Follow the Data Podcast: Holiday & 2021 Amazon Advertising Strategy With Destaney Wishon from BetterAMS

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!

HIGHLIGHTS

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.

Why you should diversify your ad spend (6:04)

Is your Amazon advertising strategy outdated and in need of a revamp?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.

2020: The Year of the Advertiser (23:40)

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.

Stay up-to-date on the latest seller strategies, tips and tricks, and conversations with the biggest names in FBA by liking and subscribing to Viral Launch on YouTube and the Follow The Data podcast channel!

What Is Amazon PPC and How Can You Make the Most of It?

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 brand ads 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.

Aggressive Growth Strategies To Build Profitable Sales

After launching a new product and implementing strategies to generate reviews and early sales, in time, you will have established a great foundation for long-term product growth. At this point, it’s time to begin building on that foundation to achieve favorable keyword ranking and drive considerable sales growth.

Though you may have a mountain to climb to make your listing the ‘top dog’ in your category, the beginning of this journey is the slowest and most difficult part. Now that you’ve laid the groundwork for a successful product, it’s time to start implementing tactics to accelerate your momentum.

While you still may have a ways to go before you can consider this product a success, after you’ve gathered some initial reviews and are driving some sales, that momentum can be utilized to drive accelerating growth with the following tactics.

Price Testing

Establishing a low price is a great metric for generating sales in the early stages of a listing, providing a tangible value proposition to lure price-conscious buyers away from your competition. That said, while it’s critically important that you price appropriately for the market, you may have not started at a price which provides you with a healthy margin for profit.

Considering that Amazon is first and foremost a search engine for products, ensuring that you’re favorably ranked in search results should be your key objective. In order to rank well, you need to sell well. Keep this in mind when experimenting with price.

Assuming that you’ve gathered a reasonable base of reviews and that you’re consistently driving some sales, you may be able to experiment with different pricing options.

As you’re able to position your product more competitively in the market, the instinct may be to immediately raise your price to the ideal level. That said, your conversion rate may still be relatively price contingent, meaning that you can experience a steep drop-off in sales. Additionally, Amazon’s algorithms are typically not favorable towards dramatic price swings and a steep price increase can sometimes result in a loss of buy box control (even if you are the sole seller on the listing).

Instead, it’s recommended that you slowly step-up price over a longer duration while closely watching your performance and conversion metrics. The main priority is to retain forward momentum so if you start to see sales engagement decline as your price rises, you may consider reverting to a low price or experimenting with coupon offers as a means of maintaining your progress.

While you may have more flexibility in pricing as your listing matures, sales velocity and ranking should still be at the forefront of your mindset. Selling more units at a thinner margin should trump your price point in order to continue to establish your listing in the market. This is once again an instance in which you should be thinking about the long-term strategy for your product.

Aggressive PPC Tactics

Assuming you had established some advertising campaigns shortly after launching your product, you should now have a foundation of data from which to more aggressively pursue PPC. While the purpose of PPC in the early phases of your listing was to gain some visibility and give your product the opportunity to sell, as your listing becomes more established, that strategy should begin to shift to more aggressive tactics centered around driving ranking.

The endgame of establishing and maintaining favorable SEO ranking is the listing’s ability to obtain a growing quantity of organic sales. Because of this, it’s important to review your campaigns in tandem with organic performance.

To provide some perspective, prior to e-commerce, if a brand wanted to advertise their product, they would purchase a tv/radio/print ad and develop a message to be distributed through the channel. In order to gauge the value of that investment, they would need to review sales data to see if there was a correlation between their advertising and an increase in sales.

When advertising on Amazon, you’re able to see an exact return on your advertising spend (ACoS). While this is a great metric to review, it’s easy to get fixated on this spend amount. If your ACoS is high, it’s an easy justification for ending your campaign. The problem is that ACoS doesn’t show you the full impact of your advertising efforts.

It’s also important (and contrary to Amazon’s position) to note that Amazon is not an adequate platform for driving brand awareness. Because PPC provides you with very limited creative capability, it’s exceptionally hard for a private label seller to establish an adequate brand voice. Some of this can be done through social media engagement and more traditional advertising tactics but your on-Amazon advertising strategy should be focused on SEO and sales growth rather than trying to build a base of loyal customers.

At this stage in your product’s lifecycle, it’s important to begin to compile high performing keywords to focus ad spend on while simultaneously understanding the less tangible benefits of advertising. Attention should be placed on both maximizing profitable revenue from easy wins, and developing strategic tactics to advantageously position you across your entire market.

Manual Targeting

When spending on advertising, rather than thinking of it in the context of spending to increase sales, it can be valuable to understand it as buying data from Amazon. When you allow an advertising campaign to run, you’re able to collect a large amount of information about how shoppers perceive your listing. By using your advertising reports as a resource, you can better understand what keywords are most effectively luring buyers to your account and how to more efficiently direct your spend.

Assuming that you’ve been running automatic, discovery, and product targeting campaigns, you should progressively be collecting a large amount of data around your campaign performance. To access that data, you’ll want to download advertising reports from the Business Reports tab in your seller central account.

There are different types of reports which provide different information but one of the most valuable is the Search Term report for sponsored products. From this data, you can determine which keywords are driving sales and how effectively.

As you collect more data through the use of PPC, you should begin to isolate terms that convert well for your product. These terms can be the basis of developing effective and profitable campaigns. Essentially, if a keyword is consistently generating sales at a relatively low ACoS, there can be some assumption that it will continue to perform in that manner. It’s important to note that you’re still going to want to regularly review the data to ensure that it’s maintaining performance, but if keywords are consistently performing at a profitable ACoS, you can assume that they will continue to do so.

In these instances, breaking these keywords out of your automatic or discovery campaigns and placing them in their own manual targeting campaign with a dedicated budget can be advantageous. In this way, you can ensure that a dedicated budget is being implemented to drive a continuous return. Ideally, performance for the keyword will remain stable, meaning that you’re effectively putting one dollar in to get two dollars out.

If this trend continues and ACoS continues to be profitable, the next step is to simply ensure that the campaign isn’t running out of budget on a daily basis. If you’re running out of budget on a profitable campaign, it means that you’re missing the opportunity to maximize sales and revenue from it. That said, the number of impressions that your ad receives is contingent on how frequently a term is searched. For lower volume keywords, a term may only be searched a few times per day, meaning that your ad can generate profitable sales, but not at a high volume. Essentially, this means that there is a limit to how much you actually can spend when directly targeting a keyword, but assuming it’s profitable to do so, it’s advantageous to make sure you’re maximizing that potential.

Ideally, in time, more of your budget will be tied to singular high performing keywords, effectively playing to your strengths and driving a decent volume of profitable sales. As you drive more sales, your listing will continue to climb in ranking, accumulate reviews, and establish a extensive sales history. This may afford you opportunities to convert better and gain more relevance with higher volume search terms for which your product previously didn’t perform as well for. In other words, as your product receives more reviews and is better positioned in the market in terms of competitiveness, you may consider running advertising on higher volume and more competitive search terms.

Search Engine Optimization

The first benefit of advertising (beyond the direct sales driven through your ads) is that it contributes to Amazon SEO. Typically, and while sales obviously have a stronger impact, any engagement with a listing positively impacts keyword ranking. An accumulation of clicks, add-to-carts, and sales in time will help to drive your listing closer to the top of relevant search results. This is especially true when your ad is engaged with through a specific search term. However, keywords that get an excess number of clicks with few to no orders will likely result in negative rank movement. Simply spending hundreds of dollars inefficiently on a single keyword is not the magic bullet to rank improvements; you must convert for the term as well.

While it’s not advisable to spend money blindly on inefficient campaigns, when monitoring keyword ranking improvement and organic sales growth alongside campaign performance, you may find that there is a net benefit to a campaign with a higher ACoS. A keyword tracking tool such as Keyword Manager can be extremely helpful for monitoring ranking changes in correlation with ad spend.

Spending to Facilitate Organic Sales Growth

Along with driving organic ranking for your product, advertising spend can in-turn influence organic sales growth. This somewhat follows the logic of traditional (pre-e-commerce) advertising.

While obviously, establishing better keyword ranking establishes better visibility in the market, which correlates to more organic sales, there is also the less calculable idea that running advertising increases your visibility with consumers. Because repetition influences mental processes, it’s possible that by running advertising, a shopper may overlook your paid ad spot but end up purchasing after viewing the organic listing. In this way, PPC can partially function similarly to a billboard.

Additionally, while this happens more heavily with higher cost products, it’s common for shoppers to browse and consider a purchase over a period of time. As a result, it’s possible that shoppers are viewing (and possibly clicking on) your ads without making a purchase at that time. At the point where a purchasing decision is made, it’s possible that they would click on your organically ranked listing and/or searched for your product directly.

Defensive Ad Spending

Particularly in instances where you’re performing well and/or have enough of a brand presence where people search directly for your brand or products, using ads as a defensive measure can be an effective way to maintain market share.

When a shopper is searching for a product, on any given page there is a limited number of ad spaces available. Though you may be in an advantageous organic positioning for some of these terms, aggressively advertising can be an effective way to suppress competition and ensure a better probability that your product is purchased. With this tactic, the focus may not be on profitable spending (particularly though the campaign performance itself) but rather as a method of affirming broad performance for your product by dominating the paid digital shelf space.

Especially in instances where you have several products that are relevant to a search term, defensive ad spend can help influence shopping decisions by establishing high visibility for your brand. By holding multiple ad spots within the search results, repetition can help to lure buyers into exploring your brand more thoroughly while simultaneously preventing others from gaining the same degree of visibility.

Conclusion

Putting in the effort to source a product strategically, thoroughly research the keyword market, and lay the foundation for sales and review generation should put you in a position to eventually reap the rewards of your hard work. With that context, at this stage in your listing’s life on Amazon, you can begin to shift your strategy to more aggressive tactics. By reviewing your performance and campaign data, you can begin to isolate profitable keywords which you can exploit in order to maximize profitable revenue while simultaneously looking at the total influence of PPC spend with relation to organic sales and ranking.

Using these tactics, you can begin to push your listing to visible and favorable ranking position, grow your organic sales potential, and attempt to minimize the visibility of your competition.

These tactics will, in time, help to drive a listing from the back of the catalog to a major contender in the market. While this process can take time, money, and effort, this long-term strategic play will eventually help a listing to truly dominate the market.

By maintaining some aspects of the traditional school of thought on the benefits of advertising while also appreciating the depth of data that PPC provides, advertising on Amazon can provide you with a wealth of advantages in a congested market.

The Early Phases of Sales Generation

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.

…Now what?

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.

Competitive Analysis

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.

Pricing

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:

  • One image
  • Title
  • Prime eligibility
  • Selling price
  • Review rating/quantity

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.

Review Generation

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.

Product Targeting

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.

Automatic Campaigns

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.

Discovery Campaigns

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.

Conclusion

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 service@viral-launch.com with any Amazon related questions. Our expert team of coaches are excited to help you dominate!

Getting Started With Efficient Amazon Advertising Campaigns in 2019

Setting Up Your Initial Campaigns For Success

As Amazon continues to grow their advertising platform, it can become confusing on how best to utilize each tool and campaign type. Whether you have a new listing or are trying to improve an existing one, Amazon advertising is an effective measure to bring traffic to your product to drive additional sales. After you have identified your keyword markets, optimized your listing content, and achieved retail-readiness with your product, it is time to put all of the work in the research phase of your ad campaigns to the test. A smart seller with a well thought out advertising campaign structure can start capturing sales efficiently from the get-go. Accruing a history of efficient sales early will benefit your ad delivery in the future. A campaign strategy that follows a logical, hierarchical structure is critical to deliver on your advertising goals. Follow this basic campaign structure to start building efficient sales history in your ad campaigns today.

Auto Campaign

First, Amazon and PPC experts alike recommend you set up an Automatic campaign to start getting your ads to deliver and building cheap sales. In an Auto Campaign, Amazon will “automatically” match your ad with keywords and products that are similar to your product based on shopper searches related to your product information (Title, category, etc.)

Using this campaign type will allow your ad to be shown in related search term results or on the detail pages of products. As of November 2018, the four different target types can be seen in your Auto campaign’s Ad Groups’ Targeting:

  • Close match: “show your ad to shoppers who use search terms closely related to your products.”
  • Loose match: “show your ad to shoppers who use search terms loosely related to your products.”
  • Substitutes: “show your ad to shoppers who view the detail pages of products similar to yours.”
  • Complements: “show your ad to shoppers who view the detail pages of products that complement your product.”

Amazon will start to deliver for one or two of these, but bids can be assigned to each tactic to help find out which category best meets your objectives.

Since Amazon is choosing the terms and detail pages that display your product’s ad, not only can it be used to help you build sales history cheaply and efficiently, but can also help identify search terms to expand the keyword set that you will want to target in other advertising campaigns.  Likewise, you can look at search terms that deliver and spend without driving sales. Finally, because Amazon can choose to deliver Auto campaigns in a variety of places, they can deliver a lot of impressions quickly.

By looking at the Search Term Report under the Advertising Reports tab, you can see exactly which customer search terms drove clicks for your product. Once you Identify a search term that has converted into sales at or below your profitability thresholds, you can target these converting terms in your other advertising campaigns to focus and efficiently scale your spending. Conversely, keywords that get a significant amount of traffic and don’t convert should be considered as negatives. By adding these non-converting search terms as negative keywords to your auto campaigns you can divert traffic away from inefficient keywords and funnel more of your daily budget to keywords that drive sales.

Product Targeting

Another way to start building efficient sales history early is with Product Targeting campaigns.  Product targeting places your ad on other product detail, add-to-cart, check out, order confirmation, and even search result pages.

For targeting, you can choose specific products, categories, brands, or other product features to target with your advertising. Giving you the ability to expand the amount of traffic brought through your advertising campaigns while remaining narrow in targeting.  By selecting individual ASINs as your targets, your product ad will only deliver on the detail pages of those products. While it can be time consuming, it’s worth going through potential targets and looking at the product and offering and selecting ASINs where your product is the same or better in one way or another. It is also worth considering that higher volume ASINs have the most traffic, but also have competitive bids.   

A good place to start looking for which products to target would be in one of our newest updates to Listing Analyzer. Viral Launch has released a Competing and Complementary Products report to each analysis. Using the content of your listing alongside sophisticated machine learning, our software will deliver a list of suggested products for you to capture in your Product Targeting campaigns. The competing and complementary products feature includes the ability to:

  • Discover complementary products frequently purchased together
  • Identify competitor products in your keyword markets
  • Sort and filter by products with high revenue and sales to maximize exposure

This new feature makes it quick and easy to get started with product targeting, saving you time by cutting down on manual research so you can make decisions quickly. Try Listing Analyzer for free to see for yourself.

Discovery Campaign

In another post, we talked about the importance of Keyword Research.  During this critical phase of product development, you will identify which keyword markets best fit your product.  Entering your main keyword into Keyword Research will return a list of associated search terms alongside metrics such as search volume, relevancy, etc.  Run a search in Market Intelligence or on Amazon itself and look at the product results for each search term.  How does your product match up against the competitors in each market? Be looking at metrics like price point, average review count, average review rating, sales copy, photo quality, shipping method (FBM or FBA), packaging and price by value. To understand how you should be analyzing each keyword market check out this webinar where we dive deep into the best ways to evaluate keywords. The goal is to have identified 10-15 keywords in your research that have a blend of high search volume to drive sales as well as high opportunity.

You want to focus on keyword markets that you have the best potential to convert traffic, and that have enough volume to warrant dedicated focus. Keywords with high opportunity scores typically have fewer advertisers bidding on them. This may allow you compete in cheaper keyword auctions than other higher volume keywords in the market.

Now that you have identified a narrowed keyword set to target in your advertising in the research phase, you need to put your research to the test.  These keywords will be referred to as “Discovery Keywords.” Create a new campaign and put your Discovery Keywords into individual ad groups for Phrase and Broad match types. The goal is to run traffic through your keyword set and test whether or not the traffic through these keyword markets will drive sales volume.  The structure of a Discovery campaign allows sellers to have a narrowly identified keyword set through keyword research, but have the slightly expanded audience of Broad and Phrase match types to test more search terms in delivery. Using this structure will quickly identify which keyword markets can be profitable and have the ability to increase sales volume.  If the total daily budget of your Discovery campaign is expended regularly, this campaign can easily be given more budget to continue to drive increased sales volume through spending and converting search terms. Since this campaign is utilizing both broad and phrase match types, check your Search Term Reports regularly to identify any unique customer search terms that should be broken out on their own or inefficient ones that should be added as negatives. This can greatly increase campaign efficiency

If a single keyword in the Discovery campaign drives a large percentage of sales or takes up a large percentage of daily spend, consider breaking out this keyword into its own individual campaign.  Give this new single keyword campaign its own budget and scale it separately from the Discovery campaign. Removing the keyword will let the budget be directed to the other keywords in the campaign which were previously not accruing any daily spend.

Exact Match campaigns can be a way to scale up a high performing keyword, but unless you are very certain you know what keyword will work for your product, they are not typically part of an initial campaign setup. Similarly, Sponsored Brands (Formerly known as Headline Search Ads) can be a efficient way to generate traffic to your brand by featuring multiple products, but should generally be rolled out as part of a larger strategy after you know your keyword markets well.

Next Steps/Conclusion

Amazon Advertising allows sellers to control what traffic is brought to their product listings and increase their sales. Following a well-organized campaign structure will help you identify the most valuable keywords and attach a record of efficient sales to your product. This step in the overall lifetime strategy of your product is critical before moving to the next phase of growing and scaling your business.  Start seeing the results to take your Amazon business to the next level. Try this strategy out today!

Amazon Product Targeting: What It Is and How To Implement an Efficient Campaign Today

Amazon recently released new targeting options for Sponsored Product campaigns that will have a major impact in your business in 2019. The new Product Targeting Beta lets Amazon sellers choose specific products, categories, brands, or other product features to target placements for your Sponsored Ads, changing the way you manage your advertising campaigns. This long-anticipated targeting option can be implemented to help shoppers find your product when browsing detail pages and categories, or when searching products on Amazon.

When creating a manual advertising campaign, the new targeting selection can be found just below your bidding options in Seller Central. Look for it under the “Targeting” header and select the “Product targeting – BETA” bubble.

Why Should I Use Product Targeting?

Product Targeting allows a seller to target individual ASINs or Products for ad delivery instead of keywords.  Sellers can now be very specific and controlled with their ad placement by delivering only on the products they choose to target. This narrow targeting can be used to build efficient sales history early on in your advertising campaigns. When deciding how to place and deliver your ad, Amazon will look at its historical performance relative to the market. Having an early track record of efficient sales history will benefit your ad delivery, ad costs, and ad placement in the future.

Which Products Should I Target?

There are several factors to consider when determining which and how many products you should choose to target with this new feature. These critical selections are dependent on the competitive features of your product and the desired positioning and marketing strategy.

Historic High-Converting ASINs

If you have run auto campaigns in the past, download a search term report and sort through the ASINs your ads delivered for. Find any ASINs that have converted profitably in the past and analyze the listing. Determine whether you have a better offering by comparing price point, review count and rating, value offered, etc…

ASINs Where You Have a Better Offer

Another method of finding ASINs to target is by searching the main keywords for your product, analyzing the search results, and hand-picking products where you have a better offer. Look for higher priced products, listings with poor review ratings or listings with fewer reviews. Objectively, if you have a better offer, that ASIN is likely worth testing in a product targeting campaign. The goal is to target placements through which you can drive sales efficiently (both by volume and cost per conversion). Here are some criteria to consider when analyzing which ASINs to advertise on:

  • Price: Is the price of your product similar or better in comparison?
  • Review Count: How many reviews does your listing have compared to the market?
  • Value Offered: Is your offering similarly priced though offer a better value? Example: you sell a felt letter board that includes a bag to store the letters and advertise on another offering without the added value.
  • Content/Photos: Does the content in your listing and quality of your photos look more attractive than your competitor?

The objective is to find as many competing ASINs where customers are more likely to purchase your product. If you have a better price, more reviews, a better review rating or some combination of these, customers should want to buy your product over the ASINs you advertise on!

Also, consider the amount of traffic a listing is getting before adding it to an ASIN targeting campaign. You can use an Amazon product research tool to understand traffic relative to each ASIN in your campaign. Products that get more sales are almost certainly getting more sessions. If you are advertising on products that are getting more sales, your ads will likely deliver more frequently than on products that get fewer sales or are ranked lower in the organic search results.

Complementary Products: Products Frequently Bought Together or in Similar Markets

Another category of products to identify for product targeting are complementary products.  Complementary products are supplementary goods that are often bought together. These are products often shown in the frequently bought together section on product detail pages. The goal of targeting these products is to attract customers with a product they didn’t realize they needed. For example, targeting paint supplies if you sell painter’s tape, or targeting lawn care goods for your work gloves product. Hitting people already in the buying mindset with a complementary product can increase sales volume in a market your competitors aren’t prioritizing.

Example: Targeting a toothbrush with your dental floss or toothpaste product

Competitor Products

In markets where you want to conquest market share, target high-trafficked competitor products to take away sales that they would otherwise be receiving. This has a dual-benefit of driving sales volume and sales history for your product, as well as affecting your competitor’s sales numbers and efficiency. Price your product with a more competitively against a specific ASIN or high-ranking product and target their ASINs to drive sales velocity quickly.

Find Competing and Complementary Products with Listing Analyzer

Identifying which ASINs to leverage with Product Targeting can be a time-intensive manual process, but it doesn’t have to be. In one of our newest updates to Listing Analyzer, Viral Launch has released the Competing and Complementary Products Feature. Using the content of your listing and machine learning, our software will deliver a list of suggested products for you to capture in your Product Targeting campaigns. The competing and complementary products feature includes the ability to:

  • Discover complementary products frequently purchased together
  • Identify competitor products in your keyword markets
  • Sort and filter by products with high revenue and sales to maximize exposure

This new feature added to Listing Analyzer makes it quick and easy to get started with product targeting, saving you time by cutting down on manual research so you can make decisions quickly. To save even more time, utilize the filters feature to show only products higher priced than yours or ASINs with a lower star rating. This will instantly give you a list of ASINs that your product is likely to convert well for when advertising on! Try Listing Analyzer for free to see for yourself.

Defensive Placements

Along with capturing placements where you wish to increase your market share, it is equally important to defend the placements you already dominate. For sellers with multiple products and variations in their catalog, product targeting can be leveraged to target your own listings. By showing your own products on the detail pages of other products in your catalog, you can take up space on the “digital shelf” to suppress your competitors’ visibility. By defensively spending, you prevent other sellers from intruding on valuable retail space on your product listings. By targeting these placements with other SKUs in your catalog you may even be able to increase sales across those other products!

ASINS from Farming Campaigns

When starting your paid advertising campaigns, it is critical to frequently sort through search term reports, farm high performing search terms, and add them to your campaigns. When you go through these reports, you can see that your auto campaigns will oftentimes deliver for ASINs instead of search terms. An effective seller will continually target these ASINs that have converted and include them in their product targeting campaigns. These “farmed” ASINs from search term reports have the benefit of already being “proven” with a historical sales record of converting for your product. It is highly encouraged to include these ASINs in your product targeting to build sales volume with efficient placements.

It is important to also look at ASINs that have delivered for your campaigns and have not converted. Although no sales have come through these ASINs, they have received clicks.  Amazon has delivered your product for these ASINs, which means it is recorded as algorithmically relevant. Sellers should look at these ASINs and identify whether they have a better offer while also reviewing them for potential new markets for complementary products. Explore the products that show up in your search term results. Every offer you can beat is another opportunity for you to grow your market share.

Category Targeting

As well as targeting individual ASINs for your ad delivery, Amazon now allows you to target entire product categories and subcategories. These category targeting campaigns deliver for any product across the targeted category and within the customizable parameters you set.

Amazon gives you the ability to refine your category targets by specific brands, price range, and star ratings. With narrow refinements, you can reach a broader audience while staying within range of products you can compete against. The more narrow your refinements, the fewer product targets your ad will deliver.  

Category campaigns should be used in instances where you have a better offer than most of the market, or you can deliver for a wide number of products within your delivery refinements.  Category targeting is less efficient because of its broader delivery, but can be implemented to scale up your campaigns and expand delivery across more product targets easily. Again, these campaigns can be used as a method of “farming” new ASINs to target in your specific product targeting campaigns. Inversely, find ASINs that you deliver for frequently though don’t convert for. Category ads allow you to add negative ASIN targets to help mitigate inefficient ad spend.

Negative Product Targeting

Amazon also now allows you to add negative product targets in your product targeting campaigns. Select products that you don’t believe you can compete against and add them as negative targets to remove them from delivering in your ad campaigns. This will help you eliminate inefficient placements and improve ad efficiency.

Managing and Scaling Your Campaigns

As with every advertising campaign, it is important to monitor the data that comes through the listing. Eliminate products targets that spend and do not convert after spending past your profitability threshold. The goal of this strategy is to build sales quickly and efficiently. Treat ASIN targets similarly to keywords. Pause ASIN targets as they spend over your profitability threshold or those that don’t convert and allow the budget to flow through your most efficient targets.

When high-performing ASIN targets are identified, scale up your campaigns and grow your market share. Select the targets that are driving sales at a rate that spends a significant amount of your daily budget, make sure they are given the money they need to spend throughout the day. These campaigns should be profitable, so scaling the campaign should increase your daily sales volume at an efficient rate. This is where the real growth occurs. Keep increasing the budgets of your campaigns that perform the best for your business and drive the highest percentage of your sales volume. Your market share will grow and the results will speak for themselves.

Conclusion: Maximize Your Sales with Product Targeting

Product targeting provides some of the most narrow targeting options for Amazon advertisers. This new feature should be leveraged by almost every seller to build sales volume effectively and efficiently. The ability to select only the products you want to deliver on can grow your market share without sacrificing spend efficiency. Our Competing and Complementary Products feature in Listing Analyzer makes it fast and simple to get started with this new feature.  Integrate product targeting into your ad campaigns today and start growing the reach and maximizing performance for your Amazon business!

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Major Discovery in Amazon Sponsored Ads & How To Use It To Boost Efficiency

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. 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 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. 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 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:

  1. How to Isolate Traffic with Bid Adjustments
  2. 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.

Conclusion

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!

Amazon’s Most Efficient Traffic Source: Product Targeting Ads

Amazon’s Most Efficient Traffic Source: Product Targeting Ads

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.   

Read our blog post: http://bit.ly/2HCp3rQ 

Try Listing Analyzer for FREE: http://bit.ly/2HteMhS 

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