Keyword Cannibalization in Amazon PPC

amazon ppc keyword cannibalization

Anytime you hear the word cannibalization, your ears should perk up. While keyword cannibalization in Amazon advertising is arguably the most tame form of cannibalization, it can still do quite a bit of damage to your campaigns. 

We also get asked all the time about selling similar products and having keyword overlap between products. That’s why we want to set the record straight about using one keyword for multiple products and how you can ensure that one product doesn’t eat into the performance of another.

Targeting the Same Keyword for Multiple Products

Let’s say you’re selling earbuds and other electronic accessories. You have many options for wireless earbuds, but you’re wondering where you should put specific keywords in order to optimize each product.

Where should you put those specific keywords? Everywhere.

Take a look at these two products. Both are sold by the same seller, and there is a lot of overlap between the product titles and descriptions when it comes to certain keywords.

Sellers often think that only one of their products can appear for a given search, but that isn’t the case. Amazon’s primary goal is to sell products. They will do everything in their power to put the products that are most likely to sell in the top-of-search (TOS) placements, regardless of who sells the product.

There is a caveat. In order to have two products appear as Sponsored Products for a search, these products have to be in different ad groups. This is why we are big proponents of single product ad groups (SPAGs).

CPC Implications

Amazon’s campaign structure is very nuanced, and there isn’t a comparable platform out there. For sellers who are transitioning from Google or another advertising platform, their primary concern is the fear of bidding against themselves.

It’s important to remember that Amazon doesn’t value every product equally. Products with a large number of reviews and best selling products can have lower CPCs than a brand new product with few orders and reviews.

Whenever two of your products are shown in Sponsored Product placements for a particular SERP, you will not be bidding against yourself. However, because of the stock Amazon gives to proven products, your CPC for each product may be different.

Keyword Variations

As we’ve seen in our many years of PPC experience, you never know what’s going to get typed into the search bar. Sellers are often very vague when searching for products, and it’s imperative that you factor this in when deciding which keywords you’re going to target with similar products.

If someone searches for “running shoes,” there could potentially be two products from a large sneaker company that appear as Sponsored Products. Don’t believe me?

Two products from the same sellers appearing in the same SERP.

If it can happen to them, it can happen to you too. As you can see from this example, these products are targeted at very different populations (men and women), and when advertising similar products it’s important to take keyword variations into consideration to avoid situations like this.

If you’re bidding on a competitive keyword, look at the click through rate (CTR) for your products and lead with a single keyword campaign for that product. This is assuming that your variants are all accessible in that product page.

Where Keyword Cannibalization Hurts Your Amazon PPC

A concept that has traveled over from the SEO world, keyword cannibalization can have an impact on your Amazon PPC performance.

Let’s say you have a few campaigns with similar products:

  • Zero-Turn Lawn Mower
  • Riding Lawn Mower
  • Push Lawn Mower
  • Reel Lawn Mower

If these four products are in multiple campaigns and you’re bidding the same amount for the same phrase-match keyword, let’s say “lawn mower,” you’re spreading clicks across four campaigns and it’s impossible to get quality data from this search term.

You don’t want multiple campaigns containing the same product to be bidding on the same keywords. That’s where keyword cannibalization can get you in trouble.

When Keyword Cannibalization is Okay in Amazon PPC

In the world of Google and other search engines, keyword cannibalization almost always has a negative impact on your performance. However, with Amazon PPC, keyword cannibalization isn’t always bad.

To use the multiple lawnmower example, it’s alright if every single campaign for those four products has “lawnmower” as a keyword. One product isn’t going to get all the clicks and leave the others with the scraps. 

While this is okay, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your keywords are optimized. Especially if your products are well differentiated, targeting vague and broad keywords can contribute to wasted ad spend.

Key Takeaways

It’s impossible to overstate the impact keyword selection has on your Amazon PPC performance. However, picking the right keywords is only half the battle. As you can see, making sure that your keywords are strategically placed in your campaigns and ad groups can make a dramatic difference.

When it comes to keyword cannibalization, the main concern is data dilution. Make sure that you are using negative exact match keywords when multiple products share a phrase-match keyword. By blocking these variations, you’ll ensure that you’re getting enough data to make the right keyword decisions.


Discover Us on our PPC Den Podcast

If you enjoy supplementing your long reads with audio, we cover this topic on our podcast as well. 

Listen to it in the episode below or find us on your favorite streaming platform, like Apple, Google, Spotify, and more!

  • 1:10 Intro
  • 2:40 Keyword placement
  • 5:40 Multiple products with the same keyword
  • 11:00 How CPC is affected
  • 15:50 Optimizing each keyword
  • 18:20 Keyword variations
  • 21:38 Keyword Cannibalization
  • 29:17 Match types
  • 31:05 Multiple products bidding for the same keyword
  • 37:20 Closing thoughts
  1. Ad Badger & TurnKey: Amazon Product Listing Optimization
  2. Seven Habits of Highly Effective Amazon PPC-ers
  3. Ad Badger and ZonGuru: Boost Your SEO with High Value Keywords
  4. Answered Prayers: Negative ASIN Targeting Comes to Auto Campaigns
  5. Much Ado About Budgets
  6. How to Get Over 100% Conversion Rates on Sponsored Display Ads
  7. New Launch Strategy for New Products: Skip the Auto?
  8. Amazon PPC Data Trends to Shape Your 2020 Strategy
  9. How Does Amazon PPC Work With Misspellings?
  10. Following Amazon’s Suggestions? The Mysterious “Suggested Bid”
  11. Negative ASIN in Amazon PPC Auto Campaigns: Is it Possible (Part 2)
  12. Negative ASIN in Amazon PPC Auto Campaigns: Is it Possible (Part 1)
  13. When You Should DIY Your PPC (and When You Shouldn’t)
  14. An Introduction to Targeting Options on the Amazon DSP
  15. Optimizing on a Hunch
  16. 5 Things You Don’t Know About Product Targeting
  17. Amazon PPC Stats During COVID-19| April 2020
  18. Sponsored Brand Ads Update: Now You Can Edit Creatives
  19. Amazon PPC Stats During COVID-19
  20. Seller Central Campaign Manager is Moving to Amazon Ad Console in 2020
  21. Taking Your Amazon Products & Campaigns Global: A Primer
  22. Best Practices for Selling on Amazon During COVID-19
  23. Principles and Mindset for Amazon Marketers During Coronavirus
  24. Coronavirus (Covid-19) and Your Amazon PPC Campaigns
  25. Incorporate “Adjust Bids by Placement” into Your Keyword Bids (Part 2): Multi-Keyword Campaigns
  26. Incorporate “Adjust Bids by Placement” into Your Keyword Bids (Part 1): Single Keyword Campaigns
  27. Grow Your Amazon Campaigns with Demographics Data
  28. What Consumer Behavior Says About You: Amazon Brand Analytics
  29. How to Raise Lifetime Value with Market Basket Report
  30. Search Frequency Rank: How to Identify Most Important Keywords
  31. Long Tail Search Terms: Amazon PPC Silent Killer
  32. 7 Tips to Get More Clicks on Amazon Ads
  33. LIVE Amazon PPC Campaign Audit
  34. Amazon PPC Keyword Research in 2020: RPSB Revisited
  35. Our Top Predictions for Amazon PPC in 2020
  36. 7 Bad PPC Habits to Kick in 2020 (And 3 Good Ones to Start)
  37. The PPC Tasks We Put on Our Project Management Tools
  38. A Data- Oriented Approach to Advertising in December 
  39. The Wait is Over… Search Term Reports for Sponsored Brand Ads are Here
  40. What to Do When It’s Time to Sell Your Amazon Business with Coran Woodmass
  41. Ramping Up for Cyber Monday and Black Friday with Data-Driven PPC Strategies
  42. Amazon PPC Campaign Structure: 6 Layers of Complexity
  43. Amazon PPC Today vs. Yesterday: What’s Changed, What Hasn’t
  44. Make Your Best Keywords Better with Single Keyword Campaigns
  45. 6 Levels of Amazon PPC Mastery
  46. How to Advertise Commodity and Unique Products with Lukas Matthews
  47. Amazon SEO – Bridging the Gap with PPC
  48. Amazon’s New Sponsored Display Ads (Beta)
  49. Listener Q&A: Optimizing Placement Settings
  50. The Problem With Optimizing Low-Converting Products (And How to Solve It)
  51. 4 Reasons Why Lowering Your Bids Won’t Always Lower your ACOS
  52. What to Expect From 30 Days of Running Amazon Ads
  53.  Should You Segment Your Branded Keywords in Amazon Ads?
  54. Promoting your Products with Amazon Coupons
  55. Three Effective Ways to Optimize Amazon PPC Bids
  56. 4 Things Amazon Does Better than Google and Facebook
  57. Amazon DSP with Kiri Masters
  58. Increase Conversion Rates for Sponsored Brand Ads
  59. Clickfraud, Who to Hire, and More Common Amazon PPC Questions
  60. A Data-Driven Approach to Prime Day PPC
  61. Improving Your Account With Amazon Reports
  62. The Complete Guide to Self-Auditing Your Campaigns
  63. A Round-Table Discussion About Placement Settings
  64. My 5 Predictions for the Future of Amazon PPC
  65. The Importance of Indexation for Amazon PPC
  66. Click Through Rate (CTR) Rundown
  67. An Introduction To Bulk File Operations
  68. The Latest Sponsored Brand Ad Updates
  69. Defining Your PPC Goals & Setting ACOS Targets
  70. Making Sense of New to Brand Metrics
  71. Should You Bid on Competitors’ Branded Keywords
  72. Our Gripes About Amazon Sponsored Brand Ads
  73. Amazon Advertising Launch Strategy for New Products
  74. The Ultimate Amazon PPC Roadmap
  75. How to Scale Using PPC – A Case Study
  76. The Star-Crossed Lovers (Organic & Paid Traffic)
  77. Cranking Up Conversion Rates
  78. All Things Negative Keywords
  79. The Dreaded Amazon Data Reporting Delay
  80. What We Love About Amazon PPC
  81. First Look on New Bid Options in Amazon
  82. Dissenting Thoughts on PPC Budgets
  83. The Strangest, Most Popular PPC Strategy: The Keyword Dump
  84. Product Targeting – Into the Great Unknown
  85. Campaign Naming Systems
  86. Hitchhiker’s Guide to Sponsored Products (Part 2)
  87. Hitchhiker’s Guide to Sponsored Products (Part 1)
  88. Amazon PPC Advertising Stats
  89. The Advanced Basics of Amazon PPC
  90. Amazon’s New Product Targeting Features
  91. The Bid+ Conundrum
  92. Why We’re Living In The Golden Age of Amazon PPC

Watch Mike & Stephen on YouTube

If you enjoy supplementing your long reads with video, well, hot diggity dog, you’re in luck! We cover this topic on our YouTube channel too. 

Watch it below and please don’t forget to ‘like’ and subscribe.