How to Stay Competitive with Amazon Advertising

December 03rd, 2018

Author: Corinne, Watson, Partner Content Marketing Specialist, BigCommerce

Nearly 80% of Amazon customers use Amazon to discover new products or brands.

That’s a lot of opportunity for merchants to win sales and increase revenue by increasing their product visibility on Amazon’s marketplace.

To better capitalize on that opportunity, you’ve likely already dabbled with Amazon Advertising in Seller Central or Vendor Central.

Yet, in this ever-increasing competitive landscape, if you’re merely average at Amazon advertising, you’re going to get beaten by competitors who find better keyword opportunities, bid smarter, manage their budgets better, or outsource their Amazon Advertising to experts.

Like any advertising marketplace, as popularity increases, so does the cost associated with advertising.

It’s not enough to run ads on Amazon.

Merchants have to work those ads so that the ads work for them, while also being mindful of their competition.

So, how do merchants stay competitive at Amazon Advertising?

The answer is by being like Amazon itself and not relying on the status quo.

 Here’s how.

     Find keyword opportunities that aren’t already played out in terms of usage and bid escalation. If everyone is bidding on the same keywords, no one wins (except for Amazon, who collects the ever-increasing auction price.) Don’t necessarily look for top-ten or high-price keywords; instead, find keywords that show up enough and convert well for you and your competitors. You can find these keywords in the User Search Term Report (literally a list of words that shoppers are using to find products) and via reverse ASIN look-up, where you’ll find keywords associated with any ASIN and how they rank. You’ll quickly train yourself to recognize opportunities others have missed.

     Don’t be afraid to spend money to make money. If a keyword is a true winner, it’s probably worth those extra cents on the bid. Don’t lose it over pennies. If you really want to be covered in a bid war scenario, use Bid+. Also remember that while you want to keep your ACoS manageable, the lowest ACoS isn’t always desirable. You’re looking for the ROI sweet spot, so don’t cheap out.

     Don’t just rely on Sponsored Products Ads (if you can help it).

     If you’re a 3P brand-registered seller on Seller Central or you’re a vendor on Vendor Central, you have access to Sponsored Brands Ads (the new version of Headline Search Ads.) This means there’s less competition than there is with Sponsored Products Ads. SBA placement is great for both sales and branding as it can take shoppers to your whole Amazon Store or brand page.

     As Product Display Ads aren’t available within Seller Central (even to brand owners), there is even less competition there since they’re entirely for 1P vendors.

Mix it up and see what works. Just like with stocks, think diversification. Experiment and let the data dictate which kinds of ads are best for your products.

     Run automatic SPA campaigns as well as manual ones. Again, strength in diversity. Sure, with manual campaigns you have more control over Ad Groups and negative keywords, but don’t dismiss auto campaigns as useless. Run them and let the Amazon algorithm work its magic. Additionally, check your auto campaigns and I guarantee that you’ll find that they’ve pulled in keywords you hadn’t considered before (not to mention competitors’ ASINs where you can view their product listings and find even more keywords).

     Go beyond the tools available in Seller Central and Vendor Central. Both of these hubs are essential, but they’re jam-packed and they serve hundreds of purposes and they offer no competitive edge. If you’re serious about Amazon Advertising, you may want to consider hiring an agency or working with an application or platform that is strictly for Amazon Advertising.

Finally, and most importantly: maintain your edge by always remaining curious and hungry.

Be on the lookout for opportunities, no matter how small. Leverage them to switch up your ad campaigns from those of your competitors.

These differences add up quickly, and they’re exactly what will help you win more top spots that lead to winning sales, mention brand awareness, and organic ranking.

Be a constant student; never stop learning about advertising. Constantly test and optimize. Read about Amazon PPC, attend webinars, do original research, and stay involved in your campaigns. 

For merchants who want to drive revenue and build a brand, Amazon Advertising is not a set-it-and-forget-it sort of thing. Treat Amazon Advertising like you treat your product listings, and never stop optimizing and looking for opportunities.

Amazon Advertising is a necessary aspect of selling on Amazon, especially if you are serious about growing your revenue through the marketplace.