Questions regarding keyword selection are among the most frequently asked by sellers, and for good reason – a well-developed keyword mix is the cornerstone of effective advertising. Adopting the keyword funnel method is probably the most common advice given by the experts to optimize your Amazon PPC campaigns. But if you were wondering what this keyword funnel is all about, worry not! It is a simple way of tidying up and refining your keywords to get a good return on ad spend and achieve optimal results.
In the early days of Amazon Advertising, a common strategy was to stuff as many keywords as possible into several campaigns, but Amazon ads have changed. The market is more competitive and Amazon’s search engine algorithm has evolved tremendously so our keyword best practices have evolved too. The good news is that now we have a free Keyword Funnel Tool to minimize your work and help you stay organized with multiple campaigns.
In this article, we will walk you through keyword funnels and how to utilize them to take advantage of your best-performing keywords, optimize your Amazon PPC, boost ad sales and limit wasted spend.
Campaign Structure: The Basics for Optimizing Amazon PPC
The basic idea behind the keyword funnel strategy is to initially cast a wide net around the relevant keywords you test, then continue to move the best performing keywords into more targeted campaigns. Picture a funnel where many keywords are first tested and the number of keywords gets smaller and smaller as we find the best-performing ones to move down the funnel. At the top of the funnel are relevant broad or phrase match keywords that generate a large volume of impressions. At the bottom of the funnel are highly targeted exact match keywords that are highly refined to the products that you sell.
Another cornerstone of the keyword funnel strategy is that the data will tell us what moves to make to optimize your Amazon PPC campaign. Seller intuition is a huge asset, but there’s simply no way we can put ourselves in the place of every single one of our customers. With the keyword funnel, the data doesn’t lie. It allows us to identify many long-tail keywords you may have never thought of, and how to bid them to meet your objectives.
The final point is that Amazon allows us to both specify keywords (essentially choosing customer search terms that we want to appear for) and product targets (competitor listings we want to target with our ads). While we’ll refer to it as a “keyword funnel” throughout the post, we’re moving both keywords and product targets down the funnel.
Getting Started – Campaign Structure
The key points that you’ll need to implement the keyword funnel are the following:
You’ll need to have an auto campaign, manual campaign (we recommend having both broad/phrase and exact campaigns split out, though this isn’t a requirement), and a product targeting campaign. Overall, we’ll have an auto, manual broad/phrase, manual exact, and manual product targeting campaign as the base campaign structure.
Within those campaigns, it is a best practice to have single SKU’s or similar product groups with their own campaigns, as it allows you to more finely tune your keyword selection to the unique attributes of your products. Each series of auto and manual campaigns should employ the same ad group structure to ensure products are grouped consistently.
Now that you’ve got the campaigns created and the structure set, we can populate the initial keywords. If you’re already running campaigns, this involves harvesting keywords from existing data and moving the right keywords down the funnel.
Populating Your Campaigns With Keywords
While the old approach was to populate manual keywords with as many potential combinations as possible into your manual campaigns that multiple keyword tools have created, we definitely do not recommend this. This approach leads to bloated manual campaigns that will have a huge amount of keywords with no impressions and a number of other keywords that don’t convert well since they are simply not relevant.
Remember, the key idea of the keyword funnel strategy is to let the data tell us what works and then move those best performing keywords down the funnel to be able to optimize the campaign. By being more selective on the keywords that we first populate into our manual campaigns, we get much more concentrated data to make quick decisions and produce good performing long-tail keywords.
If you’re already running campaigns, we’ve created a Free Keyword Funnel tool where we can use the data you’ve already generated to tell us which keywords should be moved down the funnel. Simply upload your search term report and we can tell you which keywords you should move into each type of campaign.
If you’re just starting your Amazon PPC or are launching new products, we recommend populating 5-10 relevant into your manual phrase and exact campaigns. Also, you can pick 5-10 competitor listings that you’d like to target and add their ASIN’s into your product targeting campaigns.
By being selective, this will allow us to concentrate the ad spend where it is most relevant and have a higher likelihood that we create high performing long-tail keywords right away. Since Amazon has huge amounts of seller data, we can take advantage of this by running the auto campaigns and then harvesting the keywords that Amazon generates into our manual campaigns.
Funneling Down the High Performing Keywords
Once the campaigns are structured and populated with your core keywords and have run for about a week, you should have the initial data that you can use to move keywords down the funnel.
Note: If your campaigns didn’t receive many impressions or clicks, you may need to increase your bids to begin initial traction. On the flip side, if your campaigns have a very high ACOS or if a couple of keywords are eating all of your ad spend at poor returns, you may need to reduce down the bids. Check out our post on setting Advertising bids for more details.
One way to determine what keywords to move down the funnel is to manually review your search term report from Seller Central. After pulling your search term report, filter out search terms that received at least one sale and an ACOS that was below your target.
If the search term was generated from a keyword that was in your auto campaign, you can move it to a phrase campaign. If the search term was in a phrase campaign, you can move it to an exact campaign. If you have ASIN’s that perform well in your search term report (those search terms that start with BO….), you can move these down the funnel into your product targeting campaign.
If you don’t want to wade through spreadsheets to determine what keywords to move down the funnel, we’ve created a free Keyword Funnel tool that will tell you exactly which keywords should be moved down the funnel.
Keep Repeating To Get High Performing Campaigns
As you repeat this process week after week, you’ll continually funnel keywords from the auto campaigns (where we have less control on bids) down to exact and product targeting campaigns where we have full control.
While our fully integrated system goes into much more detail than what we’re able to cover here with the keyword funnel, by using this basic strategy you’ll be able to see some great gains in your Amazon PPC campaigns.
Now that you have the best performing keywords throughout your campaigns, you can combine this strategy with a Keyword bidding strategy to make sure you’re maximizing ad sales with these keywords while also achieving a good return.
Keywords are the building blocks for Amazon PPC campaigns. Understanding the basics of campaign structure, the process of funneling down the high performing keywords and the bidding strategy will set you on the right path to start your Amazon advertising journey. Remember, Amazon PPC is a continual process. There is no easy, set-it and forget-it strategy. You should be constantly monitoring your ad performance to keep up with the changing algorithms, strategies and consumer trends.
You can always make use of our Free Keyword Funnel tool and other resources available on our website to minimize your manual effort in optimizing Amazon PPC and to take your performance to the next level.
If you need any further assistance, just go ahead and book our calendar for a free consultation with our Amazon PPC experts.