How to Structure High-Performing Amazon PPC Advertising Campaigns?

Structure you Amazon PPC Campaigns!

It is no secret that six out of 10 Amazon sellers struggle with Amazon PPC Campaigns because of inadequate knowledge on how to structure and optimize their campaigns. 

While creating and launching a campaign is no rocket science, the real trick is to fine-tune it further with every iteration for greater visibility, higher RoAS, and enhanced performance in the marketplace. This is where most sellers end up making dangerous errors that cost them huge money on ads without delivering sizeable returns on their investments. Even with a good listing and brilliant listing content, you still need high-end Amazon PPC strategies to get the most out of your ad campaigns.

With that in mind, we have curated this comprehensive Amazon Advertising Strategy Manual for 2022, for all the Amazon sellers who are looking for a one-stop guide for structuring their Amazon campaigns. These tips will help you enhance the exposure of your brand in the Amazon marketplace while obtaining traffic and conversions to your listings. So without further ado, let us get started!

Here’s what you are expected to learn here: 

  1. What is Amazon PPC?
  2. Types of Sponsored Ads 
  3. Match Types 
  4. Negative Targeting
  5. Tips for Structuring highly-optimized PPC campaigns
This is a Guest Post by
Arishekar N

Arishekar N is the Senior Director of Marketing and Growth at SellerApp, an e-commerce data analytics solution. He is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of marketing strategies, as well as increasing process efficiency by executing cutting-edge Search Engine Optimization strategies at SellerApp. Arishekar has over 10 years of experience in marketing analytics and SEO. He has worked as a Digital Specialist for the tech giant IBM and most recently as the Senior Marketing Specialist for ZioTive Technologies where he enhanced their site structure by increasing website and mobile usability. Previously, he worked as a Senior SEO Analyst for Star Group where he was responsible for managing SEO Audits and analytics.

What is Amazon PPC?

Amazon Pay-Per-Click is a robust way of running ads that enable sellers to purchase ad spots by bidding on search terms. Amazon charges sellers a specific amount every time a customer clicks on these Sponsored Ads. In layman’s terms, it is an auction-based ad model.

The aim of these ads is to attract traffic to the specific product detail page. By leveraging Amazon PPC ads, sellers can improve their SERP ranking and beat competitors, in no time.

Amazon decides on its ad rank on a vast range of determinants, like CPC, Conversion Rate, Revenue Per Click, rating and reviews, and other associated factors. 

Automatic vs. Manual Campaigns 

Once you log in to Amazon’s Seller Central Account, you can view the option to “Create a New Amazon PPC Campaign”. When you click on this, you can either select Automatic or Manual Campaigns. Based on your requirements and budget, you may go for any of them. However, if you are a beginner, we recommend you to go for the Automatic PPC Campaign. So, what’s the difference? Let’s go over them – 

Automatic Campaigns

Under Automatic Campaigns, advertisers can easily choose their budget and let Amazon do all the hard work and identify keywords automatically.

It is a good choice for PPC beginners because of its easy setup.

Here, you can also save yourself from the hassle of manually entering keyword bids. If you choose an automatic campaign, Amazon will procure data for you to deploy into your future campaigns. Amazon monitors ‘clicks’ and ‘spends’, generally taking 2 to 4 days to process. It may take up to 2 to 4 weeks to gather enough data to analyze which campaigns are doing better.

Automatic campaigns ensure you experiment without putting in a lot of time and effort. They also make sure that you add long-tail keywords for your campaigns that you may have never guessed people would look for. 

Manual Campaigns 

Under Manual Campaigns, advertisers need to handpick keywords they wish to bid on to fine-tune where their ad budget is getting spent.

It is a great option for those who are well-adept at handling PPC ads, and who have time and tools to set up manual campaigns.

Bidding on keywords manually enables sellers to target keywords more precisely and it has the potential to bring more sales if you are successful. Using manual campaigns, you get more control in your ad groups, thereby,  enhancing sales volume and improving ACOS. Under manual campaigns, it’s also relatively simpler to decrease bids or stop low-performing keywords.

Amazon recommends the bid amount next to every keyword you will be bidding on, thereby, making it even simpler for the seller. You can also identify relevant keywords from your previous campaigns to insert into your manual campaigns. 

However, relevant keywords do not always mean profitable search terms. Hence, to avoid risking your ad budget for unprofitable search terms that can procure no sales, you must go for a powerful AI tool that identifies the highest-converting keywords from billions of data points, in seconds. 

Type of Sponsored Ads 

There are three types of Amazon Sponsored Ads. They are – 

  • Sponsored Product Ads 
  • Sponsored Brand Ads 
  • Sponsored Display Ads

Sponsored Product Ads show your products on product details pages and Amazon SERP.

Sellers on Amazon are constantly increasing their ad money for Sponsored Product ads since it brings about high-end shopper traffic and massive conversion rates. 

Like other Amazon PPC advertising options, you have to pay Amazon for your Sponsored Product Ads every time a customer clicks on them. This feature provides you with complete control over your advertising budget allocation and keyword bids.

Sponsored Product Ads appear in the following areas:

  • On search results
  • At the right side of Amazon SERP
  • At the bottom of Amazon SERP
  • Product detail pages

You can understand which of the SRERP results are these ads with the label “Sponsored Ads” at the bottom of each of these products. The Sponsored Product Ad is by far the most popular ad type on Amazon PPC and is a part of every step of the customer acquisition journey. 

Sponsored Brand Ads are generally used for top-of-the-funnel shoppers, and it makes sure that your listing gets the opportunity to grab a shopper’s attention even before they actually know what they want.

Sponsored Brand ads appear in the following areas on desktop devices:

  • Above the Amazon search results 
  • At the left of search results
  • Under the Amazon SERP 

They have the power to display multiple products of your brand in one go. This enables you to promote your complimentary listings side-by-side.

Sponsored Display Ads have the ability to re-target customers who have recently viewed your product detail pages, your competitor’s listing pages, or have used the search terms related to your listing, but haven’t shopped anything yet from you.

The undue advantage that Sponsored Display Ads have over other ad types is that they can be promoted both on and off Amazon, therefore improving re-targeting opportunities.

Amazon Sponsored Display Ads are amazing for increasing your impressions, grabbing top-funnel shoppers’ attention, and retargeting interested shoppers to convert one-time viewers into buyers. 

Sponsored Display ads appear in – 

  • Amazon affiliated sites like Netflix, Facebook, etc. 
  • Within, they can be seen in – product detail pages, customer review pages, top of the offer listing pages. 

Sponsored Display is a great option when you have enough budget, and you want to capture conversions from your competitors, increase product views or help new product launches get off the ground at the speed of light.

Type of Match Types 

Amazon Keywords comprise three different categories. Two of which apply for negative keywords, and one of which is only available for positive keywords. These categories are: 

  • Exact match: Refers to search terms that exactly match the specific keyword added, along with its plural version. For example, a negative keyword of “wooden spoon” would block your ad from being displayed in search queries for “wooden spoon” as well as “wooden spoons”. 
  • Phrase match: Refers to search terms that are similar to the seed term, but more widely applied than exact match. Here, there is no change with respect to the word order and includes close variants. For example, negative keywords like “Japanese wooden spoon” and  “kitchen wooden spoon” would be included in the phrase match, but “spoons made of wood” would not — and neither would a variant like “chef spoon”.  

Broad match is not applicable for negative keywords and is only a positive keyword option. 

Note: Phrase match and exact match work the same way for both “negative” and “positive”, but inversely. A positive exact match keyword bid will display your ad for that search term while a negative exact match keyword will restrict your ad from appearing whenever that search query is used by shoppers.   

What are Negative Keywords in Amazon PPC?

Negative Keywords allow you to stop ads from being displayed for search queries that you have marked as negative – i.e. irrelevant or a low priority. The trick is finding out the right search terms to add to your negative keyword list. For example, if you are selling wooden spoons, you wouldn’t want your ad to be displayed to audiences looking for compostable spoons and incur wasted ad spend. 

Look at the example below for a better understanding – 

The above snippet is a real-time example of the dangers of not targeting negative keywords in your ads where I searched for plastic combs but ended up getting recommendations of wooden combs.  

In other words, advertisers use negative keywords to tell Amazon when you don’t want your ad to be displayed.

What are Negative ASINs? 

The introduction of Negative ASINs in Amazon PPC campaigns is a game-changer. Similar to negative keywords, advertisers can block irrelevant listings from getting displayed and get the most out of their ad spend while creating auto campaigns.

Adding negative targets is one of the best ways to improve your conversion probability, click-through rate, and ACOS on Amazon. 

Tips for Structuring highly-optimized PPC Campaigns

To structure the best PPC campaigns, we have listed some of the best strategies for you. 

Tip 1: Leverage Long-Tail Keywords 

Whether you are all set to launch a new product on Amazon or are just about to start your business, you must ideally start your PPC journey with long-tail keywords. Once you have acquired a certain level of mastery and profits with these long-tail keywords, you can add generic and most-searched keywords to your campaigns. 

If you are new to Amazon PPC, you may have a tough time competing with well-established players in the industry, therefore, leveraging long-tail keywords is always considered the best bet. Some examples of long-tail keywords are – “men’s black polo t-shirts”, “long wooden spoon”, “blue satin women dress”, etc. 

If you add the highly searched search terms right at the beginning, the ones with high competition and CPC, you will end up losing a lot of ad budget without getting any exposure for your brands, let alone clicks and conversions.

Even if your products get decent ad impressions, the likelihood of them getting enough conversions will be low as your competitors have already procured a much better position and reputation in the Amazon marketplace, for those generic keywords.

Therefore, the strategy you have to follow here is quite simple: select the long-tail keywords right initially, as you will face little problems in getting ranked for those search queries. With low competition and a shopper purchase intent, you can draw conversions rather easily and boost your sales velocity. 

For example, if you are selling wooden spoons, then you can launch your PPC campaigns with a very specific query like ‘handmade wooden spoons’ or ‘brown resin wooden spoon’ and so on.

Pro Tip: The search terms you target in every step must be related directly to your product. Otherwise, you may end up losing a lot of money on ads without any conversion. 

Tip 2: Rank Optimization Through Amazon PPC

We built this strategy to enhance the rank and position of your product listing within the Amazon SERP, for a given search term. The goal here is to have three definite sets of ad campaigns, with bids and budgets of different kinds set across each of these sets.

The bids and budget allocated for a search term depend on the search rank of the product in the Amazon search results for that keyword.

The most important thing you need to do here is to track all the top keywords for your products and identify their ranking on Amazon. Monitor the page rank and position of your products and then implement the following plan:

Beyond Page Five

If the listing is ranking beyond page five or six on Amazon, you must add only a few keywords that are having high conversions, rather than all the keywords that are ranking there. This is how you can save your ad funds and focus on the search terms that are ranking in sales but are quite far behind in the Amazon SERP. The bidding amount here needs to be rather modest.

Page Two-Five

Similarly, for those search terms, that are ranked in the third, fourth, and fifth pages, you can follow a more robust strategy that addresses the top-performing keywords. You have to keep bidding consistently over time and identify which of the search terms are procuring the most conversions. Now, optimize your advertising campaigns accordingly with these search terms. Amazon will automatically improve the organic ranking of your product for these keywords as they begin to generate sales.

Page One and Two

If your keywords are ranking on pages one and two, you need to bid aggressively. Since you are just a few spots away from the prime positions, you can easily win those positions and improve your product’s discoverability by bidding a little higher than your competitors.

Here, you should also drake care of the variations of these search terms so that you can increase sales for them as well. Start a secondary campaign solely for this purpose and set the match type to phrase match to cover as many variations as possible. 

Leverage SellerApp’s robust PPC analyzer tool to set your campaigns that can bring maximum sales at low ACoS. Their PPC experts are highly trained and they will guide you in every step of their journey. Starting from PAT campaigns to custom campaigns with rules, frequency, and exclusions, you can have control over every aspect of your campaign. Not to mention, the AI tool will constantly provide data-driven recommendations to help you scale your ads. 

Tip 3: Negative Targeting 

While enhancing the campaigns, focus on keywords that are not bringing in any sales but are costing you money for clicks. This usually happens when those keywords are not relevant to your products. These keywords need to be marked as negative but take a long time and effort to finally identify them. If you are using SellerApp’s advertising tool, then it will automatically suggest to you the list of keywords that need to be marked negative. 

Negative keywords are essential in Amazon PPC and should not be underestimated.

Negative keywords are significant to your Amazon PPC campaigns. They reduce wasted spend, raise listing rankings, and eliminate keyword cannibalization. The quicker you begin to implement them, the faster you reach your goal of maximum ad revenue generation. 

Tip 4: Adjust Your Bids by Ad Placements

Amazon is constantly striving for better UX and it recently introduced a set of features meant to improve the way sellers bid in PPC auctions. 

Yes! It brought about the Custom Rule Bidding feature(also available in SellerApp) where sellers can choose to bid in a way beyond dynamic bidding and fixed bidding. They can add the frequency and intensity of bid change in this category manually. This feature is usually for expert PPC sellers only available for the US Amazon marketplace. 

The ad placements feature of Amazon allows you to fine-tune your campaigns and gives you more control over where you want your ads to appear and how much you should spend on them. 

This strategy deals mainly with adjusting your bids based on the positions.

As we all know, your Amazon PPC ads will appear in either of the three places-

  • Top of the SERP on page one,
  • On the rest of the SERP (middle, bottom, and in the second page of Amazon SERP and beyond)
  • And, in the product details page and other positions other than the Amazon search results

You can view the placement report for every Amazon campaign of yours and analyze which of the three positions brought you the most exposure and sales. Based on these data, you can add the placement bidding multiplier for each placement between 0% and 900% to further enhance your chance of conversions and increase brand awareness.

If your ad campaign acquired the highest sales when displayed on the product detail pages, a good strategy here would be to increase the bid amount on these product pages by adjusting the bid. You may choose an arbitrary number, but if the ACoS is reasonably high, you may want to limit the multiplier to 50%.

Similarly, if the best Click-Through-Rate, say 2.57%, was observed when the ads appeared at the top of search results,  and if the ACoS is low, then you may increase the multiplier aggressively by 100-200%. 

Now here, you may have a question: What should be my default bid amount?

Well, the answer to this question is fairly simple, although it requires a bit of attention and planning.

There are four types of campaign bidding strategies that one may follow. The last one is only available for the US marketplace.

  • Dynamic Bids – Down Only: Amazon will lower your bids automatically up to 100%, if your ad doesn’t acquire many conversions.
  • Dynamic Bids – Up and Down: Amazon will raise your bids by a maximum of 100%, if your ad is making good progress, and at the same time, reduce it like Dynamic Bids – Down only, if it’s not bringing conversions. Here, you must consider two things: For ads at the top of the search results page, the bids may be raised by 100%. For all other placements, the multiplier is fixed at 50%.
  • Fixed Bids: Here, you pay what you mention and the bids are fixed, i.e. Amazon cannot make any alternations. 
  • Rule-Baed Bidding: Here, the user sets manual conditions based on “if/then” rules that would trigger bid and keyword modifications whenever the given conditions are met. Amazon will adjust bids up or down to enhance conversions up to the ROAS limit.

Now, to compute your default bid amount with all of the above methods, here is what you need to understand: the placement multiplier is initially added to the bid price. Next, the dynamic bidding increment is added to arrive at the final amount.

The table below sums up the calculation for a bidding amount of $1.

PlacementPlacementmultiplierDynamicBids-Up & DownFinalAmount
Top of theSearch400%+100%$0 – $10
Product Pages100%+50%$0 – $3

Tip 5: Experiment with different Bid amounts and Match Types

Try playing with match types and bid amounts. The CPC for a specific keyword in an automatic campaign will be substantially cheaper than its counterpart in the exact match type of a manual campaign. 

Similarly, the CPC for a broad keyword in manual will cost you more than an automatic campaign keyword, but cheaper than exact. Similarly, your ad campaigns may provide better results when setting to phrase match, as compared to exact.

A profitable Amazon PPC strategy is to create ad campaigns for the same set of keywords with separate parameters. It could be campaigns with automatic, manual, multiple match types, several types of bid amounts, various timings, etc. 

Don’t forget to run campaigns during different times of the day to find out the most favorable timeline where you get the most clicks and sales. Once you have that, you can bid aggressively on your ads at that time of the day. This process is called dayparting. You can also amalgamate this strategy with Headline Search Ads and Product Display Ads, curated specifically for your target audience.

The motive here is to understand which factors drive the maximum traffic and conversions. You have to unravel the trick to identify the sweet spot that’s ideal for your campaign.

You need to analyze your ACoS, orders, keyword performance, ad performance, CTR, and other insights while modifying the campaign parameters. It will help you understand what is working for you and what isn’t. There is a lot of trial and error here, but if you have a strong set of keywords to target, your job gets easier than ever.

Tip 6: Relevance and Performance metrics 

Amazon’s ad ranking algorithm, or A9, prefer listings with greater sales, higher reviews, and more transparent product copies. 

Amazon leverages performance and relevance metrics to determine the ad ranking. These metrics are

  • Performance Metrics: Click-through-rate(CTR), Conversion Rates, Total Number of Sales
  • Relevance Metrics: Product Tiles, Product Description, Keywords, Brand Name

To know how to fine-tune your listings for greater relevance and performance, read this guide here

We always recommend Amazon sellers optimize their product detail page with the best-clicked images and A+ Content with the right keywords before running ads to get the most optimum results. If your product page isn’t optimized with finesse, you will end up getting bad reviews for the product’s misleading description. 

Other than enhancing your performance and relevance metrics, you can also add your competitor keywords under your single keyword campaigns to grab competitor traffic. Remember, using competitor keywords will require you to bid a little higher on them, and at times, they may not even get you enough sales, but it’s worth a shot if you want to capture your competitor slot on Amazon SERP.

To structure your Amazon PPC campaigns effectively, you can leverage SellerApp’s free software and improve your ad RoAS in no time. To begin, log in to their dashboard.

Now, sync your seller central account, select the marketplace and let this software do all the heavy work for you. Go to Advertising >> Campaign Manager. 

Here, you can create and optimize your Amazon PPC campaign by filtering keywords based on ACoS, monitoring your sales, eliminating non-performing keywords, setting bids, and many more. Furthermore, you can also evaluate other important metrics like sales, impressions, clicks, spend, click-through-rate, and CPC, and also get data-driven insights and recommendations for the same.

Final Thoughts 

By curating a definite structuring for your Amazon PPC campaigns that includes long-tail keywords, negative targeting, dayparting, and so on, you are saving yourself from incurring high advertising costs. Additionally, you are also making sure that you optimize your campaigns in the best way possible.

In the end, it is the performance of your campaign and how well it’s optimized that matters the most. Once you have your budget set, you should focus on managing and fine-tuning your campaign to meet your business goals. It is a constant process that, if done rightly, will yield you brilliant outputs.

Image credits in order of appearance: ©reddeer_art – / ©Screenshots @ Amazon

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