9 Costly Amazon PPC Optimization Mistakes and How to Fix It

August 13, 2021
Written by Ken Zhou
Amazon PPC optimization

Amazon PPC optimization happens after you start running your sponsored ads campaign. It’s when you realize you’re not meeting your objectives, and your ACoS (Average Cost of Sale) is too high. When that happens, it’s time you backpedal a bit and revisit your live Amazon PPC campaigns. Take this opportunity to optimize your Amazon sponsored ads to develop the best Amazon PPC strategy.

We’ve listed some of the common yet costly sponsored ad mistakes you may encounter and how to apply the right Amazon PPC optimization technique on each one.

Mistake #1: Treating Amazon ads like Facebook ads

Facebook ads behave like annoying pop-up ads that turn up anywhere on the screen. Amazon PPC ads don’t work this way. 

Amazon sponsored ads only display ads that are relevant to the customer. One of the factors contributing to this behavior is the keyword the buyer enters in Amazon’s search box. 

How to optimize it:

Amazon uses an auction-based cost-per-click (CPC) inventory model. Sometimes the seller with the highest bid grabs first place in the search results, followed by the second and so forth.

Consider several factors like your bid price and product’s relevance. Also, try tweaking your keywords by doing the following:

  • Use relevant keywords. If you’re selling pillowcases, avoid keywords associated with electronics.
  • Add related keywords. It is quite rare for shoppers to use exact match keywords. Utilize other keyword match types like phrase match and broad match.

Mistake #2: Poor Amazon PPC campaign structure

All your efforts will be futile if you fail to structure your PPC campaigns properly. It’s impossible to scale up your campaign over time.

Yes, you may cleanse and repeat or delete your current ad to create a new one. However, it might affect the performance of your product listings and sales. Plus, you might waste the allocated campaign budget.

How to optimize it:

Avoid adding several related products in a single ad group. For starters, use this basic structure:

Amazon PPC campaign structure

Mistake #3: Unsystematic naming convention

This mistake may not be one of the online marketing strategies of Amazon out there. If not done right the first time, it may affect your Amazon PPC optimization in the future. How? 

Imagine labeling an Amazon PPC campaign “Test 123” since you’re just A/B testing that time. After running a number of tests over the week, you finally achieved desirable results and then accidentally launched it. Eventually, you forgot to rename it because you’re about to run a second ad. The horror of tracking campaign names like “Test ABC,” “XYZ ad,” or even a generic “Amazon Campaign no.1.”

How to optimize it:

Before creating a campaign, plan a logical and easy-to-understand naming convention. For example: “Campaign name: wireless headphones.” Make sure to put the product you’re going to promote on the label so you won’t have trouble monitoring it.

Mistake #4: Excluding misspelled keywords

Wrong spelling is wrong, right? On the contrary, Amazon’s A9 algorithm considers and evaluates misspelled search queries.

It has a bearing on your PPC campaigns’ visibility, although Amazon doesn’t consider it. If a customer enters “headfones,” it will not show ads with “headphones” as its keyword. So, go ahead and start practicing adding misspelled words to your keyword list.

Add some negative keywords and close variations as well, such as “shoes” and “shoe.” On the other hand, Amazon ignores words like “the,” “when,” “of,” and “if.”

Mistake #5: Avoiding automatic campaigns

With Amazon-sponsored products, sellers have an option to run either an automatic or manual campaign. When you run your Amazon PPC in an automatic campaign mode, it gets its data from the product listing’s SEO content. On the other hand, the latter gives you more control to customize and optimize your PPC campaign. 

But did you know that automatic campaigns can help you discover relevant search terms?

How to optimize it:

All you have to do is start an automatic campaign. We recommend using both types of Amazon PPC campaigns to widen your targeting opportunities. You may use the keywords from the automatic campaign’s ‘Search Term Report’ and add these to your manual campaign. In this way, you won’t have to conduct exhaustive keyword research.

Mistake #6: Monitoring ACoS only

In Amazon PPC optimization, one of the metrics you should continuously check is ACoS or Advertising Cost of Sales. ACoS is computed by the total amount you’ve spent divided by the total sales on a single campaign. The lower your ACoS, the better. However, it is not only the barometer of an efficient PPC campaign. 

How to fix this mindset:

Besides ACoS, measure other metrics like conversion rate (CR) and click-through-rate (CTR). If you scored high in both indicators, you have a better chance to win a bid. CR gauges your sales and CTR determines how relevant a product is to customers. As a standard, a good CR is at least 3%, CTR is between 2% to 3%, and ACoS is between 25% to 40%.

Mistake #7: Mixing brand and non-brand keywords together

As a review, brand keywords are search phrases with your brand name matched with an adjective or any other word. You may use this type of keyword if your customers have high-intent to search for your products. 

Thus, it is not advisable to use both brand and non-brand keywords within a single PPC campaign. 

How to optimize it:

Better put each keyword in separate campaigns to maximize targeting outreach. According to the Search Engine Journal, this strategy gives you transparency to monitor your ads well and optimize them with ease. It also prevents your competitors from using your brand keywords to sabotage your Amazon PPC campaigns.

Mistake #8: Running out of stock

You’re so focused on the technical aspects of your Amazon PPC optimization that you forgot about your inventory. Why should you worry about a product running out of stock? One of the criteria Amazon checks is the status of your inventory. It is one of the items on Amazon’s Retail Readiness Checklist.

How to optimize it:

Check out Amazon’s checklist here. But to give you an idea of what it is, here’s the list:

  1. ASIN is sold by Amazon
  2. The detail page is optimized:
    1. Correct product title
    2. Correct product image
    3. More than 15 customer reviews
    4. Greater than 3.5 stars
  3. ASIN is a replenishable product
  4. ASIN selection complete 30-45 days before campaign launch
  5. Used seller name/logo
  6. Clear and strong call-to-action (CTA)
  7. Clear, consistent, accurate pricing/saving messages
  8. Amazon program benefits are clear
  9. Received consent to use Amazon name/logo (if applicable)

What could happen if you forgot or intentionally didn’t restock? Amazon will stop showing your ad, affecting your conversions, organic search ranking, and overall performance of your listing.

Mistake #9: Developing a habit of “set-it-and-forget-it” approach

How many times did you optimize your Amazon PPC campaign? After launching it, did you just forget it and let your ad campaign do its magic? Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a “magic pill” when managing Amazon PPC campaigns. It requires hard work, dedication, and an analytic mind to devise the best Amazon PPC strategy.

How to fix this mindset:

Whether you’re busy or simply forgetful, make it a habit to monitor and optimize your Amazon PPC campaigns on a regular basis. Set a fixed schedule at least once a week. 

To do this, put on top of your mind your campaign objective as you review your ad, check out metrics like CR, CTR, ACoS, etc. Analyze if you need to adjust your bid or optimize your keywords. Try applying the right Amazon PPC strategy to get on top of search results.

Final Thoughts

Don’t be disheartened if you make a mistake with your sponsored ads. You can apply the Amazon PPC optimization tips mentioned above until Amazon deems your product to be relevant. An optimized Amazon PPC campaign is also your way to outsmart your competitors, increase brand awareness, and improve your sales.

Do you want to have the best Amazon PPC strategy? Seller Interactive has a team of expert Amazon consultants who are knowledgeable in Amazon PPC optimization. For inquiries, email [email protected].  

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