After reading this post and implementing the suggestions, you’ll want to ‘fix’ all of your old AUTO Amazon PPC campaigns too!
The goal is to give you a framework of how auto campaigns should be built out (for a new product), for the best chance to succeed and grow your advertising efforts moving forward.
You will learn;
- When should you use AUTO campaigns?
- What match types to use and why (Yes, there are different ‘match types’ even in AUTO campaigns
- How do I optimize my AUTO Campaigns?
- How much to spend on AUTO campaigns.
Are you ready!?
When should you use AUTO campaigns in Amazon Pay Per Click?
This topic is generally up for debate in the community – I personally believe that AUTO campaigns have a useful part to play in a product’s success throughout almost the entire lifecycle of a product; from inception all the way through to it’s peak sales velocity.
Some people would prefer to NOT start the initial batch of campaigns including AUTO campaigns, and would prefer to wait until you have exhausted the initial keyword research before looking for more search terms from AUTO campaigns.
The argument FOR starting with AUTO campaigns from the start is you are able to get early data from the search terms and product pages Amazon shows you on.
The argument against starting them early on is that Amazon doesn’t yet fully understand what your listing is about, so will show you for irrelevant terms.
The reason I always like to start with AUTO campaigns from the start is that I see it as saving time by grabbing data faster (and time is money!). During the initial few weeks you keep a close eye on the search terms coming in to the campaign and aggressively negate anything that is not relevant. This way you can teach Amazon what you do, and don’t want to show for early on.
To conclude; you can wait until you have exhausted your initial keywords in manual campaigns first, if you have time to burn and are on a super strict budget — or you can start right away with AUTOs and start gathering all that valuable data ASAP.
Top Tip: ALWAYS make sure you are advertising to an ‘ad ready’ listing, that you are confirmed is indexing for your main target keywords. The Amazon crawling robots are super smart, but they do need a little help in understanding what the products are about – so make sure your listing is optimized!
We use HELIUM10 INDEX CHECKER to ensure we are indexing for our main targets
How do I optimize my Automatic PPC Campaigns?
There are two main ways to optimize an AUTO campaign;
- Bid Management
- Search Term Management (Mining and Negation)
Bid management is about assessing the data that you are gathering, and all of the metrics that you can calculate alongside the data (Amazon does a lot of this for you within the ad console).
You use this data and while keeping your goal for this campaign in mind (how to set goals for advertising), you are able to set the appropriate bid higher or lower to influence the performance of different areas.
Search Term Management consists of both ‘Negating’ and ‘Mining’ search terms.
Negating a search term is where you are telling Amazon you do NOT want to show up when a potential customer searches that term. (Tip: until you are extremely comfortable with negating and understand the impact – stick to ‘negative exact match’).
Mining a search term is where you identify a search term that is performing well, and you would like to add that search term to a manual campaign for better control of things like budget/placement/individual bid).
During the first week or two with your new AUTO campaign, you are likely going to need to check the search term reports for these campaigns on a regular basis (try at least every other day), to aggressively negate anything that you feel is irrelevant to the product you are advertising, or anything that isn’t meeting your conversion rate or CTR targets you’re happy with.
What Match Types to Use (and why!)
AUTO campaigns can utilize 4 different match types;
- Close Match (Search Term Based)
- Loose Match (Search Term Based)
- Substitutes (ASIN Based)
- Compliments (ASIN Based)
We like to set up a unique AUTO campaign per match type. So we have the potential to have 4x AUTO campaigns per product we are advertising.
Generally I would start with only CLOSE MATCH and LOOSE MATCH – for the pure reason of looking for close and loose variants of keywords we can potentially add into our manual campaigns for further scaling.
You can then add in to the two other match types when you need to expand on your impressions.
The above is also ranked in terms of expected conversion rate (high to low) – so this will also help you decide your bid hierarchy for these campaigns. Bid highest for the highest expected conversion rate (according to your PPC bid planning calculations).
How much to spend on AUTO campaigns?
Every product/campaign/seller will be in a very different situation here, so instead of a $ amount, let’s talk about it in terms of a % of total ad budget to be allocated to AUTO campaigns.
If you are planning on implementing the strategy of starting with AUTOs – then I would plan on spending at least 50% of your budget on AUTOs for the first few weeks. You can re-assess after 7-10 days to see if that number needs to change (reduce the % of budget if poor performance, and increase if they are crushing it!).
Once you are through the initial teething phase (would plan for 3-6 weeks), I would look to reduce the % of the budget to under 20% – as by this time you should have already plucked out all of the money generating search terms to date, and should be putting the spend towards those by now.
If anything mentioned above doesn’t make sense, check out some other blog posts here about Amazon PPC, or reach out directly via the contact form and I’ll be happy to explain anything further.
Keep on crushing it!