In mid-November, Amazon rolled out a new pay-per-click feature called “Amazon Product Targeting PPC” or "Amazon PPC Targeting". This new feature, which is still in beta testing, allows Vendors to target customers by specific products and categories – not just by keywords. With this update, Amazon has given advertisers greater control over the ways in which they reach shoppers.
Existing PPC Features
Prior to November, Sponsored Product campaigns offered advertisers two targeting options:
1. Automatic Targeting
Automatic targeting uses Amazon’s A9 algorithm to do most of the heavy lifting for advertisers. The seller sets a daily budget for the entire campaign, and A9 crawls the seller’s bullet points, title and alt text to determine where the listing should appear based on relevancy and SEO.
2. Manual Targeting
Manual targeting gives advertisers much greater control than automatic targeting, allowing them to choose which specific keywords they want to target and setting custom bids for each keyword. The seller enters their desired broad, phrase or exact match keywords and the listing is displayed according to the selected keyword category.
Newly Available Features | Amazon Product Targeting PPC
With Amazon’s recent PPC updates, sellers can continue to use automatic and manual targeting as they have before. The difference comes with the launch of two new features:
These features allow sellers to fine-tune the ways in which their targeted ads are displayed to shoppers. Now, sellers can directly link their Sponsored Ads to products that are similar to their own brand or ASINs. This Amazon PPC Targeting enhancement is especially valuable for smaller sellers or those who offer specific niche products.
Manual Targeting By Product
In the past, manual targeting has restricted advertisers to targeting Sponsored Ads by keywords. With Amazon Product Targeting PPC, sellers can now effectively target their ads by single ASINs or categories, as well. Not only that, but sellers can further refine their targeting criteria by brand, star reviews and/or price.
How To Get Started with Amazon PPC Targeting
It’s important to note that Product Targeting cannot be added to an existing Sponsored Products campaign. So in order to target your ads by product, you must create a new campaign. To get started, begin like you would any new campaign:
Create a new Sponsored Products campaign
Choose a descriptive name for your campaign so you can easily identify it later
Set your start date, end date and daily budget
Choose Manual Targeting from the targeting options
Name your ad group and choose the products you’d like to advertise
Choose your bidding strategy
Select Product Targeting from the targeting option
Here’s where things start to change. After selecting Product Targeting, you will see two new ways to target – by category or by ASIN. Product Targeting allows you to target both categories and ASINs within the same ad group.
Target by Category
To target by category, search for a category that is similar to your advertised product. You can choose from the categories Amazon suggests for you, or you can search among Amazon’s categories yourself.
Once you decide on a category, you can either ad the entire category to your target or you can get extremely granular and target specific subcategories. You can even refine the category by brand, price and star reviews.
Target by Product
In addition to category targeting, you can target your Sponsored Products by specific ASINs. Once again, you have the option to choose from Amazon’s suggested ASINs, or you can search for products yourself.
If you choose to search for ASINs, start by searching for top-selling products that are similar to yours. For example, if the product you are advertising is a children’s backpack, then search Amazon for children’s backpacks. Locate the top-selling backpack and add that ASIN to your Product Targeting campaign. It’s as simple as that.
Regardless of the strategy you take, we recommend you choose ASINs that are closely related to your advertised product. This will get your Sponsored Products in front of the most relevant consumers and greatly increase your chances of conversion.
Negative Product Targeting
On the flipside of product targeting is negative product targeting. This advanced strategy prevents your ads from displaying in specific search results or product detail pages. While this can be a good way to keep your product from popping up among irrelevant products, we always like to recommend that you start by lowing your bid for undesirable brands or ASINs before excluding them all together.
Launch and Review
After you’ve chosen the categories, products and negative products you wish to target, you are ready to go ahead and launch your campaign. Within 12 hours, you can start reviewing the performance of your Product Targeting campaign in Campaign Manager.
While it may be tempting to make quick assessments about the success or failure of your campaign, we recommend waiting at least one week to collect enough data before many any changes.
New Automatic Targeting Campaign Management Controls
While the majority of Amazon’s updates have been made on the manual targeting side, new management controls have enhanced automatic targeting campaigns as well. Amazon will continue to automatically target seller’s ads based on keyword and product searches, but now will allow sellers to adjust these targeting defaults within Campaign Manager to meet their unique performance needs.
How To Use Automatic Targeting Management Controls
To adjust your targeting defaults, click one of the ad groups within your autotargeting campaigns and find the tab labeled “Targeting.” With new automatic targeting controls, Amazon will continue to automatically target your ads based on keywords and products, but will now allow you to adjust the autotargeting default bids up or down or turn the defaults on or off. There are four target defaults which sellers can now control:
Loose and close match defaults are keyword-based targets and match for keywords that are closely or loosely related to your ad. Substitutes and complements are product-based targets and match for ASINs that are substitutes or complements to your ad.
With Amazon’s Product Targeting update, you have the freedom to adjust your bids for these four categories however you see fit. Similar to our approach to negative product targeting, we always recommend that you lower the bid for an underperforming target default before turning it off altogether.
New Marketing Strategies
With these new targeting features, come new marketing strategies. We’ll discuss each in detail below, but for now, here is a quick snapshot:
- Keyword-free targeting
- Amazon product discovery
- Target your own products
- Promoting your complementary products
- Campaign streamlining
Amazon Product Discovery
Prior to Product Targeting, Sponsored Product ads were completely reliant on keywords. This means you either had to rely on Amazon’s automatic targeting to choose relevant keywords on your behalf or conduct your own keyword research – a task that is both daunting and time-consuming for many sellers. Now, sellers can create fully-functioning Sponsored Product campaigns by targeting brands, products and categories without ever having to worry about keywords.
Product Targeting intermingles similar products in a way that Amazon has never done before. By allowing sellers to directly target their ads at and appear alongside competitor products, Amazon has created a whole new world of product discovery for its shoppers. Targeting relevant categories allows sellers to increase brand awareness and shoppers to explore a wider array of relevant products.
Target Your Own Products
Promote Complementary Products
Once you have a consumer looking at your products, you want them to stay there. You can accomplish just that by bidding heavily on your own products. If you refine your ads to target your own products and category you can hold onto shoppers by directing them from your own ASIN to ASIN – and keep competitors off your page.
You can upsell customers and increase sales of your entire portfolio by using the target-yourself-strategy mention above to promote complementary products. Say your company offers both cell phones and decorative cases. Bid heavily on your cell phones and drive shoppers from that listing to your decorative cases.
With careful testing and learning, you can use a combination of traditional keyword targeting and Product Targeting to streamline your campaigns. With the launch of Product Targeting, Amazon’s “Keyword Report” – now called the “Targeting Report” – has been extended to include data from both targeted categories and products, in addition to keywords. This means that you can use cross-factor analysis to determine which targeting segments are the most effective.
Once you know the best performing combination of keyword and product page targeting, you can better maximize efficiencies and get the most out of your Sponsored Product Ads.
Get Started with Amazon PPC Targeting
These enhanced PPC features open up an exciting new world for Amazon sellers. One in which targeting opportunities are broadened and, in many cases, easier to comprehend and execute than the prior keyword-based approach.
If you have further questions or are ready to launch your first Product Targeting campaign, our expert Amazon consultants are standing by to help you get started.