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A Guide To Amazon Sponsored Product Targeting Types

Despite the introduction of several new advertising solutions, Amazon Sponsored Product Ads (SPAs) are still one of the most effective ways to increase the discoverability for your products. 

And we should know. Over the past couple of years, we've helped hundreds of sellers dominate the search results using Sponsored Products on Amazon.

During that time, new targeting options have been rolled out to further improve product visibility by giving sellers greater control over where their Sponsored Products ads appear on Amazon search and Product Detail pages.

In this post, we'll cover each of the Amazon Sponsored Product targeting types and provide best practices for getting started with them in your campaigns.

Amazon Sponsored Product Keyword Targeting 

Originally, Amazon Sponsored Products were just keyword-targeted ads that promoted individual listings and were displayed at the top of, alongside, or within the Search Results Page (SERP).

Keyword targeting allows you to choose which keywords you want your ads to show for. There are two types of keyword targeting:

Automatic Targeting

In an Automatic Targeting campaign, Amazon will target keywords and products that are similar to the product in your ad. Auto targeting is great for keyword research and allows you to collect data that you can apply to future (manual) targeting campaigns.

Amazon has since enhanced Sponsored Product's automatic keyword targeting capabilities with the addition of 4 different keyword match types: 

  • Close Match: Ads are shown to users using search terms that are closely related to your products.
  • Loose Match: Ads are shown to users whose search terms are loosely related to your products.
  • Complements: Ads are shown to users who viewed pages that are complements of your products.
  • Substitutes: Ads are shown to users who viewed pages that are substitutes of your products.

Manual Targeting

Manual Targeting campaigns allow you to choose keywords or products to target shopper searches and set custom bids. Targeting keywords manually allows for more precise targeting and greater control over your bidding. 

Amazon Ads has 3 keyword match type to refine manual targeting:

  • Broad Match: A search term matches the prospect’s search query and may include synonyms of the word, misspellings, variations, or words written in a different order. It is the least specific and generally the cheapest match Amazon keyword match type. Let's use the keyword 'running vest'. Broad match types include men's running vest, waterproof vest running, running vest women.
  • Phrase Match: With phrase match, the targeting is more specific than broad match type; the search term must be in the same order as keyword term, as well as contain the exact phrase, or close variations e.g. waterproof running vest, men's running vest, running vest for women.
  • Exact Match: With exact match, the search term matches exactly with your target keyword; it needs to be in the same order and cannot contain additional words e.g. running vest, running vests. Exact match is the most expensive match type because it’s the most competitive. The targeting is precise and therefore has a more limited reach.

How To Use Amazon Sponsored Product Keyword Targeting 

We recommend all sellers start with what we refer to as the 'Core 4' campaigns; one auto campaign and 3 manual campaigns, one for each match type (broad, phrase and exact).

Start small by targeting just 5-10 highly relevant search terms specific terms such as "silicone basting brush" and add to all 3 manual campaigns.

This way, your campaigns don't burn through all your cash on lots on irrelevant search terms. However, it also means you must carry out robust keyword research to identify the most highly relevant, high traffic keywords so you can make your selection.

Once your campaigns become more established with strong performance you can begin to test broader, less focused keywords such as "kitchen utensils" or "cooking utensils" to capture traffic from buyers looking for other types of products that may also be interested in your product.

The same goes for your auto campaign. After a while, you'll usually find that that one automatic match type is eating up all the budget, thus preventing you from being able to discover new keywords using the other match types.

That's when we recommend breaking the automatic campaign out into the 4 separate match type campaigns, one for each of the match types (close, loose complements and substitutes) to give you more control and so you can give each campaign its own budget.

Amazon Sponsored Products Product Targeting

With only a finite number of ad positions available for top of search, the real game-changer has been the introduction of Product Targeting.

Product targeting allows you to target specific products, categories, brands, or other product features that are similar to the product in your ad to help shoppers find your product when browsing detail pages and categories, or when searching products on Amazon.

With 80% of impressions being shown on detail pages, placements on product pages are particularly powerful and can be vast with multiple ad reels each containing potentially hundreds of pages as shown in the example below:

There are two product targeting options:

Product ASIN Targeting: allows you to target individual products that are similar to the product in your ad. 

Product Category Targeting: allows you to target categories that are based on relevance to your product. You can also refine categories by brand, price range, review star ratings, and Prime shipping eligibility.

For example, let's say your sponsored product ad is for a vitamin C Serum, you can choose to target the category “Beauty & Personal Care” for all search results and detail pages relevant to this category. 

You can also choose to target “TruSkin” because it’s a brand similar to your product, or you can target price range, reviews, or variations of similar products.

How To Use Amazon Sponsored Products Targeting

As your Core 4 campaigns become more optimized and laser-focused, and you have better keyword data to work with, that's when we recommend moving onto the more advanced product targeting options.

You don't want to drag your campaign performance down (or blow your budget) by adding lots of unproven and potentially irrelevant keywords early on.

Again, you want to start out small by targeting similar products that have a less compelling offer than you such as fewer reviews, lower star rating or a higher price. This will keep your Click Through Rate (CTR) and PPC Conversion Rate high for optimal performance.

Similar to keyword targeting, once well optimised with strong campaign performance we can start to go broader and target complimentary ASINS by looking at things like 'Frequently bought together' and 'Customers who bought this also bought' lists. 

We can also start to target complementary categories outside of our own subcategory, eg "grill brushes" might expand to target "grill scrapers" and "grill cleaner" and other semi-relevant categories.

Conclusion

The benefit of using more Amazon Sponsored Product targeting options is that you can make more refinements to your campaigns over time that will help you to reach the most relevant audiences and maximise your campaign results.

The additional reporting allows you to make data-driven decisions when assessing and optimizing your campaigns. You can identify what’s working to create further opportunities for profitability and ACoS optimization.

In both instances, keyword and product targeting, start small and progress gradually. This allows you to focus on relevancy for optimal performance, and invest your Amazon Sponsored Product budget wisely because the more campaigns you have the more you need to invest. As the proverb goes, "Slow and steady wins the race". 

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