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For the past few weeks I’ve been trialing / messing around with Amazon Sponsored Products, with the aim of driving more traffic to my product page.  Amazon are currently offering £20 of free clicks (per marketplace), so it seemed like a good time to give it a go.

This used to be called Amazon Pay-Per-Click and, despite the name change, I believe it still works in pretty much the same way.  You ‘bid’ on keywords related to your product, if someone types in that word and you have the top bid your product is shown at the top of the results.  If the customer then clicks on your listing, you pay the ‘per click’ fee, which will be up to your maximum bid (depending what others set as their bids for the same keywords).

If you want to try for yourself, you can find it under Campaign Manager in the Advertising menu. It’s very simple to set up a campaign.  You just choose from a few options, depending how you want it to run.

Campaign set up

The main thing to think about is the keywords.  You can decide whether these are ‘automatic’ or ‘manual’.  

Automatic means that Amazon decides which keywords (things people type into the search box) should bring up your ad, based on the information in your product listing, and you bid a set fee for all of them.

Manual means you give Amazon a list of the keywords you want to bid on and decide how much you’ll bid for each.  (They give you a big list of suggestions to get you started – but some are pretty random, so you’ll want to at least go through them.)

You then decide how much you want to pay per click (if a manual campaign you can assign a different amount per keyword, if you choose) and how much you want to cap your spending at per day (assuming you get lots of clicks).  

Check your stats

Once you’ve set everything up, you can access stats to measure how your campaigns are doing and tweak if necessary.  For the first week I ran an automatic campaign. I then looked at which keywords got the most impressions and used the data to set up a manual campaign to run alongside it.

Here’s a few things I’ve learnt so far:

  • The automatic campaign had way more impressions, but a similar amount of clicks to the manual campaign.  Interestingly though, the ACOS (actual cost of sales) was lower (which is a good thing) for the automatic campaign.  So, similar clicks, but more impressions (times your product is shown), plus more sales made it clear to me which one I should be running with.
  • The amount you cap you set as your daily budget has no impact (that I can see, anyway) on the amount of impressions, views or sales that you get.  One of my markets often goes out of budget (so they stop showing my ad for the rest of that day), but my ACOS is pretty high – i.e. I might be getting lots of clicks, but I don’t want to pay for more if they’re not converting to sales.
  • You’re given a suggestion of what the winning bid would be for your category (i.e. Baby was mine), which I went with initially.  After a few days of very few clicks I took a look into the stats to find out what the current winning bids were per keyword and found I was way off.  I needed to increase my bid by a fair bit to stand a chance.  You can see what the actual winning bids are per keyword for a manual campaign (click on the number shown under keywords in campaign view), or you can go into your ‘estimated page 1 bid’ report – which you’ll find under advertising reports)

In conclusion

So, is it worth the money?  I suppose time will tell, as I’ve only been using it a few weeks.  However, since I’ve started, sales have increased across all European markets.  I even began making sales in a market where I had none at all prior to this.  The increased ‘impressions’ means I know people are seeing my product at least – but does lead me to wonder why they’re not always clicking on it.  Optimising my listing is probably the next thing to look at.

Of course, it could also be it just wasn’t what they were looking for.  You can bring up a search time report (again, under advertising reports) to see what terms people entered for Amazon to show your listing.  I saw a few random ones for mine including ‘blanket box’, ‘large gift box’ and ‘bamboo wool’.  Someone looking for a blanket box probably isn’t in the market for large swaddles, although this accounted for quite a few of my overall impressions.

I guess, while the system isn’t perfect, I think with some trial and error and a bit of research, I can make it work for me.  My main advice if you fancy giving it a go, is to change one thing at a time and give everything at least a few days (preferably a week) to see results.  I’ll be continuing to tweak my campaigns and will let you know the results!