Amazon is quickly becoming an essential part of the dropshipping toolkit. More than half of all Amazon sales come from third-party sellers, while 34% of sales are fulfilled by drop shippers. And beyond Amazon, 23% of all online sales around the world were fulfilled through a dropshipping model.
There’s a lot of validity to dropshipping on Amazon, especially when combined with a gargantuan platform like Amazon. Of course, this also means there’s plenty of competition for sellers to overcome if they want to capitalize on a captive, millions-strong audience. To do this, many drop shippers run PPC (pay per click) ads to get their products in front of people who are actively searching for what they sell.
And you can do it, too!
The pay-per-click advertising model is a part of Amazon’s native ad system. With Amazon PPC ads, sellers only pay for an ad when someone clicks on it. Sellers on Amazon can create ads using targeted keywords. These ads will appear in shoppers’ search results when they search for a relevant term on Amazon.
If a user clicks the ad, the seller is charged a small fee for their ad. This can be a highly effective way to increase sales since you only pay when your ad is clicked. It stands to reason that only people who are interested in your product will click on your ads, so you’re not wasting your ad budget on mass audiences who might have no interest in what you sell.
That said, running a successful PPC ad campaign on Amazon is more likely when it’s supported by a strategy. Let’s look at some best practices you can use to leverage the benefits of Amazon PPC without spending more than you need to:
Negative targetings, also called negative keywords, can impact your ad campaign outcomes. Unlike regular keywords, these keywords are terms that you don’t want to bid on. This way, when a negative keyword shows up in a user’s search, your ad won’t appear.
You can input negative keywords by going to Campaign Manager in the Advertising menu in Seller Central.
The reason you want to specify negative keywords is so that your products will only appear in the most relevant searches. For example, let’s say you are selling birdhouses that are already built. But there’s a chance that you might show up in a search for “birdhouse kits.” In this case, you can make “birdhouse kit” a negative keyword so that your ad doesn’t appear in that search.
Not specifying negative keywords can have a few detrimental effects:
First, you risk wasting your ad spend to put your ads in front of users that won’t actually buy from you.
Also, having people click on an ad that won’t meet their needs can lower your conversion rate, which might affect your placement in Amazon’s rankings.
How do you choose negative keywords to target? There are a couple of ways to go about this.
First, brainstorm any irrelevant crossovers and make a list. There’s not really a lot of science to this — more like trial and error. For example, if you are selling fine leather shoes, then you will want to rule out other types of shoes, such as sneakers, running shoes, and flip flops, for example.
Another way to do this is to use keyword tools to get ideas on keywords and create broad match keyword campaigns. Then, use your data to see which searches you actually show up in. Anything irrelevant will be your biggest threat and should be included in your negative targeting.
Popular SEO tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, and Ahrefs offer insight into the keywords your website ranks for. But did you know there are keyword tools that are purpose-built for Amazon product listings?
Helium10, Jungle Scout, and Keywordtool.io all focus on Amazon product listings to help you choose the right keywords to include in your PPC ads. Each of these tools scrapes large amounts of data directly from Amazon to see what people are searching for. This can be a huge timesaver for you and take a lot of the guesswork out of ad creation.
But there’s a catch: these keyword tools are not perfect. If you use a tool, look through the list of keyword suggestions and there’s a huge chance you’ll find some that just aren’t relevant. Don’t just copy and paste your keyword tool’s suggestions into your PPC ad campaigns. Even if those terms have a very high search volume, you might still be wasting your ad spend if they have nothing to do with your product.
Many sellers take the lazy way out of targeting their search and stop at the category level. This essentially means you are only targeting search terms that match the entire category, not necessarily the products you’re selling.
A better approach, of course, is to get more granular in your target and take it to the product level. Targeting searches by the product is an easy way to gain more sales, steal market share from your competitors, and avoid wasting ad dollars.
Should you bid on your own brand name? It’s an age-old question about PPCs and Amazon Sellers, and the answer is always yes — even if your brand is fairly new and unknown.
Bidding on a brand name has become one of the biggest flexes in PPC advertising. Many brands use this strategy to get in front of a competitor’s audience, and it works like a charm. Not bidding on your own name makes it available to your competitors at a potentially low price, and gives them the chance to steal your traffic.
Plus, bidding on your brand name can be helpful for research purposes. Every time someone searches for your brand or clicks on your ad, it generates data that you can use to improve future campaigns, as well as to measure brand growth and reach.
When you do start bidding on your brand terms, do so aggressively. It forces your competitors to either spend more to win the bid (which is good news for you if they’re having to spend more on ads!) or avoid bidding on your brand name altogether.
If you like the idea of putting your Amazon PPC management on autopilot, you’ll love having the ability to run automated campaigns. With an automatic campaign, Amazon decides when to display your ads based on keywords in your product listing.
These are extremely easy to set up, especially if you are brand new to Amazon PPC. Plus, you can skip the traditional hassles of doing keyword research and keyword bidding. Or to put it another way, your campaign is not limited by keywords, but rather by the information displayed in your product listing.
What’s more, you can use the data from your auto campaigns to identify long-tail keywords that you can use in future campaigns. These are often hard to identify even with sophisticated keyword tools. Use the keywords you discover to fuel your manual campaigns, and use your auto campaign performance as a benchmark to show how much your manual campaigns are improving.
Keep your auto campaigns running for as long as possible. The algorithm gets smarter over time, delivering more value to you the longer it runs.
Auto campaigns offer another advantage over manual campaigns — the ability to appear on other listings. If you appear on a competitor’s listing and end up getting the sale, there’s a good chance you will outrank that competitor moving forward.
There’s one way to tell whether your ad is truly as good as it gets, and that’s to test it against other forms of that same ad. A/B testing is a must when it comes to Amazon PPC performance.
You don’t want “good results: you want the “best results possible.” A/B testing helps you optimize your click-through rate and conversions by testing various elements of your ad to see what gets the most action. This might be testing two different headlines, two keywords, or even two images and leaving everything else the same. Pay close attention to how your clicks and conversions change between ad versions.
The more you can increase your conversions, the more your rankings will improve. Impressions will naturally increase with rankings, and you may eventually rely less on paid ads and more on organic traffic.
As you A/B test different PPC ads, try to look for common denominators in why a certain ad performed better than another. Use these insights to improve your future ads so you can start creating strong ads from the start.
At Doba, we’re here to help you win on Amazon by connecting you with quality dropshipping products. Learn more with a free 30-day trial today!