Amazon Marketing Services: Sponsored Product Ads

This is the last post of our series of the types of ads inside Amazon Marketing Services (AMS). We’ve talked Headline Search Ads and Product Display Ads, now let’s talk Sponsored Product Ads inside AMS.

Sponsored Product Ads are a beautiful thing. I even wrote a poem about my love for them. To access Sponsored Product Ads in AMS, you need to be a vendor (first-party seller). Sponsored Product Ads are the most popular type of ad on Amazon and it shows up at multiple points in the customer journey. They show up on the search results page and the product detail page.

Differences and Similarities Between Amazon Marketing Services and Seller Central Sponsored Product Ads

I wrote a super fire post dedicated to this topic, but let’s review:

Differences:

  • AMS Sponsored Product Ads are just placed below organic search results
  • Seller Central Sponsored Product Ads appear on top of search results, on the right sidebar, and listed on product pages
  • The user interfaces are different

Similarities

  • The ads are identical
  • To create Sponsored Product Ads, you must own the buy box
  • You can create Sponsored Product Ads with automatic campaigns and manual campaigns
  • The reporting interfaces are similar

What is Keyword Targeting For Amazon Ads?

Keywords are extremely important for Sponsored Products. If you optimize your keywords right, your Sponsored Product Ads can convert like crazy. There are many types of keywords you can use to experiment with your targeting.

According to AMS, these are examples of types of keywords:

  • Branded Product Keywords – your own brand’s keywords
  • Competitor Keywords – your competition’s keywords
  • Complementary Product Keywords – keywords your product compliments or vice versa
  • Out of Category Keywords – keywords not related to your product
  • Sponsored Products Automatic Targeting Keywords – successful keywords from your automatic and manual campaigns.

When setting up a manual campaign, you can choose broad. phrase, or exact keywords. If you are setting up campaigns for a new product, I suggest choosing some obvious keywords and collect the data from an automatic campaign and decide your strategy from there. Look for keywords that have the most clicks and sales and those you can select as negative keywords.

Here’s a great post about matching your keywords to the marketing funnel. 

What is Adjust Bids by Placement (formerly Bid+)?

Amazon’s Bid+ feature (now called “Adjust Bids by Placement”) is kind of like that bro that has your back and fine-tunes bids in your favor.

Bid+ increases your max CPC bid by 50% if Amazon thinks your ad is eligible to show up at the top of the search result. However, if your budget is $500, your budget won’t exceed that with Bid+ turned on. Bid+ is only available for manual campaigns. This is one of the features of AMS that’s not available in Seller Central.

Should You Use Bid+ in Amazon Marketing Services?

Google AdWords has something identical to Bid+. It’s called Enhanced CPC or “ECPC”.

I once heard ECPC described as following:

Imagine you sell shampoo. The moment someone with long hair searches for shampoo, we’ll bid more for this search, as opposed to someone who searches for shampoo and is bald.”

While it sounds nice and feels good knowing there is some kind of bid optimization going on, here is what really happens:

We will bid more, and maybe it will lead to an increase in campaign performance”

I know people that swear they’ll never use any kind of bid platform that is automated by the platform itself. Simply put, Amazon, AdWords, Facebook Ads-whoever-all have different priorities than I do.

If I have a 30% target ACOS, Amazon doesn’t care. It will be happy to bring in as many conversions at ANY ACOS, even if I’m losing money.

Reading what Bid+ does:

  • “Raise bids in this campaign up to 50% more than your default bid when ads are eligible to show at the top of search results”

Is like saying:

  • “We will bid 50% more just to be in a higher position, regardless of whether or not it will convert better, worse, or at your target ACOS”

There are strategic times where you’ll want to bid more aggressively, and it usually is when you find a high converting keyword. You don’t want to bid more aggressively on a term just to be in a top spot. If a term isn’t performing well, you would actually want to reduce your bid, not raise it.

Bid+ is to maximize visibility, not profit and revenue and is certainly not focused on your target ACOS.

Missing Data and Reports inside Amazon Marketing Service’s Sponsored Products

Want to look at data from last month? Well, you might be out of luck. One of the most frustrating parts of AMS Sponsored Products is the amount of data that goes missing.

The image above was taken on February 26th. Let’s say I wanted to view data before January 2nd, I would go right up to the date selector and select my time frame, right? Wrong.

AMS Reporting

As you can see above, I can’t select data before January 2nd. Data inside AMS Sponsored Products gets removed over time, and you lose access to it unless you set up reports. There is also no way to automate this report. When it comes to Amazon PPC, knowledge is power. You can identify trends, find new keywords, and improve your campaigns through your reports.

Set a weekly reminder to download all of your data for AMS on a regular basis for your most important campaigns.

AMS does, however, have a hidden “Advertising Reports” section, where you can download more data.

Now, you can perform your RPSB (Research, Peel, Stick, and Block). RPSB is where you research winning keywords in an auto campaign and stick high-converting ones into a manual campaign. Inside a manual campaign, you can adjust your bid on winning keywords. Don’t forget to block those keywords in your auto campaign. If you forget, you’ll leave your fate up to Amazon and risk losing conversions. 

Using Sponsored Product Ads in Amazon Marketing Services and Seller Central

Like I mentioned, the Sponsored Product Ads in AMS and Seller Central are very similar ads, but appear in different locations. That’s two different pieces of real estate for your ads.

We were asked by a customer recently if you’re competing with yourself for ad space when you are setting up a campaign in AMS and Seller Central. The answer is: Yes, you’re competing with yourself, but that’s not a bad thing. Some see it as “boxing out” the competition and it can increase your visibility. You’re not necessarily wasting bid money if you’re looking at your target ACoS and conversion rate and reaching the optimal bid that way.

In a recent Dashboard Days, Michael discussed optimizing bids and said, “[The optimal bid] is average order value, times your conversion rate, divided by one over your Target ACoS, equals what you should be paying every single click. If you somehow were able to go inside your Amazon account and optimize every single keyword or ad group to this calculation, you would never be overbidding and you would never be underbidding.”

Long story short, running campaigns for a product inside AMS and Seller Central is a good way to attack from two angles if you’re optimizing your bids correctly.

In Conclusion

Sponsored Product Ads inside AMS are just another Amazon PPC feature you can use to increase your visibility and ultimately increase sales. Sponsored Product Ads aren’t that much different than Sponsored Product Ads inside Seller Central, but can be another avenue to dominate your competition like Norway did the Winter Olympics.

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