In this week’s RepricerExpress post, we’re going to dive into the world of Amazon Sponsored Product ads, otherwise known as ‘how to get ahead with minimal effort’. If you find your listings continually buried at the bottom, stop banging your head against a wall and preserve those brain cells for reading these top tips instead.
The Skinny on How Sponsored Products Work
If you’re completely unfamiliar with the nuances of different cars, then you’ll likely group them very generally by characteristics like size, shape and colour. The same might go with Amazon and ads, as there’s a difference between Sponsored Products and Amazon product ads. But instead of going over how each one differs, we’re just going to highlight the sheer awesomeness of Sponsored Product ads.
For starters, it’s a fairly new-ish program (c. 2012) that’s been updated recently to include Campaign Manager features that allow you to do things like automatically target, find your way around Seller Central more easily and show up more prominently on its search and product pages. But perhaps its biggest selling point is that if your product is eligible for the Buy Box and you invest in a cost-per-click fee, you get to rank higher — and we all know that more visibility tends to go hand-in-hand with more sales.
So, to put it simply, it works like this: line up a product that’s able to qualify for the Buy Box, pay a fee that’s only deducted if your listing is clicked on, and trial-and-error your way to see how much money spent pays off to nab those sales more quickly than your competition. And as with anything, there are always a few rules to play by.
For Sponsored Products, they are:
- Have a registered Amazon Sponsored Products account that’s in decent shape on the marketplace (i.e. no suspensions or the like).
- Use a legit payment method, so avoid things like bartering with livestock and stick to PayPal, credit cards and anything else accepted by Amazon.
- You can’t trade or sell this offer to anyone else, as it’s only for you to use.
- If you try and use Sponsored Products for nefarious purposes, your magic within it will become null and void.
- Play by Amazon’s rules or else they may put a stop to your use of Sponsored Products.
Set Up and Get Started with Your Amazon Sponsored Product Ads
It’s really straightforward to kick things off, with the special stuff coming when you take things a step further and really specialise to make it work fantastically for yourself. Until then, here’s what you need to know to get started.
Products and Keywords: Because Amazon is essentially a search engine (albeit one that operates differently from Google), you’ll need to do a bit of research to find out which keywords are the most likely to be searched. And because it’s a numbers game, you’ll probably want to stick to products that are pretty popular on Amazon to further increase its visibility. Promoting those niche and unique items is for another post altogether, and especially if you’re just starting out with Sponsored Products.
Search Results: Once you’ve settled on the keywords you’ll be using, the next step is to create the ad and decide how much you want to pay per click. The more you invest, the more prominently your ad tends to be. Once you get that figured out, your ad will pop up in search results when buyers take a look at what’s out there.
Your Page: This is where we think Sponsored Products is really neat because once a buyer clicks on your ad, they’ll be taken directly to where your listing is without passing GO and stopping to collect $200. No middleman, no distractions — just a direct route to your listed offer.
Payment: Okay, maybe this is what we like best about Sponsored Products because it’s just so low-risk, high-reward. You remember how we talked about cost-per-click fees? Well, you can easily see if your ad is working because you’ll pay the fee if it does, and hold onto your money if you don’t. As a side note, there are the regular fees for selling on Amazon and then the fees you pay for Sponsored Products, and the latter will appear on its own invoice so you can keep everything compartmentalised.
Tips and Tricks to Get the Most out of It
After you’ve had a runs at the system, you’ll begin to notice patterns emerge and how to get better at it, and faster. To help speed up the process, here are a few things you should keep in mind.
- Inflate your budget a little higher than you think you should at the beginning, and then adjust it to come down as you go on. Your goal is to sell products, build up positive reviews and generate buzz about your brand, and it’s a helluva lot easier to do if you start off with a bang than trying to tiptoe in.
- There’s a lot of customisation that goes on when it comes to fees for keywords, so what you should aim to do is pay more for the most heavily used keywords and a little less for the less popular ones (i.e. more money for exact keywords, and less money for its describing adjectives, like colours or sizes).
- Make keeping track of your impressions, clicks and money spent part of your daily routine, like something you do whilst enjoying your morning coffee. This is one area of selling on Amazon where changes can happen very rapidly, and you want to keep your finger as close to the pulse as possible. However, as you gain traction, make changes with more time in between so you don’t shake things up too dramatically and lose momentum.
- When you get more impressions, clicks and sales, ease up on the money you bid with for each product. It’s a very fine line between not spending enough and spending needlessly, so when the numbers start to go up, ease off on the spending until you notice it dip again. It’s sort of like maintaining a steady speed on the highways (without cruise control) in heavy traffic.
- Lastly, use Amazon Sponsored Product ads in conjunction with other tools to get the most out of it. This means the usual laundry list of excellent communication and customer support, well-written and photographed listings, aggressively competitive pricing, email marketing campaigns, and everything else it takes to be a superstar seller.
While we can’t do every step for you to get you to the 1% of Amazon sellers, one thing we can definitely take care of is also one of the most time-consuming if you do it manually: repricing. Why sit there and change each product’s price one-by-one when you’ve got an amazing program to do it for you? And why waste any more time when you’ve got 15 free days of use waiting for you?
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