Consumers searching on Amazon increasingly see nothing but ads above the fold, making advertising strategy increasingly crucial. Search ads work differently on Amazon than on Google. Here are five tips for winning the Amazon advertising competition.

Trevor George, founder and CEO, Blue Wheel Media

Trevor George, founder and CEO, Blue Wheel Media

Competition on Amazon isn’t just stiff—it’s complex. If a brand doesn’t use the best keyword and auto-bidding strategy, that brand will either never show up for important searches or pay too much for clicks on irrelevant queries, both of which waste ad spend.

Amazon is leveraging what no other ad platform has: billions of purchase data points. AdAge reports that Amazon’s advertising revenue has eclipsed $2.2 billion and could reach up to $5 billion by the end of the year. And it’s not by accident. Try searching for virtually anything on Amazon—chances are, every product that appears above the fold is a sponsored ad. The future of Amazon is advertising, and if a brand wants to make money now and into the future, it needs to be able to navigate Amazon’s advertising platforms.

Rather than just manage keyword bids and match types, focus on the actual search terms that drive sales.

What Brands Get Wrong on Amazon

By bidding on the wrong keywords and match types, brands promote their pages to people who have no interest in buying. This lowers ROI, increases the average cost of sale (ACoS), and draws unqualified traffic for the wrong keywords.

Most brands are up against better-equipped competitors that can afford to bid on all keyword matches and use auto-bidding technology to change bids on certain keywords in real time via Amazon’s API. Consequently, larger companies gain more relevancy in auctions by using this tactic. Because relevancy is a major factor in determining who wins an ad placement (even more important than the bid amount), spending resources on irrelevant keywords leads to compound losses.

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Without a sophisticated Amazon advertising strategy that scientifically allocates budget to the right keywords, such as search term isolation, lost conversions become the norm. For instance, if a brand bids on the word “T-shirt” but fails to negate the keyword “T-shirt for dogs,” it could spend money on clicks for dog T-shirts, even if that’s not its product. The key to avoiding this money suck is understanding that Amazon’s systems aren’t as robust as Google’s.

Too much spend at the wrong time wastes budget, while too little at the right time sacrifices opportunity for misguided savings. If a brand doesn’t have the technology to automatically harvest keywords in real time and at scale, it’ll never compete with the bigger Amazon players.

5 Ways to Fix Your Amazon Ad Spend Strategy Today

Implement these five tips to stop wasting money on irrelevant searches and get more from your Amazon advertising:

1. Use search term isolation.

Search term isolation redefines how brands can manage their advertising on Amazon. It’s important to note that keywords are different from search terms on Amazon. Keywords are a bucket of search terms, often yielding thousands of results for off-topic items. Rather than just manage keyword bids and match types, focus on the actual search terms that drive sales, isolating them for precision bid management.

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2. Lean on technology to programmatically change bids.
Work with an auto-bidding tool such as Prestozon, SellerLab’s Ignite, or Teikametrics to manage bids and avoid missing impressions for your best keywords. This technology can help you optimize your ACoSand refine your keyword approach.

3. Incorporate negative keywords.
Use the same auto-bidding technology to harvest a search term report and find terms that do not convert. Then, add them as negatives in broader campaigns. This tactic halts spend on clicks that don’t lead to revenue and reduces ACoS, all while reallocating the budget to focus on converting keywords and growing sales.

4. Multiply traffic all at once.
Traffic on Amazon is also different from what’s typical on Google. The more sales per day a product gets, the higher up it climbs in rankings. Drive traffic to your products by using all of Amazon’s ad types, including its DSP platform. In doing so, you can utilize the multiplier effect on your product listings and bestseller rank.

5. Ensure detail page content meets guidelines.

If your product detail pages—including enhanced brand content (EBC) and A+ content—don’t follow Amazon’s best practices for written content, your on-page conversion rates will suffer. When building these pages, use compelling imagery to enhance your conversion rate and avoid heavy text, as it’s not indexed for Amazon’s search. Review Amazon’s rules, and keep every detail page in line to maintain high conversions. But more importantly, do some research on Google and look at your competitors.

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Amazon will continue to invest in its capabilities as an advertiser, which means brands that sell on Amazon must learn the ropes of the game. Use these tips to rethink your strategy and gain an advantage over your keyword competitors.

Besides leading digital marketing agency Blue Wheel Media, Trevor George also is the president of licensing company Trevco, which has in the past two years built its sales on Amazon to more than $20 million.

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