If you’re selling on Amazon and want to grow your business, Sponsored Products ads are a must-have. The problem is, even for veteran sellers, Amazon PPC management is far from simple. In order to see a return on your ad investment, you have to spend hours fine-tuning and monitoring each campaign. Without constant surveillance, you risk losing money on unprofitable ads.

All this can make Amazon PPC seem intimidating and financially out of reach, especially for smaller businesses. The good news is there are ways you can manage your campaigns profitably. With time and plenty of elbow grease, you can overcome the PPC  challenges Amazon sellers regularly face.

This approach is worthwhile in terms of ROI; it can also cause sellers a lot of stress. Freelancers and agencies do exist, and they’re happy to take your money to do this for you, but that method can quickly inflate the cost of advertising beyond what you can afford.

So while we are going to teach you how you can improve your advertising performance, we’ll also show you how you can experience all the benefits of expert Amazon PPC management without the cost of an expert or the manual labor of doing it yourself.

1. Bid adjustments: Walking the tightrope between investing and wasting money

Bidding on Amazon often feels like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. A set-it-and-forget-it approach will save you time in the short-term but cost you in missed sales and wasted ad spend in the long-term.

To create a profitable bidding strategy, you must start by analyzing your data regularly. You may need to spend a few dollars on unprofitable keywords to learn that they’re unprofitable—but you don’t want to keep bidding on keywords that spend money and don’t generate sales.

Use your Amazon PPC keyword report to identify optimization opportunities
Use your Amazon PPC keyword report to identify optimization opportunities

To find unprofitable keywords, we’ve identified several metrics you need to analyze closely:

  • Advertising cost of sale (ACOS) is your total ad spend divided by total ad sales multiplied by 100.
  • Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who see your ad and click it (clicks divided by impressions).
  • Impressions are the number of people who have seen your ad.
  • Conversions are counted when someone buys after clicking on your ad.
  • Cost per click (CPC) is the actual price you paid for a click (which may be lower than your bid amount).
  • Ad placements show you where Amazon is displaying your ad. There are three potential placements for Sponsored Products: top of search results (page 1), product pages, and the rest of the search results.

It’s best to check these metrics on a daily basis as Amazon’s monthly aggregate data is sometimes skewed by performance outliers.

The next step is to adjust your bids based on the success metrics that tie closely to your ad goals. Say, for example, the main goal of your Amazon advertising is to drive profits for your business. You’ll want to look for two types of keywords in particular:

  • Keywords with a low ACOS. Experiment with raising the bids on these keywords in small increments—the idea is to try more conversions at a profitable ACOS. Just make sure you monitor these experiments closely to see if these keywords still perform well with higher bids.
  • Keywords with a high ACOS. These keywords are hurting your profits, even though they’re converting. You might need to remove these keywords, but start by lowering the bids on these keywords to see if they can become profitable for you.

After reviewing goal-specific metrics, repeat this process of bid adjustment. Optimal bid ranges change daily, as does the competitive landscape. You must stay on top of your data in order to capitalize on opportunities, adapt to changes, and catch negative trends before they wreck your budget.

This research-driven approach to your Amazon bids will not only save you money; it will earn you money. However, it is time-intensive. If you’d rather focus less on bid adjustments, you’ll need to automate your Amazon PPC management.

PPCWIZ offers you the expertise of an Amazon advertising guru and the intelligence of a data scientist in one easy-to-use application. With a rich suite of algorithmic tools, PPCWIZ analyzes and interprets your data 24/7 and adjusts your bids to help you meet your goals. Daily bid assessment and adjustment ensure that your bids are always at the optimal level—without any effort on your part.

2. Managing keywords: Finding a needle in a haystack

If you successfully bid on a keyword for your Amazon ad, your promotion will appear on search results or product pages. But that’s just step one. The trick is bidding on keywords that are relevant to your customers, so your ad appears on the search results and product pages your shoppers are likely to see.

Analyze your Amazon PPC keyword data to find opportunities
Amazon PPC keyword report exported to Microsoft Excel

To find these valuable phrases, you have to analyze your keyword data. The two reports you need to review on a regular basis are your keyword reports and your search terms report.

  • Your keyword report shows you the performance metrics (ACOS, CTR, impressions, etc.) of the keywords in your campaigns. Use this data to decide whether you want to adjust bids on keywords, lower bids, remove keywords altogether, or adjust match types.
  • Your search terms report shows you the exact search terms that buyers used to generate your ad. Here, you’ll find new high-quality keywords, particularly long-tail keywords. Here, you’ll often see a mix of short, head keywords (“nike women’s shoes”) and more specific, long-tail keywords (“nike running shoes women size 9”).

This might not sound terribly time-consuming—until you consider that one metric is usually not enough to identify whether or not a keyword will work for you. Success is a complicated interplay between conversions, impressions, CTR, and ACOS. For example, if you only choose keywords based on ACOS, you might miss the high-traffic keywords you need to make your advertising worthwhile.

This isn’t a one-time effort either. As you experiment with your bids and settings, you need to observe the effects of your changes and adjust accordingly. Keep up-to-date spreadsheets, and watch your daily data patterns play out over time.

Even seasoned advertisers can find it difficult to interpret all of this data, which leads many sellers to ignore keyword management.

To make sure sellers can reap the rewards of keyword management without the hassle, PPCWIZ offers smart keyword control.  Our tool runs daily reports to analyze ACOS, impressions, conversions, CPC, CTR, and even more data points to score your keywords.Using this data, PPCWIZ automatically adjusts bids to favor keywords based on how well they meet performance targets.

3. Campaign targeting: Balancing between automatic and manual

When an Amazon seller sets up a paid campaign, they’re prompted to choose between manual and automatic targeting. Sellers, especially ones who are new to Amazon PPC management, often don’t put a lot of thought into this choice. But using both types strategically is key in boosting conversions and traffic.

campaign options for Amazon PPC
Campaign targeting options

The distinction between manual and automatic campaigns boils down to control. With manual, you manage every element of your campaign, from the keywords you choose to the bids you set. Automatic campaigns puts keyword and bid management in Amazon’s hands. The platform automatically places ads for your product based on your daily budget and the details of your product listing.

Automatic campaigns are especially valuable for collecting keyword data. Amazon uses these campaigns to match your ad to searches based on your product listing—which generates a wealth of search term data. You can use this data to find high-performing keywords, placements, and match types you may not have found otherwise.

Targeting options for Amazon PPC automatic campaigns
Amazon automatic campaign settings

The problem is, you can’t really do anything about that keyword data in an automatic campaign. Your control is limited, and Amazon’s attempts at optimizing your campaign are subpar.

The solution? Sift through those keywords  generated by your automatic campaign and copy them to a manual campaign. There, you’ll have control over the settings and bids that you need to ensure they live up to their potential and enrich your business.

Using both automatic and manual campaigns is critical for generating traffic and conversions on Amazon.  But this process of pulling keyword data from automatic campaigns and transferring it to manual ones is cumbersome.

That’s why we built PPCWIZ with Smart Pairing—a tool that builds these relationships between automatic and manually targeted campaigns every day. This feature automatically reviews your campaign performance and copies keywords with good sales and traffic potential from automatic campaigns to manual campaigns. From there, PPCWIZ can optimize those keywords for your ideal balance of traffic and conversions, while you sit back and enjoy the benefits of automated Amazon PPC management.

Manually managing your Amazon PPC  involves a lot of time and attention. If you can’t afford to make these investments, you may find yourself wasting money on low-value campaigns. Even if you find a mix of bids and keywords that generate a good balance of traffic, sales, and profits, a change in the competitive landscape (or even Amazon’s own algorithms) could put you back to square one.

PPCWIZ uses automation to manage all of these complicated factors. With the power of data science, PPCWIZ  makes smart adjustments to keywords, bids, match types, and even individual ASINS to keep your ad performance as strong as possible. All you have to do is sit back and reap the rewards.

We offer a pay-per-campaign model, so you can start small. Focus on your most important campaigns, and grow over time as you generate wins with PPCWIZ. Sign up for a free trial today!