Amazon Advertising Tips

6 Actionable Optimizations You Can Make to Drive Better Amazon PPC Performance

8 min to read
Alex Nyezhnyk

by Alex Nyezhnyk

Co-founder, Profit Whales

Monitor landmark of your Amazon keywords to track TOP competitors

Let’s be honest – there are only that many top-performing keywords that describe your product. And well, your competitors are highly likely to know them just as well as you. 

Indeed, you can find the best of them competing for selling positions whenever a buyer types those keywords into the Amazon search console.

amazon ppc optimization case

For all you Amazon sellers, who proudly run Sponsored Ads showing on page 1 search results: you should find it useful dialing in those keywords into search console yourself from time to time and scrolling the page or two down. Just to make sure your competitors are not up to something: 

  • Are competing for products in the same positions across all the keywords, since you last checked? 
  • Did any of them resort to a discount (and why might they have)? 
  • Did you see any new faces (products)?  

If you see any changes (like a strong discount for a similar product or a new design from a top competitor) – you will get a heads up into how your market may change soon and figure out if you should do something to remain on top of things.

A glance at the Campaign Manager graphs to how well you did the job

It is so often that Amazon PPC managers see these blue & orange lines on Seller Central screen, that they often get ignored in favor of the more complex instruments. 

But how about glancing over the graph for 3 minutes and making it useful?

Set a timeline to be 7 days or longer, and activate ACoS and Orders data and look at the results. 

Three seconds is plenty of time to confirm to yourself that you did something right or wrong in the past. A graph with a steep rise or decline after the last major optimization (providing it happened at least a few days ago and the data is complete) can tell you if your overall idea paid off. 

  • Did you cut on expensive bids and see your ACoS improve since then?
  • Or did your sales drop so much you’re likely to lose out on keeping the stock more that you save in ACoS?

Should you press on with the idea or look for a better hypothesis about where to propagate your PPC? These 3 seconds can give you plenty of though 

Compare your Sales Business Report with local holiday calendar

We all know and love Thanksgiving, Mother’s day and X-mas. The Prime Day and Cyber Monday are equally familiar to you as Amazon account Managers.

But do you know what they will mean for your business in the upcoming year?

Why not spend 10 minutes and make yourself prepared (at least in terms of inventory) for all upcoming spikes in demand?

Here is a list of all the significant Amazon dates

Don’t be shy, get informed!

Download:

PDF – Amazon Sellers Events Сalendar

PNG (high quality) – Amazon Sellers Events Сalendar

Take Prime Day, for example. Let’s say you’ve been selling 30-35 items/day doing business as usual right before and right after the Prime Day. On July 15th, 2019, you’ve sold 161 items.

amazon business report

Will it be the same this year? Ever since the COVID-19 has hit the planet, the sales have been in turmoil all over Amazon, to name just one factor. 

But! It’s been like this for ALL players. 

Hence – you can still SAMPLE your monthly sales in April 2019 and compare them with figures you will get after April 2020. Regardless of how smaller or more generous, they will turn out – this will be your new Amazon reality. And if you multiply it by the same coefficient you’ve got from last Prime Day (161/32.5 = 4.95), you should get a ballpark estimate of your future sales. 

Do that for every major holiday that affects your particular product – and you will never find yourself completely unprepared to meet your future demand with decent stocks and lock-and-loaded marketing budgets!

Easy bid math for maintaining adequate ACoS

Amazon Seller Central already offers us a few instruments to deploy our Amazon-based marketing campaigns. By the very design, these serve different purposes:

It is there for the straight-forward promotion of products to be sold directly on Amazon (in exchange for some profit) 

Unlike the Sponsored Ads, the Brand ads do not display products’ prices. Which makes it very viable for expensive products, where the price should be a secondary reason to buy or not. Also excellent for flying your colors now and then (that is the brand logo)

It is there to buzz potential customers with the appearance of your product, waiting for their attention (as opposed to reacting to their search)

For once, one should not expect the same performance from all 3 in terms of ACoS and sales. Sponsored Ads were and by far still are the greatest promotion asset of Amazon PPC Manager. And it should get the most attention from the latter.

This is why we’ve come up with a strict and very easy to use formula to judge whether any particular keyword bid in your Sponsored Ads management process. 

It goes like this:

1. Whenever you see a Sponsored Ads asset (be it a campaign, an ad group, or a single keyword) making your sales, this is good news! Observe it over some time. Once it made 5 or more sales, you can safely assume its current ACoS is about what it’ll keep receiving in future too

2. Know your break-even ACoS level. Its time to compare the newly discovered selling keywords’ ACoS it with the ACoS you can afford in the long run (your break-even ACoS). 

  • If it is lower – congrats, you’ve found your self some extra sales at a reasonable price.
  • If keywords’ ACoS is above the break-even level but below 70-80% ACoC – you can try and adjust the bid to have still it work for you.
  • If keyword’s ACoS is above 80% – that you are unlikely to work the bid in any way to make these sales profitable. Better pause this keyword for some time.

3. For all keywords with ACoS between break-even and 70-80% – you need to adjust the bid. Roughly take your current bid and multiply it by break-even ACos values and divide the result by actual ACoS %. 

Example: you’ve spent $12.6 on PPC costs of advertising a particular keyword that had $1.8 maximum bid. This brought you the sale of 5 items worth $20 each. Your result in ACoS is, therefore, 63%. However, you know that your maximum viable (breakeven) ACoS is 40%. 

Thus you want your highest bid to be no more than ($1,8*40%) / 63%=$1.14

  • After quickly switching to the new bid, you just need to dial it in instead of the old one.
  • Give yourself 1 week of not touching this bid again. Maybe more. Ideally, you should arrive at a target ACoS (or even lower), albeit with a reduced frequency of sales.
  • Rinse & repeat as needed

Obviously, there are opposite cases where you can increase the bid for keywords with too low-ACoS, but that is a case for another note.

Make a quick comparison of PPC sales and total sales to see if you get the most out of your PPC Campaign

So far, you’ve been a good Amazon PPC Manager, and you’ve multitasked well: you did good research on your competitor’s products and what they put forth on their Product Detail Page. 

You’ve had a good idea about what the first photo works best for your customers and picked the best one (after some experimenting). You worked thoroughly with customer reviews to give them quick and helpful feedback and keep your stars above industry-average. And of course, you’ve put a great deal of time and effort in your Sponsored Ads campaign:

  • Identified all obvious keywords and bid to get your Ads to page one
  • Launched a broad-modifier keywords campaign to search for any extra valuable search terms you’ve missed
  • Locked on to weaker ASINs to provide you with some extra sales

But did you do enough? Is there a quick way to reference if all your efforts work in unison? Or is something amiss? Well, it turns out there is a smart way. 

What you need is to compare the two precise figures:

  • Number of item’s orders from your Advertising Campaign Manager (for a given period)
  • Number of total orders from your Business Report – Detail Page Sales and Traffic (for the same period)

Depending on this ration you (and this holds true in most markets) know that:

  • If orders from PPC are less than 20% of total orders – your PPC is reserved and should be making you sales with a very good ACoS, as your PPC campaign can make more sales if you were to push the bids up a bit. If you are NOT selling well with your PPC at this level – its a sign that the Campaign needs more working on, as it CAN do better.
  • PPC orders are 20-40% of your total orders – this is an indication that PPC and organic sales are balanced-off, and you did an excellent job at both. Is your ACoS allows for it – you may want to stick to current bids and keep on generating maximum sales from sponsored ads that can give you with your current product listing
  • PPC orders are more than 50% of your total orders – this is a sign that your PPC is pushing the limit of what your product listing can convert. The demand IS there, but your organic sales are not catching up with it. This is an indication that you need to put more effort into the Product Detail Page and bring that cost of a sale down.

Although by no means a definite indicator, this PPC-to-total orders ration is a viable telltale that can give you a feeling of where you’re at right now – and where you may want to go next with your Amazon Management work.

Be lazy and let the PPC data guide you

What sets a mature Amazon PPC Manager apart from a less experienced one is her attitude towards assumptions and quick conclusions.

This is especially true for when you are the account’s owner, and it is your own money that gets spent every day on a seemingly underperforming Sponsored Ads Campaign. 

You’re checking out the numbers over and over again, and seeing that ACoS in the “red” zone is frustrating. And those supposedly effective top keywords that bleed you USD50 a day without a single sale are driving you mad! 

Why not pause the damn thing right away and stop losing money – or at least cut the bids in half?

While sometimes this is indeed a product decision – more often, it is NOT. Amazon’s data processing algorithm is a very complex one, and for some values, it takes a lot of time to attribute real-world events to initial triggers. 

For example, your customers could’ve seen your Sponsored Ad, and clicked on it… but for some reason did not purchase your product until the next morning. 

  • So did your ad work or not? 
  • Did your customer get influenced by the first exposition to your product?
  • Did he/she simply stumble upon it in the organic search again?

Amazon wants to be very clear with all that’s going on every day with millions of similar and more complex interactions.

This is why Amazon’s team has been very clear about the lag between real events and the data a Seller Central provides you with. This is why you can see your ACoS magically drop from 80% (when looking at today’s figures) to 30% when looking at the same day 3 days later.

This is why you do not want to conclude how effective your PPC campaign was until at least 1 (better yet 3) full day afterward. 

So yes, with Amazon, you sometimes need to be wise and patient about it. If, after 3 days, your data looks still disappointing (for example, your ACoS is still above 50% after 5 ordres from a giver keyword) – then you can safely assume you’re NOT killing your golden goose and slash the bid.

If a keyword brought you 10…20 clicks and zero orders – only then should you critically assert if you should pause it – or increase the bid so that your Sponsored ad will creep up to page 1 of search results and finally get noticed by customers who’s ready to buy… 

Just be calm and meditative. Let the data become complete before it will guide your decisions and bring real zen to your account.

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Amazon Advertising Tips

6 Actionable Optimizations You Can Make to Drive Better Amazon PPC Performance

8 min to read
Alex Nyezhnyk

by Alex Nyezhnyk

Co-founder, Profit Whales

Monitor landmark of your Amazon keywords to track TOP competitors

Let’s be honest – there are only that many top-performing keywords that describe your product. And well, your competitors are highly likely to know them just as well as you. 

Indeed, you can find the best of them competing for selling positions whenever a buyer types those keywords into the Amazon search console.

amazon ppc optimization case

For all you Amazon sellers, who proudly run Sponsored Ads showing on page 1 search results: you should find it useful dialing in those keywords into search console yourself from time to time and scrolling the page or two down. Just to make sure your competitors are not up to something: 

  • Are competing for products in the same positions across all the keywords, since you last checked? 
  • Did any of them resort to a discount (and why might they have)? 
  • Did you see any new faces (products)?  

If you see any changes (like a strong discount for a similar product or a new design from a top competitor) – you will get a heads up into how your market may change soon and figure out if you should do something to remain on top of things.

A glance at the Campaign Manager graphs to how well you did the job

It is so often that Amazon PPC managers see these blue & orange lines on Seller Central screen, that they often get ignored in favor of the more complex instruments. 

But how about glancing over the graph for 3 minutes and making it useful?

Set a timeline to be 7 days or longer, and activate ACoS and Orders data and look at the results. 

Three seconds is plenty of time to confirm to yourself that you did something right or wrong in the past. A graph with a steep rise or decline after the last major optimization (providing it happened at least a few days ago and the data is complete) can tell you if your overall idea paid off. 

  • Did you cut on expensive bids and see your ACoS improve since then?
  • Or did your sales drop so much you’re likely to lose out on keeping the stock more that you save in ACoS?

Should you press on with the idea or look for a better hypothesis about where to propagate your PPC? These 3 seconds can give you plenty of though 

Compare your Sales Business Report with local holiday calendar

We all know and love Thanksgiving, Mother’s day and X-mas. The Prime Day and Cyber Monday are equally familiar to you as Amazon account Managers.

But do you know what they will mean for your business in the upcoming year?

Why not spend 10 minutes and make yourself prepared (at least in terms of inventory) for all upcoming spikes in demand?

Here is a list of all the significant Amazon dates

Don’t be shy, get informed!

Download:

PDF – Amazon Sellers Events Сalendar

PNG (high quality) – Amazon Sellers Events Сalendar

Take Prime Day, for example. Let’s say you’ve been selling 30-35 items/day doing business as usual right before and right after the Prime Day. On July 15th, 2019, you’ve sold 161 items.

amazon business report

Will it be the same this year? Ever since the COVID-19 has hit the planet, the sales have been in turmoil all over Amazon, to name just one factor. 

But! It’s been like this for ALL players. 

Hence – you can still SAMPLE your monthly sales in April 2019 and compare them with figures you will get after April 2020. Regardless of how smaller or more generous, they will turn out – this will be your new Amazon reality. And if you multiply it by the same coefficient you’ve got from last Prime Day (161/32.5 = 4.95), you should get a ballpark estimate of your future sales. 

Do that for every major holiday that affects your particular product – and you will never find yourself completely unprepared to meet your future demand with decent stocks and lock-and-loaded marketing budgets!

Easy bid math for maintaining adequate ACoS

Amazon Seller Central already offers us a few instruments to deploy our Amazon-based marketing campaigns. By the very design, these serve different purposes:

It is there for the straight-forward promotion of products to be sold directly on Amazon (in exchange for some profit) 

Unlike the Sponsored Ads, the Brand ads do not display products’ prices. Which makes it very viable for expensive products, where the price should be a secondary reason to buy or not. Also excellent for flying your colors now and then (that is the brand logo)

It is there to buzz potential customers with the appearance of your product, waiting for their attention (as opposed to reacting to their search)

For once, one should not expect the same performance from all 3 in terms of ACoS and sales. Sponsored Ads were and by far still are the greatest promotion asset of Amazon PPC Manager. And it should get the most attention from the latter.

This is why we’ve come up with a strict and very easy to use formula to judge whether any particular keyword bid in your Sponsored Ads management process. 

It goes like this:

1. Whenever you see a Sponsored Ads asset (be it a campaign, an ad group, or a single keyword) making your sales, this is good news! Observe it over some time. Once it made 5 or more sales, you can safely assume its current ACoS is about what it’ll keep receiving in future too

2. Know your break-even ACoS level. Its time to compare the newly discovered selling keywords’ ACoS it with the ACoS you can afford in the long run (your break-even ACoS). 

  • If it is lower – congrats, you’ve found your self some extra sales at a reasonable price.
  • If keywords’ ACoS is above the break-even level but below 70-80% ACoC – you can try and adjust the bid to have still it work for you.
  • If keyword’s ACoS is above 80% – that you are unlikely to work the bid in any way to make these sales profitable. Better pause this keyword for some time.

3. For all keywords with ACoS between break-even and 70-80% – you need to adjust the bid. Roughly take your current bid and multiply it by break-even ACos values and divide the result by actual ACoS %. 

Example: you’ve spent $12.6 on PPC costs of advertising a particular keyword that had $1.8 maximum bid. This brought you the sale of 5 items worth $20 each. Your result in ACoS is, therefore, 63%. However, you know that your maximum viable (breakeven) ACoS is 40%. 

Thus you want your highest bid to be no more than ($1,8*40%) / 63%=$1.14

  • After quickly switching to the new bid, you just need to dial it in instead of the old one.
  • Give yourself 1 week of not touching this bid again. Maybe more. Ideally, you should arrive at a target ACoS (or even lower), albeit with a reduced frequency of sales.
  • Rinse & repeat as needed

Obviously, there are opposite cases where you can increase the bid for keywords with too low-ACoS, but that is a case for another note.

Make a quick comparison of PPC sales and total sales to see if you get the most out of your PPC Campaign

So far, you’ve been a good Amazon PPC Manager, and you’ve multitasked well: you did good research on your competitor’s products and what they put forth on their Product Detail Page. 

You’ve had a good idea about what the first photo works best for your customers and picked the best one (after some experimenting). You worked thoroughly with customer reviews to give them quick and helpful feedback and keep your stars above industry-average. And of course, you’ve put a great deal of time and effort in your Sponsored Ads campaign:

  • Identified all obvious keywords and bid to get your Ads to page one
  • Launched a broad-modifier keywords campaign to search for any extra valuable search terms you’ve missed
  • Locked on to weaker ASINs to provide you with some extra sales

But did you do enough? Is there a quick way to reference if all your efforts work in unison? Or is something amiss? Well, it turns out there is a smart way. 

What you need is to compare the two precise figures:

  • Number of item’s orders from your Advertising Campaign Manager (for a given period)
  • Number of total orders from your Business Report – Detail Page Sales and Traffic (for the same period)

Depending on this ration you (and this holds true in most markets) know that:

  • If orders from PPC are less than 20% of total orders – your PPC is reserved and should be making you sales with a very good ACoS, as your PPC campaign can make more sales if you were to push the bids up a bit. If you are NOT selling well with your PPC at this level – its a sign that the Campaign needs more working on, as it CAN do better.
  • PPC orders are 20-40% of your total orders – this is an indication that PPC and organic sales are balanced-off, and you did an excellent job at both. Is your ACoS allows for it – you may want to stick to current bids and keep on generating maximum sales from sponsored ads that can give you with your current product listing
  • PPC orders are more than 50% of your total orders – this is a sign that your PPC is pushing the limit of what your product listing can convert. The demand IS there, but your organic sales are not catching up with it. This is an indication that you need to put more effort into the Product Detail Page and bring that cost of a sale down.

Although by no means a definite indicator, this PPC-to-total orders ration is a viable telltale that can give you a feeling of where you’re at right now – and where you may want to go next with your Amazon Management work.

Be lazy and let the PPC data guide you

What sets a mature Amazon PPC Manager apart from a less experienced one is her attitude towards assumptions and quick conclusions.

This is especially true for when you are the account’s owner, and it is your own money that gets spent every day on a seemingly underperforming Sponsored Ads Campaign. 

You’re checking out the numbers over and over again, and seeing that ACoS in the “red” zone is frustrating. And those supposedly effective top keywords that bleed you USD50 a day without a single sale are driving you mad! 

Why not pause the damn thing right away and stop losing money – or at least cut the bids in half?

While sometimes this is indeed a product decision – more often, it is NOT. Amazon’s data processing algorithm is a very complex one, and for some values, it takes a lot of time to attribute real-world events to initial triggers. 

For example, your customers could’ve seen your Sponsored Ad, and clicked on it… but for some reason did not purchase your product until the next morning. 

  • So did your ad work or not? 
  • Did your customer get influenced by the first exposition to your product?
  • Did he/she simply stumble upon it in the organic search again?

Amazon wants to be very clear with all that’s going on every day with millions of similar and more complex interactions.

This is why Amazon’s team has been very clear about the lag between real events and the data a Seller Central provides you with. This is why you can see your ACoS magically drop from 80% (when looking at today’s figures) to 30% when looking at the same day 3 days later.

This is why you do not want to conclude how effective your PPC campaign was until at least 1 (better yet 3) full day afterward. 

So yes, with Amazon, you sometimes need to be wise and patient about it. If, after 3 days, your data looks still disappointing (for example, your ACoS is still above 50% after 5 ordres from a giver keyword) – then you can safely assume you’re NOT killing your golden goose and slash the bid.

If a keyword brought you 10…20 clicks and zero orders – only then should you critically assert if you should pause it – or increase the bid so that your Sponsored ad will creep up to page 1 of search results and finally get noticed by customers who’s ready to buy… 

Just be calm and meditative. Let the data become complete before it will guide your decisions and bring real zen to your account.

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Alex Nyezhnyk

Alex Nyezhnyk

Co-founder, Profit Whales