The truth is: You should not scale up or aggressively run PPC before you are retail ready.
A majority of advice that comes down the line on selling is focused on Amazon PPC campaigns. You are able to find hundreds of articles conveying “The best PPC campaign” or “Do this to build sales” for your business. Yet, not many articles go over when you should focus on PPC campaigns and start investing in those areas.
Retail Ready comes first
You and your business need to be retail ready in order to successfully run Amazon Advertising. Set yourself up correctly with reviews, correct SEO and keywords, product photos, etc. It is okay to not immediately jump into PPC, it is the safer route. A majority of sellers want to quickly scale up and aggressively run PPC in order to get ahead and set the curve. The truth is, if you are starting out right now, you are going to have to slow down.
Most of the differentiating ad types on Amazon simply use your existing listing as the ad itself. Sponsored brand ads that are largely designed to drive awareness even include the listing elements such as product photography and reviews.
Don’t pay before you are ready.
You are paying Amazon to show your listing to more shoppers. If you start paying for more people to see your listing before it is ‘retail ready’ you are bound to get low click through rates and low sales. Regardless, Amazon will still happily take your advertising budget.
There are millions of sellers out there all running PPC as well. Before getting your feet wet, have all of your ducks in a row. Join Amazon seller community groups and ask questions in the forums, learn all there is to know about PPC while still building the business. Once your business is running smoothly and is retail ready, then create the PPC strategy and implement it.
Doing this will save you time, energy, and a lot of money at the backend. Save your reserves and don’t jump the gun. If you need resources on Amazon PPC specifically, this guide will give you more insight into how Amazon runs their programs. Viral Launch has their own guide as well utilizing the Ad Manager tool and Kinetic.
Recently, Amazon announced the latest major update to their increased emphasis on advertising. Sponsored Display ads are now being shown on Twitch, adding yet another avenue to expand advertising reach.
Effective immediately, all Sponsored Display audiences campaigns are eligible to serve on the Twitch Browse and Discovery pages. Twitch supply is automatically enabled for all US, CA, FR, IT, DE, ES, and UK based Sponsored Display audiences campaigns.
Twitch users tend to skew towards a younger crowd. The opportunity to put your product in front of the highly-valued young demographic. As Gen Z builds buying power, the ability to put your product in their hands and build brand loyalty with them presents a phenomenal opportunity.
Amazon Advertising states the Display ads may appear in three unique spaces, each with varying levels of visibility.
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Getting In The Game
With this announcement, Amazon advances its relationship between the marketplace and Twitch. Amazon’s Prime Gaming community works as a link for Amazon Prime subscribers to connect their account with Twitch. With deals and “loot” such as in-game currency serving as an incentive for customers to attach the two.
As the PlayStation 5 and XBOX Series X become more accessible after the production and delivery, one would reasonably expect further advancements in Twitch. To promote user count and usage.
In addition to the millions of engaged customers who can now be targeted being newsworthy. This also highlights the growing emphasis on advertising from Amazon. Since Twitch is a subsidiary of Amazon, its addition makes perfect sense.
Impact on Advertising
While Apple’s highly-publicized changes to advertising and protecting user data threaten to shake up industries, Amazon and its far-reaching subsidiaries present an opportunity to target customers in a way that may not be as easy to do elsewhere.
As Amazon continues to grow on its own and through purchasing companies such as Twitch, Whole Foods, and Goodreads, so does the potential for extra advertising avenues.
If you’re an Amazon seller with little experience in Advertising, there’s no better time than now to get involved. Over the past year, the Amazon Advertising Console has evolved at a rapid rate.
In previous years, advertising knowledge was a luxury. Soon enough, it’ll likely be a prerequisite towards customer acquisition.
On the centennial episode of Follow The Data, host Cam Yoder chats with Amazon ad expert Destaney Wishon from BetterAMS to discuss PPC tactics to crush holiday season and 2021.
Amazon advertising strategy is frequently cited as one of the most challenging aspects of running an FBA business. But this difficulty should be viewed as an opportunity, not a roadblock.
As the importance of advertising grows more consequential, knowing the tips and tricks to turn what is an impediment for many sellers into a sales and growth accelerator for your product catalog.
Not many have a handle on the latest Amazon advertising strategy hacks than Destaney Wishon, CEO and Co-Founder of BetterAMS. Thankfully, Destaney sat down to chat with us to share her extensive knowledge of PPC strategy.
With timely advice on what you should be doing right now, how to handle the holidays, and what the near-future of Amazon advertising may look like, you’re not going to want to miss out on this invaluable information!
3 Key Holiday Season Differences for Amazon Sellers in 2020 (2:25)
On and off Amazon, 2020 has been a year like no other. If you’re an experienced seller, using reports from 2019 can be helpful. However, there are a few major differences to consider when strategizing for the rest of the year and into 2021.
Is your Amazon advertising strategy outdated and in need of a revamp? Destaney gives her valuable insight on why narrow ad spend isn’t enough anymore.
How to steal traffic from big-name players (11:10)
More and more major brands are coming to Amazon, but this doesn’t spell defeat for third-party sellers. On the contrary, it presents strategic opportunities to steal traffic and sales from major retailers.
On using remarketing post-Black Friday for sustained gains (14:20)
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in the rearview, but you can still capitalize on that traffic! Destaney presents the strategy to boost sales from the exposure supplied by Black Friday and Cyber Monday throughout the holiday season.
Using new headline search policy to attract sales (17:08)
As any experienced seller knows, Amazon is continuously changing and evolving. In the busy day-to-day process of selling on Amazon, some of these changes will be overlooked by the competition. Staying up with the latest Amazon updates gives you an edge over your competition. Destaney explains a recent advertising update, and how you can use it to your benefit.
Over the past year, Amazon has provided even more advertising tools for sellers. As these tools mature, advertising figures to be even more prevalent in the marketing mix. Destaney breaks down a few critical advertising elements that all Amazon sellers should be implementing into their foundational advertising.
A special thanks to Destaney for joining the show and sharing her Amazon advertising strategy expertise! Keep up with BetterAMS on their website or Facebook for even more helpful information and solutions.
On this installment of Follow The Data, Danny Carlson of Kenji ROI walks us through advanced seller strategies that will make this your best Black Friday and Cyber Monday yet!
It’s that time of the year! Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming up fast, and sellers who position themselves for success will ride a sales wave into 2021. Danny Carlson of Kenji ROI dropped by to chat with Follow The Data host Cam Yoder to provide insights on what tips and tricks Amazon sellers should be using to rise to the top and rake in sales from this holiday season.
With just a few days until Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, time is running out to set your listing up for success.
While savvy sellers have spent months prepping their product catalog for this holiday season, the days leading into the holidays are crucial. No matter how well you’ve developed your Q4 plan to this point, the week of requires unique strategies both offensively and defensively, that can make a tremendous difference when executed on the precipice of Black Friday.
As CEO of Kenji ROI, Danny has served over 500 Amazon sellers and created photos, video, copywriting, and graphics for over 1,240 listings. Kenji ROI assists sellers with PPC Management, creative services, and review boosting emails.
Danny was gracious enough to share groundbreaking strategies and seller tactics that are sure to give you an edge over the competition when it matters most.
Getting to know Danny, his entrepreneurial journey, and his Amazon experience. (0:00)
Danny Carlson and Kenji ROI have been a force in the Amazon selling space for years. Before he drops groundbreaking tips, take the time to hear about Danny’s success and background.
What will Danny be doing for his clients and what advice would he give to sellers in the week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday? (3:51)
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” – John Wooden
The importance of proper preparation in this busy time cannot be understated. Your competition understands how valuable a holiday season windfall can be, and they might be more incentivized to participate in black hat tactics. Too many sellers don’t prepare for these instances, and Danny breaks down what your competitors might try and how to defend yourself.
There’s no better time to rank highly through search than the holidays. While it might be late in the game to make a dramatic change, every spot you climb means more sales. How can you ascend the ranks in a short amount of time? Danny breaks it down here.
Amazon Advertising in the week of Black Friday / Cyber Monday: Using Modified Broad Match Ads, An Underutilized but Valuable Tool (9:27)
PPC Advertising is one of the surefire ways your product gets in front of customers, but everyone knows this. What’s the best way to setup PPC without breaking the bank?
Modified Broad Match Ads can be the magic bullet for you. It’s super easy to set up and helps sellers get the most bang for their buck when appropriately created. Danny gives his insight on why this overlooked method of PPC provides the most opportunity.
After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, what should sellers do to prepare for Christmas? (20:35)
Once Black Friday and Cyber Monday pass, there’s nearly a month of increased sales. Not all preparation is created equally, and that’s especially true in these unprecedented times. You better believe Danny has already looked into the possibilities and how you can prepare for them. Tune in to hear what this one-of-a-kind holiday season might look like after Cyber Monday and how it affects your planning.
What strategies should sellers be considering to grow their brand into 2021? (31:39)
As the marketplace continues to evolve, what should Amazon sellers be doing to stay ahead of the game? In Danny’s experience, he’s worked with sellers of all backgrounds and stayed up-to-date on the latest in trends. Danny drops knowledge on what you can do to start 2021 off on the right foot.
Be sure to tune in to the rest of the show for every valuable tip and tidbit so you can have the upper hand over the opposition in your market!
At Viral Launch, we believe the more informed seller wins. And that’s never been truer than now. A special thanks goes out to Danny for talking shop with us, and for sharing these crucial tips and tricks. In what is sure to be one of the busiest holiday seasons ever, these hacks could be all the difference you need to dominate the remainder of 2020.
If you want to be a successful Amazon seller, you have to get your products in front of the right buyers. That’s a fundamental truth. But when you consider that more and more product views are coming from sponsored listings, it makes that goal a little more complicated.
Not to worry. Consider this your go-to guide for Amazon PPC — one of the most effective ways to get potential customers to view your listings.
For starters, what is Amazon PPC? Let’s cover the Amazon PPC basics. It is a pay-per-click advertising platform that helps sellers make it easier to get eyes on their products. The seller pays a fee each time a customer clicks the ad and views the seller’s product page.
Types of Ads on Amazon
There are three different types of Amazon PPC ads that sellers can use. In order to have the most effective Amazon PPC strategy, you need to choose the one that’s right for your products. Here are the different PPC campaigns and when you should use them:
Sponsored product ads promote a specific product to shoppers who search using specific keywords or view similar products. These are best for targeting a single item within your catalog.
Sponsored brandads promote a collection of products to customers using keywords. These are best when you want to promote a group of products that fall under the same brand.
Sponsored display ads promote a product on sites other than Amazon. These are best for targeting customers who have shopped for similar items.
How to Do Amazon PPC
When you’re setting up your PPC ad campaign, Amazon will walk you through the process step by step. First, you’ll have to choose from the list above to sponsor a product, a brand, or a display. Then, you can choose which product or products you want to promote and set the budget and time limit for your ad campaign.
These choices seem simple, but choosing wisely will help you optimize your Amazon PPC strategy for the greatest return on your investment. When launching a product, it’s unlikely that your PPC will be profitable at first, so you should view it as an investment in future growth. Balance the budget according to a reasonable advertising cost that you’re financially comfortable with.
How Much Does Amazon PPC Cost?
Amazon recommends a daily budget of $10 for PPC ads. It’s also a good idea to leave your end date open. Combined with automatic keyword targeting, this will give your product the greatest chance of being seen by potential customers whenever they shop. If you’re sponsoring a brand, you can also add a logo and a custom headline.
For larger PPC campaigns, you can choose to build an Amazon store. A wide range of prebuilt templates, tiles, and widgets make customizing your store easy, even if you don’t have any previous experience building websites. Once you’ve created your campaign, shoppers will start seeing and clicking on your ads.
Amazon PPC Tips and Tricks
If you’re sponsoring a single product, your ads will launch as soon as you finalize the campaign’s setup. Sponsored brands and stores will launch after a short moderation review period. In any case, there are several factors that impact how soon you’ll begin seeing a return on investment from the campaign.
The ultimate goal is to be as price and review competitive as the page-one performers. The more data you collect through your PPC campaign, the more precisely you can tailor future efforts to build more profitable campaigns. For each one, remember to follow these tips to ensure you’re getting the most out of your efforts:
1. Focus your keyword strategy. Data from your PPC ads will show you which keywords are bringing in the most conversions. But keyword performance can be erratic sometimes, so make sure you’re tracking that data regularly. Shift your focus if a keyword becomes less profitable, and focus on targeting the ones with high conversion rates more aggressively.
2. Position your ads strategically. The data your campaign generates can also show you where your ads consistently deliver the best conversion rates. With this information, you can position your ads for the most strategic value.
3. Budget for enough time. Amazon PPC campaigns are not meant to be overnight successes, which is why you should never set an end date during the setup. It takes time for Amazon to figure out the best way to deliver your campaign. Be patient, and as the campaign’s performance improves, so will the data you collect.
4. Measure more than one metric. PPC involves many different metrics, so you shouldn’t judge performance on a single one. One bad metric doesn’t mean the entire campaign is ineffective. Instead, make decisions based on the overall performance of the campaign.
What makes any ad campaign work is understanding how to reach potential customers most efficiently, which means understanding how they shop on Amazon. Amazon PPC ads give you access to the infrastructure and data you’ll need to gain that understanding faster. Now that we’ve covered the Amazon PPC basics, it’s time to learn more. Enroll in the FREE Amazon PPC course today.
You’ve spent countless hours researching markets. You’ve found a product and a supplier to make it. You’ve ordered samples, finalized the design and packaging, researched the keywords, built an awesome listing, and now your product is finally live on Amazon.
In the endless sea of products being sold on Amazon, it’s unlikely that your product will magically float to the top, but you also need to take steps to ensure that it doesn’t sink to the bottom.
Further keeping with the metaphor, Amazon’s sea can be cruel and unfair, but it demands respect. Established products frequently have reviews that were purchased or incentivised, providing a continued advantage over the competition. Today, several sellers still obviously violate Amazon’s thorough and complicated policies in an effort to get a leg up on their competition. There are regularly new tactics and services to buy reviews, influence metrics, and sabotage listings, and while some sellers seemingly exploit these options with impunity, Amazon does serve as an aggressive judge, jury, and executioner when black-hat tactics are discovered. In the blink of an eye, Amazon can shutter your store and revoke access to their marketplace, and it’s not uncommon that honest sellers find themselves caught in Amazon’s net and hit with account suspensions. Despite all of this, Amazon’s dominance over e-commerce continues to grow, providing unparalleled opportunity for sellers.
Assuming (and highly recommending) that you are playing by Amazon’s rules, when launching a new product, you’re faced with the task of cutting through all of the more established competition to get your product in front of customers. While it’s hard to definitively prove, and while you shouldn’t expect a major influx of sales, it’s commonly believed that Amazon does provide a ‘honeymoon period’ to new products, in which they are given a bit of a boost in visibility and performance to help them gain traction. That said, it’s important to implement every tactic possible to drive sales in the first few weeks of activity. If you are unable to drive any account activity, in time, your poor sales history can begin to weigh on your product’s ability to gain favorability with Amazon’s search engine.
The following article will walk you through the first actions that should be taken when launching a new product. Whether you’re a new seller with your first product, or simply adding an additional listing to a large catalog, these universal strategies can help you to build the necessary foundation of sales and ranking traction to succeed long term.
The first step in developing an effective strategy for launching a new product on the Amazon marketplace is to develop a deep understanding of your competition. When releasing a brand new product, your listing will have no reviews or sales history and your competition may be well established in the market. Therefore, it’s likely that in a head-to-head comparison, your competition is going to have the upper hand.
That said, there are a number of tactics that can be implemented to either circumvent your competition or exploit their weaknesses. In order to do this, you must first understand your competitors and how they are interacting with the market. Using Competitor Intelligence, you can easily analyze the tactics of your competition to build a thorough strategy.
The primary benefit of Competitor Intelligence is that it provides you with in depth keyword data for a competing listing. This data enables you to view relevant keywords for the market in relation to their performance. You can see the listing’s organic ranking and advertising rank (PPC positioning) for each keyword, alongside search volume metrics, opportunity score, and relevancy score.
By comparing search volume to organic ranking and ad strategy, you can start to develop an understanding of what keywords are driving the bulk of sales for your competitor and see an overview of where they’re focusing their advertising budget.
Along with this, you can also observe the keywords that your competitor is not indexing or ranking for. This data can also be important as you may be able to note keywords which are being overlooked, implying that these search terms can be efficient opportunities for driving additional sales!
You’re also able to select and track individual keywords in order to receive updates on rank change, indexing changes, etc., allowing you to quickly adapt to any fluctuations in the market or strategy of your competitor.
On the Product Analysis page, you can directly compare metrics with your competition while reviewing historical trends. With a new product, this data can be a quick and easy method of understanding any competitive advantage that you may be able to emphasize in order to persuade buyers.
When first launching a new product, you will have no reviews and no sales history. While your product may be the best product in the market, you will have no explicit advantage over established product listings.
Although you can (and absolutely should) implement quality images and use your copy to highlight features that demonstrate superior value or quality in comparison to your competitors, ultimately the search results on Amazon provide shoppers with:
This means that your ability to provide a complete value proposition to potential shoppers is relatively limited. Through this lens, one of the easiest ways to begin to build traction for a new product is to start off by pricing competitively.
Setting a product’s price point below your competition is one of the best methods to draw sales away from more established listings. While it’s very unlikely that your product is review competitive, and similarly unlikely that you will have better ranking than much of the competition, appealing to value can help to draw in more budget minded shoppers.
The social proof provided by reviews helps to provide quality assurance to shoppers, meaning that even if your product is objectively better, a competitor’s review status makes their product less of a risk. Because of this, beating your competition on price provides an alternative comparable tangible value, which has the potential to objectively influence sales.
While it can be a difficult decision for any brand owner to cut into their profit margin, one of the most fundamental mistakes that a seller can make is thinking in the short term. It takes time, effort, and money to build a business. You may not obtain the expected return from your first run of inventory, but taking measures to steadily gather sales in the early stages of your product can be a strategic investment to build a foundation for long term success.
Although traditional business rhetoric would suggest that lowering your price immediately tarnishes the perception of premium branding, this is not the case on Amazon. In a crowded marketplace with limited control over your brand’s messaging, a low price is a powerful asset for driving traffic to the listing.
Keep in mind through this stage that your price is not permanent. As your product begins to gain momentum, you can start to raise price until you hit the amount that you’re ideally shooting for. That said, it’s important to understand that the market dictates price. While you (more or less) have the ability to sell your product at any price you wish, the overall field of competition really establishes the fair market value. At every stage of your product’s lifecycle, it’s crucial to consider this when deciding on your selling price. In order to sell effectively, you will always need to remain competitive with the market.
Additionally, testing a few price points can be worthwhile. In certain instances/markets, an aggressively low price may work against you as it can create the perception that a product is of lower quality. For instance, an extremely low price and no reviews may be a cause for caution with an ingestible product such as a supplement. It’s important to make sure that you’re monitoring data to ensure that you’re getting improved click through and conversion rate (unit session percentage) to develop evidence to support the effectiveness of your price point.
Also, lowering price alone will not help to put your product in front of consumers. It will only help persuade shoppers to select your listing over a competitor. You need to combine a low price offer with marketing and advertising strategies to drive sales. For these reasons, it’s extremely important to make sure that you’re monitoring performance. If you’re failing to keep a close eye on performance and the overall effects of any variable changes on Amazon, you could be missing out on critical data to help you sell more efficiently.
Providing a value appeal to shoppers can be an effective strategy in response to the review quantities of competing products, but that still begs the question: How do you generate reviews?
Prior to an October, 2016 change to Amazon’s terms of service, building a base of reviews was a simple process. Sellers could simply give away a quantity of products to receive ‘honest, unbiased reviews’, effectively buying a review base. However, in time, consumers and (probably more importantly) news outlets, began to notice that a vast quantity of products being sold on Amazon had massive quantities of reviews that appeared to be purchased or positively influenced, thus implying that consumers cannot trust the statements that are intended to provide them with quality assurance. Because Amazon very transparently prioritizes customer experience over all else, they quickly enacted policies to forbid any incentivized reviews as a response to the criticism.
Unfortunately, sellers quickly learned that typical shoppers don’t leave reviews, meaning that this policy change quickly created a divide between established products with large review quantities, and new products which were subject to organic review growth rates.
Review generation, however, was (and is) an extremely important aspect of selling successfully. Practices for driving fraudulent reviews continues to be driven further and further underground; with Amazon playing cat and mouse, enacting stricter policies and liberally doling out account suspensions.
Reviews are a social currency on Amazon and a review quantity and rating alone can largely make or break a product listing. Like any blackmarket good or service, where there is demand, there are entities who look to profit through offering a supply. To this day, some sellers do venture into black-hat tactics to drive reviews, or use reviews to sabotage competition. And while some sellers are able to slip through the cracks, Amazon typically catches up and dispenses swift justice.
As a (hopefully) honest seller, who is looking to avoid the Amazon’s punitive wrath, opportunities to compliantly stimulate review growth are limited, but extremely valuable.
Entering Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program is the best way to quickly get a start on your review generation. This program was seemingly developed by Amazon as a means of compensating for their strict policy changes by allowing new listings some opportunity to gain momentum. The Early Reviewer Program is eligible to SKUs that sell for more than $15 with less than 5 reviews. Amazon charges $60 per SKU and will run their program for a period of one year, or until five reviews are generated. Through this period, shoppers who purchase the product will receive an email from Amazon offering a $1-3 Amazon gift card in exchange for a review on the product.
While it’s not a magical solution to make you review competitive, the Early Reviewer Program is an affordable opportunity to help get a new product listing started. This small advantage enables you to establish some social proof to help sway customers.
Beyond this, and while it’s somewhat of a grey area with regards to Amazon’s policies, sellers also utilize product inserts and email follow-up campaigns to generate reviews.
With either of these tactics, it’s critical that you utilize completely unbiased language and stay away from statements implying or steering the customer towards positive feedback (ex.: “If you love our product, please leave us a review on Amazon.”). You cannot attempt to route negative reviews to your own customer service and you similarly cannot use language that only encourages reviews based on positive reception. You also cannot offer any sort of gift, coupon, or incentive in exchange for a review (ex.: “Please leave us a review to receive a coupon for a 50% discount on your next purchase.”). Even if you’re looking to provide a free gift or coupon to all buyers, regardless of reviews, it’s advisable to not offer any type of promotion, incentive, or gift while requesting a review.
It’s also worth noting that Amazon is deliberately vague about the overall compliance of follow-up email campaigns. It is directly stated that you cannot incentivize or influence reviews in any way and there are restrictions as to how you can utilize email campaigns (i.e. you cannot use emails correspondence to pull traffic from Amazon or market other products to buyers). We have not encountered any issues with use of unbiased email and insert language but Amazon has been known to test buy products to monitor these tactics.
Building a review base for a new product is quite possibly the biggest challenge that you will face when selling on Amazon. While shoppers place an extraordinarily high value on rating and review quantity when making purchasing decisions, less than one percent of shoppers will leave a review for a product they purchase. That said, in most markets, you don’t need thousands of reviews to effectively sell. You just need enough of a review base to provide confidence to your customers.
The value of reviews definitely can’t be understated and it’s important to use the tools at your disposal to stimulate growth. That said, it’s definitely worth it to abide by Amazon’s policies and approach your product with a long-term perspective. Reviews help to drive sales, but in order to drive reviews, you need people to buy your product. Use the Early Reviewer Program to your advantage but also prioritize strategies to generate sales first, and let the reviews develop over time. While it’s not necessarily fast, this strategic perspective will help to ensure that you’re able to facilitate some sales activity which will continue to build momentum as you progressively accumulate more reviews and better ranking.
While it’s definitely valuable to understand your market and competition, along with review generation and the use of price as a variable to persuade buyers, it’s equally important to understand how to place your product listing in front of potential shoppers. After all, if the best, lowest priced product has a listing on Amazon, but shoppers can’t find it, can it make a sale?
It’s not good enough to have the best price or the best offering if your listing is buried in the results. You also can’t generate reviews without sales. So, considering the reality that Amazon is an extremely crowded marketplace, and that it’s unlikely that your brand new listing will automatically end up on the first page of relevant search results, you’ll likely need to pay for visibility through Amazon’s advertising platform.
However, before you jump into setting up campaigns, there are a few methods that you can utilize to collect important data and work towards efficient campaign performance.
Using your understanding of the competition and your competitive price point, you can delve into product targeted advertising. A product targeted campaign is a campaign that specifically focuses on another listing. Typically appearing on a listings detail page, a product targeted ad can seek to lure buyers to it’s listing by appealing to a shopper interested in a related product. There are two main tactics to explore when using product targeting.
First of all, you can run campaigns directed at competition. It’s important to note that in order to be effective with this strategy, you need to find products that have good visibility and traction (thus allowing you to piggyback on their traffic) and you also need to have some competitive advantage (lower price, better reviews, features, color etc.) in order to reach and lure shoppers.
For instance, if you’re selling a hammer, and a shopper is viewing a listing for a hammer, in order to pull their interest, your hammer has to be cheaper, better liked, or have visibly better features in order to draw the shoppers focus away from the product that they’re currently viewing.
The second main tactic involves using product targeting to align your product with complementary listings. The same concept applies to selecting complementary products to target in that it’s advantageous to look for products that have a large quantity of sales and page one ranking for valuable keywords. The difference is that instead of trying to pull sales from your competition, with complementary targeting, you’re ideally seeking to have your product purchased in addition to the targeted complement.
An example of this would be running ads for your same hammer, targeting items such as tool belts, tool boxes, or boxes of nails. The idea is that while someone is shopping for a box of nails, they may realize that they also need a hammer, and your ad placement may result in a convenient purchase.
To easily identify competing and complementary products to effectively target through this campaign type, you can use Listing Analyzer by Viral Launch. After running an analysis on your listing, you can use the Competing and Complementary Products tab to view and sort related listings. By filtering these results to meet your objective (higher sale price, high sales volume, etc.) you can quickly identify ASINs to hone in on with product targeted campaigns.
While both of these tactics may result in lower engagement, and typically won’t assist organic visibility growth as much as keyword targeted campaigns, they can help you drive some additional sales. Additionally, product targeting can be helpful when first launching a product because you’re able to specifically align your ads with individual products, allowing you to hone in on products that your listing has a competitive advantage over.
Another method to effectively cut your teeth in with PPC and gain some additional visibility is through an automatic campaign. Auto campaigns are more or less the ‘easy’ format for running PPC. While manual campaigns provide you with the ability to target specific keywords and products with varying degrees of specificity, an automatic campaign will defer to Amazon’s algorithms to establish targets for your advertising.
While you may instinctively think that it’s a better strategy to fully control your campaign spend and targeting, an automatic campaign can be a helpful way to hit on a broader range of keywords and drive some wider visibility. Additionally, there may be specific keywords that you convert surprisingly well for. Also, because there is less of a targeted approach, your advertising spend will tend to be algorithmically dispersed, which can result in a lower cost per click, meaning that it’s possible to continue running very efficient automatic campaigns over a long-term period as a means of increasing and rounding out traffic.
In addition to this, it’s important to regularly review your advertising reports. When running ads, it’s easy to get caught up in the concept of spend vs. return. Obviously, inefficient advertising can feel like wasted money. That said, it can be advantageous to instead look at advertising spend as a means of purchasing data. Though it’s far from perfect, Amazon provides access to a number of reports which can give insights into your campaign performance. These reports can be valuable resources for understanding how your product is reacting in the market and how to effectively compete. For instance, using the Advertising search term report, you can review which keywords are getting impressions, driving clicks, and converting into sales.
As you continue to run automatic campaigns, regularly reviewing data can provide you with insights into which keywords are driving revenue, inevitably allowing you to create more focused manual campaigns focused on well performing keywords.
Using automatic campaigns is a great way to familiarize yourself with Amazon’s advertising platform if you are a new seller, and it’s also a great way to begin to generate some sales and visibility if you’re a launching a new product.
Assuming you’ve done thorough keyword research, running some more specific advertising campaigns, which we refer to as discovery campaigns, is another way to drive focused traffic. A discovery campaign is essentially a manual campaign which is established to test the PPC performance of your high value keywords.
Ideally, you have a list of keywords used to write your product’s listing. Within this list, there should be a range from high competition/high value terms down to low competition/high opportunity terms. Pulling from this list, you can begin to test small groups of keywords (around 5 per campaign) with manual testing to monitor their performance.
By closely reviewing reports, you can begin to determine which keywords are generating interest (by receiving clicks), and which keywords are generating sales. It’s also important to monitor how your budget is being allocated. You may find that a few of your keywords are receiving a very limited amount of impressions (implying that other keywords are consuming your campaign’s budget). If this is the case, you’ll want to restructure your campaign or increase budget to ensure that you’re adequately testing each term.
If a keyword is spending without generating sales, it may be worth removing it from the campaign. That said, the fact that it is spending implies that it’s receiving clicks. For this reason, it may be worth reviewing the competition for this keyword to determine any tangible values that are hurting your listing’s ability to drive a sales.
On the flip side, if a keyword is effectively driving sales, it may be worth breaking the keyword out into its own campaign with a dedicated budget. In this way, you can ensure that you’re dedicating a thorough budget to the terms that are most efficient. If you’re able to maintain ACoS, you may more or less be able to reliably generate profit by fueling these campaigns with spend.
If keywords are not performing, you typically will want to rotate them out of your discovery campaigns, however, you may not want to completely throw the keywords out. As your product begins to build momentum and generate reviews, it’s likely that your listing will convert differently. Therefore, as your listing becomes more competitive in the market, some targets that were previously inefficient may become more relevant.
When launching a new product on Amazon, there are three major variables that you should immediately begin focusing on:
Competitive advantage: Understanding how to position your product with a tangible value proposition (most commonly achieved by pricing below your competition)
Review Generation: Given the Amazon’s restrictive policies around reviews in parallel with their importance to consumer decision making process, using every policy compliant tactic to your advantage in order to grow a review base is critically valuable and continues to improve your listing’s ability to sell effectively.
Visibility: You cannot expect shoppers to find your product simply because you’re listing it on Amazon. Using PPC to drive visibility is one of the only ways to truly get your product in front of consumers when launching a new product. Knowing how to set up some basic early campaigns to begin to target keywords and advantageously align your product with other listings in the market is the best way to begin to drive revenue.
Keeping these three points in mind when launching a new product can help you to contextualize an overall strategy for effective product growth. Amazon is crowded and your competition won’t always play by the rules. But by approaching the market strategically, and with thought towards the long term, there is still limitless opportunity to be successful.
As more of a moral point, reviews are consistently the most challenging aspect of beginning an Amazon based business. That said, while our increasingly Amazon-based society relies on reviews to inform our purchasing decisions, most of us are guilty of not contributing by adding our own opinions after purchasing products. If it were a cultural norm for shoppers to leave a review, consumers would benefit from more well rounded recommendations, and small businesses would more easily be able to establish themselves.
While lofty and idealistic, maybe reviews should almost culturally be viewed as a tax; a few minutes taken to write your opinion in exchange for the overwhelming convenience of e-commerce. While that may be too ambitious to actualize, taking a few minutes to think about how much a review can mean to the plethora of small business owners who are grinding to achieve success is worthwhile. Though it’s easy to forget, lending a hand by leaving a review makes it that much easier for someone to overcome one of the many hurdles that come with deciding to start your own business.
If you are in the process of launching a new product or are interested in selling on Amazon, Viral Launch is always willing to assist. Feel free to contact us at email@example.com with any Amazon related questions. Our expert team of coaches are excited to help you dominate!
On January 1st Amazon released three new features in sponsored products, Dynamic Bidding, Bid Adjustments, and Placements. Among a variety of benefits, these new features led the Viral Launch R&D team to a major discovery regarding Amazon PPC ads. This discovery has resulted in the development of a new PPC bidding/optimization strategy that is driving incredible results for sellers implementing the strategy properly. It’s important to note that this is one of many strategies we use and you can employ, and it really depends on the product and the market as to which one works best.
This post will walk you through the details of this new Amazon PPC tactic we’re calling Placement Optimization strategy and how you can begin using Placement Optimization in your PPC campaigns and begin seeing results immediately!
What Are Bid Adjustments & Placements
Performance by Placement
Once in Seller Central, you can click into a campaign and view a new tab titled “Placements.” This new Placements tab provides insights into your campaign’s performance based on where the ad was displayed at the time. Amazon breaks it down into three placement groups: top of search (first page), rest of search, and product pages (defined below).
Top of Search – The top of search (first page) refers to the sponsored products ads at the top row on the first page of search results.
Rest of Search – Rest of search refers to sponsored products ads shown in the middle or at the bottom of search results, and all sponsored products ads in the second page of search results and beyond.
Product Detail Pages – Product pages refers to sponsored products placements on the product details page, and certain other placements off search results like the add-to-cart page. These ads show in the Sponsored Products Related To section on a listing’s detail page. Amazon PPC ads can show here through keyword targeting campaigns or by setting up product targeting campaigns.
Bid Adjustments by Placement
Bid Adjustments put the control in your hands to allow Amazon to spend above and beyond your set CPC for a specific placement. Amazon allows a number between 0 and 900% as a modifier to your set bid. Amazon does not allow you to set a specific bid amount for each placement, only this bid adjustment.
“For example, if you have set your CPC to $2.00 and Dynamic Bidding – Down Only selected, but set the Bid Adjustment to 50% for “Top of Search”, Amazon will bid up to $3.00 allowing for more positioning in the top sponsored ad results.
We’ll discuss below how to really take advantage of this feature to maximize your ad’s top of search placements.
Our Mind Blowing Discovery
After looking through the placements report for a number of Amazon PPC campaigns we are managing, we noticed some interesting tendencies around how frequently our keyword targeting campaigns (auto campaign, broad/phrase match campaigns, etc.) were showing on product pages. So we aggregated over $1MM in ad spend worth of campaigns to look at what was happening at a wide scale.
Here are the mind blowing stats:
On average ~84% of our newer keyword targeting campaigns are delivering on product pages!
We knew that ASIN targeting campaigns typically have a low click-through rate (CTR%), but this explained why some search terms had incredibly poor CTR%; they were delivering mostly on product pages! Meanwhile, while the clicks were more expensive, conversion rate (Conv.%) was ~60% higher for top of search traffic. It makes sense that a prospective customer is more likely to click into a product at the top of the search results for a given keyword than on a sponsored product showing on a competing product.
What was so mind blowing is that, this whole time advertisers have been turning on / turning off keywords based on their performance (CTR, Conversion, ACOS, etc.) assuming that keywords are / are not relevant based on the aggregated performance. In reality, those keywords we thought our products were not very relevant for, may have performed well for top search, but just happened to be a worse offer on the product pages Amazon decided to show us on.
For example, let’s say you are selling fish oil pills at a higher than average price point with only a handful of reviews. You run campaigns for the keywords “fish oil pills” and “omega 3 pills”. Prior to the insights Amazon’s new Placements feature provided, if the campaign targeting “omega 3 pills” resulted in low CTR, low conversion rate, and a high ACOS, you would assume that customers do not find your product very relevant for “omega 3” related keywords. In reality, there is a chance that Amazon was simply showing your new product with low reviews and a high price, on competitor pages where the competing products had more reviews and a lower price point. It’s very possible that your product was performing well for the “omega 3” keyword, but it was not performing well on the specific competitor listings Amazon chose to show you on.
Put differently, this should challenge everything you know about how relevant your product is for various keywords! There may be plenty of keywords you had passed off as poor performing and less relevant you may find actually perform well in search alone.
Fortunately, you have the opportunity to look at Placement reports for historical campaigns to begin answering some of the questions.
How To Use This Placement Optimization To Boost Efficiency
Within just over a week of releasing this new Placement Optimization strategy, we’ve received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback and case studies on improvements to campaign efficiency and/or overall sales improvements. We want to make sure you have the knowledge to be able to apply it yourself!
The case study below highlights how removing inefficient traffic from product pages allows the traffic to flow through our most profitable placement. By allocating 100% of the budget to top of search, we saw a significant increase in sales and a significant decrease in ACoS!
1/1/19 – 1/7/19
1/21/19 – 1/27/19
In this section we will walk through:
How to Isolate Traffic with Bid Adjustments
How to apply the strategy for maximizing efficiency/sales
How to Isolate Traffic with Bid Adjustments
The R&D team at VL has come up with a quick and simple solution to segment ad traffic across ad campaigns to optimize efficiency across delivery placements.
To set up a campaign that will only deliver for Top of Search ad placements, set a low base bid for the keywords targeted i.e. $0.30. A high percentage bid modifier can then be applied to Top of Search bid adjustment (ex. 800%). This will keep the bid amount low enough to not deliver in auctions for other placements, while also modifying the bid amount to deliver in the top ad placements only. Example: $0.30 bid with 800% modifier will deliver only at Top of Search placements at $2.40 bid.
WARNING: You should not force all campaigns to target only top of search. You need to follow the data for your own product and make sure it fits within your broader PPC strategy, which we discuss below. Test and analyze the results of each placement before making any decisions!
How to apply the strategy for maximizing efficiency/sales
Step One: Analyze existing campaigns. Consider historic performance, campaign type, match type and campaign objectives. Further, with the release of campaign bidding strategies, Amazon has made it extremely easy to spend more than you intended. It is our recommendation that you do this test initially with Dynamic Bidding – Down Only as your selected bidding strategy. Having an Up & Down bidding strategy selected could result in Amazon spending an additional 100% of your bid on top of your placement multiplier! This could lead to major overspending if left unchecked.
Other situations and scenarios to consider:
Since Placements are set for the entire campaign, if you have a lot of keywords in a single campaign, it’s difficult to know which keywords are actually delivering at top of search.
Auto campaigns are difficult to control, so a top of search tactic might change the words it’s delivering for and make the historic data you’re basing the decision off of useless for Placement decisions.
Lastly, if your campaign is performing well in all ad placements, there is a risk that changing it will disrupt that performance so you might want to instead just increase spend on that campaign.
If you are starting a new campaign, it is recommended that you gather data around each placement before setting any bid multipliers. Discover whether or not your product converts well for all placements and then adjust accordingly. To get some initial profitable sales, listen to our Product Targeting podcast where we discuss what can be one of Amazon’s most efficient traffic sources!
Step Two: If a campaign is spending above your target ACOS in one placement (ex. top of search or product pages) while spending below your target ACOS in another placement, then this is an indicator that you should begin isolating traffic away from the inefficient placement. In some instances, top of search is the unprofitable placement, while in other instances, product pages are the unprofitable placement.
If all placements are performing below ACOS, that’s great. You may have an opportunity to scale up your budget and increase your sales!
Step Three: If you have crunched the numbers and decided to focus traffic toward top of search, look at the bid you’ve been delivering at top of search for. Set a bid and bid adjustment to focus on that traffic. For example, the top of search (first page) clicks below have been delivering at an average CPC of $0.95. If you want to isolate traffic, you can do the math. You could set your bid to $1.00 for top of search by setting a bid of $0.13 ($1/800%). By not having a premium on product page placements, your campaign should divert traffic from inefficient product pages and push more impressions and clicks through top of search where you’re more likely to get sales!
If you’ve spent a lot of time and/or money doing Amazon’s PPC, you know there are a few levels between what you try to do and what Amazon delivers; and Placements is no exception. After you change the placements, you need to monitor results very closely to make sure it’s performing at the efficiency and effectiveness you want.
Practices to Avoid While Testing
We recommend everyone go test these new bidding strategies and placement adjustments based on the goals and objectives of their campaigns. When testing these new strategies, there are a few things that you should be sure to avoid…
Applying a large bid multiplier to top of search on campaigns that perform well for product page placements. If your campaign is running within desired ACoS and driving a significant amount of sales, it is not advised to interrupt the efficient flow of ad traffic.
Testing new bidding strategies such as Dynamic Bidding – Up & Down on a new campaign. Without a significant amount of ad history and data, Amazon will struggle in determining whether or not your ad is likely to convert. Test the impact of this new feature on an existing campaign to fully understand the impact it may have on your Amazon advertising methods.
Creating two campaigns with the same keyword set, bids, etc… and testing them against one another using different bidding strategies. Since both campaigns have the same keyword set, they would be competing against one another for the same auctions. Testing in this manner will likely lead to results that do not accurately represent how the campaign is likely to perform in an unbiased testing environment.
Recreating an existing campaign with a new bidding Up & Down bidding strategy. By copying the original campaign and creating a new one, you are essentially setting up a brand new ad that Amazon has never seen before. This campaign would have no ad history making it difficult for Amazon to predict the likelihood of a conversion in any given auction.
Adjusting bids by Placement can be a really powerful strategy to change how your campaign delivers. Now that you know what to look for, and how to make the change, you’re ready to go out and dig into your own campaigns. You need to follow the data for your campaigns and make sure that you are making the right decision for your product and campaign. Check your campaign metrics regularly and Follow The Data!
In today’s episode, Casey Gauss is joined by Viral Launch R&D specialist, Jordan Dekker, to discuss the new product targeting capabilities for Amazon PPC. They talk through different strategies for product targeting on Amazon, including category targeting, complementary product targeting, and competitor product targeting, and how you should be using them for your business.