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PPC Strategies for Amazon Sellers

September 2, 2022 16 minutes
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Key Points 

  • Having a PPC strategy for Amazon is important because Amazon is such a popular platform that it is imperative you advertise to avoid getting lost in the crowd. 
  • There are three types of Amazon ads: Sponsored Brands, Sponsored Display, and Sponsored Products ads. 
  • There are numerous PPC strategies for Amazon you should implement in 2022, including targeting alternate keywords, using manual and automated targeting, removing negative keywords, and considering hiring expert growth agencies to help lighten the load.

Why is Having a PPC Strategy For Amazon Important?

More and more consumers are choosing to do their shopping online, with Amazon being a primary selling destination. Therefore, selling on the platform is a great place to gain great success. But, with it being such a popular website, you need to take action to develop a strong advertising strategy to ensure you take advantage of the consumer base and keep up with the competition. Indeed, there are well over 300 million products available on Amazon to purchase, so implementing a PPC strategy for Amazon is necessary so you can expand your reach and avoid drowning in the competition. The majority of merchants adopt Amazon PPC campaigns to advertise their products, and most of these use Sponsored Products Ads. So, what are the different types of adverts available on the platform, and what do they do?

What are the Types of Amazon Ads Available?

Sponsored Brands Ads

Originally called Headline Search Ads, Sponsored Brands are essentially banner advertisements catered toward top-of-the-funnel customers. They show several products, a tagline, and a brand logo (normally at the very top of Amazon search results but can also appear to the left or below results). They allow sellers to advertise more than one product at once, and these adverts tend to be more eye-catching than the most popular advertising option, Sponsored Products. There are three different formats to choose from within Sponsored Brands: Store Spotlight, Product Collection, and Video. The first two include the information mentioned above, while the latter involves a video showcasing one product (15-30 seconds). If a consumer clicks on the video, it will take them either to the Amazon Storefront of the company or to product detail sites. You must have a registered brand to use this option. 

Sponsored Display Ads 

Sponsored Display ads let sellers re-target consumers who have recently viewed their product pages, used search terms applicable to their listing, or viewed competitor’s pages. The main benefit to this option is that it appears on other websites besides Amazon, such as Netflix, Facebook, Google, and some mobile apps too! This is, therefore, a great option if you want to accelerate impressions, give a boost to new product launches, or purloin competitor conversions. You also require a registered brand to use this ad type. This is currently the least popular ad of choice on the platform (although it is also the newest PPC type).

Sponsored Products Ads

As aforementioned, this is the most popular ad type. Sponsored Products ads appear on product detail pages and search results. It has the capability to produce tremendous customer interest and has excellent conversion potential. As with the other options, Amazon will only charge you for your advert when a browser clicks on it. Sponsored Products ads allow you to use two keyword targeting techniques: automatic and manual targeting. This article goes into more detail on this a little further on. 

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Top 15 PPC Strategies and Tactics for Amazon Sellers

Now that we have explained why an Amazon PPC strategy is important and the different types of adverts available, let’s dive into our top 15 PPC tactics for Amazon. 

Target Alternate Keywords 

While it is essential that you use accurate and relevant keywords to describe your product in a way that is accurate and attracts the consumer, it is an excellent strategy also to target indirect and alternate keywords. Why? Sometimes, people use Amazon when they are seeking out a solution rather than a particular product. They are not sure what product they need, so need help finding one that they want. For instance, if you sell children’s jigsaw puzzles, aside from targeting the popular keywords, you should use alternate keywords such as ‘children activities for wet weather’, ‘family-friendly activities’ etc. But you should not just guess what consumers might search for to determine what keywords to target. Instead, you need to conduct thorough research on both the pain points of your key demographic as well as on the product itself. You can even look at the listings of leading competitors and use their data to your benefit. This helps increase your listing’s value, convince the consumer, and increase your product’s visibility and reputation. 

Determine Your Audience’s Buying Habits 

Another great tactic is understanding your target market, as it can make creating successful and converting adverts much simpler. It is important to ask questions such as:

  • What are their interests?
  • How do they most like to shop?
  • What is their online buying behaviour?

For instance, if a product appeals to office workers, it might be a good idea to run adverts during lunch break hours or in the evening. However, to get an accurate understanding, it is best to trial campaigns during different time periods until you discover the period where you get the most amount of conversions. Then, you can choose to bid on your ads during that time period. 

Group Product Variations Together 

This is a fantastic tip for those selling products with different variations, for example, different colour pens. Understandably, you may not want to run a separate ad campaign for each colour, as not only will it cost you a lot of money, but the different adverts may compete against each other, which defeats the whole purpose. A great way to get around this is to group product variations into one item. Instead of having individual ASINs, sell them together under a unique ASIN. This is beneficial as the price of the value of the average order goes up, brand visibility and awareness will improve, and you have fewer adverts to worry about monitoring.  

Run an Ad Campaign for Best-Performing Variation 

It can also be a great strategy to run an Amazon PPC campaign for the best-performing variation only. Generally, when a product has numerous versions, they will have child ASINs. While it lacks some of the benefits of the previous tip, it can still be a great way to gain sales for the best-selling product, which should also translate to the other variations. For instance, continuing with the colour pens example, say your best-selling item was a basic black pen. A customer might click on your ad for the black pen but then see other available variations within the same listing. They might change their mind and decide to go for a red pen. So, the sale you get for the red pen originated from the advert for the black. If you were looking to further improve the sales of other variations, you could even make the black pen a bit more expensive.

Use Manual and Automated Targeting

When creating Sponsored Products ads, you can utilise two different keyword-targeting strategies: manual and automatic. Let’s consider the differences between them:

  • Manual Targeting: This option, as the name suggests, involves the seller hand-picking which keywords to bid on. Adverts will only be displayed to a consumer if their keywords match the selected keywords. Because this is manual targeting, it requires constant tracking so you can make alterations where needed and see any cost changes. Because it involves a lot of monitoring and manual work, it tends to produce more successful ads, and less money is spent in the long term. 
  • Automatic Targeting: This is when Amazon chooses when to show your advert based on what keywords are used in the title, description, and other parts of your product listing. The platform collects information from the history of clicks and purchases and then tweaks the adverts to represent your listing better. As you can imagine, this is far easier than manual targeting, but it cannot be optimised in the same way as it is automatic. With this option, there are four types of match types for keywords:
  1. Complements – These are aimed at browsers looking at products that go well with yours, such as paper pads for the colour pens.
  2. Substitutes – These are aimed at consumers viewing products like yours but from a different brand, for instance, Stabilo pens rather than STAEDTLER.
  3. Loose match – Adverts will display to a consumer entering keywords that are vaguely related to what you sell.
  4. Close match – This is when adverts show up when a browser uses closely-related keywords to what you are advertising. 

You do not have to choose between one or the other. In fact, many sellers use both manual and automatic targeting throughout their campaigns. A great PPC strategy for Amazon is to use automatic targeting to determine what keywords work well and then implement these keywords into the manual campaign. You can also try out different keyword match types, timings of adverts, bid amounts, and more until you find the perfect combination that brings the best traffic. There is no ideal formula to use; it comes down to trial and error and is dependent on the campaign and product. To determine the best parameters, keep track of metrics such as keyword and ad performance, sales, click-through rate (CTR), and Advertising Cost of Sales (ACoS).

Top Tip: Ensure a keyword has at least 10 clicks before removing or adjusting it from a manual campaign.
Please Note: Run campaigns for a fortnight before running reports and making changes. You should review your ad reports every week. Plus, you should run each PPC campaign for your Amazon store for a minimum of three months to determine the return on investment (ROI).

Take Advantage of New-To-Brand Metrics 

Metrics are invaluable to those who advertise on the platform, as they help a seller assess their Amazon PPC strategies and whether they are successful or not. Amazon’s New-to-Brand (NTB) metrics are hugely beneficial to use, as they provide more than 100 performance and campaign-reporting metrics. This means that advertisers can accurately examine the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns and make adjustments depending on what the metrics show. 

NTB metrics let sellers see whether an ad-associated purchase was made by an established customer or if it was made by a new buyer of the product on Amazon (within a year). 

Please Note: NTB metrics are only available to brand-registered sellers and vendors when using Sponsored Brands ads. 

If your brand is registered, a great Amazon PPC strategy is to benefit from Sponsored Brands and the metrics they provide. NTB metrics let you see what sales and orders came from first-time buyers of your brand on the platform. You can use this information to tweak your ad campaigns, gain new interest, and determine whether you have more recurring customers or first-time buyers. If you have more of the former, you can tailor ads for them using Sponsored Products ads. If, instead, you are gaining more new customers, consider using Sponsored Brands ads (which are specifically geared toward top-of-the-funnel customers).

Track and Remove Negative Keywords

This Amazon PPC strategy is simple yet effective. Negative keywords are words failing to bring sales but charging ad clicks. Obviously, they are not valuable for the campaign, so it is crucial to monitor any keywords performing poorly and mark them as negative to exclude them from the campaign and avoid haemorrhaging money. The importance of this step cannot be understated.

Use Product Targeting 

This is more of an advanced Amazon PPC strategy but is a great way to increase awareness and visibility of your products. By using product targeting ads, you can target shoppers by individual categories and products. In a nutshell, you can select particular ASINs, and on their product pages, your adverts will appear. There are two great tactics you can use with product targeting:

  1. Pinpoint your products that do not show up highly on Amazon’s SERPs or have poor sales figures and make product targeting ads for them. Then, select your products that are doing best and put the ads for the poorly-performing products on these product pages. This strategy is good because it helps you promote your less popular products, expands your exposure, displays multiple products to the shopper, and helps you to keep customers looking at your brand.
  2. You can also take advantage of the success and visibility of your top competitors, such as those that have listings on Facebook, Google, and those endorsed by influencers. By electing to place adverts for your products on top competitor pages, you can benefit from their popularity and gain sales.
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Have a Slow But Steady Keyword Plan 

When you first begin as a new seller on Amazon, competing with other sellers who have been there long before you is challenging. It is foolish to target keywords that are highly searched when you first start because your competitors will already be in better standing than you as well as have a stronger reputation. Plus, these keywords will have a high cost per click (CPC), so you will spend a lot without reaping the rewards. Therefore, you must work out a plan to use keywords to your advantage. An obvious rule is only to target keywords relevant to what you sell. Below is a recommended method for how to increase your ranking in SERPs using keywords:

  1. Initially, aim for long-tail keywords. There is little competition with long-tail keywords, they generally have a higher conversion rate as they are more specific, and it should not be difficult to rank for those phrases. Going back to our example, if you sold coloured pens, you could use long-tail keywords such as ‘navy ballpoint coloured pen’. Once you witness some traction, with increased brand awareness and better ranking in SERPs, you can move on to step two.
  2. Then, you should target the next set of generic keywords. So, it could be ‘navy ballpoint pen’ or ‘blue coloured pen’, for example. Your product will get better visibility within SERPs and will get increasingly connected to the more common queries (as Amazon works out to rank your product every time a user types these in).
  3. The last step is to target the most popular keywords. For instance, you could now go for ‘blue pen’ or ‘ballpoint pen’. 

Create Ad Campaigns Around the Performance of Products 

Creating ad campaigns based on product performance can be a fantastic and effective tactic. Suppose you have an ad group with four products. One of these products has an ACoS of 60%, while the other three are roughly down at 15%. The one product with the high ACoS will bring up the overall ACoS figure for the advert. This is why it can be a good idea to remove that one product from the group campaign and create a new one specifically for it. There are numerous benefits to this:

  • It will be simpler to decrease spending on adverts and improve ad performance.
  • Amazon’s algorithm uses essential metrics (such as CTR) to rank a product, so if products with varying success are in the same campaign, the results will be averaged out. 
  • You will decrease the ACoS of the first campaign by removing the one with the high percentage.

Tweak Your Bids Depending on the Placement Report 

An advert can appear in numerous locations on the platform. These include the top of SERPs (page one), embedded within the other search results (not at the top of the page, and within page two and further on), add-to-shopping-basket page, and product pages. By examining the placement report, you can see what location worked best for you. Then, you can set up the placement bidding multiplier on all locations (with a percentage from 0%-900% to choose from) and take advantage of your knowledge and experience to get further visibility and success. 

Avoid Putting Differently Priced Items in the Same Advert

Imagine you are advertising five different products in an ad group, four of which are around £20, and one is £50. The danger to this is that the products that are cheaper will have a higher ACoS and will affect the overall average. This, therefore, can impact the expensive product. By electing to only have products with similar prices in the same group, you will find that you can better handle the ad budget and the products in the group will not be detrimental to one another’s metrics. 

Determine Your Breakeven Point 

An important strategy is to follow this rule of thumb: ensure that the amount spent on advertising is never more than the amount of profit you intend to make. Comprehending your breakeven point is critical to ensuring that your business is profitable. Additionally, set daily budgets to help monitor your spending, especially when starting out, and we recommend that you set default bids at 50%-100% higher than Amazon’s recommendation.

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Build Momentum With Your Amazon PPC Campaign

Sales velocity is a key performance indicator (KPI) that Amazon’s algorithm uses to determine ranking. It is defined as the number and pound (or dollar) amount of Seller account sales during a certain month. The algorithm considers sales results and improves the sales ranking of successful products. This KPI can also assist you in winning the Buy Box – the white box to the right of the Amazon product detail page where shoppers can put items to buy in their basket. It is important to build momentum with your Amazon PPC campaigns. Remember: the more you sell, the easier it is to sell more. Gaining momentum can get you more placements, improve organic traffic, and provide you with data you can use to improve future decision-making. 

Use Experienced Agency NUOPTIMA to Help Your Amazon PPC Strategy

Monitoring and adjusting your Amazon PPC campaigns is a constant, time-consuming affair. It requires much diligence, patience, and analysis in order for it to be successful. Therefore, many sellers opt to enlist the help of a third party to lighten the load and take advantage of expert knowledge. NUOPTIMA is a full-stack growth agency that specialises in providing management and PPC services for Amazon brands. Book a free consultation call with our professional team to learn about how we can grow your Amazon brand.


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What is Amazon PPC?
PPC, or pay-per-click, is an auction-style advertising system where advertisers bid on keywords. The advertisers with the highest bids on relevant keywords win this auction and get their product advert listed in the placement of their choice.
What are the 3 types of Amazon PPC ads?
There are three types of adverts you can use on Amazon: Sponsored Brands ads, Sponsored Display ads, and Sponsored Products ads.
What are PPC strategies?
To maximise the PPC ROI, many sellers use tactics and strategies, such as using product targeting, using a combination of manual and automated targeting, and hiring third-party growth agencies.
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By: Alexej Pikovsky

CEO & Founder


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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