Structuring your ad campaigns on Amazon

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Many FBA sellers get started with PPC ads in a pretty rough-and-ready way. They either select Amazon’s automatic campaign for their first product, or pick a few keywords and see what happens.

That’s fine for a first product, but once you grow your business it becomes difficult to manage. Structuring your campaigns becomes more important. There are some big benefits; a well structured campaign is easier to run, easier to monitor, and easier to improve.

So, let’s get started by running an Amazon automatic campaign for a couple of weeks. You’ll then want to sit down and analyze which keywords it used, and how well they performed. That gives you useful information on how to create your manual campaigns.

Then let’s create a set of manual campaigns. You need to divide these into three boxes:

•      exact match

•      broad match

•      complement.

That gives you four categories, these three plus the automatic campaign.

Look at the automatic campaign, and find the high converting keywords. Pay particular attention to long tail keywords (such as “navy blue sweater” rather than just “sweater”), since these are cheaper per click and can make a very cost-effective choice for advertising.

Now run your top few keywords in both exact match and broad match boxes. (Remember, exact match will only match “navy blue sweater”, not “blue sweater”: broad match catches more searches, but it’s more expensive.) You’ll want to run them for a few weeks at the very least, so plan your budget to last.

Then analyze which of these search terms are working. You can reduce your bids for non-converting keywords, and increase your bids for converting keywords. If they’re really not working, just cut them out entirely.

Look at keywords that were broad, and cost too much, but did generate clicks. For instance, the broad match on “navy blue sweater” might cost so much that your profit is almost swallowed up; but the exact match might be much cheaper, giving you a good profit margin. In this case, simply discontinue the campaign in the ‘broad’ box but spend a bit more budget on the ‘exact’ version.

Also look for keywords that get clicked on but don’t generate any sales at all. If after a few months they are still not generating sales, you’re paying for keywords that are useless to you. So don’t just stop advertising with them; actually put them on your negative keyword list. That means if someone is looking for, say, a navy blue striped sweater, they won’t come knocking at your door, and you won’t have to pay for the ad that brought them there.

The ‘complement’ box is almost a secret weapon, as a lot of people don’t use it at all. Look up the “frequently bought together” box for your product (or a similar product) and target the complementary product in your keywords. If you’re selling peanut butter, add ‘jelly’, for instance.

Usually, complement keywords should be saved for your product page (“our peanut butter makes great PBJ sandwiches”) and the back end keywords. But sometimes, if they convert extremely well, it may be worth running them as a separate ad campaign.

Replicate this structure for each of your products and you have an easy way to manage and monitor your ad spend and results, as well as a handy way to manage the launch process for new products. Like all the best management techniques, it’s simple, and easy to  use. The key to better returns is to put the effort into monitoring and tweaking your ad campaigns continuously, and this four-box system will free up your time to do the necessary tweaking.

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