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Amazon has made advertising and selling on its site incredibly easy and quick, but committed sellers know that gaining exposure to the right shoppers can take time. If you’re finding that sales are slow and you need a boost, your best course of action when selling on Amazon is to implement and optimize Amazon advertising campaigns.

When advertising on Amazon, there are three ad formats that all sellers can choose from: Sponsored Product Ads, Amazon Headline Search Ads, and Amazon Product Ads (also called Product Display Ads). This article refers specifically to sponsored product ads, which enable you to show up on the first page of search results without having to first obtain a top-ranking history.

As with any advertising strategy, knowing how to implement and maintain your ad campaign is key to boosting product sales. Here you will find 14 tips for optimizing your ad campaigns to save yourself valuable time and money.

What Are Sponsored Product Ads and ACoS?

Before we jump into the tips and tricks for boosting ad performance, let’s review what sponsored product ads and ACoS are so you have a foundation of how each one works.

Sponsored Product Ads

When customers search for a product on Amazon, sponsored product ads are optimized by sellers to appear where they are easily seen, such as on the first page of search results or the sidebar. Sponsored product ads blend in with other search results, giving the shopper the idea that the product is popular and useful instead of just being a paid ad.

Triggered by keyword searches, sponsored product ads are available to third-party sellers and vendors who are looking to target specific consumers. In order to be eligible for this type of ad, you only need to have a professional seller account, be able to ship to all U.S. addresses, and sell new products.


Advertising Cost of Sale (ACoS) is a simple equation: how much you spend on ads divided by your sales. This equals your profitability and is the key metric used to measure the performance of sponsored product ad campaigns. It helps to measure profitability by indicating the ratio of ad spend to targeted sales.

Now that you know all of the lingo, let’s talk tips!

1. Opt for a Manual Campaign, but Do Your Research with Auto Targeting

You’ll always want to have as much control over your ad campaigns as possible; that way, you can minimize costs and make the most effective decisions for your business. However, there are times when you should enable some of the automatic features of sponsored product ads to your benefit, creating a sort of hybrid campaign.

Keyword research is one instance where you’ll want to use what Amazon offers, at least starting out. By creating automatic targeting campaigns, you can easily test the market and discover what search terms, or keywords, people are using to find products similar to yours that are sold by competitors.

When you first set up your sponsored product ad, you are given options for the targeting mode. By choosing automatic targeting, you can run a “test” campaign to collect data on the most common keywords searched for by consumers. You’ll want to use a small budget on thisto prevent wasting money during the test period. Let it run for a couple of days (or more), check the search terms people are using to retrieve your ads, and then use those search terms in your manual targeting campaigns.

Caution: This strategy shouldn’t replace other keyword research strategies such as researching keywords on or Google Planner. Instead, use the data you collect to refine and optimize your results. Doing double due diligence with keyword research will help to maximize results.

2. Use a Combination of Match Types

When attempting to reach the largest number of shoppers, you’ll want to widen the cast of your net by using a combination of match types. There are four different match types for keywords: broad match, broad match modifier, phrase match, and exact match.

The key is to use a combination of these match type options to reach buyers with the highest level of purchasing potential. Initially, by using broad match type, you’ll be able to draw in the maximum number of consumers possible. You can then move on to narrowing down your keywords to bring in the right kinds of shoppers.

Exact match is a double-edged sword in advertising. It is the most limiting because you will only connect with customers who search for an exact keyword, but you’ll be able to narrow down your targeted shoppers. This match type allows for misspellings and plurals, but will not separate or add to your keywords.

Broad match is the least-targeted match type, but it can be useful in driving traffic to your products and discovering new valuable keywords. For a broad match, you add words in the front, middle, and/or end of your keywords. For example, if your keyword is packing cubes, then your ads can show up in searches such as large packing cubes, black packing cubes, or packing cubes for travel.

In addition to broad match, phrase match allows you to narrow the searches that retrieve your ads. Words are typically added in front of or after your keywords, and they can include misspellings or plurals. Using our example of packing cubes, your ads can appear for searches such as washable packing cubes or packing cubes for kids, but the words in your keyword will not be separated.

Pro Tip: Start with the broadest match type with a lower budget, then narrow the field once you’ve identified the most common keywords being searched. That way, you can stretch and spend your ad dollars more wisely.

3. Include Your Target Keywords in Your Product Listings

This one may sound like a given, but sellers sometimes forget to take advantage of driving traffic to their product sites through the text of their product listings. To provide the best user experience, platforms want to send consumers to the right place. To this end, Amazon and other advertising platforms will avoid showing ads that don’t seem to be related to the landing pages not using specific keywords.

Sellers can avoid having their ads left out of search results by adding targeted keywords in the copy of your product listings. You’ll have to be strategic about it; it can’t seem obvious (i.e. a long string of keywords that don’t make sense) and should be written in a typical product listing format. Otherwise, your listings will not be easily read by shoppers and might turn them away from your page.

4. Keep Your Campaigns Organized and Accessible

Running cost-effective and successful campaigns requires an organized approach. A messy ad campaign means you’ll run the risk of paying for unqualified clicks from ads retrieved by the wrong keywords. There are different ways to keep your product pages in order, but there are some strategies that are a must to maximize profits and reduce unnecessary costs:

  • Group products with related keywords

  • Decide how you’ll keep campaigns in a consistent order (by product category, by brand, or by top sellers)

  • Allocate your keyword bids strategically according to performance and profit margin

Once you get organized, you can easily tweak and optimize your pages.

5. Keep Visitors Locked Into Your Brand with Variant Ads

Have a product with lots of variations such as assorted sizes and colors? You can keep shoppers locked in on your brand by showing variant ads of your similar products on the same product page. It’s simple and allows potential customers to peruse several of your items at once, keeping them shopping with you for longer.

In addition, running variant ads also helps you to narrow down which keywords are the most common, allowing you to add those keywords to your campaigns for similar products. Once you’ve tracked the most frequently searched keywords that lead to clicks by product, you’ll be able to optimize your ad dollars spent for fewer, more targeted keywords.

6. Block Your Ads from Showing for Unrelated Searches

Amazon advertising allows you to “block” ads from showing in specific searches through the use of negative keywords. For example, if you sell athletic pants but you don’t sell tights, you can add tights as a negative keyword to prevent ads from showing for searches related to tights. As a result, a shopper will find your ad when searching for athletic pants but will not be able to see your ad when searching for tights.

If used in the right way, negative keywords can save money on your budget and increase conversions by making your ads appear for qualified consumers. To take it one step further, you can use match types with negative keywords to create negative phrase match and negative exact match keywords. By doing so, you will be paying for clicks on your ads from buyers who have a specific interest in products like yours, better utilizing your ad budget.

Because you may not know exactly which negative keywords are going to trigger ad occurrences, you can build your negative keyword list over time. Check your keyword search report occasionally to find more keywords that should be blocked.

7. Keep the Flywheel Effect in Mind

The old adage that you have to spend money to make money applies to marketing too! You may initially be wary of bidding higher on frequently used keywords because of budgetary concerns, but you may find that you have to spend a little more up front to direct shoppers to your products.

This type of advertising strategy is known as the Flywheel effect. You begin by spending a decent amount of your budget on ads and keywords. This sends more consumers your way, earning you a higher spot on search results pages and increasing the likelihood that you’ll earn the “Amazon’s Choice” designation. In turn, the “Amazon’s Choice” label earns your products more clicks from shoppers, resulting in more traffic. This cycle continues and builds your brand more effectively than older marketing strategies, placing customer service at the center of your ad campaigns. Once you’ve established your product in the organic search results, you can reexamine your keywords and make adjustments.

8. Let Performance and Value Drive your Keyword Bids

When selling a variety of products on Amazon, you will notice that not all items have the same profit margin; therefore, you can’t bid the same amount for all of your keywords. If you do, you’ll find that you’re losing money on products with low profit margins. You’ll want to select keywords that have the potential to drive the most traffic to your page and bid higher on those.

On the flip side, you’ll also want to identify keywords for your low-profit products that are getting fewer clicks and lower your bid according to your set target ACoS. You’re looking to make a profit, not break even.

Keep in Mind: If your campaigns are new, you’ll have to set higher bids for keywords to gain a search history. Without those keywords, Amazon will continue to show the ads of products that have seniority because they have been proven to generate sales. Once you gain a search history and make some sales, you’ll be able to lower bids and maximize profits.

9. Target Specific Shoppers with Long Tail Keywords

If you’re looking for ways to hyper-target shoppers, you can use long tail keywords. These are longer keyword phrases of three of more keywords put together that are more specific search terms. For example, if you sell athletic pants, a good potential long tail keyword might be high waist athletic pants. Note: You only want to include long tail keywords that actually apply to your products.

This type of keyword match allows your ads to show for more relevant searches, which may in turn result in higher conversions. If a shopper is searching for athletic pants, they may want a variety of options. However, if a potential customer looking for athletic pants with a high waist is looking for a more specific product and your keywords best fit their search, you’ll be able to win their business!

10. Out-Bid Your Competitors

If you do some research on which keywords are the best performing for your competitors, you can outbid them, diverting shoppers to your product pages instead of theirs. By identifying the keywords that are generating traffic for your rival sellers, you can uncover a new set of keyword opportunities that can easily be added to existing campaigns.

There are two ways to find the keywords other sellers are using: manually, or by using an online tool. The manual approach can be very time consuming and tedious, especially when you’re working with multiple products and campaigns. If you only have a few products, you might get away with searching manually.

If you want a quicker option, you can use an online tool that offers reverse ASIN lookups like Keyword Inspector. In short, this tool uses product ASINs to find thousands of keywords in seconds. Each keyword will have an estimated Amazon volume assigned to it. Choose keywords with the most capacity and implement them into your campaigns.

11.Expect—and Plan For—Increasing Marketing Costs

Even when an ad campaign has been well-implemented and is generating traffic, there will always be unforeseeable circumstances that will impact your ad budget. Sometimes, a competitor will enter the marketplace with an aggressive marketing strategy and your keyword bids may need to be increased. Additionally, the more products you add to your seller page, the more you’ll need to set aside for your bids. Either way, planning ahead is the way to keep your products visible to shoppers.

One way to strategize for unanticipated costs is to adjust your keyword bids on lower-earning products. By temporarily prioritizing keywords for the items that are keeping you afloat, you can continue to compete with new vendors without making huge changes to your overall ad budget. Another idea for planning ahead is to do a check on the keywords that are impacting clicks on your ads. If you’re spending ad dollars on keywords that are driving little traffic to your site, or if you’re getting clicks from keywords that should be blocked, take inventory and clean up your keyword bids.

12. Examine the Data to Increase Conversions

Taking the time to analyze your data can optimize your workflow, allowing you to find the best opportunities to improve your sponsored product ads. It can be difficult to find exactly what you need from Amazon, so these steps can help:

  1. First, download your search term report to determine which keyword searches were responsible for retrieving your ads.

  2. Next, organize your data within the report so you can filter out search terms that are not performing well.

  3. Finally, consider your keyword bids, add matching types, and implement long tail keywords.

Data analysis should occur as often as needed to build a solid foundation and drive results. Depending on the maturity and size of your campaigns, you may need to do this on a more frequent basis to elevate newer ad campaigns or on a rotating type of check-in schedule once you’ve launched multiple successful campaigns that need less tweaking.

13. Don’t Just Set It and Forget It!

In addition to examining your keyword data, you’ll want to assess and make adjustments to your overall ad campaigns regularly. Your competition, the ad auction, and consumer behavior change over time. Every campaign and every ad need to be reviewed often to ensure that shoppers are being directed to your products appropriately.

Like we said in the previous tip, you never know when a new competitor will come into the marketplace, outbidding you on keywords and diverting consumers away from your page. You’ll need to frequently assess which keywords are the most valuable to your profits, recognizing that you may need to adjust your ad budget or allocate costs differently.

Similarly, consumer behavior tends to change over time. Your products may need to have new keywords added based upon popular search trends. You’ll want to add match types and long tail keywords to ensure that you’re spending ad dollars on the keywords that are propelling customers to your products, and weed out the ones that aren’t worth the money. By consistently reviewing and updating your sponsored product ads, you’ll optimize your dollars spent and boost ad exposure, increasing your conversions.

14. Have Patience and Then Make Improvements

After you’ve implemented an ad campaign, it may take some time to see results. Once you’ve given your campaign some breathing room, you can collect some data and optimize your ads. Using advertising settings such as budget caps is essential to staying within your advertising budget while waiting for results, especially if you’re afraid you might be impulsive with your bids.

Once you’re ready to analyze your data, you’ll want to look for impressions and keyword bids. Make sure your ads have enough of a budget to get impressions or they won’t show often enough to generate conversions. This can hurt your campaign performance and lower your chances of edging out other sellers.

Your bid amounts will vary according to the target cost of sales and profit margins for individual products. Once you’ve isolated the most beneficial optimizations, you’ll want to test out the changes you’ve made by changing one variable at a time and waiting a few days to check the results. That way, you can confirm the adjustments you’ve made were successful.



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