20 Amazon Advertising Tips for 2020

Amazon’s selling platform is a growing entity – it is rarely the same thing from one week to the next. Already in 2020, for example, we’ve seen the introduction of new ‘Campaign’ advertising reports, and heard rumours that Amazon will start collecting VAT in more European countries. With all of these changes, it’s hard to keep track of best practices and the most effective techniques for your products. But complacency on your side will cause your Amazon Advertising campaigns to suffer. 

If you’ve noticed your ACoS increasing, impressions decreasing or your sales fluctuating, it’s probably time to give your ads a refresh. Based on the latest platform updates we’ve put together 20 Amazon Advertising tips for 2020 which will help to ensure you’re getting the maximum impact from your campaigns. 

Let’s go…

1. Take an always-on approach

By setting an end-date for your campaigns you’ll miss out on valuable clicks and impressions. End dates create vulnerability. If your campaigns are paused your competitors will have the opportunity to jump in and steal your prospects. Even if you’re running seasonal campaigns, set them to run continuously. Reducing your budget instead of ending the campaign is enough to defend your products. 

2. Add at least 30 keywords per ad group

With Google Ads, it’s typically recommended that you don’t exceed 20 keywords per ad group in order to maintain relevancy. However, the Amazon algorithm works differently and it’s beneficial to cast a wider net. In a recent webinar, Amazon recommended a minimum of 30 keywords per ad group. 

3. Leverage Amazons search intelligence to find keywords

When creating a campaign Amazon suggests keywords that you may want to use. Pay attention to these. They’re based on your competitor’s keywords and Amazon search results data, so they give a good insight into what your customers are searching for.

4. Use ‘Suggested Bid’ to help set competitive bids

Similarly to Amazon’s keyword suggestions, Suggested Bids are not an arbitrary value. In fact, they’re based on competitor data, search volume, and market saturation. They’re updated daily, so check them regularly to see how your current bids compare. 

5. Start with broad match campaigns

Until you get a clear idea of the terms customers use to find your products, it’s a good idea to start with broad match campaigns. With broad match, your ads will show to people who use your exact keyword as well as related words and close variants. If your keyword is ‘lemon tea’, for instance, your ad will show for ‘lemon tea’, ‘lemon and chamomile tea’ ‘fruit tea’ and ‘lemon teas’. Broad match therefore allows your ads (and products) to be seen by a broader set of people. To get a better understanding of the different kinds of keyword match types, have a read of our blog!

6. Bid on your brand name

If you don’t bid on your own brand name, your competitors will! If this happens, customers may search for your brand and be met with products by your competitors. It’s easy to understand how this muddies the water and prevents high-intent customers from converting. Bidding on your brand name is a defensive tactic that allows you to protect your digital shelf space. What’s more, the Amazon Advertising auction process is based on the amount you bid and relevancy. What is more relevant to your brand than your brand name? 

7. Make use of negative keywords

Negative keywords are a useful tool if you find that you’re bidding on a lot of irrelevant keywords. On Amazon, sellers can choose between exact match and phrase match negative keywords, which allows you to be quite clever. For example, setting an exact match negative keyword of ‘fridge’ will stop you from bidding on ‘fridge’ but allow you to continue bidding on ‘fridge magnets’. This is beneficial as it will reduce wasted expenditure. 

8. Follow the Search Term Isolation approach

Although it’s not endorsed by Amazon, the Search Term Isolation approach has been tried and tested by some of the biggest names. This method helps to phase out poorly performing keywords and increase the effectiveness of high-performing keywords, which in turn decreases ACoS. Under this approach, each product group has four corresponding campaigns. Firstly, an automatic campaign is used to discover new keywords. This campaign is allocated a low budget. Secondly, a manual campaign using broad match keywords is used to research the terms that drive sales. This should be given a mid-level budget. Any search term in the automatic or broad campaign that results in a sale is removed from these campaigns and added to a manual, exact match campaign. This search term is then set as a negative keyword in the broad and automatic campaigns, which prevents you from competing against yourself. The exact match campaign has the highest budget as it focuses on the search terms that are proven to work. Finally, another manual campaign is created that targets competitor ASINs. Again, this should be given a mid-level budget. 

9. Don’t use phrase match keywords

On the back of this, we believe that phrase match keywords aren’t necessary. Under the search term isolation approach, the broad match campaign is used for researching and the exact match campaign is used for generating conversions. Adding phrase match keywords into the mix won’t generate any additional benefits. 

10. Set your dynamic bids to ‘Down Only’

Dynamic bids allow Amazon to bid up to 100% more or 100% less when their algorithm predicts that you are more or less likely to make a sale. When used in conjunction with placement bids you may find yourself bidding up to x20 more for your bids. This is a dangerous approach. Research by Max Hoffmann from BidX has identified that using using ‘Down Only’ dynamic bidding generates the best ACoS, CPC, and conversion rate. 

11. Increase sales efficiency

If your advertising aim is to increase sales efficiency, lower the bids on your low performing keywords to just below the average CPC. Doing this will reduce spend on keywords that have a low chance of converting and help to reduce your ACoS.  

12. Increase brand awareness

Alternatively, if your advertising aim is to increase brand awareness, increase the bids on keywords with low average CPCs and ACoS. You’re already performing well on these keywords so lowering your spend may decrease sales, but will allow other keywords to shine.

13. Bid on generic keywords as well as USPs

For most products, your USPs will be very niche. Realistically this means that not many people will be searching on the Amazon marketplace for them. That’s why it’s a good idea to bid on generic keywords as well as USP keywords. Doing this will increase the visibility of your product. 

14. Register for Brand Registry

Seller Central users can utilise two types of ads within the Amazon platform: Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands. For the latter, you need to register with Amazon Brand Registry. To be eligible for this programme you need to have a registered trademark in the UK or EU. In the UK it costs £450 plus VAT to register a trademark, which may seem like a lot but it’s a worthwhile investment. Sponsored Brand campaigns allow sellers to showcase a collection of products, as well as their logo and a headline. So they’re great for launching new products and increasing brand awareness.

15. Optimise your ads for each marketplace

If you’re selling your products across several marketplaces it’s worth optimising your ads and keywords for each platform. This is where it pays to work with native speakers as they will be able to teach you colloquialisms and localisations that won’t be picked up by Google Translate. Even if both platforms are primarily English speaking (i.e UK, US) it’s important to do your research. We spoke to an Amazon US consultant recently who revealed that whilst Brits can recognise when words are spelled using American-English, Americans see British-English as spelling mistakes/typos. 

16. Calculate breakeven ACoS to determine your budget

In order to establish how much you can afford to be spending on advertising you should calculate your breakeven ACoS. The calculation for this is:
Selling price – Amazon fee – the cost of goods sold = pre-advertising profit.
Breaking even means that all of this pre-advertising profit is spent. So next:
Pre-advertising profit / selling price = breakeven ACoS.

17. Include top performing keywords in your listing copy

As we’ve already mentioned, the Amazon Advertising auction process is based on the amount you bid and relevancy. Using top-performing keywords in your listing copy aids with the relevancy aspect of this auction. This involves using them in your title, bullet points, and backend search terms. 

18. Target relevant categories

Last year Amazon introduced the ability to create Sponsored Product campaigns that target products, instead of keywords. This is the ‘competitors’ campaign that we mentioned earlier as part of the search term isolation approach. Within product targeting, sellers can bid on specific ASINs and categories. By bidding on relevant categories you’ll boost the category ranking of your products, which in turn helps with visibility.

19. Invest more in products that are retail-ready

According to Amazon, retail-ready products are those with clear and accurate product images, accurate and descriptive product titles, over 3.5-star rating, 15+ reviews, make use of A+ / enhanced brand content and have available inventory. These are the products that will generate the best results on the Amazon Advertising platform.

20. Check your ads every day

Ads aren’t the kind of thing you can set up and then leave on the backburner. Taking a quick look at the campaign manager dashboard is enough to give you an idea of how your ads are performing. Are you running out of budget early in the day? Are you seeing a spike in impressions on certain days of the week? Which of your campaigns is performing better?

There you have it, 20 Amazon Advertising tips for 2020! There’s lots of information to take in here, so don’t feel pressured to implement all 20 tips at once. Ads are very much a learning curve. If you’d prefer to leave Amazon Advertising to the experts, we can help with that too. Drop us a message via the Contact Us section of the website. 

Rachel Blackburn