How To Use "Purchase Frequency Rank" For Pre-Launch Keyword Research

What is a “product launch” on Amazon?

In the most general sense, it refers to when someone introduces a new product on the platform. 


Learn why keyword research is important for product launches (and a killer strategy for finding the most profitable keywords to target).

However, colloquially it refers to the act of running different types of promotions to boost rank and visibility for a newly introduced product. The specific word “launch” has become a powerful verb in our space and has specific connotations now.

If this is the way you launch, then you are in good company, and we have a strategy that can help maximize your efforts.

With our strategy, we identify the most profitable (i.e. highest converting) keywords from within a market segment. These keywords are intended to be the rank focus of the launch so the least amount of inventory is necessary for the largest impact.

The cornerstone of this strategy is PFR…

What Is PFR?

PFR stands for “purchase frequency rank” and is a list of keywords that, based on a grouping of similar ASINs, are ranked in order of most to least frequently purchased. It is a concept and term coined by Howard Thai, the “Professor of Amazon.”

The reason PFR is valuable is because most decisions for optimization, keyword research and pre-launch rank targeting are done solely on the basis of search volume. That is logical too, as the keywords with the most traffic will give the most visibility.

However, the most trafficked keywords aren’t always the ones most likely to convert into a sale. And ultimately, isn’t more sales what every Amazon seller REALLY wants?

See, sometimes a keyword is too general, despite how relevant and high traffic it seems. The keyword may well get a lot of eyeballs, but those may not convert to a sale on that page. It may rather lead to more browsing, or to a small handful of big brands winning the sale, or to window shopping research.

So it is important to get down to the nitty gritty and figure out what keywords are the most likely to win a customer, especially in the beginning of a listing when other competitive factors (such as reviews) are lower.

How To Use PFR To Ensure Launch Success

Now that we know what PFR is and why it is so helpful, let’s dive into how you can use it to supercharge your product launch efforts.

Purchase frequency rank is a metric ranking keywords from a set of ASINs based on which convert the most to sales. As such, it is important to note what scores we are dealing with.

The numbers can go from one to one million, but we are only concerned with the first two hundred.

Very high PFR (which translates to a low number….just like BSR) is one through twenty.

High PFR is twenty-one through one hundred.

Medium PFR is one hundred-one through two hundred.

Any score larger than that we shouldn’t concern ourselves with.

Now that we have identified the PFR scores we want, let’s move onto the steps in the strategy.

Step one -

Identify your “holy grail” keywords. These are the keywords (or in many cases, the one keyword) that is the biggest in your niche. The highest search volume and the broadest context while still being relevant.

Think “garlic press” or “baby carrier.”

This keyword is typically going to have a PFR score somewhere from one to five and over 100,000 searches per month.

Step two -

Identify your “top tier” keywords. These will be longer tail (mid to longtail) keywords with the holy grail keyword in them. These keywords typically have a PFR score below fifty and between 30,000 and 100,000 searches a month.

A great way to do this is to first, run a PFR report on that main keyword and then expand your ASIN options to as many as possible (then remove irrelevant ones).

Then use a keyword research tool like Helium 10 where you can look up matching keywords and filter out those that don’t contain the “seed keyword” which is your holy grail words.

For example, if your holy grail keyword is “foam roller” which gets over 150,000 searches a month, a top tier might be “foam roller for physical therapy and exercise” which gets over 25,000 searches.

The key phrase “foam roller” also scores a PFR of one, while “foam roller physical therapy exercise” scores a twenty-four.

Try to find at least two of these.

Step three -

Identify “middle tier” longtail keywords, also with the holy grail keyword in it. These keywords usually have PFR scores up to one hundred and search volume between 15,000 and 30,000 per month.

Continuing with our above example, the keyword “foam roller for back stretching” has just under 17,000 searches per month and “foam roller back stretching” scores a sixty-five PFR.

Again, try to find at least two of these or more.

Step four -

Identify your “low tier” longtail keywords, also with the holy grail keyword in them. These will usually be up to a PFR score of two hundred (I’d ignore anything above that) and lower than 15,000 searches per month (though I would also ignore anything with less than 1,000 monthly searches).

Continuing with our foam roller example, foam roller workout equipment has over 1,600 searches per month and a PFR score of two hundred eighty five.

Try to identify as many of these as you can. At least four or five.

Step five - 

Order your keyword list. This list is your target list for each phase of your promotions. This is now the structure of your “launch.”

Step six -

Target your low tier keywords in your (hopefully somewhat aggressive) PPC campaigns. Do this for a minimum of fifteen days. Keep targeting these keywords until you rank organically on page one (preferably within the top ten results).

Step seven -

Target your low tier keywords in rebate promotions. Run these for a minimum of fifteen days. Keep targeting these keywords until you rank organically on page one (preferably within the top ten results).

Step eight -

When you are ranking for your low tier keywords organically on page one, it is time to move to the next, middle tier with the same strategy. You’ll repeat this process for top tier keywords as well.

As you go up in tiers, it may be necessary to run longer PPC campaigns and promotions. Fifteen days is usually enough for low and mid search volume terms, but the higher the volume the longer it may take so be prepared for thirty day campaign periods.

As you approach your holy grail keywords, your promotion periods may need to extend to forty-five days. Ultimately, the process of dominating rank can take as long as three to four months (depending on how competitive your product is), but it is well worth it.

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One comment on “How To Use "Purchase Frequency Rank" For Pre-Launch Keyword Research”

  1. How can I get some more information on this? I tried to download the links but wasn't able to do so. Very much looking forward to this.

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