Amazon PPC: Your Guide to Sponsored Advertising in 2021

Amazon PPC is everywhere, and Amazon does an excellent job of integrating it into organic search results. In fact, many shoppers click on sponsored listings without necessarily knowing that they are advertisements.

Given that Amazon Advertising is now considered one of the big-three digital ad platforms (Google and Facebook being the other two), dabbling with PPC simply isn’t enough. If you’re merely average, you’re going to get beaten by competitors who:

CHAPTER I What Are Amazon Sponsored Ads?

Amazon PPC advertising helps sellers get more sales on Amazon by:

  1. Increasing Marketplace Visibility: An Amazon ad campaign introduces your product to more shoppers.
  2. Intensifying Organic Impact: As you sell items with Amazon Sponsored Products, your sales will improve, which will help your organic search position as a result.
  3. Driving Customer Acquisition: Amazon pay per click is one of the best ways to acquire new customers.

TL;DR

If you’re getting started with Amazon marketing campaigns, Sponsored Products Ads is the place to start . . . but by no means the place to end if you’re a member of the Amazon Brand Registry.

PPC (pay-per-click advertising) is by far the most popular form of sponsored advertising. There are also video ads, custom ads, and Amazon DSP, but the three main types of ads on Amazon are Sponsored Product Ads, Sponsored Brand Ads, and Sponsored Display Ads.

Amazon PPC, types of sponsored advertising

1. Sponsored Products Ads

Sponsored Products Ads are available on both Seller Central and Vendor Central. Because all Amazon sellers can use SPAs, these ads are the go-to. They appear directly in the product results for a keyword. 

Sponsored Product Ads

Sponsored Product Ads are easy to set up and they’re effective. They allow targeting by keyword or ASIN or category, which affords you many options for ad space.

But there’s a flip-side too; because sponsored product campaigns are so prevalent, the competition is fierce. CPCs can be very high, but these product ads should still be a big part of your Amazon advertising strategy.

Sponsored Products Ads Appear:

– Above shopping results
– Alongside shopping results
– On product detail pages

2. Amazon Sponsored Brands Ads (Formerly Headline Search Ads) 

Unlike most Amazon advertising campaigns, Sponsored Brands campaigns are only available to members of Amazon Brand Registry. Therefore, there is significantly less competition when compared to other Amazon marketing services.

SBAs appear in different places than Sponsored Products Ads, such as on top of search results, like so:

Headline Ads / Amazon Sponsored Brand Ads

Brand Ads are linked to your store, not your Amazon product. An Amazon Storefront can be a powerful showcase for brands selling on Amazon because buyers interested in a particular brand can view multiple products.

3. Sponsored Display Ads

SDAs are the newest type of Amazon PPC campaign, and they were previously only available to merchants using Amazon DSP (Demand Side Platform). Now the barrier to entry is significantly lower, so any seller who is Amazon brand-registered may partake.

Amazon Sponsored Display Ads

Sponsored Display Ads can appear above and within search results, as well as next the the product detail page. Because Sponsored Display Ads can also appear on sites outside of Amazon, they are a great way to direct external traffic to your listing.

Want More Advertising Tips Delivered to Your Inbox?

    CHAPTER II The Basics of Amazon PPC

    To create the content of your first campaign, you must understand how PPC campaigns work. Here are the basics.

    Pro Tip:

    Use one product per campaign just to keep things clean. It’s easy to link a product to a campaign via ASIN/SKU.

    An ad campaign is the highest-level grouping within the Amazon PPC organization. Think of an ad campaign as a container holding one or more ad groups. The ad group will contain your keywords and/or ASIN targets.

    Amazon Ad Campaigns, Groups, and PPC Keywords

    The Parts of an Amazon PPC Campaign

    Each ad campaign on Amazon should contain the following: 

    1. Campaign Name

    Make it easy on yourself and pick a campaign name that is simple, descriptive, and easy to distinguish.

    2. Target ACoS

    Advertising Cost of Sale (ACoS) indicates the cost-effectiveness of your advertising campaign. It is the amount spent on advertising divided by the revenue from advertising.

    3. Targeting Type

    Automatic Targeting

    An Amazon PPC automatic campaign will pick keywords for you using an algorithm.

    Manual Targeting

    You control the keywords or ASINs or categories you want to target. Use an Amazon PPC software to find intelligent search term suggestions. 

    4. Daily Budget & Campaign Duration

    What you’re willing to spend on an advertising campaign during a 24-hour period and how long you want the campaign to run.

    5. Ad Groups

    Think of these as smaller containers within the larger campaign container. 

    The Parts of an Ad Group

    Pro Tip:

    Since keywords and bids apply to all SKUs within an ad group, we recommend that you group SKUs that are closely related.

    Within any single ad group, you’ll set or select the keywords, ASIN targets, and match types.

    Keywords

    The biggest component of ad groups on Amazon is keywords. Once you choose your keywords for Amazon, you can stick with your default bid for the ad group or you can get more granular and bid different amounts on specific long-tail keywords.

    ASIN Targeting

    Pick which of your competitors’ ASINs you’d like to target and advertise on their product pages. Like keywords, these ASINs can be manually selected or automatically chosen by Amazon’s algorithm.

    Match Type

    In manual campaigns, you can pick from 3 match types. Note that misspellings and plurals are considered as the same word in Amazon for any match type.

    Broad MatchPhrase MatchExact Match
    Keywords can be in any order and include other words.Specified words must be in order, but can include other wordsOnly the exact phrase in order, without other words

    Additionally, you can pick negative keywords, which are the exact words or phrases you do not want to bid on. Below are some examples of Exact, Phrase, and Broad Match Keywords.

    Diagram

    CHAPTER III How to Run Amazon Sponsored Advertising

    Building an Amazon PPC strategy is hard. When it comes to Amazon Advertising, it’s a running joke that most questions are answered with, “It depends.” Not to worry, you can still set some basic goals with our guide.

    DODO NOT

    Determine which products you want to advertise. 

    Not all products are created equal when it comes to advertising. Some suggestions for good products for paid advertising:

    – High-margin products;

    – Products that are likely to perform well when advertised;

    – Products where your number-one competitor is not Amazon.

    Assume that your primary goal for each campaign is the same.

    When you set your goals, you know where to allot your ad spend going forward. Here are some objectives that your campaigns can achieve:

    – Better ranking;

    – More reviews; 

    – Brand recognition;

    – The coveted Amazon Best Seller Badge.

    Now, what’s the difference between a goal and a strategy, especially as it comes to Amazon Advertising?

    Amazon Advertising Strategies & Goals

    Thus, a goal is what you want, and your strategy is how you get there. When it comes to Amazon Advertising, your goals should all be attached to measurable metrics, known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

    There are a plethora of metrics to choose from – Cost Per Click, Cost Per Sale, Conversion Rate, Ad Revenue, Impressions – its overwhelming. Catch up on what advertising metrics you should be monitoring in our TACoS Tuesday webinar replay.

    TACoS Tuesday: A Fresh Recipe for Amazon Advertising

    Do you get confused with all the data available, especially when it comes to Amazon PPC Silence the noise & listen to the right Amazon advertising metrics.

    Long-Game Strategy: Brand Awareness

    KPI:

    Impressions

    The long-term returns of brand awareness is astronomical. Think of it like those sign spinners on the side of the road. They’re less likely to drive sales than a direct marketing campaign, but those spinners are getting your name out there.

    reputation and branding are critical to success on amazon

    Sponsored Brands Ads are great examples of “brand awareness” advertising campaigns. SBAs also offer New to Brand Metrics, which will illustrate how many purchases have come from shoppers who have not purchased from you within the last year.

    Goal Metric:

    Gaining brand awareness is all about impressions. You want to increase the number of eyes on your products. You could also use the New to Brand Metric as well.

    Learn everything you need to run a successful Amazon business by subscribing to our newsletter.

      Offense Strategy: Competitive Attack

      KPI:

      Average CPC

      This strategy gets expensive because it requires bidding against brands to own their keywords. Really, you’re trying to steal market share from your competitors by targeting here competitors’ brand names. 

      You could also target top unbranded keywords your competitors are ranking for. With a little bit of research in Seller Labs PRO, see what keywords are top performers for your competition.

      Goal Metric:

      Over time, your goal is to reduce the average CPC of these competitive keywords. If you’re able to bid lower and still gain that traffic, you’re conquering those SERPs.

      Defense Strategy: Brand Loyalty

      KPI:

      Conversion Maintenance

      Brand Loyalty campaigns target customers who know and love your brand. Basically, you’re protecting branded keywords from your competitors. Would you let someone steal your product blueprints just because you made the actual product first?

      This is also a great opportunity to utilize a feature like “Repeat Buyers” within your Buyer-Seller Messages in Seller Labs PRO. Take note of a customer’s loyalty over time and celebrate it.

      Goal Metric:

      You’re trying to maintain your top keywords and branded terms, so you don’t want to see any sort of decline in conversions. Chances are, that means your competitors are stealing your sales.

      Dominate Strategy: Conquer a Keyword

      KPI:

      Top of Search Impressions & Clicks

      When our Managed Services team starts working with a client, they identify what top keywords can and will perform for a brand. Focus on 3-5 keywords and really OWN them.

      Which keywords you select will depend on a competitive analysis. There are keywords that may be financially impossible to own at certain points, but there are always other ways.

      Goal Metric:

      Yes, impressions and clicks anywhere are helpful, but conquering a keyword means being at the top all the time. Check keywords for search volume and position changes to see if it’s worth your effort, without too much trial and error.

      Spy Strategy: Optimal Shopping Time

      KPI

      Conversions

      If you’ve been utilizing our Ad Scheduling feature, you know when your ads convert the most shoppers. Once you’ve done the research, dedicate a campaign or group of campaigns specifically to when your buyers are most likely to convert. Since they’re shopping and likely to buy, put more money into these budgets.

      Goal Metric:

      Focusing on when customers actually buy will help boost your conversions.

      CHAPTER IV Conclusion & Next Steps

      Designing PPC campaigns with separate Advertising Strategies, like you can do with Seller Labs PRO, helps define your goals. Some campaigns may build brand awareness while others function solely to steal traffic from your competitors.

      While we didn’t list all of your potential marketing goals here, it’s a good place to start. As Amazon Advertising rivals PPC on Google and Facebook, every Amazon brand must take advertising seriously. Remember the following:

      • Monitor your campaigns and adjust your keywords.
      • Spend money to make money. If a keyword is a true winner, it’s probably worth those extra cents on the bid.
      • Go beyond Sponsored Products Ads (if you can).
      • Check your automatic campaigns for competitors’ ASINs where you can find even more keywords.
      • Look for opportunities, however small, and differentiate your ad campaigns from those of your competitors.

      Need Help With PPC?

      Try It FreeGet An Expert

      Stay Up to Date on All Things Amazon and eCommerce

        A cup and a folder

        We're sharing all the secrets it takes to be a successful Amazon seller.

        This tell-all guide goes back in the vault soon, so act now!

        Unlock Access

        Let’s stay in touch!

        Add your email to stay up to date 
on the latest Amazon, eCommerce, and Seller Labs news!