For the majority of consumers today, the online shopping journey begins with Amazon. The ever-growing ecommerce platform is the natural starting point for those looking to find a specific product, as well as for those searching for new discoveries. And so it’s not surprising that this is a platform that marketers are really getting excited about.
Amazon’s advertising platform is growing at a rapid rate as businesses shift their approach to ensure they’re engaging with their audience at the start of the purchasing journey. Amazon has made its way up the ranks, and is now the third biggest digital ad platform, coming just behind Google and Facebook. But as with all online marketing channels, there are a few considerations to take into account if you want to derive the most value from the platform. Research suggests that optimisation is one of the biggest challenges facing Amazon advertisers today, affecting around 45% of digital marketers. So, how can you optimise your strategy for improved performance?
Optimising Your Strategy
The obvious answer to the optimisation challenge faced by today’s marketers is to focus on externally optimising ad accounts to drive a strong return on investment. For many brands, this means meticulously visualising and analysing campaign data to ensure that every area of customer-facing content is succeeding in delivering some form of action, whether that’s attracting, engaging, or converting the right people, at the right time. Selecting the right type of ad (there are several to choose from) checking ad copy, and testing bids are all ways to optimise your account at individual campaign level.
What many are overlooking, however, is the importance of other optimisation activities. Generating success from the Amazon ad platform isn’t just about building a strong campaign structure; it’s about building a strong account structure, too. Why is this important? Because it’s reported that 41% of Amazon sellers rate their advertising strategy as weaker than their competitors’ with 51% actively wanting to improve their efforts. Shifting the focus from the campaign side of things to the often overlooked account side of things is perhaps one of the biggest improvements that can be made.
Internal optimisation of your Amazon ads account is about transforming your strategy from the inside out. Rather than focusing on customer-facing aspects, it forces brands to take a closer look at their behind-the-scenes processes and account management capabilities that hold the potential to improve ad performance from the backend. Some of these aspects may be small, or easy to miss, but they can have a significant effect on how well your campaigns perform, and on your Amazon advertising ROI.
Easy Amazon Ad Account Tweaks
One of the reasons that digital marketers are drawn to the Amazon advertising platform is that the system is highly customisable, enabling brands to edit their accounts to create highly tailored campaigns that meet their needs, as well as the needs and expectations of their audience base. There are many different settings that can be tweaked to generate the most powerful campaigns – here are four of the easiest yet most effective ways to edit your Amazon account to drive improved ad performance:
1. Edit Budget Caps
When setting up an ad campaign on Amazon, you’ll need to set a budget cap. This is one of the most beneficial of integrated features on the Amazon ad platform, helping to ensure that marketers remain within budget; an essential aspect to take into consideration especially during times of uncertainty. However, one of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is to approach budget caps as a one-time thing.
Setting an initial budget cap and forgetting about it isn’t going to help brands improve their digital marketing performance. Why? Because while budget caps help advertisers to stick to their budgets, they can also inadvertently prevent high performing campaigns from reaching their full potential. For optimal results, it’s vital to monitor campaigns and reallocate funds (or make more available) to those areas that are bringing the greatest value.
There are two ways to determine the best ways to edit your budget cap. The first way is through analysing profitability at product level by delving deeper into the profit margins of individual SKUs. The second way is to place higher caps on manual campaigns as that will enable you to strategically bid on specific high-converting search terms, rather than relying on Amazon’s automatic campaign option to make the decision for you.
2. Edit Default Settings
All Amazon ad accounts start with a range of default settings that can – but do not have to be – edited by the user. One of these default settings allows brands to place a single ad into any given ad group. However, as many experienced Amazon sellers know, placing multiple ads into an ad group can create a much more manageable and organised account where it’s easier to determine product demand and refine the campaign.
Grouping brings together all similar ASINs to create ad pools that are quick and easy to sort and analyse. And perhaps best of all, by grouping together similar items – whether that’s by product type, by colour, by size, or by any other metric – you can test different ad variations for that group to generate improved engagement with audiences.
However, editing your default settings during the initial account setup isn’t always enough to ensure you’re taking advantage of this innovative and time-saving feature. Amazon’s built-in auto-optimisation rules and the introduction of bulk operations can result in some campaign customisations being returned to default settings without the user noticing. Marketers may not always realise that their settings have been reset, meaning the campaign could be running at a less than optimal level.
3. Edit Duplicate Keywords
If your product range comprises of similar or related products, it’s natural that you’ll have some sort of crossover between keywords for each ad group. However, this can create problems in terms of overall performance. When the same keyword appears across multiple ad groups, Amazon’s complex search algorithm makes it difficult – if not impossible – to determine which ad will be triggered for that particular keyword.
From a campaign management perspective, this is problematic. It skews your figures, generating data which is unable to help you pinpoint exactly which of your listings is performing well or where your traffic is coming from. And to add yet another issue into the mix, with duplicate keywords you’re also competing with your own brand for ad placements which isn’t effective from the cost side of things or in terms of visibility.
The solution to overcoming this obstacle is to edit your Amazon ad account to remove any instance of duplicate keywords across your ad groups. While this may sound like it’s easier said than done, the task can be made a little more straightforward by analysing data generated through Amazon’s Targeting Report. This can highlight duplicate keywords, and help you to identify the best performers, making it simple to remove the poor performing ones.
4. Edit Targeting Parameters
Targeting plays a massive role in Amazon advertising. It enables brands to display ads for their products alongside searches for similar or related products. It’s one of the most valuable tools for boosting brand awareness and increasing familiarity amongst new audiences. It’s also beneficial from a consumer perspective, making it easier for shoppers to locate the most suitable solution for them when searching for products online.
However, targeting isn’t always simple. Amazon’s comprehensive advertising platform allows sellers to set multiple targeting parameters for improved visibility within the highly competitive landscape. This could include anything from audience type to geographic location to device format to search language… and everything in between. There are so many options that marketers can easily lose track of exactly what’s going on.
Once again, targeting options aren’t something that should be set at the time of initial account set up; for best results, targeting options should be checked and tweaked consistently as part of a strategic digital marketing campaign. By ensuring that all parameters remain relevant to your current advertising approach, you can ensure that Amazon’s targeting feature works for you and continues to drive more traffic to your product listings.
Sell More, Spend Less
According to the Amazon Advertising Ascent report, the most common reason for digital marketers to choose Amazon’s advertising platform is campaign performance and return on investment. This was listed as the primary reason for selecting the channel by 17% of marketers questioned. However, many marketers will be failing to experience these benefits without considering not only the nitty gritty of optimising each individual ad campaign, but also working to optimise the structure of their ad account overall.
Overlooking the importance of account optimisation can be a costly mistake. While it may appear that there are an almost unlimited number of settings and customisations available within the Amazon advertising platform, it’s worth taking the time to tweak these settings, monitor them, and adjust them as needed. While it’s true that your backend admin efforts don’t directly affect your audience, they do create strong foundations on which to grow and develop your campaigns for maximum effect.