Getting started with Sponsored Products on Amazon
You'll find where to set up your Sponsored Adverts within Seller Central, under the Advertising tab. Amazon do a good job of explaining how to set things up, lets face it they want to take money from you. The first choice you'll have to make is whether you want a campaign that is set up and automated by Amazon or one that you have to manually set up yourself.
As you would expect the Automated campaign requires the least amount of work on your part and you can be up and running in no time. Amazon will figure out the best searches to target your listing at, however, it's a rather broad brush that it is using and although it's easy to set up - it's not ideal. However, it will allow you to download a list of all the keywords that were used by users to find your listing, and that is valuable information to have when you are beginning to build your keyword list that you will need.
Third party tools are available to help you find keywords and while you are using those to find the perfect list of keywords it makes sense to be running an automated campaign in the background, even if just for a few days.
Manual campaigns give the best scope for control and although more time consuming to set up and to manage, it's important to get to know how to set one up effectively in order to maximise the return on your marketing spend.
Measuring the return on investment
As you would expect, and anyone familiar with Google Adwords will already know, unless you bid enough your listing will not get promoted.
So you'll have to decide how much you are prepared to spend on promoting your items. The only way you can do that is to know what your margin is and what your profit is.
The common wisdom is to work out the Advertising Cost of Sale (ACOS), this is the advertising cost divided by the sales generated, giving you a ratio suggesting some level of ROI. And that is of some use, but unless you know the cost of the item, and the related selling fees it's not a lot of use on it's own. So always do the hard work and figure things out fully.
Your strategy behind Sponsored listings
If you are selling a brand new product that hasn't been on Amazon before then to get sales moving it will pay to put some promotion behind it. In these cases you need to define what the strategy is.
Are you happy to sell at breakeven until you reach a certain rank position in the category. Or are you looking for an ideal number of decent reviews to give the item some credibility. You might be prepared to sell some early items at a loss, simply to get the ball rolling. Whatever your strategy is, make sure you know what the goal is, and measure it to ensure you are not being careless with limited marketing spend.
Identifying the best key words
When you set up a manual campaign you are given the option to enter your own keywords for the products you are targeting, these can be used to supplement the suggestions that Amazon makes. You can source these manually by using the auto complete from the search boxes on Amazon, eBay and Google for instance. But you'll also want to use the Google Adword tool as a free resource and even Google Trends. And you may also have a list of the better keywords that were reported from an Automated campaign.
You might also want to invest in one of the many Keyword suggestion tools that are around. Ultimately the best keywords are the words that cause clicks and create sales, so it is vital to monitor things closely and to adjust your bidding when required.
Items best avoided for promotion
There are some items that are better for paid promotion than others. These are items where there are multiple variations such as colour. Clothing is particularly bad for this; size, material, colour & style are all features likely to cause the shopper to be in browse mode as opposed to buying mode. So although the Click Through Rate might be high for your paid promotion, you may find that conversions are low.
Improving your click through rate
Any time that an advert is shown Amazon keeps a count and when it is clicked the number of clicks divided by the number of times shown is referred to as the Click Through Rate or CTR. CTR can vary a lot but the typically acceptable level is around about 1%. Getting this higher is obviously a good idea if you can.
To get the CTR higher you'll have to look at your copy very closely, is it compelling and clear, and is the image really selling the product.
In Amazon there is no automated way to do real time A/B testing - so it's difficult to try things out and to refine quickly.
Instead you'll have to run your A/B ads in parallel (or consecutively) and then examine the results manually.
Current, and recommended, wisdom is not to change more than one thing at a time, but we are all impatient, so if you a have a hunch then give it a try. But record and monitor.
Getting to scale
Once you have mastered the art of creating great keywords and advert campaigns you'll be pleased to see that you can upload your campaign in spreadsheet format. This saves a lot of time and can be done off line, making the whole process so much more relaxing.
Setting up a manual campaign for Amazon Sponsored Listings
1. You'll need more than one Adgroup and potentially more than one Campaign, so think about how you want to group your products together. Don't start off with too big a plan, much better to start small, learn and build.
2. Use the keywords that the Automated Campaign found resulted in sales and supplement these with your own research from external tools.
3. For each keyword decide the type of match you want for it. This is where the most thought needs to be put in, but basically:
Broad - Amazon will find searches that are loosely related to your search phrase, think of it as Amazon being creative. It will find searches that have your keyword phrase in them, but it does not care about the order of the words in that phrase, or any of the other words in the search.
Phrase - Amazon will ensure that the keyword phrase appears as you defined in the search term. Other words or phrases can come before your keyword phrase or after it.
Exact - Guess what? it has to be the same phrase in the search term.
Luckily, you don't have to worry about things like plurals and simple spelling mistakes, Amazon will look after those for you and ensure you don't miss out.