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How to Structure Amazon Ad Campaigns to Simplify Management & Increase Profits

Monica Reichert

Amazon advertising can frustrate retail marketers because structuring campaigns is both manual and time-consuming. Retailers need to assign products to ad groups individually or through bulk uploads using Excel spreadsheets. If a retailer makes a mistake during the bulk upload, it is impossible to remove that mistake from the campaign. Instead, retail marketers must archive it and start over.

On top of the clunky interface, many retailers make the mistake of creating overly complex or simplified campaigns. Retailers struggle to gain insight into keyword and product performance because that data is either too narrow or far too broad. That makes meaningful bid adjustments more difficult.

For example, when a campaign has many hyper-targeted ad groups, each ad group only captures a small amount of traffic. The retailer collects very little data, making it challenging to determine if a bid adjustment is warranted. Conversely, broad ad groups with a wide breadth of products and keywords values all traffic the same, leading to high spend on low-quality keywords.

With the right approach to campaign structure, marketers can ensure that this labor-intensive process pays dividends for their business. Using the following method, demonstrated in the example below, retailers will can gain immediate insights about top performing products and keywords and double-down on their bestsellers.

Amazon Campaign Structure

Get Started with Automatic Campaigns

Amazon has two types of campaign formats. One is automatic, which functions similarly to a Google Shopping campaign. Based on product title and information, Amazon automatically matches retailers’ product ads with similar search queries. The other campaign type is manual, which functions like Google paid search and allows retail marketers to bid on keywords through broad, phrase, and exact match types.

Amazon recommends marketers start with automatic campaigns, and run them for at least two weeks in order to collect data on high performing products, popular search queries, and competitive bids. Eventually, this data can inform the bids in retailers’ manual campaigns.

Marketers can think of automatic campaigns as their non-branded or non-trademark campaign. The campaign captures traffic from shoppers who are at the beginning of their shopping journey and are unsure what specific brand they want to purchase. Automatic campaigns ensure that products appear for more general queries, and they can help marketers uncover new, high-traffic keywords in the search query report. Typically, these campaigns are bid lower than campaigns that focus on high-intent or branded queries. Automatic campaigns should include all of a retailers’ products that are eligible for advertising on Amazon.

Create Ad Groups Based on The Highest Level of Categorization

Within the automatic campaign, marketers should first develop ad groups that represent the highest level of product categorization. For example, marketers could create ad groups based on product type, price tier, or brand. It’s important to group together products that will perform similarly in order to set the most appropriate bid.

Retail marketers should consider how consumers search for their products to determine ad group structure. For example, if a marketer knows that consumers will search by brand, it may make sense to put products within the same brand in the same ad group. Alternatively, a retailer may sell products with widely varying price points, such as jewelry. In this instance, the retailer could create ad groups based on different price tiers.

Ad groups may become more targeted as retail marketers gain a better sense of performance and shopper behavior. Starting out, these more general ad groups will help marketers quickly gain data on a wide swath of products.

Use Learnings from Automatic Campaigns to Build Manual Campaigns

Once retail marketers can identify some of their high- and low-performing products as well as consumer search query trends, they can build out a manual campaign. Sidecar recommends creating one manual campaign that is broken into more targeted ad groups with corresponding keywords. Often, manual campaigns operate similarly to branded or high-intent campaigns on Google Shopping, focusing on the keywords and products that drive the greatest return. As a result, a manual campaign will typically have higher bids than the automatic campaign.

For example, an electronics retailer might have an ad group dedicated to its bestselling wireless headphone brand. That ad group will contain the headphone products along with the keywords often associated with that brand. The retailer will bid up the keywords that drive the greatest traffic or conversions. Conversely, it may negate low-performing keywords to avoid wasted spend.

Unlike an automatic campaign, the manual campaign should only contain a portion of the retailer’s catalog. Over time, and as the retailer collects more data in the automatic campaign, it can add more ad groups, products, and keywords to the manual campaign.  

A Full-Funnel Sales Strategy for Amazon

With a single automatic and manual campaign on Amazon, retailers can ensure that their ads appear for broad search queries as well as high-intent or branded queries. This will help retailers map their Amazon ads to every stage of the buying journey, increase exposure, and outperform their competition on the channel.

At the same time, the two-campaign approach simplifies Amazon’s clunky advertising structure. That makes it easier for retailers to spot new search trends and opportunities and determine bid adjustments.

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