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Amazon PPC Audit: Find What’s Wrong With Your Advertising Strategy

August 24, 2023
Updated: January 11, 2024
Reading Time: 22 minutes
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In the world of eCommerce, success isn’t just about having a great product; it’s also about getting that product in front of the right eye. That’s where Amazon Pay Per Click (PPC) comes in. It’s a powerful tool that can significantly boost your product visibility, but like any tool, its effectiveness depends on how well you use it. Whether you’re a novice Amazon seller or a seasoned veteran, an Amazon PPC audit can be a game-changer for your business.

An Amazon PPC audit is a comprehensive review of your PPC account. It involves assessing your keyword research, scrutinising your ad spend, and evaluating your overall PPC strategy. This process shines a light on what’s working, what’s not, and where there’s potential for improvement. If you’re looking to maximise your eCommerce success, conducting regular PPC audits is crucial.

Understanding Amazon PPC

Amazon PPC advertising is an essential tool for sellers and vendors who want to increase their web-based discoverability and sales on Amazon’s platform. Here’s an overview to help you understand the key components of Amazon PPC.

What is Amazon PPC and how does it work?

Amazon PPC is an advertising model where advertisers pay a fee to the eCommerce platform each time a shopper clicks on their ad (hence the name, “pay-per-click”). It’s the driving force behind the ads you see sprinkled throughout Amazon — from the sponsored products in search results to the promoted items on product pages.

To initiate your Amazon PPC campaign, you must select the appropriate keywords, determine your bid amounts, and design your adverts. Once your adverts are activated, the platform will strategically position them in the most pertinent locations, guided by the keywords and bids you have chosen.

Benefits and advantages of using Amazon PPC for advertisers

Amazon PPC offers a robust solution for sellers looking to enhance their online presence and drive more sales. This advertising model comes with several key benefits that contribute to the success of a product’s marketing strategy:

Benefit or AdvantageDescription
Increased VisibilityAmazon PPC allows advertisers to prominently display their products in search results, making them more visible to potential buyers.
Targeted AdvertisingAdvertisers can target specific demographics, interests, and shopping behaviour, ensuring that their ads are shown to a relevant audience.
Cost-EffectiveWith a PPC model, advertisers only pay when a user clicks on the ad, making it a cost-effective way to reach potential customers.
Immediate ImpactUnlike SEO efforts, PPC campaigns can be set up quickly and can generate immediate traffic and sales.
Enhanced Reporting and AnalyticsAmazon provides detailed reporting and analytics, allowing advertisers to track the performance of their campaigns and make data-driven decisions.
Control Over Budget and BidsAdvertisers have complete control over their budget and can set maximum bids for keywords, allowing for flexible and strategic spending.
Brand ExposureEven if users don’t click on the ad, the increased visibility in search results can help in building brand awareness.
Improved Conversion RatesBy targeting specific keywords and audiences, Amazon PPC often leads to higher conversion rates as the ads are more relevant to the user’s search intent.
Integration With Amazon’s Ecosystem
Amazon PPC is fully amalgamated with the retail platform, offering a cohesive shopping experience for customers while leveraging Amazon’s trust and reach.
Competitive AdvantageRunning Amazon PPC campaigns can give advertisers an edge over competitors who are not using paid advertising on the platform.

Common challenges and areas for optimisation in Amazon PPC campaigns

Outlined below are some of the common challenges that advertisers may encounter, underscoring the importance of regular Amazon PPC audits to ensure effective and efficient campaign management:

ChallengeDescription
Managing Ad GroupsAdvertisers may struggle with organising and managing ad groups effectively, leading to suboptimal performance.
Understanding Match TypesUnderstanding how to properly use and select match types is a complex task that may perplex new advertisers.
Utilising Negative KeywordsEffectively using negative keywords to exclude irrelevant searches requires strategic thinking and can be a common stumbling block.
Analysing Search Term ReportsAnalysing search term reports for insights and optimisations can be complex and time-consuming, especially without the right tools or expertise.
Optimising for Better ConversionFinding the right balance of keywords, bids, and targeting to optimise conversion rates can be a challenging and continuous process.

Why Conduct an Amazon PPC Audit?

Conducting an Amazon PPC audit is an essential practice for any advertiser or business utilising the platform’s advertising capabilities. Let’s explore this in greater detail.

Importance of regularly auditing and optimising PPC campaigns

Regularly auditing your Amazon PPC campaigns is essential for one simple reason: it ensures your advertising strategy is as effective as possible. To this end, an audit can identify wasted ad spend, uncover new keyword opportunities, and help you refine your bids. It’s all about ensuring you get the most bang for your buck. 

Benefits of conducting an Amazon PPC audit

Conducting an Amazon PPC audit is a multifaceted approach that offers tangible benefits in enhancing advertising campaigns. The following table provides a detailed overview of these aspects and their corresponding benefits:

BenefitDescription
Improved Ad EfficiencyHelps in identifying underperforming keywords and ad groups, allowing for optimisation.
Cost SavingsBy finding and pausing ineffective ads, costs can be significantly reduced.
Increased ROIEnhances the return on investment by focusing on high-performing keywords and campaigns.
Leveraging New Features and TechnologiesUtilise new platform features and technologies for better performance and growth opportunities.
Competitive InsightsAn audit can provide insights into competitor strategies, enabling more effective positioning.
Clear Understanding of Performance MetricsOffers a comprehensive overview of metrics, leading to better decision-making and strategy.
Identifying Opportunities for GrowthDiscovers untapped opportunities, helping in expanding the reach and improving conversions.
Alignment with Business GoalsEnsures that the PPC campaigns are aligned with the overall business objectives and targets.
Competitive EdgeGain insights into competitors’ strategies, enabling adjustments to outperform them.
Compliance With Amazon’s Advertising GuidelinesEnsures that all the campaigns are compliant with Amazon’s advertising policies and guidelines.

Goals and objectives of an Amazon PPC audit

The specific goals of an audit can vary depending on the unique needs of your business, but here are some of the most common ones:

Improve campaign structure

A well-structured project is easier to manage and optimise. It’s about grouping related products together, aligning your keywords with your ad groups, and ensuring your campaigns match with your broader marketing objectives. A properly structured strategy allows for better tracking and analysis, which can lead to more targeted improvements and better overall performance.

Increase ad relevance

Increasing ad relevance is crucial for the success of your PPC operations. It can lead to a higher Quality Score (Amazon’s rating of the quality and relevance of your keywords and PPC ads), resulting in lower costs and better ad positions.

Maximise return on ad spend (RoAS)

Ultimately, the goal of any PPC strategy is to achieve sales. RoAS is a metric that measures the revenue generated for every pound spent on advertising. By improving your campaign structure and ad relevance, you can increase your click-through and conversion rates, thereby maximising your RoAS.

Optimise bids and budgets

Bid optimisation is a key aspect of PPC management. It’s about ensuring you’re bidding competitively on the most valuable keywords while avoiding overspending on less valuable ones. During an audit, you might identify opportunities to reduce bids on underperforming keywords or increase bids on high-performing ones to better allocate your budget.

Improve keyword targeting

Keywords are the lifeblood of your PPC campaigns. They determine where and when your ads will appear. A primary goal of an Amazon PPC audit is to refine your keyword targeting strategy, which can involve identifying new opportunities for relevant search terms, eliminating unrelated phrases, and optimising how these terms align with different match types.

Boost conversion rates

Conversion rate is the percentage of users who complete a desired action (like making a purchase) after clicking on your ad. Improving your conversion rate can significantly impact your campaign’s profitability. This can involve optimising your product listings, enhancing your ad copy, or refining your value proposition to better appeal to potential customers.

By achieving these goals, you can ensure your Amazon advertising strategy delivers the best possible results. It’s about making the most of your ad spend and turning more clicks into customers.

Key Metrics to Analyse in an Amazon PPC Audit

A successful Amazon PPC audit hinges on understanding and analysing several important metrics. These include the following: 

Click-through rate (CTR)

CTR is the percentage of ad views that result in clicks. It’s a key indicator of your ad’s relevance and attractiveness. For example, if your ad has been viewed 1,000 times and clicked on 10 times, the CTR would be 1%. A low CTR, such as this example, might suggest that your ads aren’t resonating with shoppers, potentially signalling the need to revise your ad copy or targeting strategy.

Cost per click (CPC)

CPC is the average amount you pay each time someone clicks on your ad. For example, if you’ve set a CPC bid of £2.00 and receive 100 clicks, you’ll be charged £200 for those clicks. A high CPC, like in this example, can eat into your profit margins, especially if those clicks aren’t converting into sales. It’s essential to balance the CPC with the overall profitability of the product being advertised, ensuring that the advertising cost doesn’t outweigh the revenue generated from sales.

Conversion rate (CVR)

CVR is the percentage of clicks on your ad that results in sales. For example, if your ad receives 100 clicks and 10 of those clicks result in a sale, your CVR would be 10%. A low CVR, like in this example, could suggest that while your ad is attractive enough to generate clicks, there might be something about your product listing or the product itself that’s preventing shoppers from making a purchase. This could be due to issues with pricing, product descriptions, or even customer reviews, and would warrant a closer look at the product listing to identify potential areas for improvement.

Total ad spend

Total ad spend refers to the overall amount you spend on your PPC campaign. For example, if you set a budget of £1,000 for a month-long advertising campaign and end up spending exactly that amount, your Total ad spend would be $1,000. Monitoring this metric is crucial to managing your budget and ensuring that the expenditure is justified by the returns. If your £1,000 ad spend results in £3,000 in sales, you have a positive ROI. However, if that same expenditure leads to only £800 in sales, it indicates that the campaign is not generating a good return, and you may need to make adjustments to your advertising strategy or budget allocation.

Summary table: key metrics 

MetricDescriptionExample
Click-through rate (CTR)Percentage of ad views that result in clicks; indicates ad relevance and attractiveness.1,000 views, 10 clicks = 1% CTR; may signal a need to revise ad copy or targeting.
Cost per click (CPC)Average amount paid for each click on the ad; must be balanced with profitability.CPC bid of £2.00, 100 clicks = £200; high CPC can eat into profit margins.
Conversion rate (CVR)Percentage of ad clicks that result in sales; indicates effectiveness in converting interest to sales.100 clicks, 10 sales = 10% CVR; low CVR may require a review of product listing.
Total ad spendOverall amount spent on the PPC campaign; crucial for managing budget and assessing ROI.Budget of £1,000, spend = £1,000; success depends on sales return, e.g., £3,000 sales = positive ROI.

Tools and techniques for tracking and monitoring these metrics effectively

To track essential metrics like CTR, CPC, CVR, and total ad spend, advertisers can leverage various tools that offer insights into the performance of Amazon PPC campaigns. These tools not only provide detailed reports but also facilitate tracking and optimisation. Here’s an overview of some popular tools that can be employed:

  • Amazon Ads: Amazon’s native tool, specifically tailored for Amazon PPC campaigns, provides detailed insights and analytics to monitor performance.
  • Google Analytics: While not exclusive to Amazon, Google Analytics can be integrated to track various metrics related to your Amazon advertising efforts.
  • Sellics: This comprehensive tool is designed for managing Amazon PPC campaigns, including tracking, optimisation, and reporting functionalities.
  • Helium 10: A suite of extensive tools for Amazon sellers, Helium 10 offers robust PPC management features to analyse and optimise your advertising efforts.
  • AdEspresso: AdEspresso is useful for managing ads across multiple platforms, including Amazon, and provides valuable insights into your advertising metrics.
  • Ignite by Seller Labs: An AI-driven tool, Ignite offers real-time insights and intelligent suggestions to enhance Amazon PPC campaigns, focusing on efficiency and profitability.

Understanding and interpreting these metrics is as vital as tracking them. For example, increasing your bids might lead to a higher CPC, but it could also improve your CTR by positioning your ads more prominently. Utilising these tools enables a more informed decision-making process, allowing you to fine-tune your strategy for maximum ROI.

Step-By-Step Guide to Conducting an Amazon PPC Audit

Whether you’re new to Amazon PPC or looking to refine your existing strategy, the following steps can provide valuable insights and lead to significant improvements:

1. Pre-audit preparations

Before you can dive into your Amazon PPC audit, you need to gather and analyse your data. This includes your ad spend, keyword performance, conversion data, and comprehensive campaign analysis. 

By scrutinising your entire campaign, you can understand where your ads appear, who they’re reaching, and how they align with your overall marketing objectives. Hence, you should review not only your search terms and ad groups but also assess the structure and performance of the campaign as a whole.

To do this, you can use tools like Seller Central, which provides a wealth of data on your PPC campaign. For a more nuanced analysis, you can also use third-party tools to dig deeper into your keyword performance, search term data, and overall campaign insights. More details on effective campaign analysis can be found at NUOPTIMA’s Amazon PPC Strategy.

2. Identification of areas for improvement and optimisation opportunities

The next step in your Amazon PPC audit is to identify areas for improvement, as well as opportunities for optimisation. This stage is all about carefully examining the current state of your campaigns and uncovering ways to make them more effective.

Underperforming keywords

Analysing individual keywords may reveal that some are costing more than they are contributing to sales. For example, a keyword with a high CPC of £2 but only a 1% conversion rate may be underperforming compared to a keyword with a CPC of £1 and a conversion rate of 3%. Identifying such discrepancies allows for the adjustment or removal of inefficient keywords.

Ineffective ad groups

Misalignment between ad copy, keywords, and landing pages can lead to low ad relevance. Evaluating the structure and content of ad groups will pinpoint areas where better alignment can enhance performance.

Poorly performing product listings

Product listings that fail to convert clicks into sales may suffer from issues like poor quality images or uncompetitive pricing. Hence, a detailed examination of listings can identify areas for improvements that will increase conversion rates.

Optimisation opportunities

Beyond identifying weaknesses, an audit can uncover opportunities for growth and efficiency. This might include:

  • New Keyword Opportunities: By analysing search term reports and competitor behaviour, new keyword possibilities might be discovered that align well with your products.
  • Ad Placement Optimisation: Testing different ad placements might reveal better-performing positions for your ads.
  • Match Type Experimentation: Experimenting with different keyword match types can refine targeting. For example, changing a broad match keyword to a phrase match might improve relevance without sacrificing reach.

Competitor analysis and market trends

Understanding your competitors’ strategies and recognising market trends can also provide optimisation opportunities. For instance, if a competitor is consistently outbidding you on a crucial keyword, a strategic adjustment in your bid strategy or a shift to a less competitive but equally relevant keyword could yield better results.

Seasonal and industry-specific insights

Analysing historical data might reveal seasonal trends or industry-specific patterns that can be leveraged. For example, if you sell beach accessories and notice a spike in sales every summer, you might allocate more budget to PPC campaigns during that period to capitalise on increased demand.

For personalised assistance, check out NUOPTIMA’s Amazon PPC Services, which can tailor solutions for your unique needs.

3. Execution of necessary changes and adjustments 

After identifying areas for improvement, it’s time to make the necessary changes. This could involve the following:

Adjusting your bids

Adjusting your bids can help you manage your ad spend more effectively. If you’re spending too much on a particular keyword, consider lowering your bid. On the other hand, if a keyword is performing well, you might consider increasing your bid to get more exposure.

Rewriting your ad copy

Rewriting your ad copy can improve your CTR. If your ads aren’t compelling enough to get shoppers to click, consider testing different headlines, descriptions, and call-to-actions to see what resonates best with your audience.

Refining your keyword targeting

Refining your keyword targeting can improve your ad relevance. If your ads aren’t showing up for relevant searches, consider adding more relevant keywords to your campaign. On the other hand, if your ads are showing up for irrelevant searches, consider adding negative keywords to prevent your ads from appearing for those search terms.

To learn how to implement the above steps effectively, you can explore NUOPTIMA’s page on Optimising Amazon PPC.

4. Post-audit analysis

Once you’ve made the necessary changes, it’s time to measure their impact. This involves tracking your key metrics over time and comparing them to your pre-audit data.

Did your CTR improve? Did your CPC decrease? Did your CVR increase? What was your total ad spend? Answering these questions will help you understand the effectiveness of your audit and inform future ones.

It’s also important to remember that PPC management is a continuous process. Even after your audit, you should continue to monitor your campaigns, test different strategies, and make adjustments as needed.

For a holistic approach to managing your Amazon campaigns, consider NUOPTIMA’s Amazon management services.

Common Issues and Challenges Found in Amazon PPC Audits

During an Amazon PPC audit, you might encounter several common issues. These can range from poor keyword selection to ineffective ad copy to improper campaign structure. However, with the right strategies and a little patience, these challenges can be overcome.

Common mistakes and pitfalls in PPC campaigns

As highlighted above, PPC campaigns can be highly effective, but they also come with potential pitfalls and common mistakes that can undermine success. Here’s an overview:

ChallengeDescription
Poor Keyword SelectionSome advertisers focus on high-volume keywords without considering relevance or competitiveness, leading to low ad relevance, high CPC, and low CVR.
Ineffective Ad CopyIf the ad copy doesn’t resonate with shoppers, they may not click on it or make a purchase.
Improper Campaign StructureA lack of well-organised ad groups can hinder campaign performance, leading to low ad relevance and wasted ad spend.

Strategies and solutions for overcoming these challenges

Overcoming these challenges requires a combination of data analysis, creative thinking, and continuous testing. 

ChallengeStrategies for Overcoming
Improving Keyword Selection– Use keyword research tools to find relevant terms.
– Study competitors to uncover new keyword opportunities.
– Experiment with different keyword match types.
– Regularly review search term reports to find new opportunities.
Enhancing Ad Copy– Conduct market research to understand audience preferences.
– Test different headlines and descriptions to find what resonates.
– Incorporate a strong call-to-action (CTA) in your ads.
– Regularly review ad performance to identify successful strategies.
Tweaking Campaign Structure– Create separate ad groups for different product categories.
– Use negative keywords to prevent irrelevant ad placements.
– Regularly review and adjust campaign structure to ensure alignment with products and keywords.

Case Studies of successful PPC audits 

These case studies highlight the potential benefits of conducting an Amazon PPC audit. However, it’s important to remember that every business is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. The key is to take a data-driven approach, be willing to test different strategies, and remain patient.

Case study 1: 96North: 988% revenue growth and 20.2% conversion rate 

Company

96North is a candle brand that specialises in 100% soy wax candles, catering to a niche market by offering consumers an all-natural alternative. The company partnered with NUOPTIMA to optimise its Amazon PPC campaigns. 

Approach

The agency’s strategy involved testing a range of keywords and ad units to uncover areas where they could increase ad spend and revenue while maintaining Total Advertising Cost of Sales (TACOS) at a similar level. 

Notably, they found success with the keywords “candle” and “candles” and long-tail variations such as “vanilla candle”, “vanilla scented candle”, and “vanilla soy candle”, generating substantial additional revenue at a competitive Advertising Cost of Sales (ACOS).

In addition, NUOPTIMA implemented optimisations to 96North’s conversion rates, including improvements to product titles, pricing, and listings. A strategic price increase, coupled with the introduction of a 10% coupon code, allowed for enhanced profitability. 

Result

Within just five months, 96North experienced:

  • A 988% increase in revenue.
  • An 89% increase in review count.
  • A conversion rate of 20.2%.
  • An improvement in TACOS from 18.53% to 16%, despite a significant increase in ad spend. 

Case study 2: Perfect Image: soaring sales by 70% and slashing ACOS by 30%

Company

Perfect Image, a skincare brand selling a wide range of products, including moisturisers, facial masks, peel pads, and cleansers, struggled with high ACOS figures above 65% and relatively low sales figures when they approached NUOPTIMA. They needed expert assistance to restructure their PPC account and make necessary changes to their listings to improve their Amazon performance.

Approach

NUOPTIMA executed a comprehensive six-layer strategy to revamp Perfect Image’s Amazon presence. This involved cleaning up the PPC account by reorganising campaigns and portfolios, eliminating duplicate and underperforming keywords, adding potentially high-yielding keywords, and meticulously optimising bids.

Concurrently, they revamped Perfect Image’s product gallery to enhance their appeal and provide relevant information to customers, recognising the crucial interplay between product listings and PPC performance.

Results

Perfect Image witnessed a 70% sales surge and a 30% ACOS reduction within just two months. The bid optimisation strategy was a key driver of this success, involving careful initial bid setting, performance monitoring, and strategic bid adjustments. 

This meticulous approach enabled the identification of lucrative keywords that yielded significant additional revenue. The enhanced image gallery further bolstered customer appeal, presenting product packaging and ingredients in an engaging and informative manner.

Best Practices for Ongoing PPC Campaign Management

Conducting a single Amazon PPC audit isn’t enough; ongoing management and regular audits are essential for long-term success. This includes continuous monitoring of your key metrics, testing different strategies, and making adjustments based on your results.

Importance of Staying Up-to-Date With Amazon PPC Trends and Changes

Finally, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest Amazon PPC trends and changes. Amazon regularly updates its advertising platform, and keeping informed can help you take advantage of new features and avoid potential pitfalls. Consider subscribing to industry newsletters, joining online forums, or following industry experts on social media to stay abreast of the latest trends.

How NUOPTIMA Can Maximise Your Amazon PPC Performance

As a seller looking to enhance your Amazon PPC campaigns, NUOPTIMA’s specialised services can be an invaluable asset. Here’s how they can assist you in conducting a comprehensive Amazon PPC audit:

  • Expert Analysis: NUOPTIMA’s team of seasoned professionals will meticulously examine your existing campaigns to identify opportunities for improvement. Their in-depth analysis will evaluate the efficiency of your ad spend, the relevance of your keywords, and the effectiveness of your ad copy.
  • Custom Strategies: Recognising that every business has unique needs, NUOPTIMA crafts custom strategies tailored to your specific products and market. Their approach ensures that your PPC campaigns align with your business goals and target the right audience.
  • Keyword Optimisation: Through rigorous keyword research, NUOPTIMA helps in selecting the most relevant and profitable keywords. This ensures that your ads appear for searches most likely to convert, minimising wasted ad spend.
  • Competitive Analysis: Understanding your competition is key to standing out. NUOPTIMA’s competitive analysis service helps you gauge what your competitors are doing right and how you can do it better.
  • Continuous Monitoring and Adjustment: NUOPTIMA doesn’t just set it and forget it. They offer ongoing management of your PPC campaigns, continually monitoring performance and making necessary adjustments to maximise ROI.
  • Comprehensive Reporting: Transparency is at the core of NUOPTIMA’s service. They provide detailed reports, allowing you to see exactly where your ad spend is going and the results it is generating.
  • Technology-Driven Solutions: Leveraging cutting-edge tools and technologies, NUOPTIMA offers data-driven solutions that can bring about significant improvements in your Amazon PPC campaigns.

By partnering with NUOPTIMA, you leverage a team of experts and proven strategies designed to enhance your Amazon PPC performance. Their hands-on approach, guided by in-depth insights and best practices, can help transform your PPC campaigns into a powerful engine for growth. Whether you need a one-time audit or ongoing support, NUOPTIMA’s full suite of Amazon PPC services is structured to drive results.

For more information and to discuss your specific needs, reach out to NUOPTIMA today.

Conclusion

Conducting an Amazon PPC audit is crucial to ensure your campaigns perform at their best. Whether you’re looking to improve your keyword research, reduce your ad spend, or refine your PPC strategy, an audit can provide the necessary insights.

However, an audit is just the first step. To achieve long-term success, you need to continuously monitor your campaigns, test different strategies, and make adjustments based on your results. So don’t wait; start your Amazon PPC audit today and pave the way for long-term eCommerce success.

Remember: the world of Amazon advertising is always changing. Regular audits and continuous optimisation aren’t just recommended; they’re essential. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and most importantly, stay ahead.

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By: Alexej Pikovsky

CEO & Founder

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Alexej spent 10 years in investment banking, venture capital and private equity. Running the wider group’s brands and building one of Europe’s fastest growing growth agencies, Alexej is well positioned to advise founders and funds. Alexej graduated MSc from Imperial College London and is a fellow of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation.

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