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Amazon Sponsored Products is an ongoing, uphill struggle for me.  I use it in all the marketplaces I sell in and some are always doing well, while others are not. If it works, it’s fantastic and can really give your products more visibility.  If it’s not working, it’s money down the drain.

There are loads of tools and resources out there – some free, some paid for – to help you optimise your campaigns.  I saw a free, two-week trial for PPC Entourage advertised at the beginning of the year and decided to give it a go.

First impressions

When I first logged in, I looked around and thought it looked a bit complicated. So I decided to do the fundamentals course that they suggest, to help you use the system.

TIP: If you decide to do this, do the training BEFORE starting your free trial.  This will save you loads of time!

The course was long and, in some places, a little tedious. Yes, it did show me how to use the system, but I am sure it could have been done in a simpler way (i.e. a simple ‘how to’ step-by-step document).  This is a full-on course with videos to watch and a quiz to take to get to the next section.  It actually took me almost the entire two weeks to complete and I’m not sure if was worth the time!

There’s also a Blueprint series you can follow, but I found this even more confusing!

PPC Entourage features

In fairness, there are some useful features included, plus a Facebook group you can join to ask any questions you have.

New bid tells you if you are bidding too high on a certain keyword and suggests what you should be bidding.  My issue with this is, if you set your bid to 0.02 (as they often suggested) you wouldn’t get any impressions for that keyword at all.  If it was proving that unpopular, surely you would be better to just delete it.

I prefer to use the strategy of over-bidding on my keywords – as it doesn’t really matter what you bid – you will only pay a penny more than the next highest bidder – not necessarily your top bid price.

I liked the keyword planner tool as a way of finding new keywords that you’re not currently using anywhere else.  Particularly long-tail keywords, that others might not be using.

TIP: here are free keyword tools you can use for this too.  Google adwords and Keyword Inspector are two that I use.

You can also see the search terms people are using that trigger your keywords and add any irrelevant ones as negative to your campaigns, from inside PPC Entourage.  For example, a search for ‘bamboo bowl’ might bring up bamboo muslins – which is unlikely to result in a sale.  This was probably my favourite feature.

Is it worth it?

In my opinion, probably not.  If you have a high number of ASINs and/or campaigns it might be worth a try – but you can do a lot of this manually by downloading your advertising reports and applying a few filters. (I’ll do a post on this.)  Yes, this takes time, so it is probably a balance, depending on where you feel your time and money is best spent.

TIP: If you do the trial and decide to cancel, do this BEFORE it runs out.  You get charged on the day it expires and once, you cancel, your access is immediately restricted.  (I had assumed I’d still get to use it for the remainder of the month I’d just paid for.)

Unfortunately, I wasn’t expecting my access to be restricted before I finished the post, which is why I’m unable to include any screenshots!

As I said above, there are plenty of resources out there, so I might well try another one and report back. Do you have any suggestions?