A Complete Overview of Sponsored Brand Search Term Reports

After months of waiting, search term reports have finally arrived on the scene for Sponsored Brand Ads.

Like it’s Sponsored Product sibling, this report will show you data about which search terms your customers have been using to trigger your Sponsored Brand Ads.

Search Term Report
What your search term report will look like after you download it.

However, Sponsored Brand search term reports almost feel like they were developed by a different team over at Amazon because of some new twists introduced. Such as how broad match keywords function alarmingly different and the introduction of a fourth match type.

So strap in because we’re going to be breaking down what’s new, what’s changed, and how you can begin using Sponsored Brand search term reports yourself. Here’s what you can look forward to learning:

  1. Keywords vs. Search Terms vs. Targets
  2. What’s new with Sponsored Brand search term reports
  3. Broad match isn’t what you probably think it is

Keywords vs. Search Terms vs. Targets

Before we begin, let’s first get on the same page with our terminology. Often times, keywords, search terms, and targets are used interchangeably in the Amazon community when they really shouldn’t be. If you want to get the most value from your search term reports, it’s essential to understand how each of these terms differs.

Trust me, you don’t want to be the one caught saying “the customer typed in this keyword” or “I’m going to add negative search terms.”

Keywords vs. Search Terms

Of the three terms, we most often see people new to advertising mixing up keywords and search terms. Keywords are what you as an advertiser are choosing to target while search terms are what the customers are actually typing in the search bar.

keywords-vs-search-queries
Image courtesy of Wordstream

For example, let’s say you’re a lotion seller. A customer types in “pineapple lotion” into Amazon — this is the search term. If you have a Sponsored Brand ad that’s targeting the keyword “lotion,” then your ad may be eligible to show if it’s a match. It’s as simple as that.

Targets

Targets, on the other hand, could still be muddy for even some PPC veterans. Targets are how your ads are triggered. This means that all keywords are targets, but so are ASINs, categories, and star refinements. 

With the definitions covered, let’s jump into this game-changing update for Sponsored Brand Ads.

What’s New with Sponsored Brand Search Term Reports

Like we said earlier, Sponsored Brand search term reports give you greater insight on precisely what search terms are driving conversions for your ads. The benefits of this are threefold.

1. Better Negative Keyword Research

Before this report, there was no way to find out which search terms were performing well and which were duds. If your Sponsored Brand ad was performing poorly, it was a total mystery as to why.

With the search term report, Amazon has thankfully given us the ability to see search term performance like impressions, clicks, and CTR. This makes it much easier to create negative keywords to filter out irrelevant searches.

Using Search Term Report to identify negative keywords
High impressions, low clicks, low CTR— a perfect negative keyword candidate

Now you can refine your broad and phrase match keywords just like you would with Sponsored Products.

2. Perform RPSB with Sponsored Brand Ads

The Research-Peel-Stick-Block Method (RPSB) is an excellent way for beginners to find keywords by getting the most data for the least amount of money.

It’s a strategy we recommend to everyone because it guarantees your budget is being allocated to winning search terms that convert and block search terms that don’t.

We’ve been doing this for years with Sponsored Product Ads, but now it’s possible with Sponsored brand Ads as well.

Here’s a video that shows you exactly how to implement this strategy step-by-step.

Lastly, the third change has to do with how broad match operates now. This is by far the most significant difference between Sponsored Brand search term reports and Sponsored Product reports.

Broad Match Isn’t What You Probably Think It Is

How Search Term Reports Work for Sponsored Product Ads

Let’s start with what you might expect. Inside of your Sponsored Product search term reports, you might’ve noticed that your search terms are never synonyms for your broad match keywords.

In fact, the only difference between a broad match keyword and a phrase match keyword is that with a broad match, the word order doesn’t matter.

For example, to trigger a phrase match keyword for “men’s running shoes,” the search term would have to be the full unbroken phrase “men’s running shoes.” However, a broad match keyword could be triggered by something like “men’s trail running shoes.”  

Notice that all the words of “men’s running shoes” are still present; the root keyword hasn’t changed. That’s how it’s always worked. But now we’re going to throw that out the window.

How Search Term Reports Work for Sponsored Brand Ads

The way Sponsored Brand broad matches work is so different that it’s criminal they even share the same name.

The big difference is that this version of a broad match can trigger your Sponsored Brand ad if the search term includes synonyms of your keyword or even just one part of it. The best way to illustrate just how wild this gets is with real examples, of course.

So I went into Amazon and typed in “pretzels” as my search term and the Sponsored Brand ad it pulled up was for GoGo squeeZ Applesauce! These products have nothing to do with pretzels, and this ad will likely have a very low conversion rate for this search term.

pretzel-sponsored-brand-ad
Be wary of the new broad match

To make matters worse, you can clearly see the top-of-search Sponsored Product Ads correctly pulling up pretzels products as you’d expect. But maybe this is a fluke, let’s try another search?

When I entered “mint toothpaste” as my search term, I got results for whitening strips.

Now granted, it could be the case that both of these sellers are explicitly targeting these complement keywords, but the point still stands. If you rely on Sponsored Brand broad match, your ads are likely going to be showing up for a whole host of unrelated search terms.

So should you ever use this new broad match? If you’re pairing it with a lot of negative keywords, it could be useful. However, if you’re looking for something that functions exactly like Sponsored Product broad match, we recommend the fourth match type instead— modified broad match.

The Fourth Match Type— Modified Broad

Modified broad match is a term Amazon borrowed from Google, and it functions the same way. You need to put a “+” in front of every word in your keyword that you want to guarantee is in the search term.

modified-broad-match
How modified broad match works in a nutshell

For example, if your modified broad match keyword was “+men’s running shoes,” then every search that triggers this keyword must at least have the word “men” in it. However, searches like “men’s fitness equipment” could also trigger your ad.

If you want to guarantee all three of your words appear, you’d need to add pluses in front of each word in your keyword phrase like this: “+men’s +running +shoes.” Once you’ve done this, your Sponsored Brand modified broad match keyword will behave exactly like the Sponsored Product broad match we all know and love.

Key Takeaways

That pretty much sums up everything new Sponsored Brand Ad search term reports bring to the table. You can download them just like you would any other report by going to the Reporting tab in Seller Central.

We’ve been waiting for this update for a while, and now you can finally analyze data on your Sponsored Brand ads, add negative keywords, and implement the RPSB strategy. Your optimization time might increase a bit, but the results will be well worth it when you’re leaving your competition in the dust.

Amazon advertising is quickly evolving, and Ad Badger is here to keep you on the cutting edge of PPC strategies. Leave a comment down below on what you think about Sponsored Brand search term reports!

Badger out.

Discover Us on our PPC Den Podcast

If you prefer learning via audio, we cover this same info in the podcast episode below. You can also find us on your favorite streaming platforms like Apple, Google, Spotify, and more!

Watch Mike & Stephen on YouTube

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