Did you know that 82% of the ads served on Amazon are Sponsored Products ads (SPA)? With so many sellers and brands using SPAs, the competition is already fierce and certain to grow increasingly so for the fast-approaching Q4 sales bonanza. If you’re going to capitalize on Sponsored Products during the holidays, you’ve got to win your bids and leave no room for error.
Here are three common mistakes that sellers make using Sponsored Products ads as well as our suggestions for how you can avoid such pitfalls.
PPC Mistake #1: Not diving into the data
(or diving in but not doing anything with it)
Your Sponsored Products ad campaigns don’t just run silently in the background (or at least they shouldn’t). Think of it more as a conversation where you input variables and your campaigns report back to you with all sorts of information that you can use to optimize them as well as your product listings.
Assuming that you can be totally hands-off with campaigns (even auto-target campaigns) is a costly mistake. Data speaks, and the more of it you gather, the more it has to say and the louder it speaks. But for that to be of value, you have to learn to listen and to translate what you hear into action.
Specifically, this means that in running campaigns, you need to be looking closely at them every few days or at least every so you can see what’s working and what’s not. But it’s not enough just to have this information in a report, you need to use this information to make adjustments such as:
- Lowering bids on poor performers or moving them to negative keywords
- Moving successful keywords to a more-specific match type (for example, if something is performing well as a broad match, try it in phrase match to see if you can get more bang for your buck)
- Increasing bids on stable performers to keep them winning rather than being overtaken by competitors willing to bid a penny higher
Do this sort of diving into reports and making adjustments on a keyword level, not across the board by just throwing more or less money at a campaign. The advantage you will have over the competition will be in maximizing narrow opportunities where your competitors either ignore the data or make broad-sweeping knee-jerk reactions to the whole rather than the pieces.
PPC Mistake #2: Not running automatic campaigns
It’s easy to fall into a trap where one thinks that auto-target campaigns are solely for PPC novices and that anyone who knows anything about PPC wouldn’t be caught dead putting money there. But just because something is easier and requires less input and management doesn’t mean that it’s not without value. Even though we at Seller Labs make Ignite, a product that’s all about optimizing manual-target campaigns by getting deep down into the data, we still love auto-target campaigns for what they have to teach us.
For a relatively low spend, auto-target campaigns are great as a catch-all strategy for netting keyword wins you might have otherwise missed and for gathering search terms you would have not thought of yourself. The beauty of auto-target campaigns isn’t so much what they do but what they add, namely search terms and keywords that Amazon knows are associated with your ASIN but words and phrases that you couldn’t possibly have imagined would be connected. Basically, leaving a low-budget auto-target campaign on will still lead to impressions, clicks, and even conversions, and it will help you add valuable keywords from proven search terms.
One more benefit to running the auto-target net is that you’ll scoop up ASINs that are related to your product. Why are there ASINs here in your search terms report? ASINs in your report means that your product appeared on some other product’s page and yours was clicked on. This is the result of a user coming from Google or an external site. When the user clicks on your product, Amazon associates the click with the ASIN rather than a keyword. Hence the ASIN in your report. This means that for some reason, there is something in your listing and that other ASIN’s listing that Amazon has linked. When you see this, check the other ASIN and see what’s going on and revise/optimize your listing based on this so that you become the match rather than your competitor. Pick up on their Q&A and reviews and incorporate that type of information into your own listing. Turn a competitor’s negatives into your positives.
PPC Mistake #3: Not understanding that a campaign is a marathon
—instead of a sprint—and that you have to spend money to make money
No one wants to spend money on what doesn’t work, but the truth is that finding out what doesn’t work (so you don’t have to waste money on it) costs money. Treat your Sponsored Products ad campaigns as the investments that they are. Fund them, learn how to best manage them, keep contributing to them, take calculated risks, and get expert help managing them so that they can grow into profits. It doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen without strategy and being in it to win it over the long term.
Clearly, creating PPC success with Sponsored Products ads is not for the impatient or the inflexible. Don’t be timid about your bids and your budgets. Come in with what you are willing to spend rather than starting off small and hoping to catch a deal (even if you do, sustaining the winning position takes nurturing). If you put a little more time and money into your campaigns upfront, you’ll quickly find out what works and what doesn’t and then you can stop spending on what doesn’t and start spending more on what does, which in turn will net you more. This is especially important during Q4 when your ads are amongst the 82% being served on Amazon and coming in bold can make all the difference when it matters most. See for yourself with a free 30-day trail of Seller Labs’ Ignite software for Amazon Sponsored Products ads management.
Lena R. Liberman is a senior copywriter at Seller Labs. She has nearly 20 years of editorial experience, heavily concentrated in the fields of technology, publishing, and education. When not gathering information and writing about it, Lena can be found restoring vintage furniture or hiking with her dogs.