Expert Q&A: Amazon Sponsored Products, Part I

April 21, 2016

Marketplaces ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Back in March, we hosted a webinar with Amazon called Advertising on Amazon: How to Get Ahead with Sponsored Products. The webinar outlined the Sponsored Products program and offered up strategies for how retailers and branded manufacturers could give their Amazon listings that much-needed boost.

The response from attendees was great, but many of you still had questions.

With the help of our internal experts, we’re publishing the answers to your questions in a two-part blog series.

Q: Are Sponsored Products helpful if you’re the only seller for your ASINs?

A: Yes. You must have the Buy Box to win the bid. And if you’re the only seller, you’ll always have the Buy Box. Sponsored Products will help boost the ranking of your items by allowing you to bid on search terms that give you placement on the first search page on Amazon. Over time this visibility will drive traffic to those items, increasing the overall rank of your listing.

Q: What’s the difference between ads and impressions?

A: An impression is each time your ad is viewed. For Sponsored Products, the ad is the product listing that’s being promoted.

Q: What are negative keywords?

A: Negative keywords prevent your ad from displaying for particular keyword phrases. For example, if you sell athletic shoes, you may want to add “dress shoes” as a negative keyword, since the person searching for dress shoes isn’t likely to buy athletic shoes.

Q: Do you have any advice on how to structure ad groups?

A: A best practice is to build your campaign structure/ad group structure so it follows the structure of your website. Ad groups should keep tightly themed categories.

Q: Any rule of thumb for setting a daily budget?

A: Start small. You can always add to your daily budget if you keep running out of money. This will allow you to control ad spend and ensure you’re seeing results as you spend.

Q: Can I advertise in Canada or the UK if I only have a US account?

A: No. You would need to have an account in the locale you want to advertise in.

Q: How can we get approved for gated categories such as Jewelry (assuming we have already been approved to sell in that category)?

A: You should reach out to Amazon Seller Support directly to get approval for gated categories.

Q: How do you identify better keywords? Is it best to begin with automatic campaigns, then change to manual campaigns after running a report?

A: Yes, that’s a recommended strategy if you’re new to Sponsored Products or don’t know where to start. Automatic campaigns will give you a good sense of how keywords are performing, as well as opportunities to add some negative search terms.

Q: I started an automatic campaign for a single product, but I don’t see any impressions yet. Is the fact that it’s only one product the reason it’s not getting any impressions? How many products do you need to have for your ad to be shown?

A: All you need is one product. If you’re still not seeing any impressions, we suggest: 1) Bid up — Your bid could be too low to compete with other keywords/advertisers, or 2) Check that there are no errors on Seller Central in this campaign.

Q: If a product is not Buy Box eligible, will you be able to bid on it? Or does Amazon pause it automatically?

A: Advertisements are run only for products that have the Buy Box. The Sponsored Products program gives more visibility to products that do have the Buy Box to help you convert on those products more often.

Q: If we currently use Sponsored Products and import them to ChannelAdvisor, are they still visible in Seller Central, and can they be updated there as well?

A: Yes. You can manage them through either interface, but the campaigns are synced only once daily. We recommend making all changes in ChannelAdvisor.

Q: It was stated that we would pay Amazon for each click. What would prevent a competitor of ours from repeatedly clicking on the ad, knowing that we would have to pay for each click?

A: Amazon has tools in place to identify and remove any fraudulent clicks.

Q: One issue I’ve seen with automatic targeting campaigns is that the search queries that my ads are showing up for include ASINs that aren’t relevant to the product I’m sponsoring.

A: In these instances, we recommend switching to a manual targeting campaign where the keywords that are getting the best conversion and are most relevant to your products are shown. This way, you you’re using only keywords that accurately reflect the products that you’re selling.

Q: When is a sale attributed to a Sponsored Product listing? Is it only when the customer buys the product during their current session? Or does the timeframe for attribution extend out for a period of minutes, hours, days, etc.?

A: Attribution is an order that takes place within seven days of a click.

Q: We used Sponsored Products, but the click rate is very low. How can we increase the click rate?

A: If you would like to increase clicks, you should start by increasing your bids. You may also want to add additional keywords and bid on those. Both of these efforts will help increase traffic, which can lead to more clicks.

Q: What should you know when switching from automatic to manual targeting?

A: We like to think of the automatic targeting feature as a good way to “harvest” your keywords. Once you get a good idea of what keywords are triggering your ads and how they’re performing, move those high performing keywords into their own manually targeted campaign. You’ll be able to manage your bids more closely and have much more flexibility.

Want more? Listen to the webinar again, and be on the lookout for Part 2 of this Q&A series next week.