*Ellie Brooke has been selling products on Amazon since Nov 2014 with over $75K in revenue to date. Her book “PPC Strategies for Amazon Sellers” is available as a Kindle download on amazon.com. To get more information and a free Manual PPC Decision Tree and Tips to Save Your Amazon Business from Ruin, visit her web site at www.fbathenextlevel.com.*
Congratulations! Your first product is ready to be launched on Amazon.com. You’ve learned so much to get to this point – how to choose the right product, finding a supplier, getting it shipped into the Amazon warehouse. You are about to embark on the next chapter of your Amazon FBA education – Pay Per Click advertising.
Amazon Sponsored Ads, best known as PPC for Pay Per Click advertising, is by far the best way to spend your advertising budget (you do have an advertising budget, don’t you?). It is how you get your product to show up as a Sponsored Product on the top or bottom of a search page, or in the area that says “Sponsored Products Related To This Item” on a product page that customers have to scroll past to get to the reviews. It is the most effective means of getting your product in front of potential customers.
So how do you get started? As with any project, good prep work is essential for success and to avoid wasting money. Ask yourself the following questions to see if your product is ready to start a PPC campaign.
- Is your product in a category that supports PPC? Some categories, most notably jewelry and books don’t allow using PPC. Sorry.
- Are your images awesome? People make a decision on whether to click on your product or not in about two seconds. This decision is usually based entirely on the main image. Make sure it is attractive and really shows off the best aspects of your product (but remember that text is not allowed in a main image and is questionable on secondary images as well).
- Is your title optimized with the most relevant keywords? The Amazon PPC system uses keywords from two places – your title and the Search Term fields in the backend of your listing. I personally have found that having your most important keywords in your title is critical to PPC success.
- Do you have great keywords in your Search Term fields? Remember you can use as many keywords as will fit on each of those 50 character fields. Separate them with a space, not a comma. If you have variations, use different keywords in each of these product’s search term fields to get the most coverage for your keywords. It is unnecessary and wasteful to repeat keywords in the Search Term fields that are already in your title.
Now that you have optimized your listing to give PPC the best chance at success, it is time to start a campaign.
For a new product, the first thing you need to do is start an automatic sponsored ad campaign. In an automatic campaign, Amazon decides what keywords are relevant for your listing. You name a max bid and a daily spend total. Amazon will extract the keywords from your title and keyword fields in the backend of your listing and use those to determine where to place your ad.
- In Seller Central go to Advertising: Campaign Manager.
- Click Create Campaign.
- Fill in the Campaign Name, Average Daily Budget, Start and End Dates, and check Automatic Targeting. Click Continue to Next Step.
- Fill in Ad Group Name, Default Bid (at least $0.50), and select the product you wish to advertise.
- Click Save and Finish.
After seven to ten days of the campaign running, download the Search Term Report under the Advertising Reports section. When you open this in a spreadsheet program, you will find a list of keywords under the “Customer Search Term” heading. Copy this list of keywords into another sheet and save it. We will use this list to create a Manual campaign in the Amazon PPC area.
A manual campaign gives you much more flexibility in listing keywords and deciding which keywords to rank for. You can also change how much you want to bid for each keyword. So, for keywords that you find are important for your product, you will want to have a higher bid, while for keywords that are not as popular or relevant you may want to have a lower bid. Depending on your niche and category, the cost of your bid will vary widely. This important feature allows you to have control over how your ad money is spent.
How Do I Create A Manual Campaign?
- Log in to your Seller Central account on Amazon. Under Advertising, select Campaign Manager.
- Click the Create Campaign button.
- Campaign name: a meaningful name that will help you keep track of your various campaigns.
- Average daily budget: this is the amount of money you are willing to spend per day, averaged over the whole month, on this campaign. In the beginning, you may need to spend quite a lot on your advertising campaigns to get your product starting to appear on the first page or two of search results for your keywords.
- Select your start and end dates, or leave the default for the current date and no end date. No end date means your ad will run continuously until you manually pause or archive it.
- Select Manual targeting and Continue to Next Step
- Ad group name: you can have several sub-ad groups to help keep your keywords organized. You might want to use different lists for different target audiences or keyword strategies.
- Select the product you want to advertise.
- Select a default bid for the campaign. Make it at least $0.50-$0.75. Higher is better, to a certain extent.
- Suggested keywords: Amazon will offer you a list of keywords it suggests as being important. Look these over and select ones you find interesting. Don’t worry if they are duplicates of ones in your list—Amazon will delete the extras.
- Click on Provide your own keywords. You will see an area that says “Enter one keyword per line.”
- From your spreadsheet, copy the list of keywords that you want to use and paste them into this Keywords area.
- Match type. For these keywords in your first Manual campaign, use the Match type “Broad.” Later, when you are narrowing down keyword lists and making new ad campaigns, you can use the other options of “Phrase” and “Exact.”
- Click Save and Finish.
Now that your campaign is going, you can keep track of the progress in the Campaign Manager under the Advertising Tab in Seller Central. Here you can keep track of the amount spent, your sales, your average cost per click for each keyword, and the Average Cost of Sale, or ACoS. The goal is to have an ACoS that is lower than your net margin for your product. But in the first few weeks or months of a product launch, you may find your ACoS is well above your net margin, and even above 100%, which means you are spending more on the campaign than your sales resulting from the ad campaign. But this is a part of launching a new product, and is to be expected. But if after a few weeks you find your campaigns are not performing as well as you would like, you will need to “fine-tune” the keywords, bids, and budget amounts to help spark sales while saving precious advertising dollars.