Step-by-Step Advanced Tips on improving your amazon advertising strategy using real-world examples from our consultancy clients.
Honestly. Amazon Sponsored product campaigns and AMS (Amazon marketing services) are an area where clients seem to struggle with most before approaching us. The process itself becomes even more complex when we look at larger product inventories and making decisions about what and what not to advertise. Blog posts are rampant giving best advise in a “theoretical” manner, but some of the tips we want to give here are based on real work we do with our clients. There are literally several ways to run your campaigns and today we are going to share with you some real key points.
- How to analyse and identify the correct products for sponsored products
- How to reduce costs when running sponsored products
- Pit falls we have discovered in running Amazon PPC
- Building a consistent strategy.
- Make sure your product detail page is setup for success BEFORE you launch sponsored products
It is likely if your doing a product launch or the product isn’t well optimised, it is likely to be more expensive to convert and give you a higher Return on investment (ROI). Amazons ROI is called Cost of sale (ACoS). The lower this % the better the return. It works on the basis of revenue/advertising spend. It is imperative that your product detail page has all Amazons SEO metrics and qualitative listing factors in place. See how we do this for other clients we provide Amazon Consultancy for.
Its unlikely this product is going to perform well in your sponsored campaigns. The product is not only in the wrong category but the information about it is scarce. A Lack of images, lack of content, qualitative title means your cost is likely to be high on this ASIN
Before even delving into your sponsored products, I recommend having a look at your business reports (in seller central) or even your sales diagnostic report in (ARA Vendor central) to identify the correct products that you want to create ads for. This is especially helpful if you have limited budgets (we all do right?) or have a large inventory.
This snapshot of the business reports shows a product with a 15% conversion rate but a very poor session rate, in order words not many people look at the product, but out of the 12 that have, 2 have ordered, this could be a great SKU for advertising.
We recommend running sponsored products on all new product launches.
If you are not winning the buy box consistently you may struggle to advertise for that SKU, as the buy box is required to run advertising campaigns.
- Maintain the same process for creation and refinement
We have achieved success consistently by creating a formula based on creating an Automated campaign with ad groups setup for each product or product family. We then refine this process by extracting good keywords, in other words, keywords which convert based on good low cost ROI, and filter out by using “negative” targeting, bad keywords which are either irrelevant or cost to much to convert.
The reason automated campaigns are so important when you launch is Amazon will push your ad to customers based on keywords you have already used in your product, if you have done good keyword research, the automated campaigns will work as a harvesting tool for qualitative keywords allowing you to make better decisions.
- Build a manual campaign from a filtered list of your automated campaign
You should now have 2 lists of keywords. The first list is your keywords that are tried and tested performers from your automated campaign, you should put these keywords in your new campaign, again by ad group, and add them as broad match. This means that Amazon will find similar keywords around the ones you have already added, this is important so you can maintain a continuous keyword strategy working around those phrases that you know perform well
The second list should be a refined list of keywords you don’t want customers to search for. You need to put these in the negative targeting area of your manual campaign and make sure they are classed as EXACT. Using the wrong keywords in broad match could stop good keywords from performing!
Add those keywords as negative keywords in your automated campaign (so they don’t conflict with each other!) or turn off your automated campaign altogether.
- Refining a manual campaign
This step is when advertising becomes profitable. So many new sellers don’t see results initially and just turn off their ad campaigns. Once you have your manual campaign this should consist of broad keywords that you know perform well, and negative keywords that you want to avoid, every 7 days you should run your sponsored products search term report and review the spend, ACoS and quality of your sponsored campaign.
- Review your suggested bids under targeting
When you launch keywords in a manual campaign, Amazon will set or request a suggested bid across nearly all of your search terms unless there isn’t much data about them. You should monitor this weekly as suggested bids do change regularly, you might find that your bid for a key word is massively higher or lower than needed. In our experience matching your bid against the suggested bid is the best strategy, if your ACOS is still too high, this term should be reconsidered.
- Key tips to controlling your ad budget and spending less
- Use negative targeting in ad groups to stop customers from searching for products that are irrelevant
- Keep your campaigns and ad groups concise, there is no point advertising products in more than one if your just using sponsored products
- We have found sponsored brands rarely produces good ACoS unless you have an established brand or your products sit in a very tight niche.
- Starting a campaign with manual campaign and Amazons generated keywords tend to inflate a lot of your initial costs especially for a new product launch
- Use suggested bids in your manual campaigns and review them weekly
- Avoid bid adjustments in the “placements” section of automatic targeting, in our experience this doesn’t seem to be worth it and just inflates your bid prices.
- Only have broad match terms in your manual campaign if you have done your homework on them, otherwise irrelevant short keywords will cost you dearly
- Pitfalls and things you should be aware of
- Setting a high budget will not guarantee “spend” particularly in the early days. There could be several hundred products bidding for your products search term and in our experience it could take several weeks before you see your product rankings in advertising, even if you tell Amazon you want to pay the highest bid and have the largest budget
- Don’t expect the first few weeks to bring in good quality performance, utilise poor ACOS by reviewing bad keywords and keeping them negatively targeted.
- Accept you might not get the ROI you want – it is possible that some highly competitive product ranges and categories mean that even with the best optimisation your cost of sale may be high, if so look at adding more margin to your product.
- Don’t just suddenly turn off a campaign if its not working.
What is important to remember, is that advertising is a marathon and not a sprint, it is about refinement and practise, no two businesses will have the same results and in our experience, everything from initial ACOS to long term strategies differ hugely just by the category your products are in.
This is a very rough flowchart of the process from using an auto campaign, filtering it and then creating a manual campaign that is already refined.
To learn more about how we can help you and your ecommerce team manage better marketing and advertising results with Amazon, contact us below!