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Discover Effective Keywords for Advertising on Amazon

  • Jan 28, 2016 | Marcus DeHart

I my previous post, 5 Goals for Advertising on Amazon, I covered different approaches to set your own goals when using Amazon Sponsored Products. Next you’ll need to develop a strategy to get your products placed in front of shoppers so you can start driving traffic to your products.

Almost every strategy will include optimizing your keywords. So today, I’d like to share how you can leverage automatic targeting to identify effective keywords.

Even as a writer, I find identifying keywords for advertising can be a challenge. But like writing, a primary component of keyword targeting is knowing your audience. For instance, I’m selling power tools on Amazon and want to identify keywords that customers would use. I could probably come up with a lot of technical terms, such as “torque,” “RPM,” and “clutch” that a knowledgeable shopper might use when searching for a drill. But what about the DIY wannabes who have never picked up a power tool in their life? Since they’re not familiar with the jargon associated with drills, what would they search for? So the trick to selecting keywords is getting into the minds of the people who want and need your products. Or is it?

Automatic Targeting

Along comes automatic targeting. As the name implies, the heavy lifting is automated. When you create an advertising campaign with automatic targeting, you are spared the tedious task of entering terms a shopper might use to search for your products. If your campaign includes ads for hundreds of products, the number of keywords can increase exponentially. With automatic targeting, Amazon analyzes all of the products in your ad groups and draws on data from their own search engine to include your ads in keyword auctions.

The advantage to automatic targeting is that it casts a wide net including every possible keyword that Amazon can connect with your products. For a campaign with automatic targeting, you can expect higher than normal impressions. You can expect lower than normal clicks. But that’s a good thing. Remember, you don’t pay for impressions; you pay for clicks. And since your target is broad you can bid a little lower than you would if your campaign was using manual targeting.

Fine-tune Your Targeting

After your campaign has been running for about a week, you can begin the process of optimizing your campaigns. From your campaign with automatic targeting, drill down to the ad group level and click the "Keywords" tab. There you’ll find a link to the Search Term Report that will show you the performance of all keywords that resulted in clicks on your ads.

From the Search Term Report, you can analyze the effectiveness of each keyword. The report will show you impressions, clicks, click-through rate (CTR), total spend, average cost-per-click (CPC), and the number of orders placed within one week of a click. Since you’re trying to increase sales, you’ll want to pay special attention to keywords that result in sales.



Manual Targeting

All that data is fine and good, but with automatic targeting you are limited to one bid per ad group. That means all keywords are treated equally. Not to worry. Evaluate your keywords and create a new campaign with manual targeting, then add your star-performing keywords to your ad group. Set your default bid a little higher than your campaign with automatic targeting and then bump up your bid on specific keywords that are bringing in the sales. Oh, and never bid more than you are willing to pay for a click.

Continuous Improvement

Once you have your campaign with manual targeting running, don’t shut down your automatic targeting campaign. One week’s time isn’t enough to capture every top-notch keyword. And keywords can change over time.

So it’s perfectly find to have campaigns running simultaneously with both automatic and manual targeting. Set aside time each week to download a new Search Term Report and identify top-performing keywords, then add them to your campaign with manual targeting and adjust your bids accordingly.

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Avalara Author
Marcus DeHart
Avalara Author Marcus DeHart