Since Amazon customers tend to have a higher intent to purchase, selecting the best keywords for your products is a vital component of your marketing strategy.
Bidding on the right keywords for your products can improve your page sales rank and organic listings, and will ultimately influence your product sales.
The tricky part is figuring out what the best tools are for keyword harvesting.
Although many of the third party tools (listed below) are great, they will not give advertisers the raw data require to make educated bidding and strategy decisions.
This is why we recommend that advertisers utilize the Search Term Report as your Amazon keyword tool for Sponsored Products located in Seller Central as their main source of keyword harvesting to amplify your amazon keyword research.
Third party keyword services can definitely bring value to your campaigns, but should only be used as a complementary tool to Sponsored Products data.
“The biggest reason you want to pull this type of report is because it’s actual customer data. It’s not theoretical search term data, this is what your customers have been searching for to find your products. So, you might as well take advantage of it,” David Cooley, Marketplace Channel Analyst at CPC Strategy said.
Leveraging the Search Term Report in Sponsored Products
Amazon Keyword Tool Step 1: Organize Your Catalog Campaign
The first step to discovering the best Amazon keywords for your product(s) is to set up a general catalog campaign in Sponsored Products.
This will include all products, whether that be two or a thousand SKUs. As a form of Amazon keyword search, you want to get all of your catalog represented in advertising so you can begin to figure out what terms customers or potential customers are using in their search to find your products.
The goal of Amazon keyword harvesting is to discover and bid on keywords or search terms used by customers to find your products.
The Search Term Report is located within the Advertising Reports section of Seller Central.
Seller Central> Advertising Reports> Search Term Report
In the past, the Amazon Search Term Report provided sellers with data including how many impressions, clicks, sales, etc. each search term received.
The report also indicated the exact product SKU associated with that search term, which was extremely valuable data for advertisers.
Unfortunately, two months ago Amazon updated the report so it no longer identifies which product is associated with the search term.
For example, although sellers can still see in the report that the term “mascara” is converting well – Amazon no longer identifies which SKU it is associated with, leaving many advertisers in the dark.
- Doesn’t Amazon’s update to the Search Term Report make it more difficult for sellers to identify the relationship between keywords and products?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes, it does make this process more difficult.
At this time we still don’t know the reasoning for the report changes, but we have discovered a proposed solution to this issue by structuring catalog campaigns differently.
We recommend building your campaign structure with only 1 SKU per ad group.
“In an ideal world, you want to break up your campaign to include one SKU per ad group. For example, if you have a catalog of a 1,000 SKUs, you should have a 1,000 ad groups,” Cooley said.
By implementing this strategy, sellers are once again able to attribute the success of the term (example: “mascara”) directly to the SKU purchased or clicked on.
By segmenting the campaign, this solution directly impacts the bidding strategy and the overall success of the campaign.
Amazon Keyword Tool Step 2: Harvesting Keywords
It’s suggested to run the search term report after a minimum of 7 days (depending on how much traffic you’re experiencing).
The goal is obtain enough data to make an educated keyword(s) selection.
Pro-Tip: At minimum, we do suggest running the report for at least the 7 day period.
Once you’ve gathered enough data it’s time to select your keywords to build out in your manual campaigns.
- What metrics qualify for a strong keyword term?
When you analyze your Search Term Report in Sponsored Products, you want to look at the raw data and filter it through an excel sheet (as seen below).
The report will include a variety of metrics (per SKU if you segmented your report as mentioned above) but the most telling data will be found in:
Order Numbers – The total number of converted orders per keyword / search term per SKU
Product Sales – The total number of product sales per keyword / search term per SKU
Clicks – The total number clicks per keyword / search term per SKU
Pro-Tip: Impression we have found are not as valuable as the three metrics listed above when it comes to selecting the best Amazon keywords.
Advanced Keyword Match Types – Keyword match types allow sellers to fine-tune which customer search terms their ads may be eligible to show against. Sellers can choose from broad, phrase, and exact match types. According to Amazon, broad match keywords will give the most traffic exposure, while phrase and exact match will restrict traffic to a more precise target audience.
Below we outline the main difference between each advanced keyword match type in the keyword planner:
- Broad Match – This match type offers ads broad traffic exposure. A customer search term will match if it contains all the keyword terms or their synonyms. The customer search term can contain keywords or synonyms in any order.
- Phrase Match – The customer search term must contain the exact phrase or sequence of words. It is more restrictive than broad match and will generally result in more relevant placements for your ad.
- Exact Match – The customer’s search term must exactly match the keyword in order for the ad to show, and will also match close variations of the exact term. Exact match is the most restrictive match type, but can be more relevant to a customer’s search.
Pro-Tip: When creating a keyword in Campaign Manager or using bulk uploads, sellers must specify a match type. They can’t change the match type of an existing keyword, but they can add multiple match types for one keyword.
Amazon Keyword Tool Step 3: Set up Manual Campaigns
Once you’ve identified your top keywords (high number of clicks, order numbers, product sales), the next step is to build out your Manual Campaigns by adding the SKU(s) to bid on each keyword.
“We consider this the best approach. Even if your keyword fails, you can always trace it back to the data. Keep in mind there is a possibility of shifts in the market, including seasonality or strange trends, but at one point that customer search term was popular,” Cooley said.
“It’s important to remember that keyword harvesting is a continual process. It’s not a one and done. You want to continually run the search terms report to pick up new trends. Sometimes, you may discover search terms that you never thought would be popular for a certain product.”
- How many keywords do you recommend starting out with in Sponsored Products (manual campaigns) and why?
Sellers should start with at least 25 to 40 keywords. The reason is because you want to start with a large number of keywords but not so large as to the point of excessive (500+). You don’t want your spend to run out of control.
Odds are – if you are using 500 keywords for an ad group – many of those terms are going to be inefficient. Your products are not going to surface for them anyway – because your product is not going to be relevant.
You also don’t want too few keywords because you are not going to generate enough volume. We’re found in our experience, 25 to 40 works best starting out.
- Why do some keywords not get many impressions even though they are considered relevant?
Amazon takes a lot of things into consideration when running your Sponsored Product ads. Even though the specific keyword in the keyword tool may be relevant to your product, they are also looking at sales history, velocity, reviews, etc.
They want the user to have the best experience that they can provide. Also, impressions are not a very actionable data source. Amazon counts impressions even if the ad shows up on the 30th page of results.
Amazon Keyword Tool Step 4: Bidding Based on ACoS
Another metric advertisers should follow closely is the Advertising Cost of Sale.
Sellers should analyze which keywords are driving clicks – but not converting, those are the inefficient ones. Know what your cost of sale goals are, know what that acceptable threshold is, and use that as the benchmark for when you should start making decisions.
When should I start bidding down on specific keywords?
For example, you may discover a specific keyword is gaining a lot of traffic, but at an ACoS 40%, some sellers might consider that too high.
Pro-Tip: Most sellers prefer ACoS 20% to 25% but this depends on the company’s goals.
For the above example, this advertiser may want to consider lowering the bid for a keyword term with a high ACoS at 40%.
Another metric sellers should reference in their search terms report is the average CPC for each keyword term.
For example, if the average CPC is .75 for the keyword term “mascara” with a ACoS of 40%, you might want to lower your bid to .45 to get a little closer to that ACoS sweet spot of 20% to 25%.
When should I start bidding up on specific keywords?
On the opposite side, if you find a keyword term in your keyword tool that has a low ACoS (below the 20% to 25% benchmark) you may want to consider raising your bid to increase clicks and overall traffic for that term / product.
In the event, the campaign fails – you can always reference the data. One of the most common inefficiencies we come across with sellers in Amazon Sponsored Products is selection bias. The same goes for keywords. You might think you know what is going to perform well but you always want to back your campaigns with tangible data.
Often, sellers have products in mind that they want to do well or that they believe will do well – so those are the products that they will advertise or bid higher on or put in multiple ad groups regardless of the performance. One of things we recommend is to be product agnostic.
We can almost guarantee that no seller has a product catalog where, 100 percent of their products are going to be winners or 100 percent are going to be losers. You don’t have to make it a guessing game.
Use the data / tools that Amazon provides to make those strategic decisions.
Complementary Amazon Keyword Tools
As we mentioned there are several additional tools available to advertisers as a complementary resource for keyword harvesting. These keyword tools are good if you are just trying to cast a wide net.
- AMZ Tracker is one of the first Amazon keyword rank trackers in existence.
- When you enter a keyword or partial keyword, typically the top results are ranked by volume – after that it’s mostly listed alphabetically.
- Provides the ability to narrow the search to a specific Amazon category.
- Reports the dominant categories in which products that match those searches are found, as shown below.
- Reports estimated monthly search volume.
- If you want more than the top 5 results – you must upgrade the account.
Google Keyword Planner is a free Google Adwords tool often paired with Google Keyword Trends that provides you a generated keyword overview based off Google’s search engines. It may not be the number one tool specifically to use for Amazon keyword ranking, but it widens your selection of long tail keywords and free keyword tools to help increase search volume.
- Google Keyword Planner is a free tool.
- Keyword data doesn’t reveal the intent behind the search
- Searches (purchase intent and informational searches) are blended together.
- Can only use to estimate Amazon content since searches on Google (search engine) will likely be different than Amazon (ecommerce only).
- Free keyword planner
- Provides suggested data for Google, Bing, Amazon & YouTube.
- Advertiser can choose to get data on all four channels at the same time.
- Prompts suggestions for additional keyword planning.
- A keyword tool that allows sellers to remove words to make the keyword set more relevant.
- No numeric value associated with the keywords.
- The service can take a long period of time to run a final report.
For more on Amazon Keywords, email firstname.lastname@example.org