When selling any product or service, it doesn’t matter how great the product is if nobody knows about it.
Marketing is a seller’s way of letting people know what they have on offer as well as keeping in touch with existing clients.
For an Amazon seller, there are many different promotional and marketing tools available which don’t involve expensive advertising.
Amazon marketing services are the easiest and, often the most efficient way for an Amazon seller to reach the right customers.
Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) is a form of PPC (pay per click) advertising for Amazon sellers.
The process works by a seller setting up an advert and targeting customers by age, sex, and location demographics as well as by keyword.
AMS then calculates the charge per ‘click’ which is what you have to pay every time a potential customer clicks onto your advert.
Although you only pay when a customer clicks onto the ad, this does not guarantee a sale as, having clicked through to your page, the customer is then free to decide not to buy your product.
AMS is a useful way for a seller to advertise their product whilst controlling their marketing spend.
There are three advert campaign types for choosing:
- Sponsored Products Ads
- Headline Search Ads
- Product Display Ads
The following is a step by step guide to setting up your AMS:
In order to be able to take advantage of AMS, you’ll need to be either an Amazon vendor or a KDP self-publishing author – if you are neither of these, you’ll need an invitation from a vendor or author giving you permission to run AMS on their behalf.
Step 1: Login to your Amazon Seller Central account. If you don’t have an account, you can set one up HERE. Once logged in, select ‘Campaign Manager’ and then ‘Choose An Ad Campaign Type’ followed by ‘Sponsored Products’.
Step 2: Click onto the products that you wish to advertise via AMS. At this stage, you’ll be asked for the product’s ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) into the search bar.
This is a unique number allocated to each product sold on Amazon and you can find this number on your product’s page, underneath ‘Product Details’.
The ASIN will be a combination of letters and numbers, for example, the ASIN for the novel, Beth Green, is B01M647KDJ.
Once you’ve entered the ASIN, you’ll be presented with options for that number.
Click onto the ‘Add’ button which you’ll find next to the search results, in order to add that product to your campaign.
Step 3: You’ll now need to name your campaign – make sure that you a memorable name as you may need to access this for future campaigns so it’s a good idea to be able to easily identify all of your campaigns.
Step 4: This is probably the most important step of the process as it involves your spend and your target audience.
First, you need to select your daily budget and decide how long you want your campaign to run for. For example, you may want to pay $10 per day for five days.
Step 5: It’s now time to choose between the two types of audience targeting; these are Automatic Targeting which uses Amazon’s algorithm to select keywords and target audiences for you and, Manual Targeting which requires you to choose your own keywords and audience.
For those using AMS Amazon for the first time, Automatic Targeting is a good way of getting to know the process.
Next, you’ll have the option to add further keywords by clicking onto the ‘Add’ button. Type your keyword into the relevant box and then click onto a match.
Step 6: If using Manual Targeting you’ll now need to bid before clicking onto the ‘Add’ button.
Step 7: You’re now ready to launch your AMS campaign. Make sure that you’re happy with all the details and then hit the Launch Campaign button.
You’ll receive an acknowledgment that your campaign is under review and should receive an approval within 24 hours.
If your campaign is declined, follow the instructions given in order to fix the errors and re-submit.
Amazon sellers who are enrolled in Amazon’s Brand Registry have an extra option of Headline Search Ads which are banner adverts that show your product on the top right of the search results.
Amazon Brand Registry customers must choose ‘Headline Search’ from the ‘Choose An Ad Campaign’ option outlined in Step 1.
As with any other method of marketing your products, AMS takes a little getting used to but, to help you on your way, we’ve put together the following tips and hacks to help you get the best results.
Making your product Ad worthy
Before setting up your AMS, make sure that your product page is worth the effort.
No matter how much you invest in your ad spend, it will be ineffective if your product page doesn’t look great.
Make sure that the product page contains lovely clear photographs, concise product descriptions and bullet points listing the product’s features.
The key to keywords
If you’ve decided to go with Manual Targeting, take some time to choose effective keywords.
Concentrate on your brand and product names as well as the names of competing products and complimentary items such as accessories.
It’s fine to use phrases such as ‘Exclusive’ or ‘Save Money’ but, note that your ad will not be approved if it contains terms such as ‘Number 1’ or ‘Best Selling’ as these can be construed as misleading.
Supersizing your selling
If you’re planning on selling a lot of products on Amazon, it may be worth becoming a Vendor Express or Vendor Central seller as this gives you access to the full range of AMS features.
Update: Unfortunately, it is an invite-only program now and the Vendor Express has been shut down by the Amazon.
The first thing to remember about keywords is that you need to be thinking about the words that a shopper might type into a search engine in order to find what they’re looking for.
Many sellers make the mistake of using keywords that nobody is searching for which wastes precious time and money due to zero impressions and sales.
Another common mistake is the use of keywords which are too over-used; if you use the same word or phrase as every other seller, your ad is likely to get lost in the mix.
You can, of course, choose to pick your own keywords from scratch, however, this is an extremely time-consuming task.
Thankfully, there are some great tools out there to help you with choosing your keywords and, we’ve listed our five favorites here:
Use a keyword tool
For self-published authors, KDP rocket is a really helpful tool to help you find Amazon Marketing Services-specific keywords.
The site will help you find over 150 keywords per search in order to maximise your sales and, includes helpful data on other author’s marketing and sales.
KDP Rocket is available as software for PC and Macs and costs $97.
One of the most popular keyword finders online, Sellics helps sellers to improve rankings and, therefore, sales by choosing effective keywords for product pages and AMS ads.
100% online, Sellics is easy to use and costs between $57 and $317 depending on which package is chosen – Sellics does offer new users a free 14-day trial before committing to paid plans.
For those looking for a more basic (and, more importantly, free) way of finding keywords, the Keyword Tool can be really helpful in setting new sellers on the right path.
Simply type in your search word or term to receive keyword suggestions. Although very basic, the Keyword Tool is free to use and can be handy if you’re just getting started.
You may also like: Top 10 Amazon Keyword Tools to Boost Your Amazon Sales.
If you’re determined to find your keywords without using a tool, the following will help you to find the right, AMS-specific keywords:
Search Term Report
Free to access, this report is available from your Amazon seller account as follows: Seller Central – Advertising Reports – Search Term Report.
This report is a great way to get an idea of the search terms that work and, those that don’t.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes
Think about your own internet searches and the words that you use. Chances are that you’ve never searched for a ‘great book’ or a ‘beautiful dress.’
Think about the search words and terms that would lead a customer to your product such as ‘supernatural thriller’ or ‘red velvet evening dress’.
For self- published authors, this free online course is a valuable resource for tips on making the most of your AMS campaigns (this can also be helpful for other kinds of sellers).
Keep an eye on the competition
Unlike some other PPC advertising resources, AMS does allow you to mention competitors and their products in your adverts.
Make a list of your closest competitors and find out which keywords they use to the best effect.
Without being misleading, use big-name competitors in your adverts to help you to ‘piggyback’ onto their advertising.
Know your audience
If you’re using Manual Targeting, do your research first in order to figure out who your target audience is.
This will help you to narrow down the audience demographics and save you money as well as more accurately pinpointing where your sales will come from.
You may also like: How to Build a Powerful Audience with Facebook Ads
For many Amazon sellers, a major stumbling block is knowing how much to bid in order to maximize visibility whilst staying within budget.
AMS works on a cost per click auction bidding system whereby users are bidding on keywords and competing against other advertisers.
This is a tricky one to master and can take some practice to make sure that you’re not spending too much or too little.
The following is a guide to the best strategies to use for AMS:
Be in it to win it
Work out your budget and then, always bid the maximum that you’re willing to pay.
It goes without saying that, just like in a regular auction, the higher your bid, the more likely your chances of winning.
The amount that you bid should be reasonable when measured against the price of your product – for example, you would expect to invest more per click on a $200 camera than you would for a $1 ebook download.
Within a product genre, certain keywords and terms are extremely popular and appear often in searches.
When using popular keywords, be aware that you’ll need to bid more per click in order to be competitive.
Know your own high-value keywords
Regularly download your keyword performance reports in order to find out which of your keywords are the most popular and then increase your bids on those keywords.
A little extra
If you’ve chosen Manual Targeting, switch on Bid+ in order to increase your visibility.
In Bid+ mode, Amazon will automatically increase your bids on certain keywords where appropriate. Note that, Amazon may increase bids up to 50%.
Again, using your keyword performance report, check the Acos column on the right-hand side.
Your Acos is your Advertising Cost Of Sale and, this measures your advertising spend against your sales profit.
Once you’ve identified your high Acos keywords, lower your bids on these and concentrate on keywords that are performing less well.
The key to understanding AMS and, therefore, making it work for you is to remember to constantly monitor the performance of your keywords and to periodically add to and update them.
As with anything, AMS evolves and fluctuates so get into the habit of regularly studying your reports and use your tools to find the best possible keywords for your product.