Optimizing Amazon Advertising Campaigns: How To Setup a Keyword Funnel

Questions regarding keyword selection are among the most frequently asked by sellers, and for a 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 ad campaigns. In the early days of Amazon Advertising, a common strategy was to stuff as many keywords as possible into several campaigns; however, we've seen where that has changed quite a bit. With the development of new markets, changes to shopping trends, and Amazon's algorithm, our advertising strategy had to evolve to match these changes.  

In this article, we explain the keyword funnel strategy and guidelines for creating one using Sponsored Products campaigns. 

Getting Started - How to find Amazon Keywords?  

If you're just getting started, the easiest way to finding keywords is assessing your product attributes and putting together a list of your top ten (10) most relevant keywords. At the same time, running auto campaigns is also a great initial step to discovering keywords.  

The goal of developing a funnel structure is to filter keywords from the discovery phase (auto campaigns) to a more targeted phase (manual campaigns) where sellers have more control to increase or decrease bids based on keyword and product target performance. Moving keywords and product targets down the funnel is heavily dependent on relevancy, as highly relevant keywords leading to sales will be pushed further down quickly to improve optimization and ad performance.  

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, while at the bottom of the funnel are highly targeted exact match keywords. These targeted keywords would have the highest relevancy to your products and the highest conversion rate. 

Basic Amazon Advertising Campaign Structure  

To develop your keyword funnel, sellers will first need to properly structure their campaigns.  

  1. Setting up Auto Campaigns: This is the beginning step to setting up your keyword funnel structure. Auto campaigns are beneficial in helping sellers discover new search terms or providing insights on ways customers are using to find your products. To identify these terms, sellers will need to continuously review their search term reports and select search terms (keywords) that are converting into sales. This is also a valuable spot to identify competitive product targets. Keywords and product targets converted into sales in the auto campaigns can be filtered as keywords in the manual campaign as phrase match for keywords and manual product targeting group for product targets.  

  2. Setting up Manual Campaigns: When setting up manual campaigns, we recommend splitting out each match type and product target into separate ad groups. This is where you'll have Manual -phrase/broad ad group, Manual – exact ad group, and Manual – product targeting ad group. 

Optimizing Amazon PPC

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 fine-tune your keyword selection to the unique attributes of your products. As a best practice, we recommend establishing a similar grouping structure between auto and manual campaigns. This way, keywords, and product targets can be filtered down the funnel much easier.  

It's important to note that not all manual campaigns created will have an auto campaign feeding them keywords. For example, when setting up brand defense manual campaigns, these are standalone campaigns that include keywords related to your brand. This is also applicable to sellers with a ton of variations where you'll need to split out manual campaigns according to these specific variations, resulting in more targeted ads. 

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 might need to increase your bids to gain initial traction. You can read more on our bidding strategy to see what works best for you.  

As mentioned, a great 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 with ACOS below your target. Note that we use a little more stringent criteria before moving keywords or product targets down the funnel but this is a good place to start. 

If the search term was generated from a keyword in your auto campaign, we suggest moving it to a manual phrase campaign. If the search term was in a phrase campaign, you could move it to an exact manual campaign. If you have ASINs that perform well in your search term report (those search terms that start with asin= "B0….), you can move these down the funnel into your manual product targeting campaign. 

Keyword Funnel For Amazon PPC

If you're having trouble identifying where you're at with your campaigns and how many keywords are performing well, we've designed a free tool that will populate a report highlighting your overall campaign performance, including the number of top-performing and poor performing keywords. Feel free to use this as a guide as you comb through the keywords and ASINs in your search term report.  

Keep Repeating To Get High Performing Campaigns  

Rinse and Repeat. The key thing is to continue repeating this process week after week. You'll then find more keywords and product targets that are performing well and that you can move further down the funnel to get more targeted, increasing bids and maximizing sales. While our fully integrated system goes into much more detail than what we're able to cover here with the keyword funnel, you'll be able to see some significant gains in your Amazon ad campaigns by using this basic strategy. 

Now that you have the best performing keywords throughout your campaigns, you can combine this approach with many more strategies to make sure you're maximizing ad sales while also achieving a good return. 

Take Away 

Keywords and product targets are the building blocks for Amazon advertising campaigns. Understanding the basics of a campaign structure, the process of funneling down the high-performing keywords and targets, along with having a developed bidding strategy, will set you on the right path to start your Amazon advertising journey. Remember, Amazon advertising is a continual process. There is no easy, set-it and forget-it strategy. You will need to constantly monitor your ad performance to keep up with the changing algorithms, strategies, and consumer trends.