- Lena R. Liberman
- On October 25, 2017
- 0 Comments
This is a replay of our weekly Facebook Live event with Abe Ortolani, founder of Seller Tradecraft (Amazon FBA’s Underground Laboratory). Abe is a data expert who came to be such via an unusual path; he was working in construction and selling on Amazon doing arbitrage and wholesale. Abe’s the first to admit that he “wasn’t a computer guy” during that period, but he became one when he got into private-label sales on Amazon and started digging into data to answer questions such as “Which of these numbers show me what I can control?” and “How can I make those numbers better?” Abe encourages all private-label sellers to make the same investment in seller education and he believes that anyone can get good at it if they learn to read the numbers and they aren’t afraid to apply them and to pivot.
Live with Abe Ortolani – Q4 is an intimidating time to run sponsored product ads. Do you have questions about building a PPC strategy and optimizing your ads for Q4? If so, join us Wednesday at 2:00 PM EST
Posted by Seller Labs on Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Data-Driven Decisions Must Steer Your Decisions
If you’re not making data-driven decisions, you’re spending money recklessly. Read the data and apply it. Pivot-based on what the data is telling you rather than what you think you know. It’s easier to be nimble when you’re a smaller company with less red tape and more urgency. Big corporations can just throw money at problems and strategies and wait to see results. Smaller businesses need to act quickly and with sound data behind them. They can’t afford not to do so.
Product selection is the core of your business. Once you understand the numbers, any product anywhere can become a lead that you can research on Amazon as viable for Amazon.
Questions to Ask Up Front When Considering Getting in on a PL Product and Trying to Grow It
What’s the threshold for getting a niche?
Wouldn’t we all like a hard-and-fast answer! Truthfully, it depends on supplier terms, your particular situation and expectations, the competition, etc.
What justifies an opportunity to get in on a private-label product?
Low barriers to entry in terms of manufacture and import, strong demand (a healthy number of sales), depth of niche (multiple sellers selling consistently). When you have that without things looking oversaturated or played out, you’re justified to consider going in.
How do I find some of these answers for specific products and niches?
- You’re looking for opportunities where there is a sweet spot of high demand and low competition. Take a look at the market into particular keywords to check sales consistency for the existing major players.
- Use Scope heavily and fully. Gather competitor ASINs and track keywords. Look for gaps in sponsored ads and existing rankings. Find spots where organic traffic is high and Sponsored Products ad spend is low. That’s an opportunity spot.
More specifically, what reports and data can help?
Abe and his team love Scope. Abe’s favorite is the Sales Estimates capability in Scope. He advises you to look at this report so you’ll see exactly what’s important and relevant to your product. You can literally see which keywords your competitors are converting on, which in turn gives you relevant search terms.
What else should I look for in Scope and reports?
Research search terms. The ones that are high-traffic/high-conversion are the ones that Amazon locks onto for search and ranking. Now look for the gaps, the keywords and listings where there is high traffic, low competition, and low CPC. These won’t likely be your top competitors but a tier down. This is an opportunity for you.
Q&A with Abe as Moderated by Tyler from Seller Labs
Thoughts on adding seasonal (or holiday) keywords to product listings?
Abe thinks you can do better. He advises that unless your product really is seasonal, be more creative with your ad-spend and keywords. Everyone will try to incorporate holiday keywords and have holiday buzzwords. This will make the words higher in cost without actually moving up placement (too much competition and too little relevance and specificity).
What should I focus on first?
Optimize listings first for conversion, then for rank. Optimize and spend on placement in order to sell, the ranking will follow. And with a better ranking, better sales, and so on.
How often should I optimize my listings?
- In the beginning (first 30 days), run auto-target Sponsored Products ad campaigns so that you see what Amazon suggests. Here you will learn if your keywords are correct and you’ll pick up other keywords you hadn’t considered. This is about info gathering and optimizing more than it is about actually selling. Once it’s a bit more established and you have more data, don’t change what isn’t broken! When everything is working, you will experience the halo effect of ad-driven sales improving organic rankings and that driving more sales.
- A note about optimizing: In terms of keywords, your title is most important with regard to relevance for search terms picked up by the Amazon algorithm and shoppers also. Revise here and there but do it subtly. If you change your title too often or too radically, that’s a red flag for Amazon and they can suspend the listing.
What’s up with ASINs in my search-term reports? Can I just toss those?
Noooo! Do not delete these or disregard them. They can actually teach you a lot and help you find more opportunities.
- ASINs are present in search term reports for a reason. It means that your product was advertised with a listing that was not yours and the shopper clicked your listing instead.
- What is there in that other ASIN that got the other product the exposure from Amazon when your product was the better match? Find out by running a reverse ASIN in Scope and seeing what keywords are there and how they are performing. Leverage this info in your existing listing and ads for that product as well as looking for potential new products for private labeling.
How should I sort my Search Term Report?
Abe’s technique: Sort alpha by search term. Anything starting B is likely an ASIN. Put those in another file so you can Scope them later for the purposes mentioned above. Then by Impressions, then CPC, then Clicks. Now you see how customers actually search for your product.
Can I just use Ignite to do all of this stuff for me?
Ignite can help you achieve better data and guide you with recommendations and suggestions, but there’s no magic “Make my SPA campaigns winners” button. You need to work with the data and make choices based on what the data says and your goals. Software is a tool; trust no one who says their software will do it for you.
Are indexing and ranking the same?
Yes and no. You have to index to rank. If you want to know if you’re being indexed for a keyword, enter your ASIN and the keyword in the Amazon search. If your product shows up, you’re indexing. This is just how Amazon classifies your product.
Is there any CPC threshold rule?
Again, yes and no. It depends on conversion and ACOS and margins. For Abe, if a product has a 30% margin, he wants to go no higher than 15% for ACOS (obviously lower is better, half is a good rule). Abe’s team wants to see 300-500 impressions per day and a CPC below $0.65. But again, it varies by product and goals and quantity and margin, etc.
Final Thoughts from Abe
- Leave no stone unturned, leave no money on the table.
- Keywords show you not just what works and what doesn’t work but gaps and room for opportunities.
- Run auto-target campaigns to gather info, run manual-target campaigns to drive conversions.
- Be aggressive early. Invest in data findings and scale back from there if need be.