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How to Run a Successful Amazon PPC Campaign

We know that struggle is real with selling and marketing on Amazon. However, PPC is the helping hand you need in most of those struggles. 

Whether you are launching a new product, sustaining your ranking, or selling an off-season product, Amazon PPC can help you sail off the coast and remain visible among the sea of sellers and customers on the platform.

The best thing about using Amazon PPC is you broaden your growth and sales opportunities on the platform. You can jumpstart your startup, increase your visibility, outperform the competition, sustain your momentum, and most especially, increase your sales and profits.  

To achieve success with Amazon PPC, you have to make sure your campaign is always optimized to the platform’s algorithm and your target customers’ needs. And that is what this article is all about. Read on.

What is Amazon PPC?

Within the vastness of Amazon in terms of traffic and competition, you might see your products lost and unseen. This is where Amazon PPC becomes a valuable tool for you. 

Amazon PPC is essentially paid visibility (through advertising space). It is designed to help Amazon sellers increase their traffic in their target market by showing an ad of your product in every relevant search query. 

 

Complements Your Organic Efforts

Though in some ways PPC hastens the result of months of organic efforts, it is not meant to downplay organic ranking. In fact, most of its keyword relevance lies in the organic optimization of your product listing. Thus, you must do PPC with SEO so they complement each other positively.

Increases Your Sales

As you know, the A9 algorithm relies heavily on sales to determine a product's performance and ranking. The more sales you get, the higher your chance to be on the first page of the SERP. 

And higher sales are the result of having more visibility to your target market and shoppers with stronger buying intent. Consequently, Amazon PPC can boost your product listing’s organic ranking by improving your sales.

Provides You with Measurable and Data-based Customer and Competitor Insights

More so, PPC also provides you with vast insights about your competition, customer behavior, and other key metrics that can help you improve your product and business overall.

Uncovers Rare and Valuable Opportunities

It allows you to seize rare opportunities that can only be uncovered using the data offered through running paid campaigns. And these could help you in further understanding your market and serve its needs continuously – the key to establishing brand authority.

Comes with a High ROI

Another advantage of Amazon PPC is, when done correctly, it offers a nice ROI. 

Yes, it requires additional investment, which can take about 10 - 20% of your total revenue depending on your product category. 

However, with realistic budgets and regular optimizations, you can expect your ads to serve as one of your strongest marketing endeavors. 

ACoS (average cost of sale, which is the amount you spend per dollar of revenue) is computed by dividing the total ad spend by the total sales. Your ACoS is the key metric that can help guide you in optimizing your Amazon PPC campaign strategy. 

What is an Amazon PPC Strategy?

What is an Amazon PPC strategy?

It is always best to treat your Amazon PPC as a tool.

It should help you with your marketing efforts on Amazon, not become a one-size-fits-all and put-up-and-leave-it-running marketing campaign. 

It should work alongside your organic marketing strategies. It should also be monitored, tested, and optimized regularly.

With that, the right approach to maximizing its benefits is to draft a suitable Amazon PPC campaign strategy based on your goals.

The goals you can achieve with Amazon PPC vary. With it, you can:

  • Improve the traffic to your listings (number of fresh eyes seeing them)
  • Increase your brand’s awareness (number of new people seeing your listings)
  • Improve your product visibility (ranking above competitors)
  • Increase your revenue (with sales from those new visitors)

You can design an appropriate Amazon PPC campaign strategy based on your target goals. Define your goals and then fine-tune your keywords, bids, and ad placements alongside. You can also adjust your ad spend to gain more bang for your buck.

Choose the campaign type

For new users of Amazon PPC, you can choose an Automatic campaign. This allows Amazon to choose where your ad will be shown and to whom. It chooses the keywords for you and determines your ad spend. 

However, it is recommended to only use Automatic campaigns sparingly and under scrutiny. Because you lack control, you are limiting your opportunities for conversion and relevance. It is also more expensive to run automatic campaigns in general. 

Meanwhile, Manual campaigns provide you with more control over your PPC campaign strategy. You can do your own keyword research and adjust bids depending on your budget and the apparent opportunities. 

However, they require more time from your end in terms of monitoring, testing, and optimizing campaigns. Because of this, beginners are better off with Automatic campaigns, and then eventually move to Manual and use their insights from the Automatic campaigns. 

Do keyword research

Manual campaigns need you to perform your own keyword research. Aside from that, you can do competitor analysis to see which keywords they use. 

Set daily budget

Aside from setting a bid for each click your ad gets, you can also assign a daily budget spend. When it is reached, then your ad stops showing to relevant search queries. This allows you to be firmer with your ad spend, as well as properly monitor the performance of your PPC ad. 

Test and optimize

To get more reliable performance metrics and reports out of your PPC campaign, it is best to let it run for about two weeks before evaluating and making changes. 

During the initial optimization stage, focus on improving your product listing. Then, later on, you can add more relevant or remove non-performing keywords as necessary. 

How Do I Run a Successful Amazon PPC Campaign?

The success or failure of your Amazon PPC campaign can only be determined after a certain period of waiting. 

You should give each PPC campaign enough time to gather data. This is to give you more realistic reports of your product and ad's performance. 

Alongside ad optimization, the data you can analyze unlocks opportunities for you to learn about your customers and what they really want. This makes data gathering more crucial to your strategy and ultimately, to your success.

Amazon PPC provides you with the flexibility to fine-tune your campaigns according to your needs. And there are various ways to do that. 

We will share with you expert and experience-proven tips and techniques so you can achieve your goals faster and successfully with Amazon PPC.

Tip 1: Start at the bottom and work your way up with keywords

With the current narrative on how keywords work, then you might think that you should be aiming to rank on the most frequently-searched keywords.

Well if you’re a beginner, or even if you’re experienced, this thinking is wrong. 

Obviously, there is strong competition out there. And when you just launch a listing, it is hard to stay visible and afloat. 

It also becomes a costly battle. You shell out for expensive clicks without getting so much out of it. 

While you may get ad impressions, you have a low likelihood of getting clicks because of the competition. Thus, your click-through rate goes down.

In the long run, this performance can even hurt your organic ranking due to low clicks and sales.

Starting Point: Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords make a good starting point for beginner users of PPC. The competition for them is also low, increasing your chances of ranking. 

In SEO, long-tail keywords exhibit a stronger intent to buy since they are mostly specific searches. Thus, these keywords may encourage more clicks and sales.

These keywords can help you gain momentum in terms of sales and visibility. Remember that the algorithm picks these up as you move forward with your Amazon selling journey. 

At some point when you have achieved a good ranking in the SERP for these keywords, you can now move on to targeting more generic yet more frequently-searched ones. 

By then, you have already gained a strong performance history, which can then fuel your campaign as it moves toward ranking on these more advanced keywords. 

Eventually, you can move to targeting much more popular keywords. You get the picture.

Analyze Competitor Products to Uncover Effective Keywords

Your competitors, especially the larger, more successful ones, are the keys to knowing the most relevant and highest-converting keywords.

Competitor analysis should include paying attention closely to the keywords they use and rank for. You can use keyword analysis tools like Helium 10, Data Dive, and Brand Analytics to help you uncover these keywords faster and more efficiently compared with manual comparisons. 

Meanwhile, these tools can also provide other relevant parameters you can use to compare listings, as well as to uncover more insights about the best keywords to use.

Tip 2: Optimize Your Product Detail Pages First

Now that you have a list of keywords to target, insert them into your product listing. 

This process is called product listing optimization, wherein you add these keywords to the product's title, bullets, product description, and even to the videos and images you use. 

This way, you help the algorithm acknowledge your product's relevance to a search query. This is so it shows your ad to the correct audience. Listing optimization allows your product to be indexed for the keywords it aims to rank for. 

In essence, this increases your product’s discoverability in the sea of similar products from your competitors. 

But, it not just inserting them wherever you like – the narrative flow should remain as natural as possible. The product listing should also contain compelling and complete information about the product to entice the shopper to buy from you. 

Inserting relevant keywords into your listing will get you indexed for them. In short, the algorithm can recognize your relevance and show your listing to an intentional shopper. 

However, you are not just writing for the algorithm but most importantly, for human customers. Thus, inserting keywords naturally will let the customers still understand your product and compel them to buy it. And when you do so, it increases the conversion rate since the click is highly-likely to convert into a sale.

Your product listing is the foundation of your Amazon business. Thus, you have to make sure that both the algorithm and your human customers get the same message, clearly.

Tip 3: Use Manual Campaigns with Phrase & Exact Match

After you have monitored and studied your customers' behavior during different seasons of the year, you can now use these learnings to take your PPC ad campaigns to the next level.

Manual campaigns allow you to be more flexible with crucial PPC elements like budget spend and keyword choice. You can now create more aggressive and finer-tuned PPC campaigns to improve ad performance, which hopefully will drive more sales. 

Now, in a manual campaign, you can choose which keywords to target. You also have more freedom to set the bids for them. But essentially, more relevant keywords would need higher bids than low converting ones so you can win. 

When it comes to keyword types, you can choose between broad, phrase, and exact match. In automatic campaigns, the algorithm mix and match your target keywords among these 3 types. But with manual campaigns, you have the liberty to choose.

First-time PPC ad marketers are safer with a broad match type to target because Amazon’s system will show the listing ad for all keywords that include any word combination in the broad match. However, the conversion rate here is generally lower, thus, the ads become costlier in the long run.

Using the keyword performance reports from your automatic campaign, you can now use phrase and exact match keywords more confidently. 

As you generate reports out of your phrase and exact match keywords, you can sort the top-performing ones and increase your ad spend on them. 

Eventually, as your listing matures and continues to rank and generate sales, you get more momentum in targeting higher converting and ranking for more expensive keywords. 

Tip 4: Adjust Your Bids by Ad Placements

Amazon introduced another strategic opportunity for PPC marketers to fine-tune their campaigns more. This is by allowing you to adjust the bids for your ad placements.

Sponsored ads show either at the:

  1. Top row of the page one SERP (Top of Search)
  2. Middle of the page one SERP (Middle of Search)
  3. Bottom of the page one SERP (Bottom of Search)
  4. Within the Product Pages
  5. Other off-search yet strategic placements, like below the Add to Cart button

Meanwhile, there are 3 bidding types you can choose from:

  1. Dynamic Bids - Down Only
  2. Dynamic Bids – Up and Down
  3. Fixed Bids

Actually, the last two types are just additions. If you have been using Amazon PPC for quite some time, your default bidding type is Dynamic – Down Only.

Now, choosing Dynamic bidding types allows you to adjust your bids for page one search and product pages ad placements.

You just fill in a column for Placement Multiplier. This pertains to how much your bid will adjust to help your ad land on your preferred ad placements. You can set this anywhere from 0 to 900 percent.

If you are using Dynamic Bids – Up and Down, the bid can be adjusted both upward and downward depending on how likely the ad will convert. 

You may be asking, how would I know which ad placement I should adjust my bids on?

How to know which ad placement should I adjust the bids on

Amazon provides you with tons of reports for insight. One of which is the Placement Report. 

Here, you can see the performance metrics of your ad placements. Look for the ad placements that bring you high CTRs and/ or clicks and impressions.

How can I adjust the bids?

You can then assign a placement multiplier, which can be an amount from 0 to 900 percent, initially, on the placement that performs well. Just remember to consider the ACoS (which will also show on the report) to stay within your budget. 

Tip 5: Group Variations Together for Improved Visibility and Brand Awareness

You may want to consider making adjustments at the product level instead at the campaign level. 

Grouping product variations like packaging all your flavors into a single pack or box can help you save on ad costs, improve your visibility, and increase brand awareness.

Presents more value to the customer

The customer behavior insight here is that the perceived value has increased. You let your customers, especially the first-time ones, try all your different products at one time. The positive psychology of offering different flavors also increases perceived value here.

Focuses your campaigns on a single ASIN

Now, your savings come from having to designate all your product variations under a single ASIN. You save on overall PPC ad costs since you can focus your campaigns on a single ASIN.

Prevents product cannibalization

Combining your product variations can also keep them from competing with each other. It helps you laser-focus your campaigns and direct the rank and relevance power to a single product.

Improves your branding

You are banking on that strong customer preference of getting packaged deals. Consequently, this may increase your visibility.

Tip 6: Run Campaigns for Your Top Child ASIN

Sometimes, your product variations may be impractical to be grouped together. Or maybe, you still want to offer them individually. You can still be cost-efficient with your PPC budget by campaigning for your highest sales or best product variation or child ASIN.

As sales build up on your best variant, customers would end up wanting to try the other variations. This eventually spills the traffic to your other products without having to spend on ad placements for them.

Tip 7: Target Alternative/Indirect Keywords

Forcefully inserting higher converting yet generic and awkwardly-typed keywords may make your product listing read unnaturally. Though you might perform well in terms of algorithm scores, your human customers may not proceed with buying a product that they cannot understand.

If you have the extra budget, you may want to include bidding for alternative or indirect keywords. Just make sure that they remain relevant to your product since you don’t want to end up paying for clicks that don’t convert. 

Do thorough research on your customer's pain points and focus on how your product solves them. This provides a good basis for knowing what alternative or indirect keywords you can use while retaining relevance.

Tip 8: Put Similarly-Priced Products in the Same Ad Group

Ad cost-saving strategies include grouping products and including them in a single campaign. But rather than focusing on putting as many products in a group as possible, you may want to group them by price.

Similarly-priced products mean an overall ACoS that is close to each individually. On the other hand, including a higher-priced item in the group can drag the overall ACoS higher than that of the two lower-priced ones.

Setting a separate campaign for the most expensive child ASIN/variant and product can help you manage the ACoS easily and control your ad spend. 

Tip 9: Structure Ad Campaigns Based on Product Performance

Looking at different perspectives of product performance opens you to more ways to reduce your overall ad spend and gain more control of your campaigns. 

In Tip 8, you see a product or variant from the viewpoint of price and group them accordingly for better ad spend control and campaign management.

Now, let’s look through the lens of ACoS.

ACoS does not only rely on product price but is also influenced by the conversion rate. And different products may require several clicks before it gets a sale, varying the conversion rates and consequently, their respective ACoS. 

Thus, it becomes logical to group products running similar ACoS and place them under a single PPC campaign. So again, just like in Tip 8, you can have better control over the factors that can affect the campaign costs while not dragging any item down and impacting your ad spend. 

However, if you group products that have wide gaps in terms of either price or ACoS, some of them may be negatively affected by the collective metrics. And this, in turn, can impact their rankings, visibility, and ultimately, your brand.

Meanwhile, grouping products with similar ACoS means arriving at collective metrics that are still close to each individually. Thus, you retain control over individual performances while exerting less effort since you run a single campaign. Ultimately, you save a lot on ad spend.  

Tip 10: Target Your Own Products Through Product Targeting Ads

Another dynamic way of directing the traffic and relevance of your top-performing products to the rest of your offerings without shelling out too much in ad spend is by Product Targeting.

In this campaign strategy, you are setting up your top performers to display the ads of your lower performers.

Since you are running ads on your own products, you essentially move out your competitor ads. This will  improve your branding by containing your customers and offering them more products. It can also help you in launching new products. 

You also gain more advantages here if your products are top-selling, have a high ranking, and are mature listings. 

Tip 11: Experiment with Different Match Types and Bid Amounts

As we mentioned, every Amazon PPC marketer's mantra should be test, optimize, and repeat. And it takes a while before you get performance reports and evaluate your campaigns more accurately.

Eventually, as you manage mature listings, you can experiment using different match types and bid amounts. This variability can help you seize more opportunities to increase your visibility and grab rare opportunities along the way.

The market is ever-changing, and so is keyword performance. Therefore, continuous optimization and testing are inevitable. With different combinations of match types and bid amounts, you can monitor various scenarios that will provide you insights into what keywords harness the most traffic and conversions at a given season.

It is important that you monitor your campaigns with focused eyes on data-driven metrics like ACoS, CTRs, and keyword and sales performances. All of these are strong signals that point you to that winning PPC campaign strategy. 

Tip 12: Drive Sales for Your Brand With New Brand Metrics

If you haven’t registered your brand on Amazon Brand Registry, then you might want to do so now. This is so you can take advantage of the Sponsored Brands campaign, another way to increase your visibility on the platform through your brand.

Sponsored Brands allow you to display ads with a curated list of your top products together with a compelling headline. It is targeted at increasing brand awareness, establishing authority, and collectively advertising your product line. 

Now, this feature comes with special metrics called new-to-brand. This allows you to segregate the traffic you receive into two types: from new customers and recurring ones.

Gaining this insight allows you to further strategize on your PPC campaigns.

If you found you attract more new customers, then strengthening your Sponsored Brand campaigns can bring you more conversions. Meanwhile, more recurring customers make investing in your Sponsored Products campaigns more cost-effective and rewarding. 

Creating Effective Amazon PPC Ads

At the core, the elements of a successful Amazon PPC ad include strong algorithm relevance and effective marketing. 

Thus, your PPC campaigns should work around these elements and satisfy all the requirements so you turn your ad investment into profits.

The baseline for these is keywords. Every Amazon PPC strategy should include using relevant keywords that are closest to every potential search query in your product’s niche. Keywords are the heart of every Amazon marketing and advertising initiative. 

Since Amazon is vast, you should aim for increasing visibility so your target market will see that you are there and they will choose to buy from you and not your competitors.

With Amazon PPC, you can create different types of campaigns that match your goals. Whether you are looking to increase your sales, improve your rankings, or elevate your brand awareness, you can do that with a customized PPC campaign.

There are also various routes or strategies you can take to help you maximize your opportunities on the platform. Just remember, again, this key mantra – Test, Optimize, Repeat. 

Tips for Creating a Great Amazon PPC Campaign

To recap, here are some great tips for creating effective campaigns:

  • Use long-tail keywords
  • Incorporate compelling headlines, texts, and creatives
  • Use imagery and video in your listing
  • Optimize your product listing
  • Work out your organic ranking
  • Create different ad groups
  • Start with automatic campaigns but eventually shift to manual
  • Add or subtract bids as necessary

Put Yourself in Your Customer’s Shoes

After working on the various technical aspects of Amazon PPC, at the end of the day, remember that you are doing everything for human customers. Placing yourself in your customer’s shoes allows you to discover more and better insights on how to entice them to buy from you.

In essence, you should not just go after more clicks and higher traffic; but also conversions. 

Thus, you should always put your human customers in mind. You should think like your customer in terms of judging the best keywords to use and associate with your product. 

Negative Keywords

Meanwhile, you should also consider adding a list of negative keywords. These are exact or phrase keywords that are marked irrelevant to your listing. If you are selling clothes in purely children's sizes, then you can add 'men', 'women', 'adults' to your negative keywords list (for example).

Bonus Content: Factors Affecting Ad Placements

You only have so much control over where your PPC ads will be shown, but your bids may get you to where you want them to be.

Higher bids increase your chance to land on the coveted top of search placement. Mid bids can land you on page two (not a bad place if you dominate page one organically), and low bids can still place you on the rest of the pages. 

But then again, your organic efforts still bring a lot of impact – something persistent and long-term. Hence, it is best to stick with white hat strategies, tips, and techniques, and maximize the features inside the platform for the best results.

Final Thoughts

To run a successful Amazon PPC campaign, you should also ensure the integrity of your strategies. 

Black hat tactics are now being tracked and flagged down by Amazon. Traffic from external sources is more heavily scrutinized, and worse, may even negatively affect your listing. Fake reviews are easily being detected these days as well. 

As you see, the algorithm recognizes quality in the clicks. And clicks that do not end up as sales (or at least genuine add-to-carts) may negatively impact your relevance. It may signify that the shopper is not satisfied with what he or she sees in your listing and instead shift to your competitor. 

To summarize, running a successful PPC campaign requires careful evaluation, critical analysis, and sound decision-making – all of which need skills and are assisted by the insights shown by your PPC campaign performance. 

Don’t worry, you will gain all of those as you move along. And again, just breathe this mantra – Test, Optimize, Repeat. 

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