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!

The Importance of Ad Position in Your Amazon Sponsored Ads

What items are at the top of your Amazon to-do list? When it comes to maintaining your sales, you should be dedicating a significant amount of time to tracking and improving your Amazon Sponsored Ad campaign performance. Identifying potential issues and fixing them before your campaigns start to perform poorly can save lots of time and headache in the long-run.

Let’s dive into the most important metrics to monitor in your Sponsored Ads, and how you can add smart automation to increase your success rate on Amazon.

A Common Amazon Sponsored Ads Mistake

Constantly optimizing your ad campaigns is so important because Amazon’s algorithms are designed to reward products that perform well, and even a single day with low sales volume will negatively impact your sales velocity. As a result, both your organic rank and paid rank will suffer.  

As you’re managing Sponsored Ads campaigns, it is very important that you pay attention to every single ranking movement, ensuring that you know when your ad is performing well. Getting this right will not only result in a well-performing campaign, but it will also help your promoted listing gain organic positions. (If your goal is to push organic rankings via sponsored ads, make sure that your listing is optimized for your targeted keywords before starting the campaign.)

Many advertisers fail with Sponsored Ads because they don’t know how the platform works. They’ll throw marketing dollars into this advertising channel without any sort of plan in place. One of the causes of this behaviour is that Sponsored Ads is one of the hottest topics in the Amazon space and every Amazon “guru” out there is trying to monetize this trend by selling information that is often not backed by data. The result is hundreds of new sellers starting to advertise on Amazon only because they’ve been told to do so, and they’re afraid of missing out if they don’t join the trend. Classic FOMO.

Guess what? This behaviour will get you in big trouble.

The Ad Strategy that Can Change Everything

Amazon’s Sponsored Ads engine is run by a sophisticated algorithm. Understanding its mechanism is not easy, even if you have some previous experience running campaigns on Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords). There are so many moving parts that it takes just one of them performing poorly to jeopardize your whole campaign.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that building campaigns in Amazon’s Sponsored Ads is just the same as in Google Ads. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While Google Ads is designed to drive traffic from different channels and optimize based on the trackable goals that you specify (eg. lead, purchase, view of a key page, etc.), Amazon’s Sponsored Ads optimization algorithm is designed to favour ads that make Amazon more money.

This, of course, changes everything.

One of the things that I’ve learned over years of managing campaigns on Google Ads is that your campaign performance will only be as good as you are at managing it. For instance, the mistake that most people make with Sponsored Ads is to focus solely on ACoS which is not the best KPI (Key Performance Indicator).

For a campaign to be profitable, you need to first know your breakeven point. This is determined by your listing’s conversion rate, cost-per-click and, of course, the maximum cost that you are willing to pay to acquire a customer (Max CPA). Once you have these metrics, you need to calculate your maximum cost-per-click that you can afford to pay to be profitable.

You can use the following formula to calculate your maximum cost-per-click:

The table below will help you to calculate what your Max CPC should be based on the metrics mentioned above:

  • Sale Price = The price at which your product sells or is sold at after its price has been reduced.
  • CoGS = Cost of Good sold including Amazon fees and various manufacturing costs.
  • Max CPA = (Sale Price – CoGS = CPA) The maximum cost you can afford to pay to acquire a customer and break even.
  • Listing CR = Your current listing’s conversion rate (you can find this number in your Seller Central’s business reports)
  • Max CPC = The maximum cost you can afford to pay for a click and still make money.

This formula will change everything, as you will learn that, often, the keywords you’re currently targeting are not the best-performing. Consequently, you will be more profitable if you focus on those that you can afford to buy clicks for (based on your max CPC).

Once you have this step figured out, the next big metric to monitor is your ad position.

If you are familiar with Google Ads, you probably know that one of the most popular bidding strategies is the “bid to position.” In fact,Search Engine Land even wrote a script to automate this. Of course, having your ad show in position one is the goal for most advertisers, as this will not only increase the ad visibility but get you the highest CTR (ad copy plays a big role here)  which means more traffic. This rule is significantly more important with Amazon Sponsored Ads given that nearly 70% of Amazon.com shoppers place orders using a mobile device.

Keep in mind that higher position means, often, higher CPC so you have to focus on conversion rate optimization first (if you listing’s conversion rate is low) and ensure that you can afford to pay a higher CPC that allows you to compete for position #1.

Now that you know how important your ad position is, it is imperative that you build and structure your campaigns in a way that allows you to achieve this result while minimizing your ad spend.

Keep Track of Your Ad Position

After testing this theory with outstanding results for the past nine months, we decided to build a tool that allows Amazon advertisers to monitor their ad position and receive notifications alerting you when your ad is losing positions. Keyword Manager shows exactly where your product is ranking so that you can precisely measure the results of your efforts. You can even view historical data to see where your ads are at now compared to where they’ve been in the past.

Alongside your Sponsored Ad rank, Keyword Manager shows helpful metrics such as Amazon’s Choice Badge notifications, Amazon’s relevancy score, search volumes, suggested CPC bids, organic rank position, whether or not you’re indexed, and more. No other tool shows you these many keyword insights.

Try Keyword Manager out for yourself. Whether you’re implementing a new Sponsored Ads strategy with profitability in mind, or you’re monitoring your indexation and keyword rank, Keyword Manager equips you with the metrics you need to position your listing for success.

Track Your Ad Position

The Most Powerful Amazon Keyword Research Tool: Introducing Keyword Research (Follow the Data Ep. 25)

The Most Powerful Amazon Keyword Research Tool: Introducing Keyword Research (Follow the Data Ep. 25)

Keywords are the foundation for ranking. Missing critical keywords in your listing can lead to thousands of dollars in missed sales. Incorporating the right keywords in your listing can give you a huge competitive advantage. But current tools fall far short of providing the insight needed to set up a listing to rank. But that’s about to change. Introducing Keyword Research from Viral Launch, the most accurate keyword tool in the galaxy. 

Listen on iTunes   Listen on Stitcher

 

Follow the Data Show Notes

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Podcast Transcript

CASEY GAUSS:
Keywords are the foundation for ranking. Missing critical keywords in your listing can lead to thousands of dollars in missed sales.

CAMERON YODER:
Incorporating the right keywords in your listing can give you a huge competitive advantage, but the current tools available to sellers fall far short of providing the insight needed to efficiently and effectively set up a listing to rank. I’m Cameron Yoder.

CASEY GAUSS:
And I’m Casey Gauss, 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 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.

CAMERON YODER:
Today we’re excited to announce the launch of our most recent seller software, Keyword Research, the most accurate and comprehensive keyword tool in the galaxy.

CASEY GAUSS:
In this episode we’ll talk about why we had to create Keyword Research, including what’s wrong with current tools on the market and how better Keyword Research can help you increase your bottom line. Let’s get started.

CAMERON YODER:
All right, Casey, we’re talking about a big subject today. This is an exciting time for Viral Launch. It’s an exciting time for you. We’re talking about Keyword Research, Viral Launch’s new tool. Let’s talk about how you’re feeling through all this. How has this experience, this product release been for you?

CASEY GAUSS:
This product release has probably been the most stressful for me, so I’m usually like, I guess what you would say kind of like VP of Product or something here at Viral Launch, so it’s always like my job to have all the answers, I feel like, and so we worked on this tool. We probably started working on like the main algorithm for relevance in September. We tried all this like working with a data scientist on natural language processing, and like so we did that for three months, so into like December – actually longer. We did that like through January, and then February we were still trying to make NLP work, natural language processing, work. It wasn’t working, wasn’t working, and there was so much pressure to like get this tool out. Like we’ve been working on it for so long. The front end was done. Anyways, finally we sat down. We spent a week having just breakthroughs on our algorithm, like quality standards, all of that. We finally figured it out Friday, right before the weekend, and that was like only a couple of weeks ago.

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah, that was not too long ago.

CASEY GAUSS:
That was super exciting, though. So like as an entrepreneur it’s like this series of peaks and valleys, right? And so you’re going through the valley, you’re going through the valley, and it’s that effort. You know, it’s that consistently pushing through the hard times that gets you to those peaks. And I think the deeper the valley the better the, you know, the mountaintop, or the ascent to the mountaintop. So anyways, super rewarding once we finally figured it out, and now we know, you know, if it’s this difficult for us to figure out, hopefully it’s equally as difficult for competitors, like – and hopefully that means that much better quality for everybody. So I am feeling so good. I think this is going to be our most popular tool. I think this is going to be an absolute game-changer for sellers. So I am so stoked to see kind of feedback, see like the impact that this has on people’s businesses. You know, product discovery a super, super valuable because I think product selection is, you know –

CAMERON YODER:
It’s huge. It’s huge.

CASEY GAUSS:
It’s like the single most make-or-break decision that you’re going to make when selling on Amazon. But it takes months and months for you to see the return, right? You come up with an idea through product discovery, but now you’ve got to get samples. You’ve got to find suppliers. You have to order it, and anyways, it’s like months and months until you actually see the return, whereas with Keyword Research there are so many keywords people aren’t finding right now because their like current keyword tools just aren’t surfacing them. And so by putting these things in your listing tomorrow, the next day, or within that week, you’re going to see results. And so I’m super excited to get these case studies back. I don’t know – and like – so again, this is a lot of personal stuff. Sorry if you’re not so interested, but like the team is growing. We’re at like 43 people or something now. And it’s so cool to see like we have a legit marketing team now. We have like a seven-person dev team. And so it’s so cool to see all these different, you know, departments working together. This is going to be our biggest launch so far. It’s so cool to just see, you know, Viral Launch continue to mature and everybody come together. Like I’m just so proud of this team. So all in all, long, long answer to that. Sorry, guys.

Announcing Viral Launch Keyword Research

CAMERON YODER:
Now just in case – okay, just in case you missed the intro or the announcement, basically Viral Launch, or whatever – everything Casey was talking about – Viral Launch has a new tool out based around keyword research, so finding accurate keywords to use in your listing, right? And we’ve just spent the past long time developing it, releasing it. Casey, how would you say – I mean we’ve had a couple product releases up to this point, but how would you say Keyword – that Keyword Research has differed? What’s different about this Keyword Research tool being released than the tools we’ve released in the past, just being the product release itself? So with our release for Product Discovery, what’s different about this time around?

CASEY GAUSS:
Yeah, I mean we’ve just learned a lot of things around what has worked and what hasn’t, getting people’s attention, making sure – you know, for Keyword Research, I think, again it’s such a game-changer you would not believe. And I mean if you ever check out the tool you will really get to see kind of the difference, the night and day difference between what you’re using for your keyword research and our Keyword Research tool.

CAMERON YODER:
Right.

CASEY GAUSS:
And you will like, I don’t know, be disappointed or upset that this is the data that you’ve been using versus like the actual data or what you should have been using, I guess. And so anyways, so I feel a deep sense of responsibility to make sure that the messaging is like perfect for this so that people can truly see like hey, no, this isn’t just marketing speak, but like this is going to be so much better for my business. And so I think there’s a lot of pressure on me, that I’m then trying to put on the team to make sure that we really get this perfect. But anyways, yeah, you know I think the product launch will be hopefully a better, like ramp-up period, getting people more and more excited. You know, we have a much bigger audience at this point, and hopefully people have just continued to realize, you know, Viral Launch is a data company. And yeah, so hopefully this is an easier sell to people because now you love and trust kind of what Viral Launch has been producing on the research side.

CAMERON YODER:
Right. Let’s jump back a little bit. So again, talking about just Keyword Research and the tool in general, what made you think that Viral Launch should or needed to come out with a Keyword Research tool?

CASEY GAUSS:
Yeah, good question. Actually I want to preface first, so there’s a million keyword research tools out there, keyword tools out there for Amazon. I would really encourage you to at least, you know, listen to this podcast, even if it’s on 2X to get through it, like just at least check out the tool. I think you really owe it to your business. There’s so much that is different here, and I don’t want you to just pass it off as another tool. So anyways, why did we need Keyword Research? A lot of reasons. So like it has been – it has just always blown my mind. It has always been a goal of mine to, if somebody else didn’t do it, build a better version of Merchant Words, right? So not to hate so much on like the tool – like it’s so bad, right? So if you search like – we have all these just hilarious examples, right? So if you search –

CAMERON YODER:
Specific keywords that we’ve searched.

CASEY GAUSS:
Right. Reading glasses, right? Reading glasses for babies, high search volume. Reading glasses for dogs, over 10,000 searches a month Merchant Words is estimating. You search eye cream, cat eye cream is I think like the second suggestion, saying there’s like 90,000 searches a month. If you search fish oil, fish oil diffuser – there’s no such thing – is one of the top suggestions. They say like 80,000 searches a month. And from these case studies that we’re doing, a lot of the time Merchant Words only has like 10% of the actual words that are related to the product or the market that you’re searching, and their volumes are so off. And so, so many times Merchant Words is suggesting words that don’t even – people aren’t actually searching on Amazon, but you’re prioritizing them. You’re putting them in the listing simply because intuitively they make sense. But you’re not really following the data.

And so we had to create Keyword Research because keyword tools are so important. We see so many people – like you cannot rank for keywords, high-volume keywords if you’re not prioritizing them well in the front end of your listing. Or if you don’t even have them in the front end of your listing how are you going to rank for them? And ranking, like driving sales through organic search, is the majority of people’s businesses on Amazon. Like this – you know we say the lifeblood of Amazon for like reviews, this is like the oxygen or something, you know? You absolutely have to have this, and this is what is, you know, really driving your sales is what keywords that you have in your listing. And these current keyword tools were just misleading people so bad. Or sure, maybe they have a bunch of good results, but you, for every good result there is like 100 bad results, and you’re spending hours sifting through these words.

CAMERON YODER:
And I think it’s an important perspective to point out – there is one thing I want to reemphasize that you said, but another thing that is important for listeners to understand is if you’re a listener and you’ve used a keyword research tool in the past, then you’ve been trained to not trust results, right? If you use whatever, one of these tools, you’re going to pull up results and you’re going to know – everyone that we’ve talked to has said this – you’re going to know 100% that some of these results are bogus, but you’re going to use it anyway because it’s the only thing available. So we wanted to change that, and it’s going to be, I think honestly maybe a little bit difficult for people to jump on board at first because they’ve been trained to not trust it. But this is actual data. It’s real data, and it’s something that you can trust.

The Most Relevant Keywords

CASEY GAUSS:
Yeah, so like the two biggest selling points here, I think, are just the relevance of words. So you’re only getting words that are relevant to your listing. We even show a Relevancy Score so that you can see how relevant is this term to the term that I put in, right? And then second is the search volumes. So this is all data only from Amazon. We’re not using any kind of outside sources to build up the keywords, the volumes. Like you’re getting only good, high-quality data. And so the level of trust, like Cam is saying, is going to be kind of night and day difference. So yeah, I think it will be a bit of a learning process, but anyways, I mean you, like I said, you will see the differences here. And there’s a bunch of additional features, but yeah, we can just stay in the meat of it right now.

CAMERON YODER:
Let’s break down what’s – we talked about it a little bit already, but I want to get kind of a streamlined process going of what is wrong with current keyword tools, right?

CASEY GAUSS:
Yeah, yeah.

CAMERON YODER:
So okay, what is one of the number one things that is wrong with keyword tools out there presently?

CASEY GAUSS:
So I think across the board the biggest problem is that there’s so, so many keywords that these other tools are missing. And I’m not just talking about some long-tail keywords. I’m talking about high-volume, related words. So it’s so difficult right now – and this is where our big breakthrough was. It’s so difficult for you to – and this is why we originally were testing out natural language processing using semantic, finding these semantically-related words from content. It’s very difficult from a technical perspective to get the word first-aid kit and be able to come up with the word trauma bag and know that trauma bag is a related word that you should be prioritizing because first aid and kit, none of these seed words are in these, some of these other high-volume words. Like again, trauma bag or emergency kit, like that has kit, but emergency isn’t in first-aid kit. And so it can be hard for these tools to find these other words. And so we have some case studies. You would just not believe the number of words, important words, the volume that the majority of tools out there are missing.

You know, there is an example. We’re still finalizing the case studies completely, but anyways, just at a high level there is an example for eye cream, right? So we said there is 600,000 aggregate searches a month for all the keywords related to eye cream, so 600,000 – 540 related words, and the most popular keyword tool out there missed 450 words out of 540. The volume they missed was 475,000 searches out of 595,000. So what that means is either if you just typed in eye cream into this keyword tool, then you are missing out on, you know, a huge, huge percentage of volume, or you’re going to have to intuitively know to go search all these other words, and you’re going to have to spend a ton of time running all these other searches to try to get the comprehensive list. And then the fear sets in of how many words did you miss? You know, you have to spend all this time, as well. So the second most popular keyword tool – we don’t really want to name any names – but second most popular keyword tool missed 312,000 searches a month out of 595,000. So yeah, they missed like over half, right? And they missed 350 words out of the 540. So it’s like insane.

The tools that people are using are missing out on major, major search volume. And that’s a problem, number one. Second is time, right? So right now existing tools provide so many junk words, right? And I understand from a technical standpoint like it’s hard to get rid of these words. We’re making sure to return only highly-relevant words. At the same time able to get a very broad scope. So we are significantly reducing your keyword research time because we’re able to return only high-quality, relevant terms. And we’ll show you how relevant these terms are. And so if something has a very low Relevancy Score, then now you know, like okay, I shouldn’t be prioritizing this. And we have a priority score to help you do that.

CAMERON YODER:
It’s kind of a – it’s a compounding effect, right? So if you use – if you’re using other data tools, like you said before, just simply put, other tools from the data that we’ve accumulated, are not providing the full list of keywords that should show up for the keywords that you yourself are searching. And then from that you yourself have to put in more time double checking, cross-referencing all of those keywords to make sure that you’re getting the right ones in for your listing.

CASEY GAUSS:
Yep, I would definitely say those are the two biggest ones. I mean obviously we have some features that solve some other problems, but yeah, I’m good with sticking with those.

Our Market Relevancy Calculation 

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah. So okay, how then does – what does Keyword Research do, which is Viral Launch’s tool? What does Keyword Research do to get the most relevant terms, because it’s not about – it’s not all about volume, right? It’s also about relevancy. So it’s about pulling up a tool. A great tool is going to pull up all the words, or as many as possible, for related to the search term that you input. But it also is going to be so much better if the terms that are brought up are relevant to the keyword. So not only is it volume; it’s relevancy. So what does Keyword Research do to pull up volume, a lot of keywords, but not only that, keywords that are relevant for the term that people are searching?

CASEY GAUSS:
Yeah, I mean we don’t want to share too much because we don’t want to allow other people to replicate what we’re doing. But essentially we have this entire – like you would not believe the amount of data that we’re crunching just to try to get this list of words. And so we have this huge kind of extraction process that is very difficult where we’re going and just getting an insane amount of words. Then we go and we have this even larger algorithm that goes and then scores each of these words to help give it this Relevancy Score. And then yeah, then we have our own process of getting the search volume for each of the words, both exact and broad.

And another thing – this is kind of like a, you know, side feature or whatever, but another thing that we’re doing that you’re not really going to find really anywhere else except maybe one tool or something, but is trend. So you know if you’ve used Market Intelligence or Product Discovery you know that we love data, right, especially understanding historical context so that we can better understand or predict where it’s going in the future. So we’re showing you the search volume trend. So you can see okay, you know, fish oil looks like a good market – it doesn’t, just so you know – anyways, fish oil looks like a good market, but search volume is like significantly declining. Or you know, this term is increasing very rapidly. You should definitely prioritize that. And so yeah, I don’t want to share too much about our process, but I don’t want to give too much away, but essentially it’s really focused on keyword aggregation, just getting a very, very – casting a very wide net. And then we pull in all these words, and then we go through them to look for the words that are winners, and then we throw out the ones that aren’t.

CAMERON YODER:
This tool is – Keyword Research is really designed to improve the Amazon seller experience when it comes to keyword research and just creating a listing in general, right? So Casey, what are your favorite features of the tool that are going to help listeners of the show or just Amazon sellers in general?

CASEY GAUSS:
Yeah, so I mean we’re continuing to talk about it. The things I’m most proud of are just the breadth of words we have, what we call all these horizontal words where you search eye cream, but then you get face moisturizer, right, or moisturizer for face, like you get eye gel, right? So you get all these words that are similar, but like maybe what we call horizontal words that maybe don’t share any of the seed words. So I’m really proud of that. So the quality, the breadth, and then I really love the trends just because I like seeing where everything goes. Usually these search terms report, give like hundreds and hundreds of words, which is awesome that we have all these long tails in there.

Opportunity Score

And then one thing that we haven’t talked about yet is our Opportunity Score. So to date we’ve always looked at keywords in two lights, right, is this relevant, and then what is the search volume. But what we haven’t really taken our time to do, just because manually it can take a long time or just a decent amount of work, is looked at these keywords from a strategic standpoint. So how are my competitors prioritizing these words? How difficult is it to rank not just by, you know, how many units I need to sell, but by how other sellers are prioritizing these words. So if, for example, nobody had fish oil in their title, they didn’t even have it in their bullets, all they had was fish oil in their description, it would be so much easier for you to rank for fish oil if you had it in your title. And so there would be this, you know, strategic arbitrage opportunity for – so maybe fish oil isn’t the best example. Let’s take burp less fish oil, for example. So burpless fish oil, a decent volume keyword, and let’s say nobody, none of the top-ranking burpless fish oil listing, or results for burpless fish oil, have that keyword in their title. And there’s still good volume. Nobody has it in their title. So that’s an awesome opportunity for you to prioritize it, put it at the beginning of your title, run some promotions for it. But you’re going to be able to rank a lot easier than if everybody else had it in their title. And so we’re showing you what we call this Opportunity Score which shows you, you know, how well, or to what degree, are the top sellers for this keyword prioritizing the keyword.

How to Use Opportunity Score

And our hope here is that, let’s say you do happen to be in the fish oil market, which I really hope you aren’t unless you have, you know, a good amount of money. But anyways, so let’s say you are in this fish oil market. Well, there’s plenty of words out there that other people are not prioritizing that still get decent amount of volume, so you can more easily rank for those words, build up your sales and just continue to climb up the ladder, right? So go after burpless fish oil because there’s good volume and nobody has it in their title, or only a couple people do. Then go after this other mid-volume keyword that has good volume but people only have it in their bullet points, or a couple people have it in their title. Like basically we’re showing you this Opportunity Score so that you can strategically look at words from a volume perspective, from a relevancy perspective, but also from a how are my competitors leveraging this word.

CAMERON YODER:
In other words, what are people, what keywords are people searching for that competitors are not putting or prioritizing in their list, basically?

CASEY GAUSS:
Yeah, yeah, completely. And then right now we still have a lot to do with this tool, actually two other features. One, I like seeing we’re aggregating all the exact search volume for the word to show you, okay, fish oil, for example, has you know, 500,000 searches a month and then, you know, whatever, omega-3 has X number – like so it’s really cool to go and see what the total number of potential impressions are for this keyword or this market that you’re thinking about entering, right? So the last one is sponsored ad suggested bid, and so this is, again, another cool opportunity for you to identify these arbitrage opportunities, right? So if you see there’s a ton of search volume on this keyword but the suggested bid cost is really, really low for a keyword – boom. There’s an opportunity for you to go get in on a high-volume keyword while paying less than, you know, market average across the board for that kind of volume. So that’s one of our premium features. But again, basically we’re trying to build this very comprehensive tool to help you identify these arbitrage opportunities. Where can I easily rank because no one’s prioritizing it? Where can I easily bid on keywords or do it, you know, cheaply because nobody else is? Yeah.

Integration with Viral Launch Software

CAMERON YODER:
One of the things I’m really proud of with the tool, and I’m honestly looking forward to in the future just for Viral Launch in general is an integration between the tools. So we’re actually working on integrating Keyword Research with our other tools, Product Discovery and Market Intelligence, which will provide you – honestly it will save a lot of time. One of the goals with this tool, again, is just saving time and money. And so as you’re using something like Market Intelligence you’ll be able to look at the market data for a keyword, but also will be able to kind of cross reference keyword data at the same time. That’s just – I’m looking forward to future integrations with the tools that we’ve come out with or just kind of further implement with the current tools we have.

CASEY GAUSS:
That should be live when the tool goes live. So if you’re listening to this podcast, then yeah, Keyword Research should be integrated with Market Intelligence. It should be integrated with Product Discovery. Basically what that means is you run, you know, Market Intelligence on the fish oil market or page, then you’ll see obviously Market Intelligence data, but you’ll also get to see what the search volume is exact and broad for those keywords. So I think that’s huge. No other tool is doing that. And so it’s like basically the way to get access to that is you have to have a subscription to Market Intelligence. You have to have a subscription to Keyword Research. And then second, yeah, we throw this into Product Discovery, and I think I’m super, super excited about this, the reason being is for the first time ever you’re going to be able to look for markets where the search volume is high but sales are low. And what this means is opportunity markets where customers are coming and they’re looking for this particular product, but they’re not finding anything interesting. They’re not finding what they’re looking for.

So take, for example, grill brush with LED lights, right? Like let’s say everybody wants to brush their grill at night and they want lights and whatever, right? So if there were, you know, 20,000 searches for grill brush with LED lights, but there’s very few sales for the products that are ranking for them, then that means that there isn’t a good grill brush with LED lights, well so I would imagine. There are some other factors that are in there. But anyways, it’s a really cool opportunity for you to find these underserved markets, and you just can’t get that anywhere else. And again, the way that you get this integration is you have to have this Product Discovery subscription and the Keyword Research subscription, and then they work kind of in unison there. So yeah, I forgot about the combination or the integration, and I’m really excited about that.

CAMERON YODER:
Yeah. Casey, is there anything else you want to let our listeners know about Keyword Research?

CASEY GAUSS:
No, not really. I mean we’re – next step, phase 2 is we’re working on a listing building feature, which is really going to hopefully help you prioritize words, based again on opportunity, volume, help you to make sure that you’re writing the best listings possible. But yeah, I think that’s about it.

CAMERON YODER:
Look forward to it. If you haven’t yet, go check out the tool. If you even haven’t yet, go create an account on our website. There is a free trial for the tool. So really if you haven’t yet, go to our website, create an account, check out a free trial. You will be blown away. We also are going to have a couple different resources on YouTube, and we’re going to be putting up more content for Keyword Research as well, so keep an eye out for that.

Well, that is all for this week. Thank you so much for joining us on Follow the Data. For more insights and reliable information on how to succeed on Amazon, subscribe to the podcast and 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 best leverage the tool. In fact, I just posted a new video about how to use the new Product Discovery search presets. So if you want to check it out just search Viral Launch on YouTube, go to our page and look for my face.

CASEY GAUSS:
If you’re listening on iTunes please, please do not forget to leave a review and rate the show. If you’re listening on any other platform like SoundCloud, Stitcher, leave us a comment. We love feedback. If you haven’t gotten that from any other interactions with us, we love honest feedback on literally everything. And if you sell on Amazon, which I imagine is the demographic of people listening, then you know how important reviews are. And so we would love it if you could go leave us a review.

CAMERON YODER:
Thank you, again, for listening so much, and as always, if you want to be featured on the show, have an Amazon-related question or an idea for an episode, or you just want to say hey, feel free to leave us a voicemail. Our number is 317-721-6590. Until next time, 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. 

 

 

Listen on iTunes   Listen on Stitcher

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.

Your Amazon Seller Questions: Q&A with Cameron Yoder and Becca Longenecker (Follow the Data Ep. 18)

Your Amazon Seller Questions: Q&A with Cameron Yoder and Becca Longenecker (Follow the Data Ep. 18)

In this episode, we field a few questions from our listeners. Being your own boss and running your own business is an incredible part of being an Amazon seller. But navigating the Amazon space all alone can be hard, and reliable information can be difficult to find. How does Amazon really work? What are the best strategies? Join host Cameron Yoder and producer Becca Longenecker to find out.

Listen on iTunes   Listen on Stitcher

 

Follow the Data Show Notes

  • Want to be on the show like today’s listeners? Have your own story of entrepreneurial success? We’re working on an episode that features our listeners! Leave us a voicemail at (317) 721-6590 with stories or questions about your Amazon business.
  • Initial reviews are so important. Wondering how to get that social proof for your product? Check out our blog post from this summer about Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program.
  • Talk about barrier to entry: language is a huge one for going international. Read our recent blog post about the importance of getting a native speaking copywriter to create your listing. 
  • Check out the Viral Launch YouTube channel and look for Cameron’s Fireside Chats where you walks through how to get the most out of Product Discovery. 

 

Podcast Transcript

CAMERON:
Being your own boss and running your own business is an incredible part of being an Amazon seller. But navigating the Amazon space all alone can be hard, and reliable information can be difficult to find. How does Amazon really work? What are the best strategies? Today we field a few questions from our listeners to help you make sense of it all.

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 28,000 product launches and our experience working with 6500 brands to help you understand the big picture when it comes to Amazon and, more importantly, the best practices for success as an Amazon seller.

In today’s episode, we’re hearing from you and answering your seller questions. There’s an awesome variety of topics and some great content here for those of you who are just getting a product into FBA or who are looking to refine your selling process to make your business more profitable. Let’s jump in.
[fade out intro music]
BECCA:
Hey, I’m Becca Longenecker, the producer for Follow the Data, and I’ll be joining Cameron in today’s episode. Before we get started, I just want to give a huge shoutout to everyone who has called in and left us a voicemail, everyone who has subscribed, everyone who has left us a review, and everyone who has listened so far. There are a lot of podcasts out there, and we feel really honored to be one of the ones that you choose to listen to.
CAM:
Yeah, Becca’s our producer, and she gets to listen to every episode all the time, even the stuff, the content, that we don’t get to put into the episodes. And so I’m psyched to have her on the show, welcome Becca.
BECCA:
Thank you Cam. So at the end of every Follow the Data episode, we encourage you all to call into our voicemail box and leave us a message with your Amazon questions or responses to the show. And we’ve really enjoyed hearing from you, so today we’re going to play a few of those voicemails for you and answer a few of the questions that you all are asking.
CAM:
So let’s play the first voicemail response.
BECCA:
Alright
CAM:
And then we’ll go from there.
LISTENER #1 JOHN:
Hey, my name is John Farrell. I’m actually I’m new to selling on Amazon. I just listed my first private label product, and I think this is a question for myself, but I think that it could serve well for a lot of people who listen to your podcast and may be new. So basically to get my product ranking—and you’re saying that sales history is so important—so what I’m doing is I just listed my product last Monday, so it’s been exactly a week since I listed it, and I did 3 sales a day for the first week, and now I’m upping it to 5 sales a day for the second week, and then 7 and then I’m going to do a blast on Viral Launch.
But I’m having difficulty in … I’m getting a lot of different answers regarding … because my product isn’t … it’s still too new, it isn’t showing up on any pages of search results for any natural keyword terms. So what I’m doing is I’m having people. I’m I’m sending them to I’m sending them links to the product to buy from the link and hoping that you know one of these days, it’s just going to pop up on one of the pages, and then I can have them buy naturally by sending them the keyword and they can search through pages search for my product and buy it.
I’m not even sure if that’s the best way to do it. That’s what some people are telling me. I want to get your feedback on that as well as I wanted to know when I should expect to start having results as far as all when I should start showing up naturally on the pages for keywords, and if it … taking this long is you know not normal, so that’s that’s the question. I have for you guys. Thanks. Thanks a lot.
CAM:
Yeah, so that’s a good collection of questions and situations from John. And there’s a lot of … there’s a lot there, honestly, to go over. And so starting out, if you haven’t seen the podcast episode where we talk about sales history, I recommend going back and checking that out after this podcast.
So John, one of the first things that he talked about, and maybe one of the first things we should go over is the fact that his listing wasn’t necessarily active right off the bat. And we don’t necessarily have data to show that this happens for every single person that opens a product on Amazon. But from what we can see, that is a normal occurance for you to … let’s say you create a listing on Amazon, right? So you buy the product from like Alibaba, and then you create a listing on Amazon, and you create a listing on Amazon, and then you ship the products into FBA. And once those products get into FBA, a lot of people will think ‘Oh, well I can just start selling immediately and start ranking immediately, but in some cases the … when you search for your product, just through the normal search function on Amazon, it doesn’t pop up. And so there seems to be this period of time where maybe it’s going through Amazon’s system, or whatever, where it takes a little bit of time for it to load into Amazon and for you to really be able to … not even to … you don’t necessarily have to wait for that to gain sales because you can send people a direct link to your product, like John talked about. But when it comes to something like keyword ranking, and you can’t even find your product when you search a keyword, that’s probably not the best time to do something like a launch.
BECCA:
Yeah, um next Cam do you want to talk about the part of his question where he is talking about how he is giving away 3 units and then 5 units and then 7 units, and he’s kind of doing this … like building up sales velocity—a term that we’ve heard people talk about a lot—and in that Sales History / Sales Velocity episode that we did, you guys kind of try to explain that. Maybe you can go over that again?
CAM:
Yeah, so really when it comes to a brand new seller. This is less important. But when we talked about the comparison of sales velocity to sales history it’s sales history that matters more, right? So if you have been a seller for a long time, and you’ve built up a pattern of a bad sales history, you’re going to have a harder time launching, or ranking on a page for a specific keyword and sticking there. On the other hand, if you have a positive sales history, so if you’ve been selling for a decent amount of time, and your sales have been pretty good, then the … let’s say you launch on to page 1, you’re going to have a little bit easier of a time sticking on there because of your positive sales history. In John’s specific case, he’s talking about a very early strategy of kind of messing around with low numbers of sales velocity and increasing them, like within a week’s period of time. For John’s case, that’s not super important. Like that, honestly it probably wouldn’t make a difference, if you were to space it out like that. What matters more, what matters more in this case, than incrementally spacing out sales from specific people, what matters more in John’s case is keyword ranking, right? Which he might not be able to do yet because his product is not available to see yet to everybody. And more than that are getting reviews, getting his initial reviews. Like if I were to talk, if I were to sit down with John and talk about what to do first, I would say when you’re product goes live on Amazon, you need to get reviews in place.
BECCA:
Well, even before it goes live, right?
CAM:
Yeah, yeah! Even before. Like in John’s case, he should get reviews.
BECCA:
Even when it’s not showing up in search.
CAM:
Right, even when it’s not showing up in search. Even when he can’t do something like a launch to increase keyword ranking because he can’t show up in results. Getting those reviews in place is really going to solidify his social proof so that when he does go live, then he can perform something like a launch and get to the front page and have that social proof there and ready to go instead of just having no reviews in place.
BECCA:
Going back to that incremental change. I just wanna make sure this is clear. So I think a lot of people think that the incremental change is what Amazon wants to see—they want to see that you’re sales number, your sales volume is growing. But actually Amazon’s just more concerned with how high your sales volume is. So it doesn’t have to be incrementally changing over time, if you right off the bat can get that sales volume up and you can match the sales volume of your page 1 competitors, you can climb in the rankings.
CAM:
We’ve actually seen this and we’ve talked about this. Casey and I talked about this a little bit before. But there’s this small period of time, this grace period it seems like, when your product goes live for the first time. Or actually newer products, if you funnel a certain amount of traffic through it, at the very beginning, Amazon seems to take preference to that. It’s kind of like, Oh, you’re a new product, and you’re preforming really well at the beginning, so we’ll reward you. And in some cases, people can achieve ranking quicker and or stick on page 1 longer if they perform a launch right off the bat. Again, with that social proof in hand though. So with that … that’s a combination of good photos, good reviews, good price, all those things. But all those things combined together, really if you’re an early product it might be good to perform a launch if you have all those things in place right away.
BECCA:
That’s pretty cool.
CAM:
So I just want to summarize again because there are a lot of points in there that are important. But so when you’re thinking about sales history, it really is not that important if you’re a new seller. It matters if you’ve been selling for a little while and you have bad sales history. That’s gonna negatively affect your ability to rank and stick on ranking. If you have a good sales history, that’s good. If you’re new, you don’t really have a sales history yet. You just need to make sure that you’re not building a bad sales history, a bad reputation.
BECCA:
Alright, let’s move on to the next message.
LISTENER #2 DANIEL:
Hey, my name is Daniel Metz and I’m recent listeners to the show. I just listened to the episode about the Amazon reviews, and what I think is going to probably happen is that the reviews that you see will be weighted. Based on 30 days or 60 days or 90 days something like that, but they will still have access to like lifetime reviews just giving a greater weight to the more recent ones and that the actual star rating in order to be more accurate will reflect a more recent time frame as opposed to all of the reviews over the entire life of the product offering. I’m a recent user. I’m just now doing my first Viral Launch, and I really appreciate the company, just the the way the company is run. In comparison with all the other companies, and so just wanted to call and let you guys know. Thanks. Bye.
BECCA:
Thank you Daniel for that affirmation. We have really tried to differentiate ourselves in the space and to be a legitimate resource for sellers in a market where there are a lot of proclaimed solutions that don’t actually deliver on results. We have been and continue to be super customer-centric, results driven, and innovative, and it’s really encouraging when people recognize that. So thanks.
BECCA:
Daniel’s call was about the episode that we did on the future of Amazon reviews. So if you haven’t listened to that episode, I would definitely encourage you to go back into our feed and give that one a listen. Cam and Casey talk about the way that Amazon reviews are now and how that could potentially be bad for sellers in the future, and what they think Amazon will do to change that.
CAM:
So the concept is, if you’re new to selling, and you’re trying to sell this awesome new face cream, and everyone else has like 12,000 reviews, it’s going to be almost impossible for you to compete. So we discuss that and what we think Amazon is going to do.
BECCA:
Yeah, so that sounds like a definite possibility, Daniel. Casey and Cam throw out the idea of a weighted system in that episode as well, and it seems like a great way to go for Amazon. I also think you’re right that they’ll probably have to allow sellers to keep the lifetime reviews for their product. I think they would probably get a lot of backlash if they tried to take down legitimate reviews. Although, they have taken down reviews in the past. But yeah, I think you’re probably not far off with your prediction.
CAM:
Let’s go on to the next question.
LISTENER #3:
Hey guys appreciate you guys doing this. I’m a new seller. My question for you guys is really about launching, so I have a new shipment coming in. It should be within like the next 30 days month or so, and I’ve been reading through Facebook group try to figure out the best strategy to get things started get a launch going. So I know you guys do launches, but I’m also seeing a lot about running sponsored ads doing those at the same time, a little bit confused as to really what I should do, so if you guys could give your best advice on sponsored ads, running at launch, how those compare. Yeah, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.
CAM:
That’s a question that we see actually a lot. So the question is, basically, how does PPC compare to a launch, or to running a targeted giveaway.
BECCA:
So PPC, or for those … or sponsored ads … payed per click advertising, PPC, is when you see those sponsored ads at the top of a product search, those top couple of products, they’ll says sponsored, and those are a way to get your product in front of people for a specific keyword and drive sales through that keyword. So it’s basically functioning the same way as a Viral Launch. With a viral launch you pick a keyword to target, and then you put that product in front of a buyer group at a heavily discounted price. And the sales that you get from that discounted product promotion are going through a targeted keyword. So with sponsored ads and with a product launch, you are getting those sales attributed to a keyword, and that’s the really important aspect of a launch and for sponsored ads as well.
CAM:
So they’re both trying to accomplish the same goal. However the main difference for something like an effective launch or PPC is, honestly it’s time.
BECCA:
Yeah, so the reason that we do a launch the way we do, where you’re discounting your product so heavily and putting it up on this buyer site is that we have … you know the buyer site has over 100,000 people subscribed who are checking in daily for deals, and with a heavily discounted product, you can move a lot more product. So you can have, you know, 10 sales a day or something like that whereas with PPC you might see 1 sale per day, 2 sales per day come through a specific keyword. And so the purpose of a launch really is just to get that volume because you can move up through the ranking so much quicker.
CAM:
A launch is simple. A launch is an attempt to match the sales of top sellers for a specific keyword, right? And with our launch platform and with other giveaway platforms, if you can funnel all those sales through a 7 day or 10 day period of time, that’s gonna be more effective than just throwing money in the air and hoping. PPC just takes so much more time.
BECCA:
And with PPC you’re usually targeting a handful of keywords all at once, and with a launch it’s just really really specific, and you’re just going all after that one keyword.
CAM:
So it does depend on the market that you’re in and the keywords that you’re kind of trying to rank for. A lot of people also ask if they should do PPC while they’re doing something like a launch, and honestly the answer is … well it doesn’t really hurt. At the same time, I know people who very effectively only run launches. So they take all the money that they would be spending on something like sponsored ads, which can be expensive, and they put it towards a launch, and if they drop in ranking, then they just run another launch. Monetarily for them, just looking at the numbers, it makes more sense with the keywords that they’re trying to target. Some people will do a launch and PPC, but basically a launch is going to be more effective. It’s going to be your base line.
BECCA:
The other thing I guess to say about PPC is, one way that it can be really helpful is to target a whole bunch of keywords or do those auto campaigns through Amazon and then you can figure out which keyword your product sells the best for or converts the best for. And that can be a good way to find a keyword to target on your product launch.
CAM:
Yeah, that is a good method that a lot of people use. It takes some time to get, but if you’re not sure about what keywords to target, it can be a really good option.
BECCA:
Alright, moving on to our next voicemail.
LISTENER #4:
Hey Casey and Cam, so I’m a fairly new seller in the Amazon game, and I had a question for you guys about selling internationally. I heard that it’s pretty easy to go over and sell internationally because the markets aren’t as strong and developed in the US, but I’m kind of wondering is it really worth it for me to go and sell international because I’m so new and so fresh in the game should I just spoke with my efforts on US or is it worth it to try international right out of the gate? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks guys.
BECCA:
So that’s a tough one. Cam, what do you think about going international right away?
CAM:
Being completely honest, honestly there are 2 arguments here. I know sellers in both. I know sellers who have succeeded in both. First off, nothing is as easy as it sounds, so people often say, Well yeah, I’ll just start one of those Amazon businesses and launch it and it’ll be just super easy. I’ll make tons of money. But if you as an Amazon seller think back to the first time, whether you were using a course or not, I’m sure somewhere along the line of you starting your first Amazon business, or your first product, selling your first product, you thought: Hey, this is much harder, or some degree harder than I thought it would be originally. But international is a different game than selling on Amazon or is just different than if you were to try to sell outside of the United States. So my first response to this listener is that you need to establish what your goals are. What kind of numbers are you shooting for? How much effort or time or energy do you want to put into this? Because that could determine if you want to stick with your home country, where you’re most comfortable, or not. You also want to do more research on international markets and the US market. So for us, we use Market Intelligence and with that we’re able to look at sales numbers in Europe, sales numbers in the United States and market trends as well, and almost across the board, the numbers in the United States completely beat out the numbers in other countries. Now, you have to keep in mind the barriers too. So one of the biggest barriers in the United States is going to be competition. So just because there are a lot of sellers here. There’s a lot of traffic. So obviously if there’s more traffic, there’s going to be more competition. That’s the biggest barrier. And if you’re going international, then some of the biggest barriers are going to be something like language barriers—the copy for your listing—culture barriers—understanding how people are buying, different selling licenses and laws, transferring money back to your home country.
BECCA: On that topic: we have a podcast episode with World First from a couple weeks back that you should go check out. We talk to Lucy Marshall, and she kind of explains who they help Amazon sellers at World First transferring their funds back home.
CAM
If you haven’t listened to that and you’re an international seller, give that a listen. All that being said, there are some barriers to entry to consider, to really consider. And it all depends on what your goals are. Overall, start small, and once you feel confident in your ability to sell, then maybe maybe consider going international. But all that being said there’s still a ton of opportunity here in the United States.
CAM:
Well hey guys that is all for this week. Thank you so much for joining us here this week. Again, I just want to iterate, we really do love hearing from you guys and all of these were questions that we’ve received from you and that we’ve been hearing in the space, and so it’s honestly just really good to hear feedback, but it’s also good to hear questions that you have at the same time. So I’m gonna give our number here. It’s (317) 721-6590. We absolutely would love to have you call in and give any questions or feedback. We would love love love to feature you on the show.
For more insights and reliable information that will help take your business to the next level, subscribe to the podcast and check out the Viral Launch blog at viral-launch.com. And also check out our YouTube channel. We’re really … we’re shooting for a lot of content in 2018. I’ve said this before, but check out our YouTube channel, we’re doing a weekly walkthrough of Product Discovery right now. It’s kind of like a course. And you’ll see those videos. They’re called Fireside Chats. You’ll see those videos under the playlists that we’ve created. And you will also see my face in those.
BECCA:
Don’t forget to rate the show and leave us a review on iTunes. That helps me out with my job. Your feedback helps all of us here at Viral Launch cater our content for you as the listeners and it helps other people find the show as well. We also want to say that we really appreciate everybody who has left a review and has given us feedback so far, and a special thanks to everyone who we featured on the show today who called in with a question.
CAM:
Again, thank you guys so much for listening. We are looking so forward to putting out more content for you. Feel free again to reach out in any way. Until next time remember, the data is out there.