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How To Use Amazon PPC For Keyword Ranking - Even in Competitive Niches

One of the biggest challenges sellers face is keyword ranking on Amazon, especially in competitive product categories. 

This is made doubly hard if you are launching a brand new product and starting from scratch with campaigns with little or no history.

Fortunately, Amazon PPC can help propel your keyword rankings, its just a matter of finding the right keywords. In this post, we share our top 3 tips on how to use PPC rank to keywords even in a competitive category.

Tip #1: Start with fewer keywords

When launching a new product, start by targeting 5-10 highly relevant, high volume short-tail keywords (typically one or two words). Let's say you are selling a red, long-handled silicone spatula. 'Silicone Spatula' would make a great starting keyword. It's relevant to your product but not too broad (i.e. like 'spatula' and it has decent traffic volume.

Many sellers make the mistake of targeting these short-tail, high volume keywords as a long term strategy. But unless you can convert on these keywords, not only can this be expensive, it can be futile too.

That's because you'll more than likely be going up against established sellers with lots of sales history and performance data against these keywords. As a result, Amazon will see them (and their ads) as more relevant than yours. It will be easier (and cheaper) for them to convert but harder (and more expensive) for you - until you start building some campaign history of your own.

And even if you manage to get to page one, unless you can consistently convert on these keywords, it's highly unlikely you will stay there. 

Instead, we want to use these keywords as a starting point only. The goal of investing in these high volume keywords, albeit at a higher ACoS, is to gather data as quickly as possible, then use our Search Term Report to identify and target long-tail keywords that are driving sales.

These keywords will be cheaper and easier to rank for at a good ACoS, so we can bid on them more aggressively to secure top ad positions thereby making it easier to rocket up the rankings. 

The added benefit of this strategy is that over time you will start to convert better on those high volume keywords you started with but won’t pay as high a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) for them as you would if you targeted stuck with them from the outset.

For existing campaigns, you can simply utilise the data in your Search Term Reports to identify and list those search terms that have had multiple conversions at above-average Click-Through Rate (CTR) and Conversion. For new Seller Central accounts, we recommend a minimum of 3 sales; more for aged accounts. 

Once you have compiled this list, these search terms become your primary targets to push for higher organic rankings.

Starting with the best 1 or 2 performing search terms, ensure they appear in your product listing (ideally at the start of your title) and add them to your broad phrase and exact match campaigns.

The ultimate goal is to rinse and repeat this process to get page one visibility for hundreds of keywords.

Tip #2: Focus on relevancy and conversion to secure top ad spots 

When it comes to Amazon PPC, conversion and relevancy win every time. If Amazon PPC was a straight-up auction, you could simply go ahead and just buy ad rank just by bidding higher than your competitors. But because it's not, and Amazon wants to show only the most relevant products to a shopper's search, it's possible to get the best ad placements by optimising for a better Click-Through-Rate (CTR) and PPC conversion rate.

How to improve relevancy (CTR)

Make sure you are targeting the most relevant keywords that convert into clicks. Add negative keywords to avoid showing for completely irrelevant keywords. 

How to improve conversion

re-direct ad spend away from poor converting keywords - through reduced bids and re-invest those ad dollars into keywords that are performing and have a higher conversion rate to push up your overall campaign performance. 

The thing to remember here is that organic or product listing conversion rate (or 'Unit Session Percentage') and PPC conversion rate are not the same. 

Unit Session Percentage is the ratio of the number of units sold compared to the number of Sessions in any given timeframe:

Units ordered / # of sessions = Unit Session Percentage Rate 

Your PPC conversation rate is the ratio of units sold through an ad compared to the number of clicks that the ad receives. 

For example, if your ad gets 100 clicks, and five people purchase, that ad has a 5% PPC conversion rate. 

You can have a listing that converts great, but that doesn't mean you can convert just as well on any given keyword. Having a poor PPC conversion rate, in other words, having the wrong keywords in your campaigns will ultimately bring down the overall performance of your campaigns.

Tip #3: Use Product Targeting for greater visibility

The ever-increasing number of sellers joining the Amazon marketplace brings opportunity as much as it brings competition. The upside of new sellers entering your product category means there will always be sellers with less compelling offers than you. For example, e.g. sellers with fewer reviews, higher prices, longer delivery times, poorer quality product listings etc. 

This gives you a competitive advantage and an opportunity to drive more visibility by advertising alongside your competitors through product targeting campaigns.

Product targeted ads are displayed within the product detail page of the targeted ASIN. We wrote a whole blog post on Product Targeting here.

A quick and simple way to find new competitors to target is to see the 'Hot New Releases'.

You can also use product targeting to piggyback off stronger, page one competitors. However, because these sellers are likely to have more reviews and convert better than you, this is only viable if you have a very competitive price point or discount/coupon etc. 

It's important to note that product targeted campaigns do not provide the same organic ranking benefits as keyword-targeted campaigns, but they the distinct advantage of being one of the most cost-effective advertising options.

Conclusion

While you may not be able to compete with top sellers on big traffic, short tail keywords straight out of the gate, you can compete with them on longer tail variations.

The great thing about keywords is that every seller converts differently on them; keywords that convert well for you, might not convert as well for your competitors. When you take advantage of this, you'll have high performing PPC campaigns that drive sales at a lower Cost Per Click (CPC).

This levels the playing field for sellers knowing that you can be competitive in the ad auction and be successful at keyword ranking on Amazon without having to spend your way to the top.

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