Brand Bidding in Amazon PPC: Why You Should Bid For Your Own Brand

What is Brand bidding in Amazon PPC?

Bidding on branded keywords (your own or your competitor’s) in Amazon Sponsored ads is called brand bidding. It’s common to see this when searching for a brand in Amazon and you see ads from competitors trying to steal some of their customers.

However, one of the most common questions that we get from sellers goes – “I’m already organically ranked number one. Should I still advertise for my own brand keywords on Amazon? Why should I pay for ads if the client is searching directly for me and will buy through my organic listing?”

This is a great question and as a spoiler, we definitely recommend advertising for your own brand on Amazon. We’ll break down all of the reasons why we recommend running ads and how to test the impact of not advertising for your brand if you are dead set against it.

Reason #1: Don’t Allow Competitors to Steal Your Loyal Customers

When someone browsing on Amazon types in a search, they will be shown a list of products which contain both paid and organic listings. Typically the top couple of listings will be Sponsored Product paid ads followed by the top organic listings.

Being familiar with the platform, it’s easy for us to recognize which listings are paid versus organic listings and realize the context of each. While we can easily tell the difference, many Amazon shoppers can’t differentiate between ads and organic listings.

In fact, a survey completed by Goat Consulting on 2000 Amazon customers revealed that about half of all shoppers weren’t aware of the difference between advertising and organic listings. Simply put, many Amazon shoppers don’t even realize that they are being advertised to on Amazon.

I’ve personally encountered this quite a bit when people ask me what I do. After telling them that I help Amazon sellers with their advertising on Amazon, about half the time I get blank stares. I’ll then pull out my phone and have them search for a product on my Amazon app. After completing the search, I’ll point out all the listings that are actually ads which helps to paint the picture on what we do. Many people I talked to simply didn’t even realize they were looking at ads.

Overall, this isn’t an accident that many shoppers don’t recognize what are ads since Amazon has set up their advertising to have the same format as organic listings. By having ads that blend into the page, this can help the shopping experience and also lead to better conversion rates on ads. Better ad conversion rates mean that ads have a better return, advertisers spend more on ads and Amazon makes more money.

As stated above, Sponsored Product ads usually make up at least two of the top spots when users perform a search (Amazon is constantly testing this so some categories may see more or less). Using data directly from Amazon, Search Engine Journal reported that 35 percent of customers click on the first product listing on a page and that the top three product listings account for 64 percent of the clicks. If the top two listings are sponsored product ads, these ads take up a huge amount of the total traffic.

Brand bidding on Amazon PPC

So what’s this all have to do with advertising for your brand?

While you may be the top organic listing, about 50% of shoppers don’t realize the top listings in search results are ads and may assume that the top listing is the top organic ranking. Many will just click the top listing assuming Amazon knows best and purchase that product. If you’re not bidding on your brand keywords, you could lose a number of sales as competitors steal people searching specifically for you.

Reason #2: Brand Bidding is Cheap

If you are not advertising for your own brand, there is potential that your competitors could steal market share by selling to buyers searching directly for you. However, if you advertise for your brand and people click on the ad, then aren’t you giving up profits since you’re having to pay for the ad click along with all of the other Amazon fees?

Yep, and Amazon’s structured it specifically this way. Advertising for your own brand has become a voluntary fee that you get to pay to help protect your brand from competitors trying to steal your market share. Selling on Amazon is expensive but since we have to play in Amazon’s sandbox, they get to set the rules.

However, brand bidding in Amazon PPC isn’t as expensive as it may seem. Amazon is all about the customer experience so when they are deciding what ads to run, the relevancy of the ad is a huge factor. If someone searches for your brand, your ad is going to be much more relevant than a competitor so Amazon allows you to actually pay less than your competitor would need to for the top spot due to the higher relevancy weighting.

Since your customers are searching directly for you, you should have a high conversion rate with your ads so you should expect to see a good return on your advertising. Potentially since many shoppers don’t realize that ads are even being shown on Amazon, we tend to see a great conversion rate on those top ads since the customer assumes that they are the top-ranked products (this is why Top of Search advertising campaigns tend to do really well).

Overall, you’ll be able to pay much less than your competitors to advertise for your own brand (due to higher relevancy) and your ads should also convert much better than your competitors leading to a good return and lower advertising costs.

Reason #3: Organic Rankings Can Be Impacted By Not Advertising Brand Keywords

We’ve covered many of the outside benefits of Amazon Advertising and how this can impact your organic rankings. One of the key factors for ranking for specific search terms is your conversion rate and sales history for the search term.

If your competitor starts converting multiple people who came in search of your brand, it can improve their organic rankings for your brand’s search terms, further diluting your brand on Amazon. Maintaining organic rankings on Amazon is a long-term play and giving up momentum by not running ads can give up ground to your competitors that can be difficult to get back.

If people are specifically searching for your brand in the land of knock-off and cheaper products (which we call Amazon), wouldn’t you want to do everything you can to make sure they stay loyal customers instead of deflecting to your competitors? Running ads to maintain as many spots in the search results is a good way to do so.

Verdict: You Should Be Bidding On Branded Terms

Alright – If you are still not sold on the idea of advertising for your brand, here is a case study done by PPC Hero to show the importance (although it is done on Google Ads, the concept and strategy are still the same).

You can also do an analysis yourself to see if you lose or gain a considerable number of customers to figure out the right strategy. Do a split test where you bid for your branded keywords over a period of two weeks and compare it with the next two week period when these ads are off. Review total sales before and after brand advertising to see if you experience a drop in sales (and if so, how big).

By taking into account the drop in sales compared to the advertising costs you are saving, you can determine from a profit perspective if that was a good strategy. If you are considering not advertising for your brand, also take into account long-term impacts like potentially losing some spots in the organic rankings or having your competitor boost their organic rankings for your brand.

Final Thoughts

Brand bidding in Amazon PPC is a winning strategy for most brands due to all of the benefits above. Yes, it is an extra cost to your Amazon account but the pros definitely outweigh the cons.  Look at it as a necessary investment to build out a long-term business on the platform. In most cases, it will not drain your revenue but will help in protecting your market share and fending off the competition.

If you want more insights on brand bidding or Amazon PPC in general, reach out to us for a free consultation.

 

Amazon Sales Decline – How to Diagnose And Troubleshoot?

Selling on Amazon is getting more competitive with every passing day. Although it is natural to see a bump and slump in every business, you need to be more proactive in monitoring and diagnosing any decline in sales before it costs you a fortune.

Sales are a product of three overarching factors: Traffic, Conversion Rate, and Average Revenue per Order. Any change in sales can be traced back to these three factors. If you are wondering why sales has changed, review each factor, determine what has changed, and then evaluate the drivers of the change. In this blog, we will see how to troubleshoot an Amazon sales decline.

Traffic

Traffic is measured by sessions and the number of visitors you get to your product pages. You can view the sessions for each of your listings under Business Reports in Seller Central.  Fewer sessions mean fewer customers are browsing your products; greater sessions mean more customers are viewing your products.

Conversion Rates

Conversion rate is the percentage of shoppers that make a purchase after viewing your listing. It is measured by Unit Session Percentage (Units sold divided by sessions) and can also be found in your business reports.

Three Categories Of Factors That Influence Traffic And Conversion Rates:

    • External: Out of your control: This includes a lot of factors like seasonality or lower category interest, macro-economic factors, new entrants, competitor listing improvements, their advertising and price changes.
    • Organic: Controllable, intrinsic listing factors: This includes the things that impact your organic sales such as your listing title, bullets, description, product images, back end keywords, reviews and selling price. Shoppers stay on a product detail page only for approximately 30 seconds before they make a decision and move on to the next product. You should be able to impress them with the images and provide ample information about the product to build trust instantly. Also, studies have shown that having Enhanced Brand Content (EBC) or A+ content can boost your sales by up to 30%. Learn how to write good listing content that speaks to your shoppers and can help with your SEO as well.
    • Influenced: Controllable, scalable factors: This includes your onsite and offsite advertising, bids/CPC, discounts, and other promotional activities which you can scale if you wish.
  • Average Revenue Per Order

The average revenue gained per order is a combination of product price and average ordered quantity.  If prices are stable, changes in the average revenue per order may relate to decreases in the average units per order or clients buying a lower proportion of your higher-priced products.

troubleshooting sales decline

How To Troubleshoot Amazon Sales Declines with Advertising?

Poor advertising could also be the reason for lower sessions and conversion rate. To determine this, review period over period changes in clicks and conversion rate to changes in unit session percentage over the same period.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the factors that influence the traffic and conversion rate of your listings also influence the performance of sponsored ads. Since every metric is interdependent and one-factor influences others, it is tedious to do the root cause analysis. However, we have got you covered with some simple solutions to fix the decline in traffic and conversion rate which in turn will help fix the Amazon sales decline.

Traffic

Regardless of which factor (organic, external, or influenced) is affecting sales declines, advertising can be used to increase traffic to your listing. One of the simplest solutions to increase traffic is to increase the budget, expand the targeting mix, increase bids, and increase top of search placement percentages. Increasing paid traffic can help give your listings the boost they need to kick start organic impressions.

Conversion Rate

Advertising conversion rates are typically lower than unit session percentage since organic sales are most often from branded search, direct links, repeat orders, etc. However, if advertising conversion rates are less than 50% of unit session percentage, it may be an indicator that the keyword and product targeting mix is not as relevant as it could be.

This could be due to not bidding branded keywords, bidding irrelevant keywords, and underbidding relevant keywords. You can easily fix this issue by optimizing the keywords and your campaigns with a proper strategy. You can make use of our free PPC tools to help with advertising campaign optimization.

Apart from this, adopting good SEO practices and a customer review management system will help in improving the conversion rate.

If you are still finding it difficult to understand where the problem lies, it is better to have professional help to diagnose and troubleshoot any sales decline before it gets out of your hand. Get in touch with our Amazon PPC experts and have a free consultation to discuss the problems and challenges in your Amazon journey.

The Different Types of Amazon Advertising Managers: Pros And Cons

An Advertising Manager is responsible for managing your advertising campaigns and maximizing your campaign performance to achieve your business targets. With the ever-increasing complexity and competition on the Amazon Advertising Platform, it is tough to keep up with the DIY campaigns as a seller. Outsourcing PPC management to someone who is an expert on the latest features and best practices can give you an advantage over your competition.

A strong Advertising Manager can be a game-changer for your business. However, the biggest challenge lies in identifying the right person or agency. In our previous post, we covered the major red flags to avoid while outsourcing your PPC management. In this post, we’ll go through the different types of Amazon advertising managers you can find and how to sift through the pros and cons of each type of manager.

Option 1: The Independent Freelancer

The first option that you can seek is the independent freelance Advertising Manager to help you with your accounts. This type of support typically consists of one or a couple of people who freelance independently of a larger advertising agency.

Pros:

  • Can provide more personalized approach since your business can be a larger portion of their revenue.
  • Are not set to more rigid campaign structures and could offer higher levels of experimentation.
  • Can be cheaper than the other options

Cons:

  • Typically this type of support has limited tools and can miss out on the opportunity that more sophisticated systems and software could utilize.
  • Can be difficult to find experienced support and may not achieve optimal end results.

Who the independent freelancer is good for?

Finding a lower-cost independent freelancer can be a great option for those just starting out or only selling a couple of products. In these cases, the benefits of using a more experienced agency may not outweigh the extra costs of using these services. This is a great approach to build up your advertising data and then once you’ve grown your ad sales to about $5k-$10k per month, you can invest in one of the other options below.

Where to find them?

The best option we see is to use the freelancer sites like  Upwork, FreeeUp, and Freelancer. Other sources such as LinkedIn or Indeed can provide some good applicants but may take more time to sift through.

Option 2: Amazon PPC Software Company Offering Full Management

The second option includes companies that have built up tools to make it easier for you to personally manage your campaigns but also offer full campaign management at an additional cost. These companies typically allow you to use their dashboards for a lower charge (but you’d have to manage it yourself) or to pay an additional fee to have someone fully manage your campaigns for you on their platform.

Pros:

  • Typically they have well-developed dashboards that you can use to monitor your performance outside of Seller Central.
  • Their tools can allow you to take advantage of some of the more complex aspects of Amazon Advertising and automate different parts of your ad campaigns.
  • The Advertising Manager should already be vetted by these established companies.

Cons:

  • Typically much more expensive support for your campaigns since you’re paying for the platform and the Advertising Manager to get full campaign management separately.
  • Can have a more rigid campaign structure since all capabilities need to fit within the existing platform’s software.
  • Fees are typically variable (based on spend or sales).  As you grow your business, you end up paying more for the same support over time.

Who the PPC software company is good for?

Those that want a very refined dashboard to make changes personally to their campaigns with or without the support of a dedicated account manager will enjoy this option.  If you want full management, you will eventually have to sign up for their management service at an additional cost. Waiting until you have higher ad sales is recommended for full management since costs may be much higher than the benefits for lower volume sellers.

Where to find them?

Established options include Teikametrics, Seller Labs and PPC Scope for full management of your campaigns. Their main offerings include their self-service dashboards but they offer managed services for those seeking full campaign management.

Option 3: Full Service Agency

The third option includes full service agencies who offer a suite of services along with Amazon Advertising management support for their clients. These agencies tend to be much less focused on software development and more focused on personal management.

Pros:

  • Can utilize full account strategies which include your listings, product launches, SEO and advertising as a whole since they are managing it all.
  • Are not set to more rigid campaigns structures and could offer higher levels of experimentation with items like advertising.
  • The Advertising Manager should already be vetted by these established agencies.

Cons:

  • Potential to not get much of your Advertising Manager’s time if they have other larger accounts to manage.
  • May miss out on benefits that those with sophisticated software can capture.
  • Full-service agencies may lack detailed expertise in any one area such as advertising since their efforts are spread throughout the platform.

Who the full service agency is good for?

Those that want a single agency to manage all options within their Amazon account should consider this option. It is recommended for larger sellers due to higher fees and making sure you have a large enough account where you are getting adequate focus from your account manager.

Where to find them?

Full service Amazon agencies include options like Single Grain, Channel Key, and Digital Operative. Google searches can also find local agencies to help you with your full service account management.

Which Category Does Ad Advance Belong To?

At Ad Advance, we’ve taken the approach to bridge the gap to get the benefits of both the Amazon PPC software providers and the full service agencies.

Amazon advertising managers

We’ve built our software systems from the ground up to support expert PPC management for your campaigns instead of trying to reconfigure a general dashboard after the fact.

This allows us to unlock the performance benefits of sophisticated software along with personalized and flexible account management. Since our software can automate a lot of the details, it frees up our time to work directly with you while being able to provide full account management at a great price. Our deep understanding on the Amazon algorithm and various PPC concepts paired with our dynamic platform is a guaranteed recipe to outsell your competition.

How Can We Help You?

We provide end-to-end Amazon PPC management including:

  • Campaign Creation
  • Dedicated Management
  • Bid Optimization
  • Keyword Research
  • Performance Dashboards
  • Weekly Reports

You no longer have to contemplate whether to chose a sophisticated PPC software or a dedicated Advertising Manager – we bring the best of both the worlds.

We’d be happy to provide a free consultation to give you an insight into the health of your current campaigns and walk you through our tools to come up with the right strategy for your business.

Amazon Product Targeting Ads: Another Tool To Increase Market Share

Using Amazon Product Targeting Ads to Expand Market Share

With the increased competition for sellers on Amazon, it can be tough to get all of your targeted customers to navigate directly to your listing. Even if you have the top spot for both paid search and the highest organic listing, a certain percentage of your potential customers will click on one of your competitor’s listings. If those potential customers are on a competitor’s listing, wouldn’t it be ideal if your product could still show up somehow on their listing so you could still make the sale?

Amazon product targeting ads allow us to do exactly that.

The Power of Product Targeting Ads

Product targeting is a specific type of sponsored products advertising which allows us to select specific ASINs that we want our ad to show up for. Shown below are some examples of Product Targeting ads that appeared on a headphone listing. On this specific listing, the Sponsored Products related to this item appear a bit below the main picture and bullets and also appear at the bottom of the listing.

 

Amazon Product targeting adsThese ads can be a great way to increase your market share and draw more of your competitor’s customers over to your products. You know you have a better product than your competitors so you’re also doing your customers a favor by having them buy your superior product. In this case, everyone is happy (maybe except your competitors): you got the sale, the customer got a better product and Amazon made another sale while also getting paid for the click on the ad.

We’ll cover some ways you can use product targeting along with other benefits after we go through how to set up these ads.

How to Run Product Targeting Ads

When Amazon first launched the ability to target other listings with ads, the only way to utilize this feature was through auto campaigns.  This limited our ability to specify which listings were targeted or to assign specific bids for different product targeting. Essentially, it was up to Amazon to choose which listings your ads showed up for and there wasn’t a great way to control them.

Earlier in 2019, Amazon added the ability to create Product Targeting campaigns. These are very similar to manual keyword targeting campaigns but instead of targeting a specific search term, we can now target the ASINs of competitors. The product targeting campaigns also have other capabilities such as targeting specific categories or products with a star rating below a certain value.

This greatly expanded our control and how we’re able to utilize product targeting in our Amazon sponsored products campaigns. We can now select specific products to target and set bids to meet our goals on overall returns, market share expansion or whatever strategy we’re utilizing.

To create product targeting ads, you can utilize your existing manual campaigns or you can also create new ones. If you’re using an existing campaign, you’ll need to create a new adgroup since we can’t combine both keyword targeting and product targeting in the same adgroup. When you’re setting up the new adgroup, make sure to select “Product Targeting” in the Targeting section of the adgroup setup page.

Amazon Product targetingAfter creating the adgroup, you can now select any ASIN’s to target to add them to your campaigns. Amazon will give you some recommendations on what products to target. You can also search for individual ASINs or add in multiple at once in a comma-separated list.

Which Products Should I Target?

When determining what products you should target, if you already have auto campaigns running, you have a huge head start. Amazon will typically run product targeting campaigns for you in your auto campaign. You can see what listings your ads have already run on using your Search Term report.  To show just product targeting terms in the Search Term report, filter the customer search terms to only include rows that start with “b0”. You can then determine which of the ASINs in the list have performed well and then move them into your manual product targeting adgroup.

Product targeting gives you more options to target users based on various criteria:

Product targeting options

To save you some time and effort, we’ve created a free targeting funnel tool which will automatically determine what ASINs to add to your product targeting campaigns.

To identify other products that may be good to target, you can specify targets of the following two types:

Close Competitors: These are the ASINs that are your direct competitors. For example, if you sell headphones, these are other types of headphone listings. For these product targets, our key goal is to get customers to purchase your products over your competitors and win market share.

Related or Complimentary Products: These are other products that they may purchase along with your products. For example, if your headphones are typically used by athletes, you could target athletic products from sports watches to running shoes. Just realize that the more unrelated the product is, the lower your click-through-rate and conversion rate will be (which can increase what you need to bid for these ads to be shown).

To get other ideas on what would be good complementary products to include, you can review the “Frequently bought together” section of your or your competitor’s listings.

Next Steps: Bidding and Optimization

After adding the ASINs you’d like to target, you can specify the bids for each of the terms. Optimization of bidding for product targeting is an iterative process and takes the same approach that we’ve used for keyword targeting bidding.

How Ad Advance Can Help You?

Product targeting opens up a whole new world of targeting options to increase your market share and crush your competition. However, it is as complex and competitive as keyword targeting when it comes to bidding. To help you make sure you’ve got the best bids setup for each of your product targets, we have launched this free bidding optimization tool to help.

If you’d like us to take care of this for you, our ASIN Locator module will continually search for and add your competitor ASINs to target in your product targeting campaigns.

Want to make sure you’re utilizing product targeting to its full potential to maximize market share and win more sales?  We’ll do a free campaign review for you where we can review your product targeting campaigns and find your biggest areas for improvement.

 

Product Listing Optimization Best Practices For Amazon SEO And PPC

Ranking well in Amazon’s search engine algorithm is incredibly important for sellers and having a good product listing is the first step towards achieving success on the platform. Product listing optimization is done partly for our customers and partly for the algorithm, in a way where it works positively towards boosting your Amazon SEO and organic rankings.

Great listing titles don’t just entice shoppers to click-through and purchase, they are also incredibly important for Amazon SEO. With a well-founded strategy, sellers will benefit from better organic ranking, sales, and advertising results.

In this article, we’ll go through the rules and best practices for creating winning product titles and bullet points including how these can impact your Amazon advertising.

Product Title Must-Haves

In the past, having poor listing text would result in poor click-through and conversion rates. While that still holds true, Amazon also rolled out new updates to their title guidelines that will make non-compliant product titles nearly impossible to find in search results. Overall, the implications of poor listing text have escalated from sub-par results and lost potential to absolutely no results at all.

Before discussing what elements your product titles should have, we need to explain what your titles must-have. The following are requirements set forth by Amazon, and ignoring them could kill your listing’s SEO.

  • Capitalization
    • Capitalize the first letter of each word.
    • Do not use ALL CAPS.
    • Conjunctions (and, or, for) and articles (the, a, an) should not be capitalized.
    • Don’t capitalize prepositions with fewer than five letters (in, on, over, with).
  • Numbers and symbols
    • Use numerals (“2” instead of “two”)
    • Spell out measurements ( “6 inches” not “6”” )
    • Don’t use symbols, such as ~ ! * $ ? _ ~ { } [ ] # < > | * ; / ^ ¬ ¦
    • Don’t use Type 1 High ASCII characters (Æ, ©, ô, etc.)
  • Product information
    • Include relevant product information such as type of product.
    • Include the size and color in child ASINs for variations (see below).
    • Don’t include the price or promotional messages, such as “sale” or “free shipping”.
    • Don’t use subjective commentary, such as “Hot Item” or “Best Seller”.
    • Your merchant name for Brand or Manufacturer information should not be included unless your product is Private Label.

Product Title Best Practices For SEO

Generally, Amazon wants products to match the formula of ‘Brand + Model + Product Type’. For example, a listing title for a pencil may be: ‘Dixon Ticonderoga #2 Pencil’. With the concise title above, the product is really only in a position to index for the branded traffic (ignoring product description and other text-based listing fields). Since we are able to utilize up to 200 characters in the listing title, we likely want to expand upon that for SEO and alignment with how customers search.

Aligning your listing titles in a more logical manner with how customers search in Amazon is one of the most important aspects of SEO. For example, if we are selling a pink #2 pencil, we would definitely want to include the color in the listing title – it is a unique attribute and we want to encourage traffic from shoppers interested in pink pencils while weeding out shoppers interested in standard yellow pencils. In such a case, we may update the listing title to the following: ‘Dixon Ticonderoga #2 Pencil, Pink’.

One of the best sources of information to use in your listings are advertising Search Term Reports. If you are running sponsored products ads, pull a search term report and sort by sales high to low. Examine the search terms with the highest sales, conversion rates, and click-through rates (CTR). Your ad data gives real visibility into what customers search when they buy your products. This data can be a gold mine for SEO.

Other Product Title Best Practices:

  • Include the highest priority keywords at the beginning of the title (if possible, from actual search data); Keywords in your title have a large effect on Amazon SEO and customer click-through rate
  • Don’t over-stuff keywords. Your title should include the most relevant keywords that you want to rank for, not a string of loosely related keywords. Favor quality over quantity and readability.
  • Include 1+ key benefit(s) or differentiator(s)
  • If for a specific audience, make sure to include it (e.g. for babies, for dogs, for kids, for women, etc.)

Bullet Point Overview

Much like the listing title, bullet points (or key product features) are very important for Amazon SEO. That is, the curated selection of keywords you use in your bullets will be used for matching shopper searches to listing text and having the products display in search results.

Your bullet points come into play after shoppers have already clicked your listing and are viewing your product detail page. Therefore, bullet points also need to convince shoppers already viewing your product page to move forward with the purchase. Use bullet points to communicate important and unique product features and to inform customers what they are purchasing.

In summary, bullet points are used to help shoppers find your products (SEO) and entice shoppers to buy the product once they click through to the product detail page.

Bullet Point Best Practices For SEO

As with product titles, there are guidelines, Amazon recommendations, and industry best practices when it comes to listing bullet points as well. In the spirit of the topic, here are each broken out as bullet points:

Amazon Guidelines

  • Measurements should be formatted like “Measures 16 by 12-1/2 by 4 inches”
  • Never abbreviate, unless it is a common industry acronym that is never spelled out
  • Don’t use symbols (like the TM symbol)
  • Always use numerals instead of spelled-out numbers

Amazon Recommended Format

  • General product description
  • Materials and construction
  • Details on the most important feature(s)
  • Details on other important feature(s)
  • Dimensions

Industry Best Practices For Good Amazon SEO

  • Relay the most important aspects of the product
    • What’s included?
    • Material & construction
    • Major features and benefits
    • Uses and users
    • Warranty
  • It’s what you say and how you say it
    • For SEO, utilize high value, searchable keywords, and synonyms
    • For SEO, avoid redundant keywords since you won’t index better by repeating keywords
    • Always utilize actual customer search data when available while selecting keywords
  • List bullets in order of importance – shoppers have short attention spans
  • Think from the shopper’s perspective
    • What should I know about the product?
    • What reservations could I have? This is where you satisfy that concern and convert to a positive
  • In some cases, you may need to say what the product isn’t
    • If you have high return rates, you may need to clarify what the product isn’t
    • If there are uses that are incompatible or items the product doesn’t include, you may need to list it in your bullet points to reduce shopper confusion
    • Remember – returns are a leading indicator for poor reviews!

Advertising Implications of Product Listing Optimization

At Ad Advance, we only do one thing – Amazon advertising – and we do it extremely well. Since we don’t optimize listings, you may be asking why we are writing an article about product titles and bullet points. Apart from wanting to help as many sellers see success as possible, listing quality has large implications for advertising success. Listing text affects advertising outcomes to a very large extent – partly due to Amazon SEO and relevancy algorithms (related to this topic, you can also review our article on how your listing conversion rate can impact your advertising performance).

When bidding keywords in Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands, Amazon runs a relevancy test before inviting ads to auction. Its algorithms match customer search terms to keywords being bid. Then it determines if the ad bidding the keyword is relevant and invites the most relevant products to the auction.

Listing text alignment to the keyword and customer search term are one of the most important aspects of passing the relevancy test and getting invited to auction. With poorly constructed listings, we could be bidding 10x the market rate, but Amazon may choose to exclude the ads from auction simply due to the listing text missing critical elements. In such a case, listing deficiencies could eliminate our ability to advertise the most relevant keywords for that product.

Amazon SEO

Beyond Amazon’s relevancy algorithms, listing titles can have huge implications for advertising success simply based on how closely customer search terms align with the listing title. When someone searches for ‘Pink #2 Pencil’ and my listing title has that exact string in the first 5-8 words, the likelihood of getting a click and conversion increases dramatically. Remember, shoppers only look at products in search results for a fraction of a second, so when their search string matches a portion of the listing title closely, they are far more likely to click-through.

Summary

Amazon SEO and PPC go hand-in-hand in improving your sales. Product titles and bullets not only affect the organic ranking but they also have a huge impact on the ads receiving impressions and the overall advertising performance. Click-through rates and conversion rates improve when the listing titles align with customer search queries, which nets better advertising results and organic rankings.

It is imperative to complete product listing optimization with the top-performing keywords and we recommend taking advantage of the actual search term report from your sponsored ads to make the most out of it. By leveraging this data in listing text, sellers can drastically improve their Amazon SEO in terms of both advertising and organic performance.

If you’ve already got it covered with good quality listings and want to fully take advantage of this using advertising, we are here to help you with Amazon PPC. Schedule a free consultation with our PPC experts and we can help to take your business to the next level.

Outsourcing Amazon PPC Management – Four Red Flags To Avoid

Things To Consider While Outsourcing Amazon PPC Management

As an Amazon seller, there are so many competing priorities to take care of that eat up all your time: working with suppliers, managing inventory levels, responding to customer messages, updating listings, reviewing the competition, and keeping track of financials and new product development (just to name a few…). Add Amazon Advertising management on top of it, and this can be a tough list for anyone to keep track of. Hiring an expert and outsourcing your Amazon PPC management can be a great way to instantly get some of that time back to invest in the rest of your business.

While all of the new features that Amazon Advertising has released allow much more control of your ads, it’s also become more complex and time-consuming to manage. Also, if you’re not utilizing these new features, you can be sure that your competitors will be. Bringing in a PPC expert can be a great step forward to your business but how do you find the right support?

In this first part of the two-part series, we’ll break down some key questions you should ask when interviewing potential PPC expert for your campaigns and the major red flags which you need to look out for.

Red Flag #1: Over Promising on Results

The first red flag to look out for is probably the most common that we’ve seen. Amazon advertising can provide a great boost for your business but if the results they say they can achieve seem too good to be true, they probably are.

While your advertising manager will have a good amount of control over your ads, there are several things that they can’t control. The market sets the pricing for how much you have to pay per click for a certain keyword and your product listing helps convert those who click on the ad into sales. These major metrics cannot be directly controlled with your ads which have impacts on overall performance.

Another thing to keep in mind is that for well-controlled campaigns, your target ACOS and ad sales are negatively correlated which we’ve gone into more detail here. This means that if you increase your ACOS target, you can bid more for keywords which means you’ll get more clicks and increase your ad sales. Decrease your ACOS target and bids have to be cut back which will decrease your ads sales overall.

Your advertising manager can have a major impact on your ad performance but if they are promising huge ad sales gains while also promising major reductions in ACOS, this should raise further questions on how they plan to achieve it. If your current monthly ad sales are $10k per month at a 50% ACOS, an ad manager who promises to quadruple ad sales to $40k while also cutting your ACOS in half should raise a number of red flags.

Unless your ads are not being utilized at all or are horribly managed from the start, achieving these results is going to be difficult, to say the least, and no professional ad manager would promise these results.

Can results like I listed above be achieved? Absolutely. We’ve had a number of cases where we’ve greatly exceeded the cases above but to cherry-pick some of our most amazing cases and promise that for every new client would be reckless and dishonest.

In summary, if your ad manager promises huge ad sales gains along with huge reductions in ACOS, they should be able to point out major deficiencies with your current advertising strategy. If they can’t do this and just give typical responses on general strategy, they either don’t know what they are talking about or they aren’t being upfront with you. Either option should immediately disqualify them from managing a major part of your business.

Red Flag #2: They Promise Results or Recommend Changes Without Reviewing Your Account

The next red flag to look out for when outsourcing your Amazon PPC management is when they promise results or recommend changes to your campaigns without ever actually reviewing your account or campaigns.

A common initial question we get from sellers usually goes like this:

“My ads are currently doing $10k a month in ads sales at an ACOS of 50%. How much can you improve ad sales/decrease ACOS?”

This is impossible to answer without more information.

The campaigns could be completely optimized using every trick in the books or could be in horrible shape.  The products could be seasonal and on a typical downslope is overall sales. They could have just received a number of negative reviews lately which killed conversion or they could have just launched an awesome new product which will skyrocket sales.

The point is that without this bigger picture of the business, it’s impossible to give a good estimation on what’s possible for your advertising metrics going forward. If someone provides you expected results without any review, the numbers are meaningless.

Also, if they recommend changes to your strategy or campaigns without reviewing your current campaigns, I’d really question it. How do they know that your campaigns aren’t already fully optimized and the key reason for the poor ad metrics is due to low listing conversion rates instead of your ad strategy?

If someone provides you expected results or recommended changes without ever requesting to see the data or account, they are just guessing and trying to sell you which should be a major red flag. In the least, discount any information that they recommend until they have a chance to actually review the account.

Red Flag #3: They Can’t Easily Explain Basic PPC Terms or Concepts

This is an easy one to use to test the technical ability and knowledge of your PPC manager during the interview. Pick a couple of terms from our glossary and ask them to explain the concept.

A knowledgable PPC expert should be able to easily explain these concepts or metrics back to you. If they are a calculated figure like conversion rate or ACOS, they should be able to quickly tell you how these are calculated.

If they struggle explaining these basic concepts during the interview, it should be a major red flag that you will want to find better support for your campaigns.

Red Flag #4: They Make All Moves Manually in Seller/Vendor Central

This one may be a bit controversial so I’ll add in this qualification: If you are just starting out or only have a couple of products in your seller account, there is nothing wrong with making all moves manually in Seller or Vendor Central.

That being said, when you’re looking for a good advertising manager, if they aren’t using any tools to make changes in the system, this should be a big red flag.

Back in the good old days, we could just kick off some auto campaigns which would perform great without any optimization. Amazon didn’t have many features that we could implement and the basics did pretty well.

Unfortunately, those good old days are gone. The platform has become very competitive due to the numerous benefits of Amazon ads requiring more advanced techniques. Also, Amazon has launched a number of new features which is great to give us more control but also adds to the complexity of your campaign management. Be assured that if you aren’t using the advanced features of ads, your competitors are.

Putting it all together, your ad manager should at least be very experienced using bulk files which allows them to make multiple changes at once. Especially if you’re paying hourly for your support, someone who makes all these moves manually are being very inefficient compared to using bulk files.

The ideal scenario for you is if your ad manager uses third party tools or have developed their own software to make these bulk moves. With the increased complexity and competition, these tools can provide bidding automation, automated keyword funnels, etc. If you want to make sure you’re getting the most from your ad manager, they should have the expertise along with sophisticated tools to optimize your campaigns.

Overall, if you ask your PPC management team what tools they use to manage your campaigns and they reply back that they do it all manually in Seller Central, it should be a major red flag. If they aren’t at least very familiar and comfortable with using bulk files, I’d move on in the job search.

In Summary:

Move on if you experience any of the key red flags stated above while looking to outsource Amazon PPC management. In short, you should look for an ad manager with the following qualities to help manage your campaigns effectively:

  1. Someone who thoroughly analyses your account, current campaigns, budget, margin, sales target, and business goals before recommending any suggestions for improvement.
  2. Someone well-versed with the Amazon PPC terms or concepts, and able to set up and optimize different types of campaigns.
  3. One who is proficient with PPC tools and are at least experienced in handling bulk files.
  4. And finally, transparency and integrity – since your account manager can make it or break it for you.

If you are on the lookout for an agency like that with a proven track record of success, we at Ad Advance are your best fit.

Outsource your PPC management to us – We do it all and we do it well!
Schedule a call with us for a free consultation to review your current campaigns and discuss the areas for improvement.

Amazon Advertising Strategy – How To Troubleshoot High ACoS?

Is Your ACoS Too High? Your Amazon Advertising Strategy May Not Be At Fault!

As Amazon Advertising continues to get more competitive, drawing out a good PPC strategy and achieving profitable ACoS has become more challenging. More people advertising on the platform means that those high performing keywords are getting bid up leading to lower returns for everyone. Amazon loves this since they make more money per click but as a seller, this adds to the ever-increasing costs of selling on Amazon.

In our previous article, we have covered how ACoS is calculated and how to determine the ideal target based on your objectives and profit margins for your products. In this blog, we will be giving you a gist of Advanced Amazon PPC strategies and how to arrive at a sweet spot for bidding.

The Most Common Problem Faced By Sellers:

Once the campaign is set, a common situation we see is getting into a never-ending cycle of adjusting the bids and trying various ad placements to get a good ACoS. To get impressions and clicks, bids need to be increased to high levels which leads to a high ACoS. When bids are reduced back to a point where they would be profitable, they no longer get impressions and clicks. At this point, many sellers declare that “Amazon Advertising doesn’t work” and give up on the PPC strategy.

Good News! You Can Really Bid High While Keeping Your Amazon Advertising Costs Low
Amazon advertising strategy for high acos
Determine the Maximum You Can Pay Per Click

To determine the reason for your high ACoS, we can use the following formula to determine what the issue is and how we can fix it.

This formula is best-applied product by product if you’re having issues with specific products or can be applied overall for your account (though this approach is less accurate).

Pro Tip: ACoS is inversely proportional to Conversion Rate and Average Sales per Order

If you’re advertising now, you can pull this information from an Advertised Product Report located in Seller Central’s Campaign Manager. Choosing a reporting period of 30 days should be adequate for what we need. In the report, choose a product that you’re having trouble with and copy down the 7-day conversion rate. To calculate your average sales price, you can take your 7-day total sales value divided by the 7-day orders.

If you’re not currently advertising, you can get this information from your Business Reports by selecting the “By ASIN – Detail Page Sales and Traffic” report which includes your organic listing stats.

As an example, we can use a product that had ad sales of $1000, 50 orders and a conversion rate of 10%. Our average sales per order is $1000 / 50 = $20 and we can also say that the ACoS target for this product is 20%. Using the formula above, the average price per click we could pay would be the following:

Average We Can Pay Per Click = 0.10 (10% Conversion) * $20 * 0.2 (20% ACoS) = $0.40 per click

What You Can Pay and What Amazon Says You Need to Pay

Now that we’ve calculated the average you can pay per click, we can use Amazon’s recommended bid values to get a good idea on how to plan your Amazon Advertising strategy and what the market requires to show your ads. While we could go much further into how Amazon chooses (like the relevancy weighting which is covered here), at a high-level Amazon picks which ads to show based on an auction that goes on in the background.

Since your competition sets the price of what you need to bid on certain keywords, if you don’t at least match their bid (assuming other factors such as relevancy are the same), your ads will not get shown. To get a good idea on what we’d need to bid for keywords to get impressions, we can use Amazon’s recommended bids.

If you have campaigns running, Amazon will give you a suggested bid along with a high and low range for your Adgroup default bids (typically for auto campaigns) or for your keywords in manual campaigns. If the average you can pay per click is lower than the recommended bid, then you can expect to see reduced impressions from that campaign. If the average you can pay per click is lower than the low bid range, then you may have trouble getting any impressions for your ads as others will outbid you and get their ads shown.

Amazon Conversion and Impact to ACoS

Going back to our example, we calculated that we could pay an average of $0.40 per click to maintain an ACoS of 20%. Let’s say that the recommended bid for a keyword we are targeting is listed at $0.80 with a range of $0.60 – $1.20 per click. Since we’d have to set our bid a lot lower than the recommended bids, it’s highly likely that we’ll get outbid by competitors and our ads will not be shown.

Since the bid range is set by what the competition is bidding, you may ask yourself how are they able to bid higher when you can’t.  Your competitors either have higher average sales per order, a higher conversion rate or are accepting a higher ACoS to bid in the recommended range.

So to counteract this and get our ads shown, we have to figure out a way to be able to increase the average price we can pay per click. Let’s go back to the formula:

To increase the amount that we can pay per click, we have to raise one, if not multiple items on the right-hand side of the equation. Let’s go through each one by one.

Increase Your Amazon Conversion Rate

Your listing conversion rate is critical to your success on Amazon advertising. High conversion rates allow you to outbid your competition in advertising, gives you higher relevancy which helps your ads get shown more and also boosts your organic rankings. This leads to a key point:

If you have poor conversion rates for your products, even the best-run ad campaigns will lead to poor results.  

To improve the conversion rates for your ads, there are two areas that you should focus on:

  1. Implement a comprehensive PPC strategy to drive traffic to your best performing keywords while cutting out the poor performers. Relevant keywords will convert better and we want to drive traffic through these ads to our products. See our guide for Amazon Ad optimization for more details on this.
  2. Optimize your listings to convert those who visit your listings into buyers. Tweaking and improving your title, pictures, bullets, descriptions and getting good reviews will all lead to higher conversion rates. You can also decrease your sales price to increase conversion rate but increases in conversion rate can be offset by the decrease in the average sales per order.

Using the example above, say we were able to get a 5% boost in our advertising conversion rate from executing a well-run PPC strategy. Also, after optimizing our listings, we were able to get another 5% conversion increase pushing the total conversion rate up to 20%. Now we can pay:

Average We Can Pay Per Click = 0.2 (20% conversion) * $20 * 0.2 (20% ACoS) = $0.80 per click

Since we can now bid the recommended bid of $0.80 per click, we can expect impressions to increase significantly for our ads while still keeping within our 20% ACoS target.

Increase Your Average Sales Price

The next strategy you can implement to increase the price you can spend per click is to increase your average sales price per order. To implement this strategy, you can either increase the price of your product or incentivize people to purchase multiple units per order. We’ll review each option:

  1. Increase the price of your products – This strategy will have a direct impact on increasing the average sales per order but can also cause your conversion rate to decrease which could offset any gains. If you take this strategy, make sure to monitor your conversion rate to see how much it is impacted after increasing price.
  2. Incentivize your customers to purchase multiple units per order – If you can get people to buy multiple items per order, you will increase your average sales per order. To do this, you can add in quantity discounts or offer promotions if multiple products are purchased at a time.

This typically has the smallest impact on how much you can pay per click but if you are able to increase your price without significantly impacting your conversion rate, this is a big win for both ads and your profit margins.

Let’s say you were able to increase your average sales per order from $20 to $22 without impacting your conversion rate. This would increase the average you could pay per click to:

Average We Can Pay Per Click = 0.2 (20% conversion) * $22 * 0.2 (20% ACoS) = $0.88 per click

Increase Your ACoS Target

After working to increase your conversion rate and average sales per order, the last knob available is to accept a higher ACoS for your products. Amazon advertising has multiple benefits for your account, so even if you’re not making profits on your ads, they could provide other outside benefits like helping organic rankings and increasing the number of reviews you get. In some instances, it actually makes sense to take a loss on your advertising due to these other benefits.

Let’s say that after reviewing, you are comfortable in increasing your ACoS target from 20% to 30%. While your profit from ads will decrease, you feel the increased sales will help to boost your organic rankings leading to more sales overall. With the increase in ACoS target, we can now pay:

Average We Can Pay Per Click = 0.2 (20% conversion) * $22 * 0.3 (30% ACoS) = $1.32 per click

Outbid your Competition To Take Advantage of Amazon Advertising Benefits

Since the original recommended bid was $0.80 with a range of $0.60 – $1.20, now that we can pay up to $1.32 we can expect to have our ads consistently shown for our target keywords. This will increase impressions, clicks, and sales for these keywords which can also help our organic rankings.

As sales increase, reviews could also increase leading to even better conversion rates. Better conversion rates mean better organic rankings and also allows us to either decrease our ACoS target back down or to increase our bids again to get even more sales through ads.

In the beginning, we went from not being able to bid within the recommended range to being able to outbid the competition. While this is an ideal scenario where we can increase all aspects, it should give you a good idea on what to focus on to improve your performance on Amazon PPC.

Bottom Line

Phew! If you feel that is a lot of information to process and that Amazon PPC is super overwhelming, you are not alone! We are here to take it off your plate effortlessly. At Ad Advance, we analyze your business thoroughly and sketch out a winning Amazon Advertising strategy. With our proven track record of campaign optimization and robust automation software, we can beat the competitors and stay ahead in the game.

Feel free to use our Campaign Review tool to get a health report on your current campaigns and recommendations for areas of improvement.

Amazon Negative Keywords – How To Add Them In Your PPC Ads?

What Are Amazon Negative Keywords?

Negative Keywords are the words or phrases for which you do not want your Amazon sponsored ads to appear on the search results page. Adding keywords in the Negative targeting list is a way to tell Amazon to stop displaying your ads when a buyer searches with those search terms. Negative keywords help the sellers to refine their target audience and to improve their ACoS by cutting down the amount spent on unnecessary clicks. In short, adding Negative Keywords is critical for the success of your PPC Ads.

In our previous blog, we provided a complete guide on Negative keywords for Amazon PPC, their benefits and how to identify the right keywords. In this blog, we will help you learn how to add those keywords in your campaigns or Ad groups.

How to Add Amazon Negative Keywords in Seller Central or the Advertising Console

Adding negative keywords can be done using the Campaign Manager interface in Seller/Vendor Central and the Advertising Console or through bulk operations.

  1. To add negatives in the ad console, go to Advertising, then Campaign manager
  2. Click the campaign you wish to add negatives to
  3. If adding campaign negatives, click the ‘Negative Keywords’ tab at the top. For ad groups, click the campaign, then click the desired ad group
  4. Click the ‘Negative Keywords’ tab
  5. Click ‘Add negative keywords’ and choose the desired match type (negative phrase or negative exact)
  6. Finally, enter or paste the list of negative keywords you wish to add
  7. Click ‘Add keywords’
  8. Click save

Adding Amazon Negative KeywordsHow to Add Amazon Negative Keywords using Bulk Operations?

Negative keywords can easily be added to campaigns or ad groups using bulk operations, which makes the process more efficient when several are to be added. To add negative keywords via bulk operations:

  1. Go to ‘Campaign Manager’, click on the ‘Bulk Operations’ tab, and download a bulk file (I recommend a 60-day duration, excluding campaign items with zero impressions).
  2. Download the file and open it in a spreadsheet.
  3. If you have a list of keywords you would like to set to negative, you can filter by ‘Record Type’ on ‘Ad Group’ and copy all data and headers into a new tab (then delete the other tabs). You now have a list of all campaigns and ad groups.
  4. Find the ad groups you want to add the negatives to and delete any of the other rows from the spreadsheet (except the header row).
  5. Delete all the columns- except Campaign, Ad group, Keyword or Product Targeting, Match Type, Status.
  6. Add the Negative Keywords to the ‘Keyword or Product Targeting’ fields.
  7. Add a status of ‘Enabled’ to the status field, and add ‘Negative Phrase’ or ‘Negative Exact’ to each ‘Match type’ field (if adding campaign negatives, clear the contents of Ad group and add Campaign in front of the Negative match type). See Screen Capture below for an example.
  8. Save the file and navigate back to the Bulk Operations tab on Amazon.
  9. Click the ‘Choose File’ button and upload the file to Amazon. Click the ‘Process changes’ button.
  10. After your changes have processed, the ‘Uploads’ section will tell you whether the upload went fine or resulted in an error.

Here is an example of the Bulk file:

Pro Tip: Remove all the rows that do not contain any updates to reduce the processing time. Save your file before uploading it on Amazon.

Refine Your Ads And Reduce The Cost

Negative keywords are often overlooked and underestimated. However, if used wisely they can prove to be powerful in reducing the ACoS to a great extent. Learn more on Amazon Negative Keywords in our complete guide to Negative Keyword post and use our free tool to get superior recommendations in determining what negative keywords to add.

Sign up with Ad Advance for a free review of your Amazon campaigns and improve your ACoS with our cutting edge automation tool and smart PPC experts.

How To Use Negative Keywords For Deduplication in Amazon PPC?

We have had a detailed study on what Amazon Negative keywords are, what are their benefits, and how to add them in your campaigns in our previous posts. In this third part, we will move to a more advanced concept, which is worth highlighting since it is a best practice. If you don’t segregate broad/phrase and exact match types (which you totally should), feel free to skip this post. This section explains how to use negative keywords for deduplication in Amazon PPC and give yourself a better dataset to work with.

What is Deduplication?

Deduplication is the process of preventing the same keywords from competing with each other in different (yet similar) ad groups. If you are bidding on the same keywords in different ad groups, both will enter the same auction and potentially split the impressions between the two keywords.  Since concentrating the data on a single keyword allows us to make better decisions for our bidding, deduplication can help make sure we have solid campaign structures to get the most out of our data.

We recommend structuring campaigns to segregate broad/phrase and exact keywords into separate campaigns or ad groups. Broad and phrase keywords are often tied to a wide array of customer search terms. As such, keyword performance ties to the performance of all underlying search terms that trigger an impression. Since you bid at the keyword level, bidding is based on the overall blended performance of a keyword, which likely has performance disparities across the underlying search terms.

In contrast, exact match keywords trigger an impression when the customer search query and keyword match exactly. Exact match keywords can be controlled with more precision since bids only apply to a single record. As such, moving converting search terms stemming from broad/phrase match keywords into exact match campaigns increases your control. Refer to our post on Keyword Funnel for more information on this.

How to Use Negative Keywords For Deduplication?

When you move converting search terms into your exact match campaigns, you should be setting negative exact match keywords in your broad/phrase campaigns for the new exact match keywords. You may be thinking, “but the exact match keyword I added has performed so well in the broad/phrase campaign..” Fair point, but don’t sweat it. If ACoS was favorable, you should have bid it higher than the CPC it generated and likely higher than the bid used for the broad/phrase match keyword it stemmed from — it should net more click volume in the exact campaign.

Deduplication using negative keywordsThe point of using negative exact keywords for deduplication is to avoid split impressions between identical campaigns/ad groups. Optimizing performance requires data, and splitting data across multiple records means fewer data to work with for a given record. That leaves you with less to work with and compromises your ability to get the most out of your campaigns. Using negative exact matches to deduplicate keywords gives you more data and more control, both of which will result in improved performance.

Summary

Removing duplicate keywords should be a routine task if you have multiple ad groups running for different match types. Make it a point to check your search term report periodically and take some executive decisions by moving the top-performing keywords down the funnel to refine and optimize your campaigns. While moving the keywords from one match type to another, make sure to set a Negative exact keyword to deduplicate the records.

If you find it too complex to understand, we, at Ad Advance are here to provide you strategic solutions. Feel free to reach out to our team for a free consultation.

Negative Keywords For Amazon PPC: Everything You Need To Know!

Negative Keywords for Positive Amazon PPC Outcomes

Most sellers understand the importance of identifying relevant keywords, but many fail to identify irrelevant keywords, which is nearly as important for achieving positive advertising outcomes. We have compiled a three-part series on Negative keywords for Amazon PPC to provide you a complete guide on the following topics:

  1. What are the Negative Keywords? How to pick them and use them to improve your Advertising performance?
  2. How to add these Negative Keywords in your Amazon campaign?
  3. How to use Negative keywords to De-duplicate records?

Let us start from the very basics and hit the advanced level on all things negative keywords by the end of this series.

What Are Amazon Negative Keywords?

Negative keywords are used to prevent Amazon sponsored ads from appearing in specific search results. When customer searches include negative match keywords, ads are not shown for that search. By adding irrelevant or poor-performing terms as negative match keywords, sellers can improve their search relevancy and generate more clicks from high intent shoppers.

Why wouldn’t I want my ads to be displayed? I want my products in front of as many shoppers as possible!

The answer is simple: Not every keyword is going to be profitable. Why waste money on keywords that won’t convert when that spend could be used to increase placement for profitable keywords or to bid new keywords that will net larger returns?

When utilizing broad or phrase match keywords, sellers can easily tag on descriptors irrelevant to your products. For example, if I am selling a heavy-duty canvas apron used for woodworking, I may wish to bid on the keyword ‘canvas apron’. Though the keyword is relevant, my ad is going to be displayed to shoppers searching for cooking, baking, and grilling canvas aprons. When clicked, these keywords will not convert well since my product is purpose-built for woodworking. By setting negative keywords for cooking, baking, kitchen, and grilling I can eliminate these keywords from triggering impressions and wasting spend.

Benefits of Negative Keywords For Amazon PPC:

  • Bidding on short-tail keywords becomes feasible.
  • Allows more aggressive bidding for top-performing keywords since click-through, conversion rate and ACoS will be more favorable.
  • Helps eliminate keywords with low click-through-rate: an important factor that determines ad placement (in addition to bid, conversion, sales velocity, etc.).
  • Helps improve ranking, sales, and profitability.

Locations & Match Types

Negative keywords can be added to either campaigns or ad groups. Campaign negative keywords apply to all ad groups nested within the campaign, whereas ad group negative keywords apply to only that ad group. As a general rule, plan on adding negative keywords to ad groups over campaigns.

Negative keywords can have either a negative exact or negative phrase match type. The negative exact match does not allow ads to display when the customer search query matches the negative keyword exactly. Negative phrase keywords eliminate impressions for customer search queries that have the keyword string somewhere in the search string. Negative phrase keywords are far more restrictive than negative exact and are used less frequently, though they certainly have their place.

Note: Negatives can only be added for keywords, and not for product/category targeting.

How To Select Negative Keywords?

Data makes decisions easier. At Ad Advance, we recommend running the campaigns for around 2-4 weeks before adding negative keywords. By doing so, you can utilize actual reports to make data-driven decisions. However, when launching new campaigns, you may already have an idea of specific keywords you wish to exclude from search.

When adding negatives based on intuition, you run the risk of eliminating profitable keywords. Preemptive negatives have their place but just don’t go overboard. In the example earlier in this article, we were targeting the keyword ‘canvas apron’ for a woodworking apron and wished to avoid any cooking-related keywords. In such an instance, you may wish to set negative phrase matches for keywords like cooking, grilling, or baking, or you may wish to set negative match keywords for canvas apron for cooking, canvas apron for baking, or grilling canvas apron. Setting these negatives based on intuition may save some unproductive spend since they aren’t relevant to the product.

There is no use in setting negative keywords preemptively if Amazon isn’t serving you impressions for irrelevant keywords. For example, I wouldn’t set ‘dog’ as a negative phrase keyword for the canvas apron, since I don’t expect customers to be searching ‘canvas aprons for dogs’. Rather than spending time trying to come up with a list of potential irrelevant keywords, let campaigns run for a few weeks and then check actual search data to see if any irrelevant keywords are generating impressions.

The best way to find potential negative keywords is by utilizing a Search Term Report. This report shows all customer search terms that received an impression and their associated metrics. By filtering on various performance criteria, we can come up with a list of negative keywords.

To download and filter a Search Term Report, use the following instructions:

  1. Log in to Seller Central or the Advertising Console.
  2. Click the ‘Advertising’ tab.
  3. Click the ‘Advertising reports’ tab.
  4. Sponsored Products and Search Term report should be selected by default.
  5. For the reporting period, we recommend expanding the horizon as long as it allows (2 months).
  6. Use the ‘Total’ data unit, NOT ‘Daily’.
  7. Click ‘Create report’.
  8. Wait a minute, refresh the page, and click the ‘Download’ link under the File header.
  9. After a search term report is run, filter the report in excel. You will filter for various poor performance criteria.
    • Criteria 1: High ACoS. Filter for ACoS greater than a certain threshold (e.g. greater than 100%). Copy all records for these search terms (notably campaign, ad group, and search term) to a new tab.
    • Criteria 2: No/Low Conversion. Filter on Sales = 0, and clicks > X, where X = Average Conversion Rate x 200. Copy all records to the new tab you created in the step 9a.
    • Criteria 3: No sales, high spend. Filter on Sales = 0 and spend > Y, where Y = Average Product Price for the ad group. If these search terms converted on the next click, they would produce an ACoS > 100%. Copy all records to the new tab you created in step 9a.
      Pro Tip: If you have high spend and low clicks, it’s likely you simply overbid. Review whether adjusting the keyword bid is a better course of action.

These are high-level examples that will negate the worst performing keywords. Determining the criteria depends largely on the unique factors of the products you sell.

The filtered list you created in Step 9 will show you the campaign, ad group, and search terms, and metrics of search terms that meet the criteria you specify. Use this data to add negatives in Seller Central or using Bulk Operations, which is covered in the next blog.

Bottom Line

Negative keywords have the power to transform unprofitable campaigns into profitable ones. They help improve efficiency, ranking, ad placement, and overall sales. Use Negative keywords wisely and watch out the magic that it brings in your Amazon advertising. Be sure to check out our other blogs in this series and make use of our free tools to optimize your Amazon PPC.

Want some more help?

Ad Advance is at your disposal. Feel free to reach out to our team for a free consultation with our PPC experts.