Walk Before You Run: 5 Tips for Starting to Advertise on Amazon

admin_fortress | Jun 19, 2019

Published in How To's

Congratulations! You’ve listed your products on the bustling marketplace of Amazon and you’re ready to start taking things up a notch by way of advertising. This step is vital for being successful on the e-commerce giant; it’s objectively the most competitive marketplace out there. According to WebFX, 54% of product searches start on Amazon. Combine that statistic with the millions and millions of products on Amazon, and you’ll quickly figure out that relying on organic ranking isn’t going to get the job done.

If you’re not interested in gaining a fully-aligned Amazon partner like Fortress Brand to manage your advertising, we’d love to pass on some tips for pain points you might face when starting your advertising.

  1. PPC & Content, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Rock & Roll, Fire & Smoke

  2. This may seem obvious to some, but utilizing paid search and elevated content synergistically is vital to positioning your product and brand as the most worthy of a click in the Amazon Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

    If applicable, ask yourself these questions:

    “Why aren’t we ranking? This listing is gorgeous!”

    “Our ACoS is too high! Why aren’t we making profitable sales?”

    To this, I ask:

    What is your campaign structure? Who are you targeting? Does the listing have content that converts? Are the main images descriptive of the product in a concise manner? Are the bullets keyword-packed without being spammy?

    Allocating more time and effort towards product detail page content can not only improve your organic ranking in the long run but also can impact your relevancy to help win bid auctions for super competitive, high priority keywords. After all, if your non-stick frying pan listing doesn’t mention anywhere that the pan is non-stick, do you think you’ll win the bid auction for a “non-stick frying pan” keyword? Nope, didn’t think so.

  3. Consider the Concept of “Retail Readiness” Before You Start Advertising

  4. While many Amazon-centric widgets and software have their own definition of “retail ready”, Amazon’s version includes the following: a clear and concise title, thoughtful bullets, a clear image of the product, stocked inventory, and at least 15 reviews with at least a 3.5 star rating. They recommend not starting your advertising efforts until your products have achieved retail ready status.

    Now, this review/star balance can be hard to achieve if your listing can only be found on the 7th page of the search results. Consider starting with low bid, low budget Sponsored Products campaigns. Don’t expect an explosion in sales, but you can possibly land the sponsored spots on page 2 or 3, and also the top sponsored spots after the competition has hit their advertising budget cap. This will promote your products in a non-aggressive way and can help you get on track to retail readiness.

  5. Your Data Will be Scattered Across Multiple Reports

  6. Okay, buckle in for this part:

    Amazon has a plethora of reports for paid AND overall sales. Navigating these reports properly is vital to analyzing and storing data, and pulling accurate insights for further action.

    After downloading the Sponsored Products Bulk File, you’ll be able to see the impressions, clicks, spend, sales, etc. by targeting type, either keyword or ASIN. Great! Want to know what the customer actually searched for before converting? Time for the Customer Search Term report! But first, make sure you only look at impressions from the Bulk File, as the Search Term report only counts impressions if the ad got a click; you’ll be missing out on thousands of impressions if you only look at the Search Term report. After downloading the Search Term report, you see that a sale is attributed to your ad, but it was another SKU that a customer purchased (the sale/unit will be shown in the Other SKU columns, as opposed to Advertised SKU columns). You won’t find that other purchased product on the Search Term report, but on the Purchased Product report! Here, you can see the advertised ASIN alongside the ASIN they ultimately purchased. However, there is no unifying ID between the Search Term report and Purchased Product report, so you can only assume by the date which ASIN belongs to the anonymous “Other SKU” column. Want more data about your Sponsored Brands ads? Sure! But you won’t even know what a customer searched before clicking on your ad – data is only contributed to the keyword.

    Overwhelmed? Everything’s fine! The purpose of this jargon-loaded blurb is to be prepared to explore Amazon’s reporting capabilities to learn what metrics you’re able to gather and how to gather them. Reporting also changes quite frequently, so keep your eyes open for new data and reorganized reports.

  7. Product Display Ads are Obsolete…Maybe?

  8. Product Display ads were the once genius opportunity to appear right on your competitors’ product detail pages or to up-sell your existing customers on new or complementary products. While not confirmed from, well, anyone, and occasionally making an appearance, Product Display ads have seemingly been phasing out. The space normally reserved for Product Display ads, right below the Buy Box on the product detail page, has been taken over by Amazon’s in-house brands (like Solimo) and what appear to be Amazon DSP offerings.

    The point of addressing this absent ad type is to have you re-evaluate your spend across the other ad mediums. Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands aren’t leaving the Amazon Advertising arsenal any time soon, so consider focusing your budgets into these ad types. This evaluation involves assessing your short and long term advertising goals. If you’re trying to close the deal with bottom-funnel shoppers, Sponsored Products is your best bet. If you’re willing to breakeven by getting your brand or products out there for top-funnel shoppers to find, Sponsored Brands would be the way to go.

  9. Amazon Wants Your Customers

See the above example of Amazon taking over a former frequently utilized ad space and you can infer the tip of the iceberg: Amazon wants to steal your customers’ eyes away from your products, even when the Amazon products are not exact replacements for said products. (see: pedalling Solimo melatonin gummies on the detail page for whey protein powder)

I’ve observed this sabotaging behavior with products primarily in the home, clothing, and wellness categories: a miniature headline at the top, middle, and bottom of product detail pages, a “More From Our Brands” section below related sponsored products, and, their latest addition, a bleak grey frame smack in the middle of the buy-box reading “Similar item to consider” with a replacement Amazon-branded product (this will also feature non-Amazon brands, but I digress).

Alas, there’s not much to be done here. You can’t kick Amazon off your detail pages and they will inevitably continue making cheaper versions of the product you’re selling. That being said, keep your listings optimized, your content genuine, and your products top-notch and irreplaceable, and you’ll be able to compete with the mammoth.

Taking all of this in stride? Awesome!

Overwhelmed by everything you just read? Don’t know where to start? That’s okay, too! Contact Fortress Brand. We’ll get you set up for success with Amazon Advertising.