Exposing Amazon Black Hat Tactics: A Seller’s Defense with Leo Sgovio

Exposing Amazon Black Hat Tactics: A Seller’s Defense with Leo Sgovio  (Follow The Data Ep. 34)

What is ‘Black Hat’? What does it look like on Amazon? How can Sellers defend themselves against strategies like this? On this episode of Follow The Data, Casey and Cameron break down current Black Hat tactics, and how they are affecting Amazon Sellers, with Leo Sgovio, the Head of Innovation at Viral Launch. They’ll talk through the current ‘state’ of Black Hat, what you need to be aware of, and how to leverage this information for success on Amazon.

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Podcast Transcript

CAMERON YODER:

Maintaining rank can be difficult if you’re in a market that’s saturated with competitors who use black hat SEO techniques, but how do you know whether your competitors are fighting fair?

CASEY GAUSS:

Black hat is extremely difficult to combat when you’re committed to staying within Amazon’s terms of service, and it’s even harder to fight when you don’t understand what’s happening.  I’m Casey Gauss.

CAMERON YODER:

And I’m Cameron Yoder, your hosts for Follow the Data: Your Journey to Amazon FBA Success.  In this show we leverage the data that we’ve accumulated at Viral Launch from over 30,000 product launches and our experience working with more than 8,000 brands to help you understand the big picture when it comes to Amazon and, more importantly, the best practices for success as an Amazon seller.

CASEY GAUSS:

In this episode we talk to Viral Launch Head of Innovation, Leo Sgovio, about black hat SEO techniques.  We’ve had Leo on the podcast before, and we got a lot of great feedback from this super smart guy, so we’re looking forward to another session with him.  We’ve asked him back to touch on a topic that has remained a mystery for a lot of sellers, and that is black hat activity.  Leo is a performance-based advertising specialist with experience in multichannel digital advertising, and he is the Head of Innovation here at Viral Launch.  He’s worked for over nine years in digital marketing, during which time he successfully built and managed multimillion-dollar traffic acquisition strategies in travel, career, real estate, finance and online retail markets, including Amazon.com.  Let’s jump in.

CAMERON YODER:

What’s up, everybody?  So we have Leo Sgovio with us.  Leo, honestly –

CASEY GAUSS:

All the way from Toronto.

CAMERON YODER:

All the way from Toronto, Skyping in all the way from Toronto.  Honestly, Leo, I talked to a lot of people, and one of their favorite episodes was with you, the last episode that you were on, so you’re just a popular guy.  Thank you for being with us today.

LEO SGOVIO:

Thank you guys for inviting me again.  Yeah, I’ve heard really good feedback about the last podcast, and I’m looking forward to talking today about black hat stuff.  It’s actually one of my favorite topics.

CAMERON YODER:

Yeah, that’s – we’re honestly looking forward to jumping into the discussion around black hat as well.  We want to make sure, before we start just anything with black hat, we want to make sure that our listeners know that by talking about, by talking about black hat activity we are not encouraging it, right?  We want to inform.

CASEY GAUSS:

Yeah, I’ve talked about this topic before.  This is, again, like Cam has said, we’re not suggesting you using these tactics, just a lot of times it’s hard to understand why are these people outranking me, or you know, getting tons of reviews?  They must be doing something black hat, or are they running launch – you know, I think there are so many questions that come up because it is kind of a black box in terms of being able to attribute what is driving success for competitors.  And so talking with Leo and better understanding what kinds of things are going on out there will help, hopefully, you make better decisions from a strategic standpoint.

CAMERON YODER:

So Leo, before – well actually, first question, first question concerning black hat activity; could you even just describe to us about what black hat is?  Like what does black hat mean?

LEO SGOVIO:

You know, there are different ways to interpret black hat, but in our world, in digital world, I’d say black hat will be like practices that are used to manipulate search engines or programs through means that violate the terms of services.  So in our context, the Amazon world, this term is used it to describe an illegal activity, or let’s say, you know, distinguish a good guy from a bad guy with regards to marketing of or promotional activities that are being adopted when it comes to Amazon.

CAMERON YODER:

So in this space there are even other terms, right?  So black hat is used to – or these terms are used to distinguish good guys from bad guys, black hat determining a quote unquote bad guy, but there’s also – there are also terms like white hat and gray hat, right?

LEO SGOVIO:

Correct, yes.  So black hat obviously is something that you know you’re doing.  It’s illegal.  You’re not supposed to do it.  You’re just doing it because obviously it’s beneficial.  It’s a shortcut.  White hat, of course, is, you know, something totally the opposite, you know, follows terms and conditions, and you’re not breaking the rules.  When it comes to gray hat it’s obviously something that it’s kind of, you know, illegal, but you’re not really doing anything that might cause a suspension.  Let’s put it this way, right?  In the worst-case scenario you might, you know, get an alert from Amazon saying that you’re not supposed to do this.  For instance, when we send out emails, you know, like multiple emails asking for users to leave a review, like we know that that might kind of break the TOS, but worst-case scenario Amazon might just send us an email saying just stop doing it, and we probably won’t get suspended for that.

CAMERON YODER:

Got it, got it.  Okay, now Leo, you’ve been in the SEO space, specifically on Google, for quite a long time, and on Amazon, on both.  Can you describe to us, if you remember it, your first experience with black hat activity on even just outside of Amazon?

CASEY GAUSS:

And this is not saying, you know, activity that you’ve done or anything, but just maybe your first encounter with something crazy was going on and yeah, you found out essentially?

LEO SGOVIO:

Yeah, so like I mentioned earlier this is a topic [unintelligible] and the reason why I know so much is because I’ve obviously, you know, have done some of it.  So of course, and back in early 2000 it was, you know, the good Google days, I came across black hat techniques when with regards to manipulate website rankings.  So it was very easy back then to build links towards your website from different [unintelligible] and you know like within 24 to 48 hours your website was there ranking on page 1 within, you know, like the top three positions.  So we obviously in the SEO space that was considered a black hat technique, and then, you know, obviously Google shut down the operations.  And I want to make sure that, you know, the listeners here understand what the implications are when, you know, these techniques are adopted. 

When these techniques were working very well on Google what happened was Matt Cutts back in the days, which was head of spam at Google, decided to join all these private networks, and it was very easy for them to detect all these blog networks that were selling links to website owners, and what Google did, they started buying links from these sites, and after a few months of research they came up with a list of thousands and thousands of websites that suddenly [weren’t] indexed from Google, and all of a sudden now you saw websites, even websites like JCPenney if you guys remember.  At one point I believe also Kijiji was penalized.  Like I’m talking about big properties lost their rankings because Google – it was so easy for Google to just, you know, figure out what they were doing.  And so I want people to understand that because for Amazon it’s the same thing.  You know, now there are a lot of groups that offer, you know, free reviews on Facebook.  So if I were to work for Amazon and wanted to quickly understand who was doing that, it would be so easy for me to just hang out for these Facebook groups and now I know who’s buying reviews. 

But later I came across, you know, either, you know, black hat techniques always, you know, involving you know, more on the affiliate marketing side, promoting cookie stuffing, which is a very sophisticated black hat technique that involves, you know, the adoption of advanced technology.  You need to hide yourself, make sure that you’re cloaking, you know, you’re not showing your real domain and, you know, the IP address is different.  So that’s how I came across all these techniques and allowed me to understand more about what’s going on, you know, like underground.

CAMERON YODER:

Got it, got it.  And in transition over to Amazon, when did you even first just notice that black hat stuff – I’m sure since you saw it, since you saw it happening in Google you may have thought that it might be happening on Amazon.  Did you see all this black hat activity happening on Amazon when you kind of first jumped in?

LEO SGOVIO:

Yes, yes, of course.  I did.  And I knew that there must be similar methods that sellers were adopting too many [unintelligible] rankings on Amazon.  I mean I started investigating these practices.  I noticed that it was just a matter of sending, you know, the algorithm the right data points to see movement in the ranking.  So for instance, I came across products that had just a few reviews, and they were ranking on page 1, you know, top three.  And it was just, you know, didn’t make sense.  So that’s when I understood that definitely there was some black hat activities going on on Amazon as well.

CAMERON YODER:

Got it.  And what does – in terms of – because black hat can mean a lot of things, right?  But traditionally can you break down what does black hat stuff just even look like on the Amazon platform?

CASEY GAUSS:

Actually, Leo, this is how you started – this is how you kind of heard about me, heard about Viral Launch actually for the first time, right?

LEO SGOVIO:

Yeah, that’s interesting actually, and now here I am, you know, kind of like [unintelligible].  But of course one of the podcasts that kind of like got my attention was yours actually, Casey and [unintelligible] talking about black hat stuff, and you know, I was curious because obviously, like I said, this is really a topic that I love, and you guys were talking about bots and, you know, how people are – what people are doing to manipulate the rankings.  And since then I started, you know, stalking Casey.  I’m like I like this guy.  He’s a very smart guy.  And then later on I met Casey at the conference, and now I’m working with Viral Launch.  So that’s amazing the way it worked out.  But of course yeah, that’s how I got to know you, Casey. 

CASEY GAUSS:

Nice.  Yeah, no, which is super cool to hear on the other side of it.  So just to answer Cam’s question directly, Leo, please interject if I, you know, get anything wrong, but what was going on?  I think this is like late 2016 early 2017, essentially Amazon’s ranking algorithm started to pay attention heavily to, or maybe I don’t know if it started or this is when people really started picking up on it, was essentially you were able to drive ranking with no sales.  And what was going on was Amazon was paying attention to these different pieces of data or data that the front end was sending to the back end.  Essentially what that was was okay, if the user goes, interacts with the listing in certain ways, if they go look at reviews, if think click into reviews and they click add to cart, Amazon was looking at this as some – what they were calling it is education, which means the bot or somebody was going down looking at the reviews and then intent, intent to buy.  And what that was was adding to cart.  So simply by having a bot, people would build these bots that would spin up a new IP – or use a new IP address, spin up a new instant, you know, go to Amazon, search fish oil.  Go click into competitors’ listings.  Go find your listing.  Click into your listing.  Scroll down to look at reviews.  Scroll up and down.  Spend different times on the page.  Click this, click that, you know, click into up-votes or down-votes.  Click into questions or whatever, and then ultimately end in an add to cart.  And some people would have programs that would just do this thousands of times a day, even up to, you know, hundreds of thousands of times a day at one point as bots became less and less effective on these super high-volume keywords, largely because everybody was doing them.  And so basically people just were writing these programs and had these programs and even selling these programs where you could go and get these bots that would just drive your ranking.  And I don’t remember what the delay was or how quickly you would drive ranking, but it was extremely powerful, and you know, people were ranking for every keyword from vitamin C serum, to essential oils, to iPhone 7 case or whatever the popular case was at the time, like they were everywhere.

LEO SGOVIO:

Absolutely, Casey.  There is nothing I can add actually.  You said it all.  That’s exactly what was happening back then, and I’m actually glad that Amazon kind of stopped it.  Like they figured out what was happening, and that stuff is no longer working now.

CAMERON YODER:

Do people use bots now, or is there any sort of bot function now that people are into?

LEO SGOVIO:

I would say so.  There is definitely – there’s definitely people that are using bots still.  Look, even if, you know, you’re not able to rank a keyword now for a specific keyword using bots, I mean things like, you know, making sure your product is the top of wish list or shopping list and these things, this stuff is still working.  So I’m not sure to what extent you might, you know, see an increase in sales when your product is number one on wish list, but it might still help, so some people are still doing it.  Now there might be other people.  I’m not saying that I know of any, but that’s probably just because of the way I think, but I’m not surprised if there are people that have evolved and so now they’re – they take, they took it to the next level, so making purchases with bots, you know, to obviously because you guys know now it’s all about purchases when it comes to Amazon.  So I would definitely think that there are still people using it. 

How easy it is to build those?  Is it worth it?  Probably not.  You know you need to really understand what you’re doing when it comes to building bots, and that obviously can, you know, you can risk your account, so that’s something that I wouldn’t suggest, you know, anyone doing.  And I remember when I was talking for my first time at one of the conferences about, you know, like black hat techniques, this guy asked me, you know, can you – do you mind, you know, talking to me a little bit more?  Maybe, you know, I can even pay you to teach me a bit more about black hat.  And then I asked him, you know, do you know what engagement metrics are?  Do you know what footprints are?  And he’s like no, I have no idea.  I said so, you know, just stay  away from black hat stuff because obviously you are going to get your account shut down, right?

CASEY GAUSS:

It seems to me like the new black hat method of ranking is largely around having a bunch of fake accounts and then going and making purchases.

LEO SGOVIO:

Yes, so we are seeing this now happening with, you know, just using like friends and family going in on Amazon searching for a keyword, you know, buying a product.  You see, you know, that specific product ranking on page 1 within like a few days.  So people [unintelligible] that figured that out.  There, you know, starting to build bots that do exactly that.  But let’s say – let’s leave it at that.  Like obviously I don’t know the details about it, but I think this is the next, you know, like obviously version of, you know, the bots, right, and what they do now.

CASEY GAUSS:

Yeah.  It’s really funny to see.  I have two things here.  It’s really funny to see kind of how this, the black hat evolves.  So you know I have friends that have been in since like 2011 or so, and basically you know they told me that in the early days what everybody did was they would just buy their own products.  It didn’t really matter what account, and then they started, you know, one person that I know, he’s Chinese.  He lives here in the US, but he has a bunch of people in China that all use Amazon – they were using Amazon gift cards purchased with his business credit card – this is crazy – purchased with his business credit card.  They were purchasing his products to drive keyword ranking.  And then that stopped working.  And then he set up a bunch of separate accounts all using like the same credit card, I believe, and that was working for a little bit and then stopped working.  He got lucky.  He never got suspended for this.  I don’t know how.  Pretty insane, but anyways, and then that stopped working, and then is when bots started to become more and more prevalent.  So I know any time I see somebody ranking that I don’t think should be or they come out of nowhere – this occasionally happens, like you’ll see someone, you know, page 1 for fish oil where like the top three have been pretty solidified over the last, I don’t know, two years let’s say, or so it seems.  And out of nowhere occasionally some guy will come up and they’re ranking number one, and their BSR is terrible, the reviews, they don’t have any, and so immediately I send it to Leo and say Leo, we’ve got to figure this out.  Why is this guy ranking?

LEO SGOVIO:

Yeah, it’s true.  And that’s what we do, right?  Usually we understand what’s going on, but sometimes these guys get really, you know, sophisticated with, you know, the way that they manipulate the rankings.  But at the end of the day, I mean it’s an algorithm, so as long as you’re smart enough to understand what ultimately the algorithm is supposed to do and this is, you know, optimizing their results for, I mean you can figure out a way to make sure that your products, you know, get more visibility.  And you can do it through, you know, like obviously sales, and this is why giveaways have worked well for a long time.  So I think ultimately it’s about understanding also what your competition is doing so that, you know, you see if there is a chance for you to get there.  But yeah, I think it’s not for everyone.  This is for sure.  And these people that do a good job at it in a white hat way, those are the people that most likely hire a developer to just, you know, automate the process.

CASEY GAUSS:

Yeah, and like Leo was saying, it’s important, and this is why one reason we had to bring Leo on to the team is because this guy knows a lot of the time what’s going on in the black hat communities, and so it’s great for us to know, okay, what are the black hat tactics here, and what are the opportunities to then move them into like do it in a white hat fashion or a way that’s aboveboard?  And so so far no crazy thing has happened.  The nice thing here is maybe for all those people freaking out, you know, like the opportunity’s so low on Amazon because everybody’s just doing black hat and getting away with it.  So we see plenty of people, accounts getting suspended that are doing this.  And the nice thing is that a lot of times these black hat things only exist for so long, and so the people focused on the black hat side of things end up, you know, working hard implementing these black hat strategies.  They work for a month, a few weeks, maybe a few months.  The bots actually worked for quite a while.  But anyways, and then they go away.  Would you say that’s the case, Leo?

LEO SGOVIO:

Yes, yes.  Couldn’t agree more actually.

CAMERON YODER:

Leo, could you touch on just like the general population of Amazon because I feel like people or sellers do kind of pass off if they don’t know too much about black hat activity, can pass off black hat as like the sole reason why their sales are decreasing or like they’ll just put a blame on a dropping market on black hat stuff.  Is black hat a – should it be a legitimate concern for sellers and/or does it change the market in general?

LEO SGOVIO:

That’s a good question.  I would definitely say that sellers need to be aware of this technique, and of course, you know, be concerned about it.  Just this morning I received a call from a friend, and you know he’s saying that he’s being attacked with negative reviews on Amazon.  The good thing is that he’s been in business for a long time with amazing products, and most importantly the products that he has are really great quality products.  So for someone that doesn’t understand what’s going on, right, it would be really hard to, I would say to compete and then come up with a counterattack strategy, right?  So to answer your question, this is definitely something that for, especially for a new seller, you need to understand what you’re getting into and before, you know, you do – it should be part of your product research process actually because before you get, you know, into this product research, analyzing numbers and figuring out, you know, okay this is a good product or not for me, you should also understand what the market looks like.  And if there are black hatters in the market in the space are you ready to fight them with the same weapons, right? 

So you know, like I see these days a lot of Chinese adopting black hat techniques now, and things are getting actually pretty scary.  It is no longer about just, you know, down voting or up voting a bad or good review.  Yesterday I saw a post on Facebook by someone that got actually hacked, his listing got hacked by a Chinese seller that replaced his hero image with a Chinese image with a tag that says don’t force me to attack you.  I’m afraid you will suffer heavy injuries.  Thanks next level black hat.

CAMERON YODER:

That’s literally a threat.

LEO SGOVIO:

It is, right?  So I mean if you’re a new seller what do you do?  If you call Amazon they don’t know what’s going on, right?

CAMERON YODER:

Right.  Okay, that is a blatant thing that someone can notice, right, but what are some other black hat things that someone maybe should even look for if they’re entering into a market?

LEO SGOVIO:

So with regards to black hat I would say things that are just blunt, you know, like visible, number of reviews.  I mean you can use a bunch of different [plug-ins] these days to understand when the product was launched, [unintelligible] reviews this guy got, right, over a period of time.  And I see a lot of new products these days with, you know, like 100, 200 reviews and they’ve only been, you know, live for two to three weeks.  I mean that’s a clear indication of some black hat activities going on, activity going on.  And like Casey always says, considering the reviews is the [unintelligible] currency of Amazon.  So if you cannot compete with that and you know that there is a black hatter that knows how to get reviews very quickly, then that’s an indication, right, for you that you know, might be not a good product.

CASEY GAUSS:

Yeah, and Leo, if I could just jump in here, I think this is a great reason why I’m such a big advocate of finding these un-sexy markets where you’re not doing too much in revenue because usually the people in the black hat world, people so focused on black hat, are focused on these huge markets so that they can cheat, cut corners to get there.  They’re not, you know, cutting corners and risking their account for you know $10,000 a month on a product, or $20,000 a month for a product.  Would you say that’s the case?

LEO SGOVIO:

I definitely agree actually, Casey, and I think something that listeners should be aware of is the fact that if you’re going after these, you know, high-volume niches like beauty or supplements, you’re kind of forced to look into black hat techniques.  I’m not saying that eventually you’re going to, you know, adopt them, but you need to be aware of what’s going on.  Otherwise you’re just, you know, I think increasing your chances to fail.

CASEY GAUSS:

Yeah, I mean it’s so – if everybody else is cutting corners and you’re staying in the lane, I mean it’s hard for you to get ahead or even keep up.

LEO SGOVIO:

Right.

CAMERON YODER:

How can someone, how can sellers defend themselves without using black hat as a method of defense?  Is there a way for sellers to kind of prime themselves for defense, or do they just kind of have to take it and do the best they can?

LEO SGOVIO:

I definitely think that there is a way to defend yourself, and probably the best way to defend yourself is to build a brand so that you don’t have to rely on black hat techniques.  And even if you – so one thing that I like to talk to Casey about when it comes to driving rankings and obviously building an Amazon business is to focus on your product, focus on your brand, focus on external traffic.  Make sure that people know who you are outside of Amazon so that worst-case scenario, you know, even if you’re dealing with black hat people or sellers, or Amazon does doesn’t like for whatever reason your account and you get shut down, you have a backup plan, right?  So your brand is recognized outside of Amazon.  You’re driving traffic to your own store.  You don’t necessarily have to rely on, you know, having 500 reviews because people have already heard of you outside.  And so now you don’t have to worry that much about, you know, going after black hat techniques.

CASEY GAUSS:

Yeah, Leo, is there anything that we maybe didn’t touch on that is going on in the black hat community that you, that you feel comfortable sharing and would be interesting to people?

LEO SGOVIO:

I will say that what’s working today is pretty much, you know, similar to what was working, you know, a year or two ago.  And with regards to bots, things have, you know, changed a little bit.  Obviously you can no longer automate the process of just adding to cart and add to wish list to improve your rankings.  But when it comes to, you know, getting reviews I still see the same techniques working.  People are getting reviews through Facebook groups, friends and families, through funnels, so things like that.  Obviously these are – and I wouldn’t, you know, consider a funnel a black hat technique, but I don’t think there is anything new going on besides like there are a couple of things which I don’t really feel comfortable sharing because, you know, like I don’t want people to, you know, go and research these things after the podcast, which would make a mess of the Amazon space to be honest with you, you know, and so – but there are things like, you know, what these Chinese guys are doing.  You know, there’s a way to do that.  People are taking over other sellers’ listings by adding them to their own accounts or, you know, vendor accounts.  So I don’t want to get into details, but that stuff is happening, which is worse than what was happening two years ago.

CAMERON YODER:

Yeah.  Does Amazon – how long does it take Amazon to react, if at all?  Do they take a year for them to like put up a roadblock for black hat activity or not necessarily?

LEO SGOVIO:

Look, it’s a good question.  Sometimes never.  I mean I’ve seen people getting away with it since 2012, 2013.  I think they’re doing a good job now.  Maybe they’re hiring more people in the spam team, making sure that these techniques are being caught as soon as possible.  But a lot of times if you find out what’s going on you tell Amazon, I mean the company is so big that by the time it gets to the right person, probably the email now is even forgotten, right?  So I’m not encouraging people to do it because Amazon doesn’t care, but sometimes, you know, the response time from Amazon is just, you know, too long for you to react quickly.

CASEY GAUSS:

The area that they do have the least tolerance for is definitely reviews, and so if you’re going to mess around, don’t mess around with reviews.  That’s the – you know, working with 8,000+ brands or whatever, the only time I’ve seen a seller account get actually banned was – or outside of, you know, like fake Chinese, like counterfeit type stuff.  But anyways, is when the sellers were messing around with reviews far outside of the norm, and they just did not heed Amazon’s warnings.  They continued and continued and continued and ultimately they ended up being banned.  And again, that was specifically around reviews.  Now I’ve seen plenty of people get, you know, policy violation warnings for all different kinds of things, but nothing as hard as they were hit – as this one seller was hit because of reviews.

CAMERON YODER:

Well hey, Leo, thank you so much for joining us on the show.

CASEY GAUSS:

Yeah.

LEO SGOVIO:

Thank you, guys.  Appreciate it.

CASEY GAUSS:

One thing that I do want to say to the listeners is if we ever see anything big in the black hat space come up, much like the bots, and we feel comfortable sharing it, we will definitely keep you updated.  I think this is one, just a cool interesting topic.  Two, there is a lot of sellers that may not be aware of kind of what’s going on in this community, not that we’re encouraging it, but you know, we’d like to be a resource to let you know hey, this is going on.  Just be aware.

LEO SGOVIO:

I agree with you, Casey.

CASEY GAUSS:

Is that cool, Leo? 

LEO SGOVIO:

Yeah, of course.  I think it’s good to educate people on what’s happening so that they are aware and, you know, they can make better decisions, smarter decisions going forward than just, you know, going and research information on forums or blogs that are not, you know, as experienced, let’s say.  So I definitely agree with you on this.

CASEY GAUSS:

Nice.  And you’re also not wondering what magic they’re using to, you know, propel themselves up there, that there’s actually a reason, or there is actually a technique behind it, and you can stop, you know, banging your head against the wall trying to figure it out.

CAMERON YODER:

Right.  If anything, the information itself is the defense, or is a defense against something like that.

CASEY GAUSS:

Yeah, for sure.  Well put.

LEO SGOVIO:

Right.

CAMERON YODER:

Hey, thanks again, Leo.  We really appreciated all of your input, and your insight and your knowledge.

CASEY GAUSS:

Yeah.  Stay warm in Toronto.

LEO SGOVIO:

Thanks, guys.  Yes, actually this is the first weekend the temperature will be probably plus, over the zero.

CAMERON YODER:

Oh man.

LEO SGOVIO:

Yeah, yeah, it’s been a bad winter, but I appreciate it.  Thanks, guys.

CASEY GAUSS:

All right.  Well, Leo, our Director of Innovation, thank you so much.

LEO SGOVIO:

Thanks, guys.

CAMERON YODER:

Well, that is all for this week.  Thank you so much for joining us here on Follow the Data.  For more insights and reliable information on how to succeed on Amazon, subscribe to the podcast, subscribe to our blog, follow us on YouTube or like us on Facebook.  We’ve got news, tips and best practices that can help you build your FBA business.

CASEY GAUSS:

As we mentioned last week, we are going to start asking a question each week, and we will be adding your answer into the following week’s episode.  So please send them our way via email, Facebook Messenger or voicemail, however you want to do that.  This week’s question, is there any black hat activity we did not mention you think we should be aware of?  If you do want to share, let us know if you do or do not want us to share it publicly.  We definitely appreciate confidentiality, and your feedback is so important to us.  If you’re listening on Apple Podcast please leave us a review and/or a rating.  And if you have a fellow seller who you think may be fighting against black hat SEO or any other black hat techniques, send them this podcast.  We want to be a valuable resource for sellers and the information source in this space, so please tell your friends, spread the word and share the show.

CAMERON YODER:

Thank you again so much for listening.  And as always, if you want to be featured on the show, again responding to the question on just black hat stuff, have an Amazon-related question or another idea for an episode even, please feel free to drop us a voicemail or simply shoot us a message on Facebook.  Our voicemail number is 3-1 – so get out your phones here – 317-721-6590.  Or again, just DM us, hit us up in the DMs, Instagram, Facebook, and give us your thoughts.  Until next –

CASEY GAUSS:

I get some pretty crazy DMs on my own Instagram, so wherever you need to reach out, we’re here.

CAMERON YODER:

Wherever.  Casey, maybe me.

CASEY GAUSS:

Cam.

CAMERON YODER:

Maybe not.

CASEY GAUSS:

Maybe the spaceman.

CAMERON YODER:

Maybe the spaceman.  Who knows?  Any DM, just any DM accessible to us.  Just remember –

CASEY GAUSS:

LinkedIn.

CAMERON YODER:

LinkedIn, fax, carrier pigeon.

CASEY GAUSS:

Carrier pigeon?  We do have a receptacle for carrier pigeons actually.

CAMERON YODER:

Yes, we do, we do.  Paper airplane, ship.

CASEY GAUSS:

Bitcoin.

CAMERON YODER:

Bitcoin message, all of the above.  You can hit us up.  Until then, until you do that, remember, the data is out there.

The Secret to Amazon Sponsored Ads with Viral Launch Head of Innovation Leo Sgovio (Follow the Data Ep. 23)

The Secret to Amazon Sponsored Ads with Viral Launch Head of Innovation Leo Sgovio (Follow the Data Ep. 23)

Sponsored ads provide sellers with an incredible opportunity to gain exposure to streams of shoppers. But most sellers don’t know how to utilize sponsored ads, spending way more money than they need to for minimal returns. Join host Cameron Yoder as he talks to sponsored ads guru and Viral Launch Head of Innovation, Leo Sgovio, to find out how you can grow your business using Sponsored Ads. 

 

 

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Follow the Data Show Notes

Podcast Transcript

CAMERON YODER:
Sponsored ads provide massive potential for sellers to gain exposure to streams of shoppers, but most sellers don’t know how to utilize sponsored ads, spending way more money than they need to for minimal returns. I’m Cameron Yoder, your host for Follow the Data: Your Journey to Amazon FBA Success. In this show we leverage the data we’ve accumulated at Viral Launch from over 30,000 product launches and our experience working with 6500 brands to help you understand the big picture when it comes to Amazon and, more importantly, for success as an Amazon seller. In today’s episode we sit down with our Head of Innovation, Leo Sgovio, to talk about the best practices for sponsored ads. We’ll talk about how to use sponsored ads to your advantage without breaking the bank so you can put your money towards more important investments for your business. Let’s jump in.

All right, so we’re here today with Leo. Leo, how are you doing today?

LEO SGOVIO:
Amazing, guys. Thank you for having me today on the podcast. I’m really excited.

CAMERON YODER:
For sure. And you’re in Canada right now, right?

LEO SGOVIO:
Yes, I am.

CAMERON YODER:
What’s the weather like?

LEO SGOVIO:
It’s cold in Canada. It’s terrible outside. Actually, it’s not too bad lately. It’s a big plus so I can’t complain.

CAMERON YODER:
Okay, that’s good. Well, just to intro Leo a little bit because he deserves introducing, Leo is a performance-based advertising specialist with expertise in multichannel digital advertising, and he’s the Head of Innovation here at Viral Launch. So he’s worked for over nine years in digital marketing, during which time, during this time he successfully built and managed multimillion dollar traffic acquisition strategies in travel, career, real estate, finance and online retail marketing, including Amazon.com.

So Leo, can you tell us about your past a little bit, just kind of everything that you’ve been involved with because you’ve been – I mean obviously you’ve been involved with a lot. So maybe just expand on the experiences that you’ve had and just briefly kind of what you’ve learned from everything.

LEO SGOVIO:
Yeah, thanks for the introduction, Cam and Casey. So like you said, I’ve been involved in the digital space for a very long time, and that’s really what gives me an advantage when it comes to understanding what the major search engines, including Amazon on the sponsored side of things, does. So I’ve been managing over $6 million, $7 million a year ad spend on both Google AdWords, Bing, Facebook. And so when it came to – when I started selling on Amazon.com I adopted sponsored ads almost from day one because I knew that it was one of the best ways to always drive traffic to my product and always have my product in front of people that were looking for it. So I didn’t use that as a second option when my sales were low, for instance.

And yeah, so going back almost like 10 years ago when, you know, Google was still in its infancy I understood that for them there was an advantage of, obviously, for us as an advertiser it was an advantage on using sponsored ads together with traffic that we were getting organically because there was a field that the search engine obviously looks at it. Okay, they’re making money when you buy traffic from them. And so there is some sort of reward when obviously they see that you are both paying for the traffic through their sponsored programs and as well as, you know, doing well organically. So it’s a win-win situation that works well for the advertiser and the partner you are working with, which in this case would be Amazon.com.

CAMERON YODER:
So how did you initially just even get involved in the SEO space?

LEO SGOVIO:
Yeah, that’s funny actually. When I came to Canada, and I was visiting this country, I was already doing some SEO stuff back in Italy where I’m from, and I got really passionate about it. And I remember and I met one of my family members, and I asked him okay, you need to tell me what’s the hot job right now that is going to make me good money? And he’s like you know you should learn SEO, and a week later I was already Google certified. You know, I had already started all the hoops. And you know I got the certification of Google AdWords, and I was ready to rock it. And then since then I just, you know, kept studying and learning, and this is how I really got into it. But it became a really a passion for me. I would never do anything else right now. I mean I love e-commerce. I love, you know, like understanding traffic sources and generating sales online and all that comes with it. So I’m really happy what I’m doing right now.

CAMERON YODER:
I think your perspective is so valuable, number one, because you’ve been in the space for a really long time, not in just the Amazon space, right, but the Google space as well. So your perspective is very valuable, and it’s a perspective that not a lot of people have, especially in this space. And so I mean we’re talking about – this show is all about Amazon specifically, but there’s value in comparing Amazon to something like Google, especially when it comes to sponsored ads. So can you touch on, just here in the beginning, kind of what the difference is for when it comes to sponsored ads between Amazon, Amazon.com and something like Google?

LEO SGOVIO:
Yeah, so I think it depends on like, you know, what perspective we look at it, right? So for example, in both cases, right, Google AdWords, or Bing, or Facebook, or Amazon sponsored ads, you know we’re familiar with display advertising. You know, format is pretty much the same, as well as, you know, text ads. So if we look at it from a format perspective, then, you know, it’s pretty much similar, right, when it comes to the way we build ads, like starting with a campaign, ad groups, and then, you know, looking it down all the way to keywords.

However, when we look at objectives that’s when things are really a bit different. So for example, on Amazon.com the main goal is to drive sales to your product. And so when you look at Google or Facebook instead there are so many different objectives. You can set it for your goals, for example, or it could be an email capture or, you know, an account creation. Or if you’re an e-commerce store obviously a sale, a purchase. So these platforms are similar in certain ways and completely different in others. So it really depends on how you look at it.

CAMERON YODER:
So really when it comes down to the primary differences Amazon is very focused, right? Like Amazon, the goal of sponsored ads on Amazon is just kind of one; there’s like basically one goal, and it’s to drive sales to your product. At least that’s one of the primary goals, right?

LEO SGOVIO:
Yeah, and that comes, you know, because of the, obviously the intent of the user on the platform. It’s a different kind of intent. When you’re on Google.com you’re, it’s kind of, you’re looking for information. You’re still in the shopping process. You’re looking for something. You’re, you know, gathering information around the web, and then eventually you make your decision. When you go on Amazon.com you’re ready to purchase. You probably already have your credit card on the desk ready to be, you know, typed in – the card, right, the checkout page. So over there you’re going to be really – do your best to make sure that your product is in front of these people. And so sponsored ads help you with that specific goal, right?

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, and that makes sense. People go to Amazon. If you’re searching in Amazon, like the search engine of Amazon, you’re intending to buy something off of Amazon.

LEO SGOVIO:
Correct.

CAMERON YODER:
If you’re searching in Google you’re searching for a large number of different things. It could be to buy something, but it could be just for like, for another piece of information.

LEO SGOVIO:
Correct. And you can see like the conversion rate, for example. It’s a good metric when it comes to, you know, understanding the difference between the two different platforms. Usually an e-commerce site, Shopify or WooCommerce, as a – in a good case scenario, like the average, let’s say, conversion rate is probably like 3%, 4%, sometimes lower, like say in the travel space I’ve seen is 0.8%. And on Amazon I personally aim for at least 25%. So it’s a huge difference there, right? So obviously user intent is, you know, where the conversion rate comes from, right?

CAMERON YODER:
Of course. So okay, in your mind, in your experience using sponsored ads on Amazon specifically, is it – is using sponsored ads more focused on making a profit or gaining something like keyword ranking, or a little bit of both?

LEO SGOVIO:
Well, yeah, I’d say little bit of both. I mean there are different goals that are usually set when I use sponsored ads. The main one is obviously to generate more profit, and I’ll explain that in more detail. Let’s say if I’m just launching a product and want to start generating awareness toward my brand or build sales history, which is very important for a brand-new product, then I don’t care much about profits. As long as I can break even my numbers look good based on the analysis that I’ve done prior to my launch. Then I’m fine with, you know, like breaking even, even losing maybe a few cents, a dollar. But my goal at that point is to generate, to build my sales history so that Amazon, you know, falls in love with my product because eventually it’s going to make money. So once I’m comfortable with these numbers I took the listing first of all to get a good conversion rate. And so when we look at using sponsored ads for rankings, it’s a little bit of a different strategy. But yeah, both – like I use it for both reasons. One is obviously to drive rankings. The other one is for profits.

CAMERON YODER:
So kind of the baseline, bottom-line goal of sponsored ads really, like we said before, is to drive a sale. But in that, that purpose and that primary goal kind of splits into two things. You can use those sponsored ads to either drive a sale or promote keyword ranking, really. Like it’s kind of twofold. So Leo, can you describe for us then, can you even expand a little bit more on advice you’d give when it comes to increasing ranking using sponsored ads?

LEO SGOVIO:
Sure. So the first thing I do when I start with a brand-new product, for instance, is launching ad campaign and set it on automatic targeting, which means that Amazon targets your ads to all relevant customer searches based on your product information. So if my product is in a highly competitive niche, which means that the search volume is high, obviously, I wait let’s say 4 to 7 days and then I download the report that shows me the customer search terms and the keywords that resulted in clicks on my ads.

CAMERON YODER:
You said you do that first, right? That’s like one of the first things you do?

LEO SGOVIO:
I actually, yeah, that’s one of the first things I do because I want to make sure that whatever I’m doing after makes sense, right, like I’m targeting the right keywords. And so at this point I know what consumers are searching for rather than just relying on you know, a guess, or I see how there through other tools. And I first tweak and optimize my listing to ensure that those keywords are included in the key section of my listing. For example, the title, the description, bullet point. This is very important because if I’m targeting something out through a launch, for example, either way or sponsored ads and my listing is not optimized, I don’t think I’m going to get as, you know, results as good as otherwise, right, if my listing was optimized for this keyword.

And so once I make sure that I have the right keywords in the listing I then create campaigns targeting these specific keywords using exact match and phrase match only. Then I look at the report. Usually if I have time I look at the report, you know, on a daily basis, maybe every two days. I just want to make sure that the campaigns are performing well. I look in my [unintelligible], and if it makes sense for me then I keep running these campaigns, or I tweak. So ideally this process lasts about a month, and during this month I try to build campaigns very targeted. So with my experience with, for example, Google AdWords, Google also, when you add a very thin campaign, a campaign, very tight so the name of your campaign, ad groups, what you are targeting in terms of keywords, as well as the ad copy. So I try to use the same practice, same guidelines on Amazon as well. And so I end up with a campaign that only has exact match keywords because those ones are clearly [unintelligible] and usually the CPC is pretty low, and then I go and use one for like phrase, phrases only. And then I keep an eye on this one because obviously it gives me a little bit more insight. It might be that search strengths change, or people are searching for the product in different ways because maybe a press release came out, or someone is advertising the product in a different way, and so people go on Amazon and search for it. So I try and go and discover these new keywords within this report.

But again, it’s very important that, you know, the listing is obviously, you know, it keeps optimizing it so that eventually Amazon grabs these keywords from your listing and ranks your product, especially if you have that automated campaign still running to gather data.

CAMERON YODER:
I think a lot of people get overwhelmed from this whole process. Like they see sponsored ads. If they’re not familiar with SEO they get overwhelmed easily, and then they just throw on an automatic campaign and then just leave that forever because it’s just easy to do. But I really like your process. And correct me if I’m wrong, but there were like maybe like three steps with it, -ish, maybe four. So run the automatic campaign, get the primary keywords, change your listing to match the most, like the best keywords, or at least use that as part of that process, and then run specific kind of targeted sponsored ads and then reevaluate consistently?

LEO SGOVIO:
Correct, correct.

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, that’s – and you’ve found that process to be just very effective?

LEO SGOVIO:
It is, yeah. It is. It’s like you said, just four simple steps. Like find, optimize, tweak and scale.

CAMERON YODER:
Yep. And that’s very easy to digest, and I, for our listeners I think that’s so valuable. Again, just to map it out and to make it less complicated, that’s great. So you’ve touched on this already a little bit, but when talking about looking up specific keywords you mentioned using auto campaigns. Again, that was like the first step that you mentioned, but is there any other way or any other thing that you would recommend for sellers to really dig into which keywords they should select to optimize sponsored ads or just there listing in general?

LEO SGOVIO:
Yeah, so this is my perspective on things, but I believe that automatic targeting campaigns are one of the best ways to start because you’re buying data straight from Amazon rather than relying on tools that might not give you accurate results. And so you really see what users are searching, and this is also very good practice when you’re starting a Shopify site or an e-commerce site. Usually you build a campaign in AdWords with a broad match, and you just, well, you’re wasting money. You’re just throwing money outside the window, and that’s fine because you’re just buying data from that source. So it’s the best way to know exactly what people are buying. And so you have now a good set of keywords to go after.

However, if I’m just getting an idea of what people search, I usually – I do these, and I’ve shared with some people a couple of times, and I’m hoping that those that are listening will start adopting this method. What I do, I usually scan my competitor’s listing why I keep this Chrome extension open. It’s called SEOquake. This extension was initially used for, or was an SEO extension, was just, you know, built to understand what the page was optimized for and calculate the keyword density within the page. And so I use this extension to show me what are the keywords that this specific competitor, let’s say the top 50, are going after. So the SEOquake, once I click on a link, sorry, a page analysis, it’s going to show me a list of keywords. And then I can filter by two-keyword phrase, three-keyword phrase, four-keyword phrase [unintelligible] keywords. And it will sort them by keyword frequency. So it’s basically like a density score.

And so it gives me a good overview. It’s like okay, if this user, this seller is optimizing for this keyword it means that it’s probably working for him, right? It’s probably ranking well, and so I should also keep an eye on this keyword. And then what I do, I combine in Excel all the keywords I find using SEOquake, the keywords I have from the automatic targeting campaigns, and then some keywords – I also use the Google keyword tool to get an idea on, you know, what people search on Google because it’s very important considering that these days Google is still the homepage of any website out there, and every search starts on Google. And then my secret weapon, it’s actually the AMS person campaign builder, like the campaign builder, because what I do, the way I use it, I create just a fake campaign. I never launch it. But what you could do there, you just create a new campaign and, you know, ad group and then with AMS you have the option to actually advertise any product, not only yours. And so you can now select a competitor’s product, and Amazon is going to give you suggested keywords based on that product. And I thought that was amazing, right, because I get keywords straight from Amazon without really relying on anything else that I don’t know data.

CAMERON YODER:
So you create a campaign for a competitor’s product, and you don’t start – did you say you start the campaign or you don’t start it, you just –?

LEO SGOVIO:
No, I never start it. I delete it after. I just download the keywords that Amazon is giving me, and then I delete that campaign. I don’t need this. It’s just for me to see okay, this is what Amazon thinks are really good keywords.

CAMERON YODER:
Gotcha. Okay, wow. Shoot, I actually have not heard of that before. That’s great. And you found success from that so far, at least mixing that with other things?

LEO SGOVIO:
Yeah, of course.

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, that’s great. And so jumping back to the other tool, the other tool that you mentioned was SEOquake, and I think the principle – I don’t think people are very familiar with the principle of what that’s doing, or at least with the idea behind something like keyword density that you mentioned. So in this case what this is doing, or one aspect of SEOquake with Amazon is it’s pulling – it’s basically kind of a – you put in a search term like fish oil, and then it searches for keyword density, which in this case means which keywords are being used frequently across each listing, right? And then it’s giving you that information.

LEO SGOVIO:
Well, kind of. Like so if you search for fish oil on Amazon, then what you will do, you will click on each one of the results, and once you are on the listing, then you will click on this chrome extension, SEOquake, and then it will analyze that page and give you a result of all the keywords that have been used in that page and score them by, like score them by frequency, right, or density. And so the ones that are obviously at the top, maybe if you look at one keyword phrase or the two keyword phrase you might find words like “buy now” or these things that don’t really matter because they appear on every page. But as you go down to like the third and fourth result, now you see like some pretty cool keywords, like for example fish oil, right? And then you get a 4%, 5% density. So this is now – I don’t want to go off topic, but it’s very super important for SEO, for example, we can have another podcast about it, but what I do usually, I analyze each keyword, each listing, and I see that on average each one is optimizing this listing with a let’s say 4% density, right? And so when I build my listing I try to match that or go a little bit higher so that when the Amazon bots go and crawl my page, consider mine as relevant as theirs, if not more, right? So that’s obviously now going into optimizing listing, but that’s what I use also the tool for.

CAMERON YODER:
Gotcha. And that’s very relevant. I think that’s something that not a lot of people are familiar with, so that’s great. I’m going to switch up topics just a little bit, just to keep things moving. But when it comes to cost, that’s one thing that a lot of sellers ask is oh, how much should I be spending on my sponsored ads, which I’m sure depends a which ads you’re running. But do you have any just general advice on costs that people should be spending or where people should cap themselves at, anything along those lines?

LEO SGOVIO:
Yeah, I actually have a really simple formula that helps to calculate the cost, and obviously it’s focused on ROI. But the formula is pretty simple. What I do, I look at my organic conversion rate. So for example, if my listing is converting at 30%, and then I look at the selling costs, so how much is this product costing me after all the FBA fees and the margin that Amazon is making, the referral fees. So by dividing that, right, by the conversion rate, you get your break even ACoS. So by making the calculation you get, okay, in order to break even my ACoS should be, let’s say, 10%. And so once you have that you know your organic conversion rate and the selling price, now you calculate your recommended default bid.

And now you obviously base your budget on that, right? Like if you cannot afford to spend more than $0.50 because now you’re going to lose money, then go below that. And so I usually calculate that default bid just before starting so I know that, and you know, in this case I’m breaking even. And then I tweak my campaigns as I go. So I launch, you know, like a bunch of different campaigns. The budget is obviously based on how much you can afford to spend. But at least you know that worst-case scenario you’re not losing money; you’re breaking even, unless you’re willing to lose money, for example, doing maybe just a ranking campaign but you don’t care about making money; you just want the product to end up on page 1. And so that’s usually what I do. It’s pretty simple, and I think it would be really beneficial for the listeners.

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, that’s really good. And there may not be another answer to this. I just want to kind of jump back to automatic campaigns. So automatic campaigns can be good for finding your initial keyword list, right? But are there any other things that people should use automatic campaigns for, or should they just kind of stay away from them once they get more advanced? Like you said before, it was kind of that first step in your process for optimizing sponsored ads and listing and everything. But is there any other place for automatic campaigns, or not necessarily?

LEO SGOVIO:
So I think the main goal of an automatic campaign is to give you that initial set of keywords, kind of like understanding of what people look for when buying, looking for your product. However, obviously once you get familiar with the sponsored ads and become more experienced with the platform I will suggest to, you know, keep automatic campaigns running with huge budgets. Most likely you’re going to waste a lot out of it but however, I still have some catchall campaigns that I’m usually running on automatic targeting, and those ones, usually what I do, I lower my bid so I won’t be more than let’s say $0.10, $0.15, and they turn out to be pretty profitable, to be honest with you. So yeah, I usually just keep a catchall one after I’m done with, you know, the optimization scaling process, and these ones will just catch everything else that I’m not covering in my targeted ones.

CAMERON YODER:
Yep. So once a campaign is, I guess, successful in your mind, in your eyes, once a product is converted organically for a keyword that you’re targeting through sponsored ads, what generally would you say is the next step, just to kind of lower everything down and keep on going or to just keep an eye on everything? Like where – what is the next step from that point on?

LEO SGOVIO:
Well, if you’ve identified some good profitable campaigns I would scale the budget as much as I could. I mean as long as you are making money I would just feed the beast, right? Traffic on Amazon, like is there. Like people are searching for your product. So why leave that, you know, food on the table for somebody else to eat it? And yeah, like I would still try to look for other low-hanging fruit. So what I usually do, for example, one of my best practices with not only like with sponsored ads I only go and target, for example, my competitors with display ads, right? It does work extremely well for me when I target some related products, not necessarily my competitors. Obviously I get some good results when I target a specific competitor, they’re selling the same product and I know I have better and more reviews than them. So it’s pretty easy to win that customer. But it’s also very profitable for me when I go and look at for example, I’m selling, I don’t know, a face cream and someone is going to buy something related to it, maybe like a face brush or something to like related anyway, but not necessarily my direct competitor. And that works really well for me. There is a tool that shows you, for example, the frequently bought together. It’s called YASIV, y-a-s-i-v.com, yasiv.com. It shows you all the combination of like it’s a graph that pretty much maps all the frequently bought together. And that’s a good way to target your competitors and non with display ads. Those tend to do really well, and what I do is – I’m giving away a tip here as well – I usually target one competitor at a time per campaign. And this way it’s easier for me to see which one is winning, and then I just pause anything that is below like, you know, like 10% ACoS. And like you know, ended up with like 1500 winning campaigns.

CAMERON YODER:
So this is a – I know it’s a relevant question, but it’s a little bit out there, as well. How much time do you think people should be spending on sponsored ads and optimization, just optimizing the ads that they’re running, the campaigns that they’re running or starting new ones? How much time should people be spending on this?

LEO SGOVIO:
I would say obviously at the beginning you need more time than later on when you’re product has really been selling organically. But I would say probably I think a couple of hours a week, like two, three hours a week is plenty. You don’t need to, like the first week just to set everything up, and then maybe the second week, you know, it goes down to two just to, you know, go through the reports and make sure that everything is optimized. Maybe even one hour is enough. It doesn’t take really a long time unless you have, you know, a lot of products. Then it’s a different story. Maybe I will use a service for that. But I wouldn’t, like personally, I don’t spend a lot of time on building and managing campaigns.

CAMERON YODER:
And I guess it takes time. Like you said, it’s going to take more time at the beginning.

LEO SGOVIO:
Of course, yes.

CAMERON YODER:
Especially if you’re not familiar with how sponsored ads work, or SEO, or practices in general, like that. But once you learn all of that, really I’m assuming it just becomes easy to kind of just press play and go and spend a couple hours here and there a week, optimizing everything.

LEO SGOVIO:
Correct, yeah.

CAMERON YODE:
So I mean you’ve given a lot of really cool hacks and tips so far, especially like yasiv.com and the other tool that was called – what was the other tool called, the chrome extension?

LEO SGOVIO:
SEOquake?

CAMERON YODER:
Yes, SEOquake. But are there any other just general hacks, tips or tricks that you would recommend for people when it comes to sponsored ads?

LEO SGOVIO:
With sponsored ads, to be honest, it isn’t – like it’s a straightforward process and platform. So there are no really hacks that you can adopt so that, you know, your sales go up. I mean it really comes down to how smart you are and how, you know, like if you think outside of the box, okay. Really like what I find really effective is the kind of wording I use in my headlines, for example, or my, you know, like display ads. I try to trigger some sort of interest in like, so playing with the customers’ emotion, and then that usually gives me a higher click through rate, which means, you know, lower CPC. And that applies to all the different, apart from including, you know, Facebook, or Google, or Bing, if you play with a good ad run you usually tend to perform much better. What I would suggest as a good tip is to, you know, build different variations of your ad, not only one, because one of them most likely is going to outperform the other ones. And so I think that’s super valuable.

CAMERON YODER:
So essentially split test the ads you’re running?

LEO SGOVIO:
Exactly, yes.

CAMERON YODER:
Well, Leo, thank you so much for being on the show. Thank you so much for everything you do, for all your information. Really, there’s so much value, I think, and in the space that a lot of people get overwhelmed by. Leo, again, thank you so much. Really it was a blast having you on the show.

LEO SGOVIO:
Thank you, guys.

CAMERON YODER:
Well, that is all for this week. Thank you all for joining us on Follow the Data. For more insights and reliable information about how to succeed on Amazon, subscribe to the podcast and also check us out on YouTube. I have a series of product discovery walk-throughs up on our channel that will really help you understand how to leverage the tool. And if you want to check it out, just search “Viral Launch” on YouTube. Go to our page and look for my face. So if you’re listening on iTunes and you like what you hear, don’t forget to leave a review and rate the show. You can also leave feedback on our Facebook page or tweet at us @viral_launch. Use the hashtag #VLFollowtheData.

And if you have a seller friend who you think would appreciate the show, tag them in your post and send them our way. We want to really be a great resource for sellers and the information source in this space. So please tell your friends. Tell your family. Spread the word, and share the show. And thank you all again so much for listening. And as always, if you want to be featured on the show, or if you have an Amazon-related question, or in conjunction with today’s episode, if you have a question for Leo or another idea for an episode, feel free to leave us a voicemail. Our number is 317-721-6590. Until next time, remember, the data is out there.