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Are you looking for measures that you can use to improve your Amazon PPC campaigns can optimize? Then you've come to the right place.

In this article, I will show you a number of possible Amazon PPC optimization tricks that can help you in your daily work.

Are you wondering what qualifies me to give you these tips? I work with my Amazon PPC Agency 20-25 Amazon accounts per month that generate cumulative annual sales of over 50 million euros (as of 2021). Both the campaign strategy and ongoing optimization are part of our daily tasks.

Optimizing Amazon PPC campaigns - the initial situation

Before we start optimizing Amazon PPC campaigns, we first need to talk about the different optimization goals we can pursue as advertisers on Amazon. Stubbornly optimizing for a low ACoS is not conducive to long-term success and should therefore only be chosen with caution. 

Optimization goals for the placement of Amazon PPC campaigns

  • AcoS target
  • Target TACoS
  • Visibility optimization
  • Sales maximization
  • Brand protection campaigns

Basically, these 5 optimization and campaign goals can be identified when placing Amazon PPC campaigns. I will assign the optimization options presented below to the respective goals. Some measures can be assigned to all optimization goals.

Optimizing Amazon PPC campaigns - measures

1. negative keywords or negative product orientations

The first and most obvious optimization step is the use of negative keywords or negative product targeting. With negative keywords and product targeting, you can tell Amazon for which search terms and product placements your ad should not appear. 

The use of negative keywords only makes sense if you use broad targeting in your advertising campaigns. This means that you either use automatic campaign playout or use the "Phrase" or "Broad" match type. If your campaigns are mainly played out using exact match keywords, you do not need to use negative keywords.

The type of negative keywords you should use also depends on the campaign structures used. In a generic keyword campaign, you should set your own brand name and competitor terms to phrase negative by default. Attributes that do not match the advertised products should also be set to phrase negative from the outset.

For example, an advertiser of blue men's T-shirts should include the terms "ladies", "women", "children", "red", "yellow" etc. as negative keywords in a broad ad group from the outset, so that it does not have to be done later.

 

Negative keywords

 

NoteThe use of negative keywords can help you achieve the following optimization goals.

  • Target ACoS
  • Target TACoS
  • Brand protection campaigns

2. campaign bidding strategy - only lower dynamic bids 

For some time now, there have been three different campaign bidding strategies for the use of manual and automatic Sponsored Product campaigns that advertisers can use to achieve their advertising goals. One of these 3 campaign bidding strategies is the "Dynamic bids - lower only" strategy.

This means that the defined CPC bids can be reduced by Amazon during the auction process if it is less likely that a sale will be made.

This option allows Amazon to automatically optimize your bids downwards so that your selected CPC bid can be reduced. If Amazon assumes that a purchase could be made, your CPC defined at the beginning will simply be included in the auction.

 

Lower dynamic bids

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • Target ACoS
  • Target TACoS
  • Brand protection campaigns

3. Campaign bidding strategy - increasing and decreasing dynamic bids 

The second campaign bidding strategy is "Increase and decrease dynamic bids". With this strategy, your CPC bids are not only reduced, but also increased by a maximum of 100% if it can be assumed that the display of the ad can lead to a sale. With this strategy, you have a higher probability of being displayed in order to ultimately generate the conversion.

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • Visibility optimization
  • Sales maximization
  • Brand protection campaigns

 

4. campaign bid strategy - fixed bids

The third campaign bidding strategy that you can use to optimize Amazon PPC campaigns is "fixed bids". The concept is relatively simple: Amazon adopts the predefined bids and does not adjust them up or down. This strategy is particularly useful if you know the conversion rate of the respective search terms and want to bid the corresponding CPC bid.

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • Brand protection campaigns
  • AcoS target
  • Target TACoS

 

5. optimize bids by placement (first page & product pages)

For already created and active Sponsored Product campaigns (manual & automatic campaigns), bids can be increased depending on the ad placement.

Customize bids

In this example, I have adjusted the bid adjustment for the first page with +70%. You can increase the bids by up to 900% per placement. It is important to note that the increase due to dynamic bids (+100%) is also included and therefore the bids can increase by up to 2000% (1€ → 20€).

Use optimization by placement with caution and prefer to work with pre-defined CPC bids that reflect the true value.

Note: Using this measure can help you achieve the following optimization goals.

  • Visibility optimization
  • Sales maximization

 

6. the correct use of match types 

Like Google Ads, Amazon Sponsored Ads (SP & SB) offer you three match types for the display of your search ads. These are exact match, phrase match and broad match. 

First of all, you need to be aware that the keywords you enter do not necessarily have to match the customer's search terms. Especially if you want to use the match types Phrase & Broad. 

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • AcoS target
  • Target TACoS
  • Visibility optimization
  • Sales maximization
  • Brand protection campaigns

6.1 Exact playout of advertisements through exact match 

By using exact match keywords, we can ensure that the stored keywords are almost identical to the search terms specified by the customer.

Since we are now sure when the respective ad will actually be displayed, we can assign top-performing keywords (organic rankings or based on PPC performance) to a more precise (usually higher) CPC bid. This will result in your performance increasing based on the effectiveness of the selected keywords.

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • AcoS target
  • Target TACoS

 

6.2 Use of phrase & broad match matches

The primary difference between phrase and exact match terms lies in the additional terms before and after the defined keywords. The order is observed for both phrase and exact match.

Example - Keyword "Men's wallet":

Exact match-Playback only for "men's wallet", "wallet for men" etc.

Phrase match also for "black wallet men" or "wallet men brown" etc.

Broad-Match also for "wallet men large many compartments leather" "Hilfiger wallet men black"

As you can see, we cover many more possible combinations with phrase and especially broad match keywords than with exact match alone. However, we lose some of the precision. Negative phrase keywords should be used here to deactivate certain terms such as "colors, sizes, competitors, etc." in advance.

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • Visibility optimization
  • Sales maximization

7. manual reduction of CPCs

Your campaigns are generating sales, but the ACoS shown is currently too high?

Then you can either work on the conversion rate (ratings, delivery speed, image, etc.) and / or on the bids. You can also simply reduce your current CPC bids in the targeting overview in order to participate in the auction process with a low CPC bid.

Please note that your ads will then of course be displayed less frequently. 

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • AcoS target
  • Target TACoS

8. manual increase of CPCs

Of course, you can increase the CPC bids if the performance allows it and your ads are to win the ad space more frequently in the auction process. In this way, you can increase the frequency of playout without increasing new placements and generate more sales in the long term.

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • Visibility optimization
  • Sales maximization

9. single-keyword campaigns

One of my most frequently used optimization measures is the use of so-called single keyword campaigns. As the name suggests, only one keyword (can also be 2-3 similar ones) is booked in the campaign as an exact match. At the same time, we use either the bid optimization "dynamic bids decrease and increase" or "fixed bids". 

The combination of bid optimization, exact playout and the definition of only one keyword usually leads to the auction process for the ad + keyword being won more frequently and the playout (impression share) increasing. 

The use of single keyword campaigns should be used in particular for top-performing keywords.

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • Visibility optimization
  • Sales maximization

10. single ASIN campaigns

In addition to single keyword campaigns, single ASIN campaigns are one of my favorite optimization measures. Here, too, the name says it all: instead of bundling a large number of ASINs in one campaign, only a single ASIN is assigned to the campaign. This means that the entire budget is spent on a single ASIN. This strategy can be used in particular for product launches and when explicitly focusing on low-performing keywords.

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • Visibility optimization
  • Sales maximization

11. use broad-match modifiers for sponsored brand campaigns

There is a rule for advertising on Amazon and this is "nothing applies to 100%", so also with the match types, especially the match type "Broad".

The broad match type works fundamentally differently for Sponsored Product than it does for Sponsored Brand. For Sponsored Brand campaigns that contain broad keywords, playout is also triggered for search terms that are not stored in this way.

Example - Keyword: Men's wallet

SP - Broad playout: "Black men's wallet", "Gucci men's wallet green" etc.

SB - Broad playout: "purse", "wallet" "leather wallet" etc. 

As we can see in the example, self-service ads are also displayed if Amazon recognizes extensive relevance. Amazon itself says: "For Sponsored Brands, matches also occur when the search term contains plural forms of the keywords, variations of the keywords or Related purchase requests contains."

"Related purchase requests" is not explained in more detail by Amazon. However, if we want to use broad-match keywords for sponsored brand campaigns but do not want to lose complete control, we can work with the so-called broad-match modifier.

The broad match modifier is an alternative to the simultaneous use of keywords and negative keywords. 

To use the broad match modifier, simply place a "+" in front of the word of the booked keyword, which must appear in the customer's search term.

Example: "Wallet +Men"

Playout" Leather wallet men" "Wallet men" etc.

Will not be played for: " "Purse", "wallet" etc.

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • AcoS target
  • Target TACoS

Note on the next Amazon PPC optimization measures:

So far we have mainly talked about display types and bids, but not about the design of the advertisement. The next three suggestions all relate to the graphic presentation of the ad. Since we cannot directly influence the appearance of sponsored product campaigns, we will initially only consider sponsored brand and display ads. 

12. user-defined images for Sponsored-Brand

One of my favorite features of Sponsored Brand campaigns is the use of a custom background image. This feature is currently only available for Sponsored Brand Product Collection ads (currently not available for Store Spotlight ads). 

The user-defined background image function has been available in the beta version for some time, but unfortunately the ads with background images are usually only displayed on mobile devices.

The advantage of using the user-defined background image is obvious: the ad is clearly more visible and should therefore lead to a better perception of the advertised brand. 

 

Background image Sponsored Brand

 

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • Visibility optimization
  • Sales maximization
  • Brand protection campaigns

13. user-defined images for sponsored display campaigns

Custom images can be used as ad assets not only for Sponsored Brand campaigns. Since September 2021, it has also been possible to include a custom image in sponsored display ads instead of equipping the ad with a headline and logo.

Sponsored Display

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • Visibility optimization
  • Sales maximization
  • Brand protection campaigns 

 

14. title optimization for sponsored brand campaigns

One of my favorite use cases for placing sponsored brand campaigns is the use of long-tail single keywords with the Match type "Exact. 

The ad is only displayed if the keyword and the customer's search term match.

In addition, I adapt the headline of the sponsored brand so that the customer's search term is displayed 1-to-1 in the headline - similar to the "Dynamic Keyword Insertion" function in Google Ads.

In the best-case scenario, the search term appears as the headline of the sponsored brand ad and leads to a higher CTR due to the match of the search term with the ad than with a pure search term. generic Headlines.

Example search term "Electric fireplace with heating and open fire"

Sponsored brand image

 

 

15. optimization for conversion in sponsored display campaigns

Are Sponsored Display ads also part of your Amazon marketing mix? Then you should take a look at the bid optimization of your Sponsored Display ads. There have been three different optimization options since mid-2021:

  1. Optimization for visible impressions
  2. Optimization to increase page visits
  3. Optimization to increase conversion

Bid optimization

 

Optimization to increase page visits is selected as the default setting. If your goal is to sell items and not to increase brand awareness, then you should definitely select the "Optimization to improve conversions" option!

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • AcoS target
  • Target TACoS
  • Sales maximization

 

16. transfer of top-performing placements & keywords into additional campaigns

Have you been promoting your products on Amazon for some time now and have been able to collect data as a result? Great, because now you can use the insights you have gained to expand your campaign structure. 

Normally, the majority of advertising expenditure and sales are generated via sponsored product campaigns. Take a look at the top-performing keywords & product placements (number of conversions, cost per purchase, ROAS, etc.) for each advertised product group. 

You can then duplicate the identified top-performing placements for display on sponsored brand and display campaigns. This allows you to scale the playout in a data-driven way.

Note: Using this measure can help you achieve the following optimization goals.

 

  • AcoS target
  • Target TACoS
  • Sales maximization
  • Visibility optimization

17. use competitor keyword campaigns

Every good PPC campaign set-up includes playout for generic terms, own-brand terms and playout for competitor terms.

The vast majority of ad accounts that I analyze use generic search terms. Some also have private label campaigns and only very few use actual playout on competitor terms.

Playout on competitors' product detail pages is more common than playout on their brand names. So, if you want to generate even more conversions and sales, playing on competitor terms would be an option.

As a rule, I have found that the ROAS on competitor keywords is lower than on generic terms.

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • Sales maximization
  • Visibility optimization

18. win back people who are still undecided with retargeting campaigns

Since the beginning of 2021, Amazon retargeting campaigns can now also be created and played using sponsored display ads. 

Unlike conventional display ads, this is a "remarketing by views" target group targeting. Here, both the advertised products and products similar to advertised products can be used as a starting point for retargeting. 

People who have now viewed the advertised products (or similar) in the past 7, 14 or 30 days, but have not purchased them, can now be targeted again with display ads.

The review period can be set to 7, 14 or even 30 days. A different period can therefore be selected depending on the length of the purchase process.

Since 2021, retargeting campaigns have actually been part of the standard campaign setup and should therefore no longer be missing.

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • AcoS target
  • Target TACoS
  • Visibility optimization
  • Sales maximization

19. purchase retargeting for consumer goods

In addition to visit retargeting, it has also been possible to run purchase retargeting campaigns since September 2021. These work in the same way as visit retargeting, except that the targeting option is "remarketing after purchase" and will probably not offer any significant added value for most sellers.

As we can target people after a purchase made 7, 14 or 30 days ago, the question of the use case arises. After buying a washing machine, a customer will not buy a washing machine from you again so quickly, so purchase retargeting is more interesting for sellers of consumer goods.

With the help of purchase retargeting, the acquired customer can be motivated to buy again after a reasonable period of time.

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • AcoS target
  • Target TACoS
  • Visibility optimization
  • Sales maximization

20. use generic, brand & competitor campaign structure

One of the most common mistakes I see when placing advertising on Amazon is the lack of structure and the associated lack of awareness of the impact of certain targeting.

Basically, we can divide the alignment into three different groups:

  1. Generic targeting (keywords)
  2. Own-brand campaigns (keywords & product focus)
  3. Competitor targeting (keywords & product targeting)

You should always structure your campaigns in the same way so that you can see at a glance which campaign focus leads to which results!

This is the only way you can readjust campaigns and shift budgets based on data.

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • AcoS target
  • Target TACoS
  • Visibility optimization
  • Sales maximization
  • Brand protection campaigns

21. use budget rules

Since the end of Q3 / beginning of Q4 2021, advertisers have been able to define budget rules. With the budget rules, you can control the daily budget of your campaigns so that it is automatically increased when a self-defined performance (ACoS, CVR, CTR or ROAS) is reached. If your goal is to consistently achieve a ROAS of 5, you can use a budget rule to allow Amazon to increase your daily budget when the ROAS is greater than or equal to 5. This will ultimately ensure that campaigns that are performing well do not run out of budget too early.

Budget rule

 

NoteUse of this measure can help you to achieve the following optimization goals.

  • AcoS target
  • Target TACoS
  • Visibility optimization
  • Sales maximization
  • Brand protection campaigns

 

Conclusion - Optimizing Amazon PPC campaigns:

The 21 optimization options presented here certainly do not represent all possible optimization options, but should help you with basic optimization. The most important thing at the beginning is to define the goal you want to optimize your campaigns for.

Different goals also require different measures, so this should be clarified in advance. There cannot be a one-size-fits-all solution here.

 

What is the importance of Amazon PPC?

With the help of Amazon PPC, additional sales can be generated relatively quickly. Amazon PPC is therefore the main tool that can be used to generate additional sales.

What ACoS should be achieved with Amazon PPC?

The ACoS or Advertising Cost of Sale shows the advertising costs in relation to advertising sales. The higher the ACoS, the higher the advertising costs in relation to advertising sales. It is therefore desirable that the ACoS is as low as possible. The ACoS itself depends on the costs per click on an ad and the probability of purchase. The higher the purchase probability, the higher the CPC can be.

How do I structure Amazon PPC campaigns?

Amazon PPC campaigns should be structured according to campaign type SP; SB & SD as well as keyword targeting or product targeting. In the next step, generic terms, private label terms and competitor terms should be structured, and product targeting can also be carried out according to private label and third-party brand products.

Tobias Dziuba

My name is Tobias and I am the founder and managing director of the Amazon agency Adsmasters GmbH based in Düsseldorf.

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