So you’re launching a brand new product on Amazon or you want to bring attention to a marketplace veteran. Consider utilizing the simple, yet powerful tool of Amazon Sponsored Ads. These ads are based on PPC or Pay Per Click, campaigns that you can control from your Seller Central account. They allow you to direct more visibility to your products on your terms and your budget. Amazon’s Sponsored Ads are an easier to use and more straightforward option than other advertising methods such as Google Adwords.
What are Amazon Sponsored Product Ads?
Typically, when you’re browsing Amazon, you know what you want. Your first stop is at the top of the page where the search bar is. You type in what you want and hit enter. Generally, Amazon will generate products that match your search the best, have good ranks, high reviews and generate the most sales. You might notice the first two results don’t have good if any, reviews or rank. Upon closer inspection, you notice that above the title they say “Sponsored” with a little info button. You guessed it! These are Amazon Sponsored Product Ads.
You may also find them when you’re shopping around on product pages. On the listing, under the Buy Box, under the Other Sellers on Amazon, there’s another product. It’s just like the one you’re shopping for, but different brand or color. Under the bullet points, there’s also another product similar to the other two. This is another example of a more targeted Sponsored Product Ad.
Your Campaign Manager
If you want to create ads for your items, log into your Seller Central and under the Advertising tab is Campaign Manager. This is where you’ll find all your Ad Campaigns: past, present, future, running, active, archived, and all. Each campaign has a start date and an end date. This is helpful for scheduling sales of seasonal products or creating short, but aggressive campaigns to launch new items. Or you can set your campaign to have no end date so it will be advertised indefinitely for steady sales. Campaigns will also have a budget. This is how much you are willing to spend on advertising for the product(s) in your campaign each day. This feature is excellent for keeping your money under control even if you set your bids really high.
Within each campaign are Ad Groups. This is the level on which you can control the bid for your product(s) in the group. Your Default Bid is the amount you’re willing to spend each time a person clicks on your advertisement. There are a lot of strategies on how to set up your Campaigns and Ad Groups. Most PPC experts agree that you should assign on SKU per Campaign and per Ad Group. This gives you more control over the advertising of that single product. However, you may also find that larger, bulk advertising is suitable for your account. The Campaign Manager is designed to give you total control over your advertising so your method is best suited to you time and budget.
Automated World of Amazon
Even if you don’t have a graphic designer on hand, don’t worry. Amazon will generate the actual ad for you. You’ll notice that all the Sponsored Ads are formatted the same. That’s because Amazon takes the product image, brand, price, reviews, and title and turns it into an advertisement themselves. The ad clicks right through to the product page and there is your listing.
Don’t have a marketing expert on hand either? Still not a problem. You can create Automatic Campaigns that take all the guess work and research out of advertising for you. Amazon uses its own special algorithms to associate the product with similar items to create suitable advertising situations. It takes information from the listing and views with which product your item is usually purchased and sets up ads accordingly. This can be a great tool to learning Manual Campaigns as well. Automatic Campaigns will give you the keyword information, showing you what words generated the most clicks and conversions. Then you can set up Manual Campaigns based on those details.
Making it Manual
Most sellers agree that going Manual is the right choice. Algorithms are impressive at generating results with very little work, but no computer knows your product better than you. In Manual Campaigns, you can specify bids on certain words and use Negative Keywords to keep your product from showing up in the wrong searches. You also can choose your Match Type which controls how close your keyword has to be to a customer’s search term for your product to show up. You can choose Exact, Phrase, and Broad which in that order go from most to least precise and hardest to easiest to manage.
Let’s say you’re selling a pair of boots, specifically women’s brown heeled ankle boots. You might set up a manual campaign where you bid on the Phrase “brown ankle boots” which will probably get your ad to generate based on the Search Term “ankle brown boots” or other variations of that. You might to an Exact match for “ankle boots” so, with the right bid, your product will show up when someone searches that exact word combination. Then you might do some general Broad keyword matches for different combinations so your product is visible when someone is searching relevant Search Terms.
Your target here is a woman who wants brown ankle boots and with your Keywords, you might be showing up in the search for “brown boots.” But there are a lot of working men out there trying to find heavy-duty, steel toe, brown boots, and these are not the kind of searches in which you need your product to appear. Now is when you would use your Negative Keyword feature. You could put “work” or “steel toe” in your Negative Keywords which would prevent your product from appearing when someone searches “steel toe brown boots,” giving you more accurate results.
How’re You Doing?
Amazon is good at keeping you informed with Key Performance Indicators or KPIs. This is the data you’ll see in your campaign manager that lets you know how your advertising is going. Accurate KPIs take about a week to show since it takes time to build consistent data. KPIs include Impressions which is how many times your ad appeared on Amazon. Low impressions can either mean that your bid is too low and other people are beating you out for those Keywords, or your Keywords are not frequently searched. Clicks are how many people click on your advertisement. Remember each one of these clicks cost you money, even if there is no Conversion. A Conversion is a sale, which is the ultimate goal of your advertisement.
Then Amazon breaks those numbers down into the data you need. Your Click Through Rate or CTR is the ratio between impressions and clicks. A low click-through rate may mean that your ad is showing in irrelevant searches. This is a good time to revise Keywords and Negative Keywords. Next is your Conversion Rate. This is how many Conversions (sales) you’re averaging per click. A low Conversion Rate can often be an indication of listing issues like not properly optimized images and copy. The last KPI and often the most important is your Advertising Cost of Sales or ACoS. Your ACoS is the percentage of how much you’re paying to advertise versus how much you’re making in sales. This can be the result of a high click-through rate with a low Conversion Rate.
Balancing your numbers may take time, but there are so many options and resources from Amazon and PPC strategists to help you along the way. Between blog posts, webinars, and tutorials the information is vast, but it’s important to remember that as always you know your product best. You’re the most qualified to advertise and sell it. Explore the options and information and apply it as you see fit to your situation. Amazon Sponsored Product Ads are an excellent tool that can be customized to meet the needs of every seller.