Organic vs Paid Traffic on Amazon

You have your organic traffic. You have your paid traffic. As an Amazon seller, traffic is traffic. You want to get the most eyes on your product detail pages to reel in those conversions. If you’re new to selling on Amazon, online marketing, eCommerce selling, or all three, you may be asking yourself:

  • What is organic traffic?
  • What is paid traffic?
  • How do they compare?
  • Which one should I focus on?
  • What is their relationship with each other?

Don’t worry, I’ll answer all that. You’re in the Badger Burrow baby–a safe space to ask all your Amazon PPC questions. 

Organic vs PPC SERP
Here's an example of the difference between PPC (paid) ads and organic listings on a search engine results page

Organic vs Paid Search Results

I would recommend not to think of Amazon traffic as paid (PPC ads) vs organic (SEO) because they both add to your overall sales. The two listing types should work together to increase your traffic and conversions. Come to think of it, organic and paid traffic HAVE to work together to be successful and be optimized correctly. 

Think of organic and paid traffic as a symbiotic relationship or star-crossed lovers who’s mood affect each other’s overall happiness kind of like Romeo and Juliet. The Montagues and Capulets might try to keep them apart, but organic and paid optimization belong together.

Young Leo in the house. Courtesy of GIPHY.

What is Organic Traffic on Amazon?

It’s true organic traffic can cause free clicks, but it isn’t totally free. 

Organic listings are unpaid product listings that show up on search engine results page (SERP). They appear below Headline Search Ads and Sponsored Product Ads. (Here’s all the ad types and their position in the SERP). Amazon has become a great search engine for product discovery as 55 percent of consumers begin their search on Amazon. 

The top, red section indicates Headline Search Ads, the middle, blue section is home to Sponsored Product Ads, and the bottom, green section show the organic product listings.

Organic ranking has been a hot topic in online marketing for years and often referred to as SEO. When researching Amazon organic ranking you might come along the term “Amazon SEO.” This means Amazon Search Engine Optimization where Amazon is the product search engine and you’re optimizing the organic ranking for your product.  

What is Paid Traffic on Amazon?

Paid advertisements or PPC ads on Amazon are a way to gain visibility and increase sales. Paid ads have been a thing since the beginning of advertising and have different formats online apart from Amazon. You probably see Google ads on SERPs when you search for terms on Google.

Product Listing Ads
Here's an example of a Product Listing Ad on Google. These brands want to increase brand awareness and sales. Since there is limited room in the organic listings to the left of the images, they choose to pay for ad placement to get attention.

On Amazon, ads are created with automatic and manual campaigns through a bidding system. Read more on my post titled “What is Amazon PPC?

Amazon Ranking Factors for PPC and Organic Listings

Amazon PPC and organic listings share metrics that contribute to their ranking.
Amazon’s A9 ranking algorithm takes into account:
  • Sales History
  • Impressions
  • Click-Through-Rate
  • Product Description
  • Image Quality
  • Reviews
  • Keyword Bidding

Here’s a quick infographic on how Amazon’s ranking system works: 

Amazon Ad Rank Explained
These metrics also apply to Amazon's organic ranking.

When starting to sell on Amazon, you can only control the relevance metrics and the performance metrics will follow. 

Here are some ways to improve your relevance metrics:

  • Optimize Images
    • Amazon wants your images to be compatible with its zoom feature. Aim for 1,000 X 1,000 pixels or larger. On top of that, make your images the highest quality possible.
  • Product pricing
    • Simple supply and demand, my friend. You want a better price than your competitors to create more sales.
  • Great product descriptions
    • Your customer wants to know what they’re buying. If you’re being vague about your product, the chances are the customer will move to a product page that has a better description. Use bullet points to format the product descriptions. Amazon likes that. 
  • Customer service
    • If the customer has a bad experience, they will most likely give you a low rating and possibly a bad review.
Read this full post on Amazon’s ranking system to rank higher than your competitors. 

Should You Focus on Paid or Organic First?

It isn’t a matter of which strategy you should take first or prioritize one over the other. You should try to appeal to Amazon’s A9 Algorithm with having great metrics (like the ones listed above) and see both your organic and paid listings flourish. Read this article by Single Grain to learn more about Amazon’s A9 Algorithm. 

The Value of Paid Traffic on Amazon

From my experience with Amazon PPC customers, PPC sales can account up to 40% of an account’s overall sales and it would be a missed opportunity not to include paid ads in your marketing strategy. If you’re selling in a competitive niche, it would be easy to take over the competition through PPC ads since there is only a certain number of top organic spots. 

On the downside, once you stop paying for PPC ads, you will lose your ranking. 

The Value of Organic Traffic on Amazon

On the other paw, the percentage of organic traffic could reach up to 60% of overall sales. Organic traffic is valuable because customers trust organic traffic to provide them what they’re looking for. Having a high organic ranking could improve CTR if the customer is in research mode rather than having the intent to buy. Organic ranking is a more long-term approach and good organic ranking optimization can give you a great CTR longer than a PPC ad can. 

Organic Traffic Trust
Trust is the foundation for all customer/brand relationships. Courtesy of GIPHY.

You Should Use PPC to Help Your Organic Ranking

Automatic campaigns are great for keyword research. In a previous post, I mentioned using auto campaigns for keyword research on new campaigns. You can take this same method and center your product name and descriptions around the most-winning keywords. 

Here’s a video describing the Research, Peel, Stick, and Block Method and using automatic campaigns for keyword discovery:

To find your best keywords, run an auto campaign. Amazon will suggest the most relevant keywords for you. As you perform the Research, Peel, Stick, and Block Method, you will form a winners circle in a manual campaign of your best keywords. When you find your most profitable keyword (the one with the most conversions) you can insert that keyword in your product title and synonyms in your product descriptions. This is where your copy writing skills come in to help the product title and description to flow naturally and still take into account user experience. 

Extra Tip: You can also do some keyword research by looking at your competitors and see what keywords they’re using in their title and product descriptions. 

Organic and Paid Traffic Belong Together

Like Romeo and Juliet, organic and paid traffic belong together. Even though they come from different families, they should work toward a common goal: selling your product. 

Here’s a quick infographic covering the differences and relationship of paid and organic traffic on Amazon: 

Organic vs Paid Traffic on Amazon Infographic

See you next time!

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