With Amazon Advertising there is a sort of learning curve that takes place to figure out how to work the system and how to beat your competitors. I believe Amazon provides some help with learning how to bid, but they don’t really tell you how to bid intuitively and strategically.
I find this surprising, as I would think that the more competition they can churn up, the more ad revenue they can generate. On the other hand, driving up the price of clicks may end up hurting businesses with smaller ad budgets in the long run. Regardless, before starting a new campaign it is a good idea to generate a keyword list amongst other things so a solid foundation is set and you won’t have to go back and change things later. An article on those tips can be found here.
Utilizing all campaign types
As long as you have the budget it is not a bad idea to have a campaign in each type. Since this is a bit of a larger financial undertaking, you will want to make sure you have the proper keywords targeted and ignored. Point two below is a good starting point for creating a more efficient campaign
By running a campaign in each type, it creates exposure for your brand and your product(s). The more a customer sees your product, the greater chance they have of making a purchase. In addition to the ad exposure, Amazon tracks the search history of their visitors and then makes product recommendations based on these searches. It doesn’t cost you a dime for this and these suggestions may appear on the home page and ANY other website that is running affiliate ads.
Even if you don’t have the budget to run a campaign within all types, try to at least run campaigns in sponsored and headline searches. Virtually all sales within Amazon start with a search. With a headline and sponsored campaign, this will put your product right in the midst of the buying process.
Creating a lean campaign
Assuming you have already ran at least one broad campaign to capture keyword data, you’ll want to take this list and drill down what your customers are searching. As tedious as this sounds, you’ll want to scan through each individual keyword to determine what they are really searching for, and note the volume and orders that keyword is generating. The keywords with the highest CTR’s (Click through rates), and conversion rates are your most prominent keywords.
Other keywords that are generating large amounts of clicks, but not converting should be avoided. Typically these keywords are not relevant to what you’re advertising. So when a customer searches for a “water bed,” your ad for water bottles is shown, odds are he or she isn’t buying. To understand why this happens, you need to know the difference between exact, phrase, and broad match keywords. Highlight these keywords.
To find this list of keywords, go to your dashboard, click into the campaign, and go to reports. Request to download a report and you’ll be presented with the data in an excel format. Typically I format all of the data into a table so it’s easy to view.
You’ll be amazed at what people are searching and how your keywords are being incorporated into that. This list will, more than likely, give you ideas for other campaigns. The next thing to do is take all those keywords highlighted and determine whether or not they’re relevant to what you’re selling. Again, if you’re selling water bottles you’ll probably want to keep keywords like, “water bottle with straw”, “green water bottle”, maybe even “insulated bottle”. On the other hand you probably don’t want keywords like, “water slide”, “water fall”, or “water paint”.
In order for your ad not to appear for these keywords you’ll want to add negative keywords to your campaign as well as the keywords generating conversions. In your AMS campaign management tab all you need to do is enter your negative keywords, in the example above, “slide”, “fall”, and “paint” on each line in the keyword box, select ‘negative broad’ and then click ‘add’. It’s as simple as that! If you want to learn about the types of keywords, read, “XXXXXXXXXXXXX”
Over time, it is a good idea to regularly check the performance of your keywords the AMS generated report and continually add or trim keywords. This will keep your campaign running efficiently and avoid wasting your hard-earned dollars.
Identifying industry trends
If you have not already, you should stay on track with how your industry is moving. Most industries tend to have a sort of cycle where customers are buying more often and where they are not. One example of this may be school supplies. When kids are going back to school, typically around August in the United States, there is an increase in demand for pencils, markers, notebooks, etc. For a supplier such as Crayola, the crayon manufacturer, or Elmer’s Glue, this is their hot season.
The cycle is going to be different for each industry. It may be monthly, annually, or even longer. For Crayola or Elmer’s, it would probably be an effective tactic to up their campaign budgets, or even create new campaigns to push their products. For smaller companies to compete with the big dogs, the hot season is a prime opportunity. Crayola dominates the organic search results for the keyword “crayon”. Odds are unlikely that another smaller company is going to break into anywhere near the first page for that term.
This is where an Amazon gives these smaller companies an opportunity for a small fee. Joe’s Crayon Company can put their ads and their products within these search results and potentially pull sales away from Crayola. Considering Crayola isn’t running any ads, or Joe outbids them, these ads may prove very effective given the current demand.
These three strategies should be enough to get your feet wet with Amazon advertising. The best part is even if you don’t know a whole lot about advertising, it doesn’t matter. All you have to know is how to bid effectively.
Once you trimmed your keywords and think you’re at a point where you can start getting more strategic, read “XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX”.