Good data leads to good advertising decisions by guiding you to sales opportunities and helping you avert ad-spend disasters.

Fortunately, Amazon reports offer a wealth of campaign performance data to sellers. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t make it easy to understand what your data means or how you should use it.

To manage your campaigns successfully, you need a framework to turn your Amazon advertising data into actionable insights. In this post, we’ll walk you through the most important Amazon advertising reports and show you how to use each one to improve your campaigns.

A Quick Primer on How to Read Your Amazon Reports

Before you dive into specific report details, you need to know how to interpret the data you find.How can you decide if the numbers you see are good or bad?

Unfortunately, when it comes to Amazon pay-per-click advertising, there are no hard and fast answers about what makes a number “good” or “bad.” This is due to wide variations in factors like demand, category competition, and product margins.

But if you’re looking for rough benchmarks for comparison, consider the average advertising stats on Amazon. These 2019 statistics from AdBadger—which cover the average seller performance for metrics like impressions, conversion rate, and more—will give you a place to start in evaluating your performance. Just remember, your numbers may be anything but average depending on your category and product.

Also, understand what “good” advertising cost of sale (ACOS) means for your business.  ACOS is an important metric for performance evaluation, so it’s essential that you understand how it works and what makes a healthy ACOS for your specific business.

There aren’t concrete success numbers in Amazon advertising, so don’t worry about hitting the perfect number of impressions or conversions. What is important is reviewing your Amazon reports regularly. Stay flexible, stay on top of performance, and learn what makes your business successful.

The 5 Most Important Amazon Reports for Sponsored Products

There are dozens of Amazon reports available to sellers. We chose to focus specifically on Sponsored Product Ads here since its still the most widely used ad type and offers the most data.

When you download reports from your Seller Central dashboard, you’ll need to use a spreadsheet tool to view the data (we recommend Google Sheets or Excel). After you open your report, your first step should be to create a pivot table—a method of organizing your spreadsheet that allows you to filter and sort information based on a given data set.

With pivot tables, you can parse your data far more quickly and more easily find the insights you need.

Now that you’re all set and ready to dive into your data, let’s examine the most important Amazon advertising reports for Sponsored Products.

1. Targeting report

The targeting report should be the first Amazon report you review. Here, you’ll find key cost, traffic, and sales metrics for all the keywords, ASINs, and categories you currently target in your campaigns. Using the targeting report data, you can start running experiments to improve campaign performance.

Amazon Sponsored Products Targeting Report
Sponsored Products Targeting Report

For example, maybe the keyword “yellow sticky note” has a great click-through rate (CTR), which indicates high relevance to shoppers. Unfortunately, it has low impressions, which means it doesn’t win the ad auction very often. In this case, you can try increasing your bids. This move will hopefully lead to winning the ad auction more often and increasing overall traffic.

As another example, the keyword “blue post-it note” has a really high ACOS, but it gets a lot of traffic and sales. In this situation, try tactics to increase your conversion rates in order to lower ACOS without cutting off sales.

Your targeting report keeps your finger on the pulse of your campaign performance and should always be used to inform campaign management decisions. Because of this, you really need to review this data at least weekly. Just don’t start making adjustments based on this report until you have at least two weeks of data available—otherwise the results may be skewed.

2. Search terms report

The search terms report is a gold mine of data about your buyers and how they find your product. It shows you the exact search queries of shoppers who converted on one of your ads.

Amazon Sponsored Products Search Terms Report
Sponsored Products Search Terms Report

Use this Amazon report to identify new potential keywords that are likely to drive conversions. This tactic is our top recommendation when it comes to keyword management.

To execute this strategy, first run an automatic campaign for the express purpose of discovering new keywords. Automatic campaigns target your product listing to decide where to show your ads, which generates a wealth of search term data.

Then, identify search terms to turn into targeted keywords. The goal is to take profitable search terms and add them to a manual campaign, where you can use bids to control traffic flow to these keywords (as opposed to an automatic campaign, where you're more or less relying on luck).

Use these indicators to decide if a search term is worth adding as a keyword:

  • Drives more than one click and more than one conversion. You want to avoid “one-off” search terms that are hyper-specific to one shopper.
  • Has a decent click-through rate. Unlike impressions (which are tied to bids), CTR indicates the relevance of your ad to shoppers. A “good” CTR is, again, relative, so try comparing it to your keyword averages. For example, if a search term drives a 1% CTR when you usually get a 5%+ CTR, it’s likely not worth your money.
  • Has an ACOS at or below your break-even ACOS. If a search term is driving a lot of sales, it’s likely worthwhile, even if it’s pushing your break-even ACOS. Ideally, however, you’ll want to identify search terms with an ACOS below break-even. (We walk you through finding your break-even ACOS in this blog post.)

Once you’ve identified promising search terms, all that remains is to add them to a manual campaign as new exact-match keywords. Set your bids, then set them loose! Just keep an eye on your targeting report to monitor their performance.

Since keyword management is vital to a healthy campaign, make sure you go through this search terms report process weekly. It might seem like a lot of work, but trust us—it’s worth it.

3. Advertised product report

The advertised product report shows a product’s total impressions, CTR, cost per click (CPC), sales, conversion rate, and ACOS, regardless of how many different keywords you use to advertise the product. It’s like a targeting report that’s focused specifically on an individual product’s overall performance (as opposed to keyword performance).

Amazon Sponsored Products Advertised Product Report
Sponsored Products Advertised Product Report

With this Amazon report, you can see which advertised products are popular and profitable and which continually underperform. This item-specific perspective is crucial. If you only look at the targeting report, you may miss products that won’t do well in advertising, no matter how hard you try.

Sometimes the performance issue lies with bids or keywords; sometimes it’s the product. The only way you’ll know is if you regularly review both your targeting report and your advertised product report. We recommend viewing your advertised product report at least monthly, although weekly is more ideal.

To get the best insight from this report, follow these steps:

  1. Select the “daily” data unit when downloading this report. This enables you to view daily data trends versus the less-useful aggregate data.
  2. Sort your pivot table by ASIN and filter for key performance indicators. Look for patterns in profitability (ACOS) and popularity (CTR, sales, conversion rate).
  3. Create a graph so that you can visualize an individual product’s trends for key metrics. You can graph the trends for one metric, or compare performance across multiple metrics for a more comprehensive view.

As you track this product data over time, you’ll be able to identify items with declining or continually poor performance. Just make sure you collect at least two weeks of data, so it’s statistically significant.

4. Purchased product report

Sometimes, shoppers who click one ad for a Sponsored Product ultimately decide to purchase another  item of yours. To find data on these purchases, use the purchased product report. It shows allsales driven by PPC and can be used to identify new advertising opportunities.

The Advertised ASIN column will tell you which of your products was advertised, while the Purchased ASIN column shows you the product that shoppers ultimately bought after clicking your Sponsored Product.

Sponsored Products Purchased Product Amazon Report
Sponsored Products Purchased Product Report

One quick note: before you dive into this report, you’re going to want to make sure you remove duplicates between your Advertised ASIN and Purchased ASIN columns to make sure you’re only seeing purchases for non-advertised ASINs (since sometimes an Advertised ASIN will actually display as a Purchased ASIN as well).

There are two main ways to leverage this Amazon report:

  1. Identify keywords driving sales volume. Sort your report by “Targeting” in order to see the keywords that are driving multiple indirect sales. Consider increasing bids on these keywords to drive more sales. (Just be sure to check this data view again in a week to see how the increase in bids affects performance.)
  2. Identify non-advertised products that should be advertised. Sort your report by “Purchased ASIN” to view non-advertised products that see consistent purchases from ads. Consider promoting these products with a new campaign.

While the purchased product report isn’t as comprehensive as others, it’s still an important part of a holistic and sustainable Amazon advertising strategy.

5. Placement report

When Amazon displays your ad, it does so in one of three ad placements: top of search results, product pages, or “other search results” (page two of the SERP and beyond). The placement report will identify not only where your ads are showing up but also how these placements affect traffic, costs, and sales.

Amazon Sponsored Products Placement Report
Sponsored Products Placement Report

Use the sort function in your pivot table to identify top-performing placements by CTR and conversions, respectively. You may find that one placement drives a better CTR while the other drives more sales (or vice versa). Compare CTR and conversion rates against cost metrics (CPC and ACOS) to determine whether the placement is advantageous, considering all factors.

Use this data to adjust bids by placement in each campaign. This setting allows you to automatically increase bids for your top-performing placements (and reduce bids for poor-performing placements).

Amazon adjust bids by placement
Adjust bids by placement to improve campaign ROI

Since placements have a major impact on performance, we recommend reviewing this Amazon report weekly, so you’re able to make frequent adjustments and allocate your budget to the placements that generate sales.

Your Amazon Reports are Some of Your Best Tools—Use Them!

We get it—all this data can be overwhelming. In order to make the process of reviewing reports more manageable, set a time on your calendar every week to review your Amazon advertising reports. If it’s already booked in your schedule, you’re likely to do the task instead of procrastinating. By regularly analyzing the data, you’ll be set to stay ahead of your Amazon campaign performance and make improvements over time.

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