Amazon is now the third most popular advertising platform in the US.
With the average PPC conversion rate of 9.47%, the platform’s paid ads convert almost three times more leads than search, owing to the user base with high purchase intent.
And speaking of users, 66% of US consumers now search for new products on Amazon. However, 44% of them never go past the second page of search results.
What this means for brands is that their revenue on the platform depends on their ability to land on the first page of the results and capture the buyers’ attention.
Enter Amazon PPC optimization - best practices aimed at improving ad performance, including placement and conversions.
In this article, we discuss Amazon PPC strategies and best practices with the industry leaders - the award-winning Amazon agency Awesome Dynamic.
1. Hi Jon and Shawn, tell us a bit about Awesome Dynamic’s experience with Amazon PPC optimization: How long have you been in the business and what are some of the best results you’d like to share in this field?
Jon Freeman (JF): Awesome Dynamic has been in business for over 10 years (since 2009).
Over 5 years ago we saw a shift in eCommerce and a need - there were not many Amazon consultants available to help Amazon sellers navigate PPC optimization or help with Amazon SEO, optimizing listings with keywords, appealing content, quality images, shipping or any of the behind-the-scenes intricacies Amazon presents to sellers.
We took that opportunity to fill the void and have been growing since.
Shawn Cassinelli (SC): We helped a small but thriving fishing tackle company decrease their advertising spend by 52%. In August of 2018 they reached out to our team at Awesome Dynamic with the goal of decreasing their overall Amazon advertising spend of about $18,000 per month.
Their concern was that decreasing the spend would have a corresponding negative impact on sales. They did not have the time to develop a level of expertise in PPC optimization. We decreased the spend and kept the same sales volume.
2. What would you say has been the key to your success with Amazon campaigns?
JF: The best campaigns we run are when we work hand-in-hand with our clients.
We strive to make a personal connection with our clients to learn everything we can about their business and products. This puts us at an advantage in today’s climate, where excellent customer service is hard to come by.
The client’s knowledge of the product combined with our expertise in PPC creates successful campaigns every time.
We combine our human expertise with a bidding algorithm that ensures the best possible sales with the least amount of spend.
Continuously monitoring the campaigns and checking them at least once every week and sometimes more if necessary.
3. How do you approach a client’s Amazon PPC strategy? Take us through your process.
SC: We view every client account as a unique opportunity. The strategy can change depending on the client category, product and unique challenges in the specific marketplace in which the client is doing business.
To get started we perform an assessment, conduct keyword research specifically targeted for Amazon and create a strategic plan for the unique needs of the business and product listings.
One of the areas we focus on is optimizing their listings. It is important to send buyers to listings that are delivering the best possible buyer experience.
We can ensure that’s the case by taking the time to write compelling copy, backed by keywords, providing professional images and doing the behind-the-scenes work to ensure proper optimization.
4. Let’s look into user behavior: How does Amazon PPC audience differ from that of, say Google and Facebook’s? And how should this inform a successful Amazon PPC strategy?
SC: People are looking for different things. Primarily in Amazon you are looking for a product. Both Google and Facebook have different primary purposes so the audience reflects that.
JF: Typically users come to Amazon not to search or connect with friends and family but with the intent to make a purchase. Google is more for questions and Facebook is more for social interaction.
SC: Amazon PPC ads don’t feel like ads. They often blend in with the other products in the organic search results, creating a more seamless and less intrusive experience for shoppers. This approach has helped advertisers see an increase in clicks and conversions.
5. What are your top targeting tips when it comes to defining the campaign audiences?
JF: Amazon does not allow for targeting specific audiences the same way we see Google and Facebook use targeted ads.
For Amazon PPC we focus on keywords and the groups that use those keywords to identify and focus on the best-matched audiences.
6. What are your top Amazon keyword research tips?
SC: Look at your competition and see what they are ranking for, but don’t focus all of your attention on them.
Try for keywords that don’t have ads on them, so you can start organically ranking in more places.
JF: Find all of the possible keywords that buyers are using to describe the product. Auto campaigns also work great for this.
7. Which checkboxes does an Amazon PPC campaign have to tick to be fully optimized?
JF: There is no point that a campaign is “fully optimized”. What buyers are looking for continuously changes and you need to adjust your campaigns to these changes.
SC: The main points that ensure quality content include:
- Researching and focusing on keywords that are relevant to what you are selling
- Writing clear, descriptive copy that is easy for the shopper to digest, and answers any questions they may have about the product.
- Utilizing eye-catching and informative photography and videos to help the shopper visualize the product and uses. This helps them visualize the product because they can’t actually touch it.
- Formatting your listing to include A+ Content (a unique URL and Amazon hosted website that gives more information about your brand).
8. What are some of the biggest mistakes advertisers make when building Amazon PPC strategy or campaigns?
JF: The biggest mistake I’ve seen is when the advertiser only runs auto campaigns or does not run matched auto and manual campaigns.
Having both campaign types allows us to generate new keywords based on Amazon search results and keep control over the bids.
SC: Another mistake is setting up the campaigns and walking away. Amazon campaigns benefit from frequent bid adjustments and constant evaluation of the results.
JF: Negative Keywords - Many agencies do not use these negative keywords to the fullest extent they can. Irrelevant terms and terms that spend too much of the campaign budget should be added here.
9. Are there any upcoming trends in Amazon PPC that advertisers should be aware of?
SC: Amazon is combining the Seller Central and Vendor Central interfaces.
We expect to see the cost of advertising to rise as it has in the past. Especially with so many new sellers trying to join the marketplaces.
10. Finally, how has COVID-19 Impacted Amazon PPC campaign performance? And, what can brands do to improve it?
JF: COVID-19 has been a game-changer for some clients and for others it has not affected sales at all.
- Some clients who are in the ‘Essential’ categories are seeing a HUGE increase in traffic and sales. Manufacturers have an advantage over resellers in this situation as they can pivot production to other products that are selling well at this time.
- While clients who sell products that are currently considered non-essential by Amazon are seeing a large drop in sales due to COVID-19.
- School supplies, for example, are not being sold in large quantities at this time. For clients who have been faced with reduced traffic we have carefully monitored their account and in some cases reduced their advertising budget. We want to reduce potentially wasting the advertising budget, especially when sales are low, but also keep some advertising to be ready when things shift. You don’t know when things will shift so you want to be proactive so you don’t miss out on that potential opportunity for your business and sales.
- The last group of clients are the ones that have not been affected at all or sales have stayed proportionately the same as in the past. In this case, we recommend that they ‘stay the course’ as long as they can keep their product in stock and the ACoS / ROAS numbers continue to be unaffected.
SC: Every client and situation is different and unique. Even clients who are in the same category may need to use different tactics to achieve their PPC goals. There really is no “one size fits all” approach to PPC.
Thank you, Jon and Shawn!
Want to take your Amazon game to the next level? Get in touch with Awesome Dynamic via contact form or call (800) 238-1811