5 Things To Get Right Before You Start Sponsored Product Ads

amazon seo inventory sponsored products Jun 02, 2020

"If you build it, they will come" may have worked for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, but it won’t work for Amazon sellers when it comes to Sponsored Product Ads.

Simply running paid traffic to your product listings won’t automatically result in sales. You need to make sure your offer is a compelling one, and your product listing is dialled in to convert as many sales possible before you spend a single dime on sponsored product ads. 

Otherwise, your campaigns will bleed money and run red hot with a high ACoS. After all, every click from your ads will be costing you money.

Here are five things you need to do to create a compelling offer before you start PPC: 

1. Have a great main image  

As the saying goes, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” The first thing a shopper sees when your ad is displayed is your main image, and it plays a massive role in determining whether a shopper clicks on your ad or not. 

Let’s say you decide you want a new set of Bluetooth headphones. Your subconscious immediately creates a picture in your mind of what you are looking for. You go to Amazon and type “bluetooth headphones” into the search bar. The first product you are most likely to click on is the one that jumps out at you and most resembles the picture you have in your mind. 

For the ad to jump out, the product image needs to be crisp, clear and high quality. Make no mistake, having a great main image can dramatically improve your campaign performance from click-through rate (CTR) to conversion and everything in between.

2. Be Competitively Priced

The second thing a shopper looks at is the price so always have a pricing strategy in place before you start running ads. 

Your pricing will be determined to some extent by how competitive your category is, and in particular, how many reviews you have in comparison to the average number of reviews on page one. The Jungle Scout Chrome Extension is an excellent tool for getting this information. 

No matter how "premium" your product is, without social proof in the form of reviews to back it up, you will have to be as competitive as possible when it comes to pricing.

A compelling price can drastically increase the CTR of your ads, and ultimately get more eyeballs onto your listing. 

Your CTR is the percentage of impressions (total number of times your ad has been displayed) that have been clicked on. It’s an indication of how relevant your ad is to the shopper’s search query, so you want to achieve as high a CTR as possible.

You can test different price points to find the "sweet spot" where you get the most traffic and highest conversions while still making a profit. You can do this manually, changing the price every 7 days or so, or use a tool like Splitly which speeds up the process dramatically.

This increase in conversion will not only help to boost your campaign performance but your organic ranking as well. Price can always be increased later to improve profitability once you have the reviews to support it.

3. Get More Reviews 

According to a 2017 study performed by G2 and Heinz Marketing, 92% of customers are more likely to purchase a product after reading a positive review. Enough said.

Amazon recommends that you have at least a 3.5-star rating and 15 reviews before starting PPC. Having managed thousands of campaigns for clients, we have consistently seen a significant drop in conversion when product ratings drop below 4 stars, so this would be our minimum to aim for. 

There are a number of ways you can get reviews including using automated email responders,  product inserts and Amazon’s ‘Request a Review button’.

As always, be sure to follow all Amazon communication guidelines when requesting a product review so you don’t breach their zero-tolerance policy for any review manipulation.

4. Have A Keyword-Optimized Product Listing 

The only other thing a shopper sees in a Sponsored Ad is the title. Your title should be descriptive and keyword-rich however bear in mind that it is often cut off in ads. Not only that, but it cuts off at different points depending on where the ad is displayed on the page. 

It is for this reason that it is imperative that you include your main keywords towards the front of your title (i.e. in the first five words) so that the customer can instantly identify that your product is what they are looking for. 

Amazon likes to be sure that the ads being shown on their site are relevant for the customer. Make sure you are indexed for all the keyword phrases that you are planning to run ads for by strategically peppering them throughout your listing. Write for the shopper, not the algorithm!

5. Ensure You Have Sufficient Inventory Levels

Without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges as an Amazon seller is managing inventory levels. It is crucial for your success as a seller - and for the success of your PPC campaigns.

PPC is all about data and historic data beats new data hands-down. That's why building a consistent sales history is one of the best ways to optimize campaign performance. And conversely, why running out of inventory should be avoided at all costs. 

When you run out of stock, you start to lose any gains you’ve made which is why your Cost Per Click (CPC) and Average Cost of Sale (ACoS) are higher when you get back in stock. 

Depending on how long you have been out of stock, it will take some time and optimization changes to restore your CPC and ACoS to their previous levels and to get your old ad positions back.

So always try to ensure you have sufficient inventory to account for the potential uplift in sales based on your PPC and sales goals.

Selling on Amazon successfully is a marathon, not a sprint. As tempting as it is to start PPC right away, taking the time to maximise your campaigns chances for success will not only result in higher conversion sales but it will maximise your PPC profitability too. 

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