Expert Amazon Vendor Strategy

As a Vendor to Amazon, you’re armed with a vast array of premium services to elevate your marketing strategy, but one of the most profitable programs is Amazon Marketing Services (AMS).

AMS offers effective tools to give Amazon Vendors a competitive edge & a direct opportunity to get their products & brand in front of additional in-market shoppers.

This past week, Amazon experts Pat Petriello and Jeff Coleman of CPC Strategy hosted a live Q&A for Amazon Vendors.

There were a lot of questions we didn’t have a chance to answer, here they are now with responses from Petriello.

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Q. Are keywords within a product listing used for Sponsored Products targeting?

A. Yes. Automatic campaigns use product content to determine relevancy to the customer search query.

Q. You mentioned how the majority of the SERP results are paid opportunities. Have you seen anything from the effects of Mobile usage versus desktop?

A. Yes, and we’re investigating this further as the mobile experience evolves. For example, we have seen that Sponsored Products on mobile don’t show up at the top of the SERP the same way they do on desktop.

On the detail page itself, the product description shows up above the bullet points, which is the reverse of the functionality on desktop.

We’ll share more findings as we continue to dig into the mobile experience on Amazon.

Q. How does starting and stopping an AMS campaign effect campaign performance?

A. Pausing and re-starting a campaign will not directly impact a campaign performance. However, a product’s sales history does impact its organic search rank and is considered in the Sponsored Products auction, so there is value in continuously driving sales.

Q. How do you know what the bid amount should be without knowing what other competitors are bidding?

A. There is no “right” bid amount, as different advertisers have different advertising goals and margin thresholds among the products in their catalog. There are also different advertising strategies that call for different bid levels.

For broader searches where the customer is higher up the intent funnel (ie still researching), you’ll typically want lower bids so that you don’t run a high ACOS.

For more targeted niche keyword where you are expecting higher conversion, it makes sense to bid more aggressively.

The key is to monitor your performance regularly to use data to make bid adjustments.

Q. We are the third seller and vendor. So, for one product we sell as both third seller and vendor, does Product Display Ads or headline ads even show third seller is in the Buy Box?

A. Yes, Headline Search Ads and Product Display Ads will surface regardless of which Seller’s offer is currently in the Buy Box.

Q. What columns should I look at in my Search Term Reports?

A. The key metrics to look at are clicks, spend, sales, and ACOS. Impressions are a misleading metric in these reports since an impression is counted regardless of what page of the search results they appeared on.

The actionable metrics are determining which search terms are generating clicks, converting into sales, and at what cost.

We typically use ACOS as the key performance indicator of campaign, ad group, and keyword success.

Q. When utilizing keywords, what is the difference between ‘Broad’ and ‘Phrase’?

A. Use “exact match” when you want your ad to appear only to shoppers who type in your exact keyword. Choose “phrase match” to target your ad to shoppers who include your keyword in their search to maximize impressions by capturing shopper searches similar to your keyword.

Q. Manual vs. Auto campaigns- Which is more efficient in terms of average CPCs?

A. Manual campaigns should be more targeted based on high performing search terms from automatic campaigns, and thus will have higher CPCs.

Q. Do Headline ads boost organic rankings for the keywords you bid on if people buy through those keyword searches?

A. Running Headline Search Ads does not boost the organic rankings for a product in and of themselves.

However, sales history is a factor in organic rankings, so using advertising to increase sales can have the effect of impacting organic rank.

Q. How effective is the automatic search term function when creating ads? What about for international Amazon accounts? Will there be a translation issue to compromise the effectiveness of keywords selected?

A. Automatic campaigns within Sponsored Products uses product content to determine relevancy to the customer search term.

We have found it to be effective for not only driving incremental sales but also keyword harvesting the terms where a product is most successful. International accounts operate in the same way and will require language translation for that region.

However, this is something which you’ll need to be doing anyway in order to sell successfully in non-English marketplaces.

Q. Which of the 3 ad types should see the biggest investment?

A. There is no “right” allocation of budget, as it depends heavily on an advertiser’s goals, budget, and margin threshold.

Best practice is to start with a mix of all three of the different ad types and then use performance data to drive continued optimization.

Q. Which is the most effective structure of splitting campaigns? i.e. one campaign for pants, one campaign for shorts, or one campaign for ‘bottoms’, both pants and shorts. Our campaigns have several product categories, is this too messy/not well targeted?

A. The more granular you can get with your campaigns and ad groups, the better. In your case, a separate campaign for “pants” and “shorts” would be the most effective.

The reason for this is that you’d select different target keywords for each of those campaigns, and the search intent of a customer looking for pants is different than that of a customer searching for shorts.

Q. How to improve the searchability/page rank for a vendor’s brand page?

A. There is no page rank, per se, of a vendor’s brand page, since those pages do not appear on the SERP.

You can drive additional traffic to your brand page by using Headline Search Ads with your brand page as the destination URL. The best use case for this is around branded searches where customers have indicated they are interested in your brand but have not specified the exact products they want.

If a customer is searching specifically for one of your branded products, it’s best practice to send them directly to those products using a custom URL rather than to your brand page.

Q. What’s the benefit to establishing a daily budget rather than let it run?

A. The benefit to daily budgets is to maintain a high degree of control over your campaign spend so that your spending doesn’t get out of hand without you realizing it.

Q. Is it better to create a product url to direct the consumers to on Amazon or to a brand page? I have done both. However, with the brand page, you can see the traffic generated.

A. The goal is to match the customer intent communicated by the customer’s search term to the landing page you send them to without making the customer do more work.

From the webinar example, if a customer searches for “aluminum baking sheets,” you are best served by sending them directly to your line of aluminum baking sheets.

Sending that customer to your brand page just makes them have to do more work in finding what they want. Optimize your landing pages to make buying easier on the customer.

Q. Can you review defending your pages again? You can run ads on your own detail pages?

A. That’s correct. Let’s say you have two products, product X and product Y. On the detail page of product X, you can advertise product Y in the Product Display Ad space by creating a campaign with product targeting and targeting your own product X.

This way, you are blocking other advertisers from occupying real estate on your product detail page.

Q. Can we also target related products which are similar?

A. Yes, this is part of a Product Display Ad offensive strategy.

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