Amazon Reverses Match Type Beta Test

Earlier this month, sellers noted a significant shift in Amazon’s Sponsored Products’ algorithm, a decision that ultimately cost sellers millions in sales and left many business owners and advertisers perplexed.

The update first appeared on February 2nd, restricting relevancy matching for phrase and exact match.

For those who are not familiar, broad match keywords typically give the most traffic exposure, while phrase and exact match will restrict traffic to a more precise target audience.

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.

On February 11th, Amazon reduced relevance matching even further, significantly diminishing impressions and sales for many sellers.

The update (later formally announced by Amazon) revealed a new match type beta test.

Unfortunately, the beta announcement erupted in backlash from the Amazon and PPC community as many sellers began to see a big dip in traffic and a loss of sales.

nick-sandberg“Basically impressions, clicks, and volume were reduced significantly on phrase match keywords”, Nick Sandberg, Marketplace Channel Analyst at CPC Strategy said.

“Typically we use phrase match keywords because they are more efficient, but volume dropped and we had to adjust our strategy to stabilize performance as quickly as possible.”

This week, Amazon announced they’ve decided to rollback their beta testing – due to the negative impact it was causing in the seller community.

Amazon Official Response To Seller Angst

Amazon Seller Support has released the following statement:

amazon-sponsored-products-traffic-drop“We acknowledge the fact that the change in Match Type has impacted our sellers campaigns (both auto and manual).

Because some advertisers experienced a larger than expected change in traffic, we are actively evaluating the results of this change and taking the necessary steps to remedy the situation. There is no action required to be taken from your end for this issue.

The impact has been more than what was expected and as a result the change is being rolled back.

Once complete, exact and phrase match will operate as they did before and we expect traffic to increase again for our advertisers using phrase and exact. The process of rolling back is going to take few days, but we will inform you all when the change has been been rolled back through an official mail to all the sellers.

We endeavor to provide the best service and aim to contribute in the best way to fulfill all the needs of our valued sellers.  If there is anything else we can do to make things easier for you and to salvage what has up to now been a valued relationship, please let us know.”

Sellers can expect some relief across Sponsored Products campaigns soon (if not already), but for many sellers this won’t be a quick fix due to their loss of traffic and conversions.

Were you impacted by the algorithm change? Comment below.

For more information on Amazon’s decision to reverse Match Type beta, email [email protected]

Additional Sponsored Products Resources:

19 Questions From Our Amazon Sponsored Products Strategy & Analysis Course – Answered

The Phased Approach to Amazon Sponsored Products: Product Content Evaluation

Introducing Sponsored Products Automated Campaigns For Amazon Vendors

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