Amazon Seller Central PPC is a hurdle that trips up a lot of sellers. Learning it on their own, many end up wasting valuable resources. But Seller Central PPC isn’t all that hard to wrap your head around, once you understand the logic behind it and get through the basics. You need to advertise using Seller Central PPC if you want to play the Amazon game, so here’s how you do it.
The Seller Central PPC Structure
Seller Central PPC, known as Sponsored Products on the platform, is composed of campaigns and ad groups. Your campaigns are your overarching categories of products that you are advertising. Your ad groups are the smaller groups of keywords that you will run and test for effectiveness. For instance, if you were selling apparel, shirts, pants, and undergarments would be your campaigns. From there, you would run separate ad groups within each of these campaigns to target different sets of keywords.
Choosing the right keywords is vital to the success of your campaigns. An ad will appear based on the keywords that you have in that ad group. Someone types in keywords that are similar to or the same as you have, and your ad gets shown to them on a list.
Granted, you won’t know what the best keywords are until you run a campaign with a few ad groups for a few months. But you can start strong by knowing the basics of what makes a good keyword on Amazon.
First, understand how the Amazon customer searches. Amazon customers are ready to buy, so their searches are more specific than, for instance, someone searching for information on Google. Most Amazon customers also know what they want to buy, so their searches are product-specific. This means that a longer phrase that describes a product to differentiate it from others in the same category is what makes a good keyword.
Second, a good keyword should be highly relevant to your product. Don’t just choose a keyword phrase because some tool tells you it is used a lot by customers. If your ad doesn’t take them to the product that they want, they will bounce. Not only will you have wasted your ad spend, but you will also get a poor rating from Amazon. Amazon is focused on getting customers what they want, fast, so any seller who doesn’t convert well will not get a chance to rank high on the results pages.
How Keywords Work
Seller Central PPC is thus named because the Amazon algorithm works on the pay-per-click model. You pay for each time that someone clicks on your ad. This works based on what are called bids. When you add a keyword to an ad group, you will place a bid on that keyword. Similar to an auction, bidding is naming the price that you will pay for each time someone clicks on an ad that is displaying for that keyword. Balance is vital to placing the right bid.
The Amazon A1 algorithm decides the order in which relevant ads are displayed based on who placed the highest bid. If your bid is too low, your ad will not show up near the top, which is what most customers end up clicking on. If your bid is too high, you will get the top spot, but you’ll be spending way too much on your ad.
Your keywords are what determine your visibility in Amazon’s search results pages, whether you rank organically or through Seller Central PPC campaigns. It is therefore vital that you choose keywords that you can make good bids for. Not too expensive – unless you really want to try and compete with the big names – and not too cheap, either. Cheap keywords basically means that hardly any seller uses that phrase, and this is usually because customers are not typing them in. Don’t discount cheaper phrases right away, however. If they seem highly relevant and look like a logical search, it may simply be that sellers haven’t discovered the phrase yet, and you can grab that gold mine.
Testing Seller Central PPC Campaigns
You have to run your Seller Central PPC ad groups a few times to really know how they are working for you. The only way to test the actual quality of your keyword choices is to see how much traffic they generate for you versus how much you are spending, and testing these bids against the conversions and revenue that they generate.
There are two kinds of Seller Central PPC campaigns – automatic campaigns and manual campaigns.
Automatic campaigns suggest keywords for you to use based on the available Amazon search data. Note that Amazon does not make a lot of this data available to sellers since it’s way too valuable. The suggestions do have some value, however, and are good to use as a springboard for new Seller Central PPC campaigns. Run auto campaigns for a few weeks to gather real-time data and extract the keyword phrases that perform well.
From these suggested keywords, you can also brainstorm other related keywords and variations that look promising. From there, you can check them using a keyword tool and select the best ones to add to a manual campaign.
Manual campaigns are manually populated – you enter the keywords that you want. Using the keyword phrases that you brainstormed, you can create an ad group to test. After a few weeks – at least three or four – you can reevaluate using the campaign data and Seller Central reporting and tweak your list. You can then also create another ad group from the good auto campaign keywords to test them further.
This testing process should cycle about three or four times for you to gather enough data to see clearly which phrases are bringing in a high volume of highly converting traffic.
Keyword Match Types
When you set up your keywords for a campaign, you will come across a choice between broad match, phrase match and exact match.
For automatic campaigns where you are gathering data, it’s best to use the broad match type. This means that your ad will be triggered for broad matches to your phrase. As long as the search term typed by the customer has the individual words in your phrase somewhere in there, your ad will get triggered. This is a great way to test how your phrases convert.
For new manual campaigns where you are further testing your initial phrases, it’s best to use the phrase match setting. This will limit your ad to displaying only when your specific phrase is contained in a search. This will help you gather more data on your phrase and also give you more suggestions on different combinations that are actually being searched.
For your steady manual campaigns where you have already found the phrases that convert best, set them to trigger for exact match. This means that your ad will appear only when the exact phrase typed in by a customer matches a phrase in your ad group. Exact matches take plural and singular forms as well as misspellings into account, so don’t worry about being too precise.
When you have run your campaigns for a while, you will begin to notice a few phrases that keep triggering your ads, but that don’t convert well enough to be worth it. You can then start to use another setting, negative keywords, to remove these specific phrases from your ad group.
Seller Central PPC campaigns are not a set and forget type of thing. You will test your new campaigns for three or four cycles of three or four weeks to learn what keyword phrases work, but that’s not the end of that. Most of your work is done, but you will still need to carefully monitor your ad groups for changes so you can manage your ad spend and ad or remove keywords as necessary. Seller Central PPC is a living organism because it’s powered by human searches. It is constantly changing based on the new data that Amazon gathers with every customer search. You have to be ready to ride that wave if you want to stay on top, or avoid giving up an arm and a leg for ads that steadily lose ground over time.