Gym Bag for Men” (among 10+ other keywords). Yes, even though we targeted the “jump rope” keyword, because the title contains the keywords “Gym”, “Bag”, and “For Men” Amazon would push it to top of the ranks for that keyword phrase. Granted “gym bag for men” is not a high volume keyword. Finding your product page one for 10+ similar keywords, is great for collectively increasing your per day sales.
(The examples are both hypothetical but based on real data)
Crafting The Perfect Title
Now more than ever your product’s title, bullet points, and backend keyword submission need to be perfect; down to the character. Literally. Not including a single word in your title could cause you to miss out on rankings for a variety of keywords, which means missed sales. And those sales add up. Amazon has begun cracking down on listing character count limits, making things all the more difficult.
Analyzing hundreds of titles and thousands of keywords over the last two months, we have compiled a vast array of data which has allowed us to break down the perfect title composition to a science. Determining word placement and priority is crucial to maximizing your product’s keyword spread.
Let us put together the perfect title to maximize the keywords and keyword variations your product can rank for in Amazon search. We have the data, experience and creatives to craft a product title that will allow you to rank for the optimum number of keywords allowing you to dramatically increase sales!
And for the first 50 signups we have a $50 off coupon for you.
Use the coupon: MAXKEYWORDS to take $50 off.
This Is Only Temporary | Get It While It’s Hot
I am quite surprised that the algorithm has been updated as so. Logically, it does not seem to make much sense to weight the characters of a product’s title so heavily in determining ranking attribution. This has led to some odd search results post-promotion. In my opinion there is nothing better in determining a product’s relevance than the keywords that drive a sale. Organically, a customer is not going to buy a jump rope if it shows up in their search for “gym bag for men”. They will buy when they search “jump rope” or “jump rope for men”, because they are relevant search terms for the product. Simple as that.
Because this seems like such an odd move and a miss of the mark, I imagine this algorithm shift will not last for very long. I don’t see how it can. As always, we will be meticulously tracking and analyzing every launch that passes through our system. If/when we see an algorithm shift, we will be sure to report our findings. We are successful when you are successful, and knowledge is more than half the battle.
With that said, the ability to rank for a large volume of keywords in a single promotion is here now, so take advantage of it! With the increased ROI due to increased volume of keywords being ranked from a single promotion, why would you allow this opportunity pass you by? Launches are more effective now than ever!
To help with the cost of running promotions using Viral Launch during this opportune time we removed our monthly subscription minimums and are offering a $50 coupon off for your next month of launches whether it be your first product or not! In addition to the coupon, we are providing free access to our account managers. In order to get the optimal results from a Viral launch, we highly recommend working with one of our account managers normally reserved for our largest sellers. They will work with you personally to develop the ideal launch strategy for your brand or product and help you execute with authority.
Take $50 off your next month of launches.
Use the coupon: UPDATE2016.
To work with one of our account managers for free, simply shoot an email to email@example.com to get started!
Warning Against Misuse
Although we have found products for less than relevant search terms inadvertently, make sure the keywords you place in your title abide by Amazon’s standards.
Take care not to violate Amazon’s Search and Browse Policy:
Misuse of Search and Browse: When customers use Amazon’s search engine and browse structure, they expect to find relevant and accurate results. To protect the customer experience, all product-related information, including keywords and search terms, must comply with the guidelines provided under Optimize Listings for Search and Browse. Any attempt to manipulate the search and browse experience is prohibited.
As we diligently track algorithm updates we will be sure to keep you updated, so you can continue to make intelligent and informed decisions!
We are constantly working to provide our clients and the community the best tools and opportunities to be successful in their Amazon businesses. We have a ton of fantastic tools and services in the pipeline that will allow us to help you grow and optimize your business in new ways. As Amazon becomes more competitive, sophistication and a focus to be the best is the only way to walk away on top and with profits in hand. We want to help you to do just that!