*Ch. 3: Launch Basics and Targeting High-Value Keywords

How to efficiently setup, maintain and scale Amazon Ads

Towards the end of Chapter 1, we briefly covered the basics of setting up an Amazon Ad Campaign: log-in to Amazon Seller Central, pick a product to advertise, set your budget and keywords, and click launch. In this chapter, we’ll break this down further for the benefit of those who’re starting from scratch. So, roll up your sleeves and let’s get started with Amazon Advertising.

Launch Basics

Amazon designed its PPC platform in such a way that sellers with zero experience in advertising could quickly get the hang of pay-per-click advertising. And the first thing you need to cross out on your campaign creation to-do list is to check if you’re eligible to be an advertiser.

Eligibility Requirements

You need the following to run a successful ad campaign on Amazon:

  1. To advertise through Sponsored Products: An active professional seller account
  2. To advertise through Sponsored Brands: An active professional seller account and enrollment in the Amazon Brand Registry.
  3. Shipping capability – You should be able to send your products domestically, at the very least.
  4. Buy Box eligibility – Amazon considers these factors to find out if a seller is eligible for the buy box:
  5. Product price
  6. Fulfillment capability and track record
  7. Order defect rate
  8. Seller longevity
  9. Reviews and ratings

Create a Campaign

Here are the steps to creating your first Amazon PPC Campaign:

From login of Amazon Seller Central account, follow the breadcrumbs:

On the topmost menu, find Advertising  > Campaign Manager > Create Campaign .

Step 1.
Choose your campaign type.

You have three choices: Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brand and Sponsored Display.

Sponsored Products  – Ads appear on:

  • Amazon search results pages (above the organic results or on the vertical panel on the right side of the screen)
  • Product pages of similar or related products
  • The Additional Seller Listings (Add to Cart box on the right side of the page)
  • Checkout page

Sponsored Brands (formerly known as Headline Search Ads) –  Ads appear on:

  • Banner area of the search results page (main location)
  • The left and bottom side of the page (on desktop view)
  • Amazon search results

Sponsored Display (formerly known as Amazon Product Display Ads) Ads that are ideal for targeting your competitor product pages, and also for gaining insights into a shopper's needs and behavior. These ads are paired with the ASINs and are designed to be self-service. Brands are allowed to target and re-target Amazon shoppers both on and off of auto-generated Amazon product-focused ads.

Choose the ad type which you think can give your product the highest exposure.

Step 2.
Set up your ad campaign.

Provide the following information:

  • Campaign name – This can be any name you like.
  • Start and end date – If you want to test the waters first, you can set the campaign at 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Daily budget – The amount you’re willing to spend on this campaign. You can start small at $10.
  • Targeting Type – Choose between Manual targeting or Automatic targeting.
  • If you haven’t done keyword research yet, you can use Automatic targeting. Amazon will suggest keywords for your campaign and let you bid small amounts (by 10 cents, for example) until you find out which keywords generate impressions, and later, conversions. We’ll discuss keyword targeting further later in this chapter.
  • If you did your keyword research or competitor research before creating an ad campaign, you can choose Manual targeting and input the short and long-tail keywords in your list.
  • You can then create Ad Groups with their own default bids and set keywords on Broad, Phrase, or Exact matches.

    Besides Keyword targeting, Amazon now offers Product targeting for Manual campaigns.

    Select Keyword targeting so you can make your item visible to buyers who use specific search terms on Amazon. You may consider the keywords suggested by Amazon, or enter your own list of Broad, Phrase, or Exact match keywords.
  • Choose Product targeting (also Product Attribute Targeting or PAT) if you want to create a new ad group that targets related categories or products. You can manually select product pages (ASINs), brands, or categories you want to appear in.
  • Product – Select the product you want to advertise.
  • Default bid – Set your bid. You can take the automatic route and let Amazon adjust your bids according to your keywords’ real-time conversion probability via Dynamic Bids, or you can take complete control via Fixed Bids. If you choose the latter and your product has moderate competition, you can start bidding low at 10 cents. Avoid bidding too high (or following the recommended bid) early on; without a solid strategy to guide your decisions, you could lose a lot on expensive keywords with low profit margins.

Step 3.
Click Save and finish.

Congratulations! You just published your first Amazon PPC campaign.

Targeting High-Value Keywords

Recall that in Chapter 2, we discussed various keyword research methods and tools, like a PPC management software that automatically mines related keywords; free keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner; Amazon’s Seller Central, and various manual methods.

All these are excellent avenues to gather relevant keywords (words and phrases that target customers type in the Amazon search box when looking for items to buy). But keyword lists, especially from automatic generators, can easily have more than a hundred entries. Even with an unlimited advertising budget, bidding on hundreds of keywords to sell one product would be wasteful and foolish.

The crucial part of keyword research, therefore, is trimming down your list and identifying which ones are worth bidding on.

Sorting Keywords: What is a High-Value Keyword?

Keywords that bring the most value are the ones that generate impressions (can show your ad to a broad audience), conversions (can show your ad to audiences who will click on your ad), and sales (can show your ad to audiences with buying intent).

How do you find these high-value keywords that can increase your sales?

  1. Set your campaign on automatic broad match for at least a week.
  2. During this period, observe which keywords are getting impressions and which ones are not. If you have keywords that generate conversions off the bat, remove them from your broad match ad group and put them in a separate, manual exact match campaign. These are keywords you’ll want to keep ranking for because they show your ads to sure buyers.
  3. Look out for long-tail keywords.
  4. These are highly-focused search terms that shoppers use to search for things to buy. They can be phrases or full sentences, but most of the time, they’re a series of strategic terms that narrow down search results.
  5. See the example below:
  6. Women’s shoes – two words, broad match Manolo Blahnik open toe leather wedge heels – five words (long-tail), exact match
  7. Long-tail keywords may not have the highest search volumes, but they suggest a high buying intent and convert extremely well. In Amazon PPC advertising, it’s wiser to target a few buyers who have already decided to buy a product than hundreds of window shoppers who’re still undecided.
  8. Search for high-value keywords on Amazon itself.
  9. The site uses a unique search algorithm, so it makes sense to find out what Amazon thinks are relevant keywords to the products you want to sell.
  10. One thing you can do is gather the suggested keywords (in the Targeting section of your ad campaign manager) and cross-check them with the results of your Search Term Report (review Chapter 2 for how to extract this document). Look for long-tail keywords that made it in the suggested terms and generated conversions.
  11. Understand your target buyer’s journey.
  12. Advertising and copywriting icon Eugene Schwartz says customers have five levels of awareness:
  13. Unaware – People who don’t know anything about your product
  14. Problem Aware – People who know they have a problem or need, but don’t know the possible solutions yet.
  15. Solution Aware – People who know what could solve their problems, but may not know that you offer that product.
  16. Product Aware – Prospective customers who’ve heard of your brand and product, but also your competitors’. They’re still deciding who among you offers the best solution.
  17. Most Aware – High-value prospects and previous customers who know your brand and products. They’re loyal (repeat buyers) and look forward to new things you sell.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Assess which level your keywords fall under. Then bid for keywords that target Most Aware customers because they’re most likely to buy your product. Keywords that fall under this umbrella are often long-tails and may include a brand, main feature, or description.

Essentially, identifying high-value keywords is a matter of testing ad groups, observing outcomes, and giving yourself time to gather enough data to back your keyword choices.

New Campaign Structures

In the last quarter of 2018, Amazon released new targeting features for Sponsored Product Ads:

  1. Enhanced Auto Targeting (EAT)
  2. Product Attributes Targeting (PAT)

These 2 create different campaign structures that address goals for different stages of your advertising campaign. The smart use of these features can help you maximize your ROAS (return on ad spend). Let’s discuss them further.

What is Enhanced Auto Targeting (EAT)

Since its beta launch, all Automatic Campaigns are now EAT Campaigns. It’s also only available to Auto Sponsored Products campaigns. EAT offers these new targeting options:

Targeting Options/Match Types:

  1. Loose Match – broad match targeting loosely-related terms
  2. Close Match – broad match targeting highly-relevant terms
  3. Substitutes – targets competitor products
  4. Complements – targets products that complement with your own

These expanded options give you better control over your ad spend on Auto campaigns. Remember, Auto campaigns are necessary for initial data gathering and are necessary when you launch an ad for the first time. Ideally, you run an EAT campaign for four to six weeks, and then mine the data (impressions, clicks, and conversions) so you can further refine your Manual campaigns.

What is Product Attributes Targeting (PAT)

This targeting function is only available in Manual Sponsored Products campaigns. Instead of targeting keywords, it targets product attributes. PAT helps build brand awareness because of its broad reach.

Targeting Options/Match types:

  1. Product Page / ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) – This is equivalent to Exact match in keyword targeting. Each product in the Amazon marketplace has its own ASIN.
  2. Category Search Results – This is equivalent to Broad and Phrase matches in keyword targeting. You can choose categories from the search bar. Brand name, price range, and review ratings are also applicable categories

Creating these four ad groups can help you optimize a PAT campaign:

  1. Defensive Exact ASIN – Target your own products or catalog
  2. Category – Target the suggested categories
  3. Brand – Target your competitors’ brands
  4. Offensive Exact ASIN – Target specific competitors’ products

What you can do:

  1. Take note of your highest-converting ASINs and put them in your Offensive Exact ASINs ad group. Doing so amplifies your organic impressions and could increase your conversions exponentially.
  2. You can also apply Negative Targeting to PAT Campaigns. It works the same way as Negative Keyword Targeting: it prevents your ads from appearing on specific ASINs or search results that are irrelevant or had zero conversions.

Highly Recommended: PGN Structure

A lesser-known structure that you need to know about is the PGN or product group network, a proprietary campaign set-up generated by ZonTools.

PGN is designed to make full use of Amazon’s matching algorithm and Sponsored Products API while adhering to the platform’s terms of service.

PGN is a family of related campaigns with different targeting techniques, including PAT and EAT. It essentially simplifies Amazon paid ads. As you will learn later in this course, the best way to promote on Amazon is to launch multiple keyword-targeting ads for one or a group of related products. The data you gather will refine your campaign so you can target the best keywords and get your ads before your target audience.

PGN automates the creation of these keyword-targeting ads in one go.

Each PGN has the following structure:

  1. Exact-Match Campaign (allocate 30% of the entire budget and 100% of default bid on this group of keyword-targeting ads)
  2. Exact Ad Group 1
  3. Exact Ad Group 2…
  4. Phrase Campaign (20% of budget, 80% of default bid)
  5. Phrase Ad Group 1
  6. Phrase Ad Group 2…
  7. Broad-Match Campaign (15% of budget, 60% of default bid)
  8. Broad Ad Group 1
  9. Broad Ad Group 2…
  10. Auto Campaign (10% of budget, 40% of default bid)
  11. Auto Ad Group
  12. PAT Campaign (25% of budget)
  13. Defensive Exact ASIN Ad Group (100% of default bid)
  14. Offensive Exact ASIN Ad Group (80% of default bid)
  15. Brand Ad Group (variable default bid)
  16. Category Ad Group (variable default bid)

Besides automatically creating all of the above, a PGN also automates mining for in-demand customer search terms and product targets, negating (blacklisting/excluding) keywords, adjusting your bids up and down based on the likelihood of conversion and on each keyword/target Max ACoS, and generating searchable summaries and reports (advanced analytics).

There’s definitely more to learn about PGNs in the coming chapters. You’ll also have more opportunities to refine your keyword research methods and campaign structures because, in the next chapter, we will discuss the common mistakes in Amazon PPC ad campaigns.