Optimizing Your PPC Campaigns: 8 Building Blocks for a Strong Foundation

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Optimizing your PPC campaigns starts with having a strong foundation to build upon.

If you don’t have a strong foundation, it’s very difficult to build anything of value. 

This is especially true when it comes to your Amazon advertising campaigns. 

The good news is that you can work on creating a strong foundation at any time without having to tear down the entire structure of your Amazon business.  

This blog will reveal several key areas where you can dial-in the different components for optimizing your Amazon advertising campaigns. These will be the building blocks for creating a strong foundation for your Amazon business as it moves forward.

 

Building Block 1: Campaign Naming Schema (Structure)

One important building block is uniformity in the naming structure of your campaigns. 

Advantages to Using a Naming System For Your Campaigns

  • Keeps things organized
  • Easier to find campaigns later on
  • Easier to know important details (like ACoS percentage) *

* For example, a Discovery-based campaign may have a 70% ACoS target, while a keyword isolation campaign could have a 20% ACoS target. By putting this information into the naming structure of a campaign, you can quickly know important campaign details and whether or not you have achieved them.

Because you may be creating several campaigns, follow these best practices or things will start to get messy really quick.

  • Use naming conventions that make sense to you and allow you to gain quick insights without confusion. Don’t use unfocused, generic labels that will cause you to scratch your head a month later after you have forgotten which products were included in that campaign, like ‘Campaign #1’.  Instead, use a specific naming schema like “BL_Boots_Womens_Hiking” so you can easily identify the purpose and product behind the ad.
  • Product or product category – placing the product or the product category (or both) in the name of your ads will help you identify, sort, and group campaigns. You can name the actual product or add the generic name of the category of products that are being sold. This will save you time when you wish to optimize them or see how they are performing. 
  • Type of campaign – name the type of campaign being launched: Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, or Sponsored Display. This will once again help you to save time when managing and optimizing them. Use acronyms such as SP (Sponsored Products), SB (Sponsored Brands); SD (Sponsored Display). For example, BL_Boots_Womens_Hiking/SP

Naming Structure Examples:

Naming Examples New

Naming Structure When Using Sponsored Products

KW Discovery Campaign: Grillbrush (product identifier) / KW Discovery (campaign name – Keyword Discovery) / 40% (target ACoS) / PPCE (additional identifier detail)

KW Expansion Campaign: Grillbrush (product identifier) / Grill Brush Set (targeted keyword) / 35% (target ACoS) / PPCE (additional identifier detail)

 

Naming Structure When Using Sponsored Brands Ads

Sponsored Brands Ads have multiple components to account for when building a naming structure.

Product Identifier/ Group (names the product group vs. a single product) / MyBrand (campaign name – brand awareness campaign) / ACoS target % / Campaign Identifier (purpose of the ad) / PPCE (additional identifier detail)

While these practices may not help you to convert more sales, they will help you save time when optimizing and analyzing your ads.

 

Building Block 2: Portfolios 

The Advantages of Using Portfolios

  • Helps you to quickly and easily see how one SKU is performing as a whole.
  • Makes it easier to optimize for that SKU using bulk edits.
  • Helps to manage budgets for that SKU.

Portfolios help to make workflows easier to manage and at the same time, give you more insights and more control over your campaigns. 

Portfolios can be used in Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands campaigns to: 

  • Create custom campaign groupings – group campaigns based on ACoS, conversions, category, season, or brand.
  • Control Ad Spend for multiple campaigns – set budgets and increase them as needed, and you no longer have to track and update them individually.
  • Receive alerts – for when budgets are exhausted, or campaign end dates arrive, which helps you save time and money.

 

Building Block #3: Ad Groups (less is more principle)

The Advantages of Using Ad Groups

  • Helps organize based on factors such as match types and SKU variations
  • Helps group ads by brand, product, category, price range, or other classifications like theme or targeting strategy.

Ad groups are used to organize and manage ads within a campaign. Each campaign consists of one or more ad groups. Ad groups are available for Sponsored Products and Sponsored Display campaigns.

Keep in mind when using Ad Groups… 

  • Too many Ad Groups or targets in one campaign may make it difficult to give Amazon specific directions.
  • Optimization by Placements (deep bid ops) can only be done on a campaign level.
  • Bidding Type can only be set on a campaign level.
  • You can add multiple ad groups to your campaigns, but you can choose only one targeting type per ad group (keyword or product targeting).
  • Have no more than 30 targets per campaign
  • Use less ad groups, less targets per campaign, but more campaigns, because this gives you more control over your bidding and clearer directions to Amazon about your bidding strategy
  • Use automation and bulk editing (PPC Entourage’s Bulk Editor feature is ideal for this task) to handle the optimizations.
  • Currently, Ad Groups are NOT available for Sponsored Brands Ads.

Building Block #4: Match Types 

The Advantages of Various Match Types:

  • Broad Match keywords are used to expand your keyword coverage and increase the reach and exposure of your campaigns. 
  • Using Phrase Match can help you reach more online shoppers, while still allowing for optimized targeting. 
  • While it is the most restrictive match type, Exact Match is more relevant to the online shopper’s search and is intended to deliver ads to an extremely targeted set of online shoppers.  

Keyword match types allow sellers to fine-tune which online shopper search queries their ads are eligible to show against.

Considerations when using Match Types…

  • Use Broad Match and Phrase Match for Discovery campaigns.
  • Use Exact Match for highly targeted campaigns
  • Avoid Broad Match/Modified Broad when using Sponsored Brands Ads unless you have deep pockets).

Building Block #5: Utilize a Bidding Strategy

The Advantages of Using the Right Bidding Strategy:

  • This prevents your ad from showing up on irrelevant product searches.
  • Enable greater differentiation and exposure to a larger audience. 
  • With a clearly defined bidding strategy, your ACoS can be closely monitored.

Bidding Types…

Dynamic bids – Down Only: Lowers your bids in real time when your ad may be less likely to convert to a sale. (Recommended and safest setting – especially if your product is brand new.)

Dynamic bids – Up and Down: raises your bid by a maximum of 100% in real time when your ad may be more likely to convert to a sale and lowers your bids when less likely to convert to a sale. Automatic campaigns use this as a default setting. Transition towards this with campaign/ASIN maturity and best sure to TEST.

Fixed bids – uses your exact bid and any manual adjustments you set and won’t change your bids based on likelihood of a sale. (Ideal when starting a launch.)

Starting Bids…

Option 1: Amazon Suggested

  • Based on bids for ads like yours that have won impressions over the past seven days.
  • Products are 56% more likely to get an impression within the first week. 

Suggested bid – suggested bid and bid range are calculated from a group of winning bids for ads that are similar to yours. You can choose to use the suggested bid, or any bid in or outside of the bid range.

The Suggested bid can give beginners insight into what their competition is bidding. Consider your goals for a campaign and use the low end of the suggested bid range to start and then gradual increase your bidding.

Option 2: Use Product Average Cost Per Click (CPC)

If you already know what your average CPC is, use that as a starting point for bidding.

Option 3: Product Average Maximum Cost Per Click

Profit margin + number of clicks to get a sale = maximum that can be spent in order to break even. This can be a starting place for bidding.

Option 4: Low Bid (Low Bid Auto campaigns or Negative Exact campaigns)

Used to generate ‘low-cost visibility’ throughout various locations within the Amazon ecosystem.

Option 5: Ultra Aggressive Bidding

Keep in mind that while you may start off with very aggressive bidding, this does not guarantee that you will receive the desired placement. Visibility/placement is contingent upon a number of factors such as click through rate percentage, ad rank and conversion rate percentage.

Building Block #6: Keyword/ASIN Research

Research by…

  • Sales relevance
  • Search volume
  • Sales
  • Opportunity (can you rank for different keywords)

Amazon keyword/ASIN research is undoubtedly among the most important things for every seller to focus on. One of the most popular strategies for finding Amazon product keywords is the reverse ASIN lookup. It involves taking a competitor’s listing and analyzing it for the top-performing keywords associated with your product.

Take care to go after only those keywords and search queries that are relevant to your products; otherwise, it will, most likely, to lead to low CTR and conversions.

Building Block #7: Listing SEO

If a seller isn’t maximizing the impact of their Amazon SEO, he or she is in danger of losing out on sales. The primary ingredient for success with Amazon SEO is relevancy, and every element on an Amazon product listing helps with relevancy…

  • keywords placed in title, 
  • bullets,
  • description,
  • and backend.

Building Block #8: Negative Words for Shielding

Negative keywords prevent your ads from showing up on the Amazon results page when online shoppers search for those keywords. Negative keywords tell Amazon when you don’t want an ad to show.

Without Negative keywords, it’s possible that your ads may appear for hundreds, if not thousands, of searches that are:

  • irrelevant,
  • unprofitable,
  • have low click-through-rates, 
  • and also have low conversion rates.

 

Side Book TransA meticulously conceived and well executed approach to optimizing your advertising campaigns can place your business on the path to achieving success as an Amazon seller. The key is to think things through and implement – to lay a foundation that can’t be shaken. 

Building a foundation takes time, not to mention experience and know-how. 

The Entourage Playbook Series contains 28 proven-in-the-trenches strategies that will give you a strong foundation to build a profitable business. 

Grab Your Free Copy Today! 

Mike Zagare

Founder, PPC Entourage

Michael Zagare is a serial entrepreneur, a recovering physical therapist, and the founder of PPC Entourage.

Mike has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge in all things Amazon, and loves sharing that knowledge with other sellers to help them take steps towards personal and financial freedom.
Mike Zagare