The Edit Blog

How to set up Amazon PPC

ARTICLE BY Daniel Saunders
READ TIME: 6 mins
7th March 2019

When it comes to Search and eCommerce, no one dominates quite like Amazon. The brand rose to overtake Google back in 2016 and now (according to GeekWire)…

  • 62% of customers start their search for a product on Amazon
  • 70% of Amazon searchers never click past the first page of search results
  • 35% of Amazon searchers click on the first product featured on a search page

Current conversion rates on Amazon are around the 13% mark for standard customers, and for Amazon Prime members it’s 74%.

PPC is the easiest way to drive your sales up on Amazon (surprise, surprise Amazon is just like Google – you give it money and it helps you out).

Not sure where to start? I’m here to show you a step-by-step guide to not only setting up your Amazon PPC, but getting the best ROI.

Step 1: Create manual PPC Campaigns

Start by creating manual PPC campaigns to target your keywords, then pump up the bids to drive exposure. Again, just like Google, running your paid activity for a short period at cost (or even at a loss) will be worthwhile to increase your organic rankings.

Unlike Amazon organic results, Amazon paid ads should be around 30-33 characters. Nice, short, and straight to the point:

Source: Amazon.co.uk

Step 2: Set the keywords you want to target

Next, it’s time to set the keywords you want to target. If there’s one thing to take away from this, it’s make sure you’re targeting converting keywords. Don’t waste your money on generics, but do focus on your brand.
Take the below example, where we’ve searched for ‘asics running shoes mens’:

Source: Amazon.co.uk

What if we change the search slightly, to ‘asics men’s running trainers’? We get even less Asics!


Source: Amazon.co.uk

You search for a massive, international brand like Asics and what’s the first thing you see? A New Balance trainer! And can you see any Asics in the top line sponsor? Nope – you’ve got Vibdiv.

Source:Amazon.co.uk

We don’t see Ascis until we scroll further down the page, which means they’ve already lost 35% of their potential customers – customers who have searched for them specifically by brand.

Looks what happens when I take one word out of the search and try ‘asics running trainers’ instead:

Source: Amazon.co.uk

This why the most important thing to remember about Amazon PPC is to get your keywords right and consistently review yourself and your competitors.

A note about choosing your keywords

We live in a world of automation, and you do have the choice to let Amazon choose the keywords it thinks are most relevant for you.

If you’ve done detailed keyword research, you should always do it manually. Like on AdWords, you can decide if you want the keywords to match exactly, broadly, or as a phrase. A mixture of all three is the best way forward.

Remember, the majority of Amazon search queries are longtail (3 or more words), so this needs to be heavily factored into your keyword research. The best tools that I’ve found so far are Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and Helium10.

Step 3: Monitor your campaign

You type in the campaign name, so you can monitor the results. I know this goes without saying, but you’ll be surprised at how many people don’t do this.

Make sure your campaign names are all different so you can compare them – I’ve worked on too many accounts that have hundreds of campaigns that are all called ‘campaign1’!

Give it four weeks, review what’s working and what’s not, and amend your campaigns accordingly.

Step 4: Add in how much your daily budget is

The minimum is £1, but I tend to start off with £50-£75. It’s better to boost exposure as much as possible and you very rarely hit the limit.

PPC boosts your organic, so it’s worth running at an initial loss or, better yet, break even for the initial gains. Plus, you get the added benefit of having an initial surge of data that you can use to refine your own process and learn more about your customers.

It all really depends what your acos (Advertising Cost of Sales – the percent of ad spend divided by the attributed sale). You can see this number in the Keyword section of your advertising tab.

Attributed Sales (how many sales you made that week that are directly linked to your ad) are important. If by the 2nd or 3rd campaign you’re not showing a weekly ROI, there’s a good chance you’ve not targeted the right keywords.

Not only will this cost you money, but it’ll be ruining your CRO on your Amazon account, which is an Amazon Ranking factor. Impressions (the number of times your ads were displayed) are important, but not at the cost of lowering your rankings.

Step 5: Choose whether you want Amazon to target your ads on their data

Or you can configure this manually. I’d recommend the latter, because nobody knows your customer as well as you do. It’s much easier to run an automatic campaign, but your ROI could suffer – the worst I’ve ever seen was a near 35% drop in ROI by leaving it to Amazon.

Step 6: Create segments and profiles

If you don’t feel like you totally understand your customer, you need to be able to answer the below in order to beat Amazon (and Google, for that matter):

  • What your customers looks like
  • Who your most profitable customers are
  • What the lifetime value of a customer is
  • How much do you want to/do you spend per customer acquisition
  • What time of day does your customer buy from you

When you’re collecting data, make sure you centre your efforts on the quality not the quantity – and focus on just one campaign at a time! When you have all this, segment your data and create user profiles.

How to optimise Amazon PPC Campaigns

There are a ton of different methods to optimise your campaign, but first you need the data. Once you have this, you’re in control.

The first thing I’d do is look at what’s working. After your first campaign you should be able to see which of your keywords are converting into sales. This sounds like PPC 101, but look to increase your spend on these keywords!

The next step is to look at what these keywords are costing you and look at the acos. If you find that you have a keyword that converts but it’s above the acos, it doesn’t mean you should stop bidding – you just need to lower your bid amount to make your acos lower (the average acos I’ve found is about 35-30%).

Make sure you make the best use of your negative keywords, because as soon as your CTR decreases and your bounce rate increases, your rankings are going to drop. Not getting any bites? In this case, add to your broad matches as this will help you widen the net.

Offer people deals – 90% of customers will go from a retailer’s own site to buy the same product from Amazon because they want it cheaper or want a deal. Use this to your advantage.

Final thoughts…

Set yourself some goals. If you’re new to Amazon PPC, use the same goals as you would for your Google account.

If you’re totally green to the Ecommerce world, go back to basics. Look at your P&L. After your first campaign, look what you can afford. Look for growth. Look for dead weight. Act accordingly.

But don’t look for micro changes – if you have time to look at these then you’re not doing your job right!

If you can optimise Google Ads, then, as long as you put the same amount of work in, you can optimise Amazon ads.

Remember Amazon only cares what’s selling – the more you sell the higher you rank! Ready to deal with Amazon PPC? Drop me a line at [email protected].

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