Discovering New Keywords for your Amazon Ads
Amazon Advertising Series (Part 2)
Welcome back to our Amazon Advertising series. This four-part blog series will illustrate a data-oriented approach to optimizing your 2019 Amazon Ads. Through this series, we will help answer the following questions (amongst others):
- How do you know that the campaigns you are running are successful?
- How will you deploy your 2019 ad budget?
- What keywords do you allocate ad spend on?
Discovering Keywords to Build Campaigns
In our last post we reviewed the changes that Amazon made in 2018 to its advertising platform and looked at some of the predictions for Amazon Advertising in 2019. In this post we will look into keywords - which new keywords do I want to add to a campaign and what are some ways to find them?
First, let's take a look at the different data sources you can access to help with keyword discovery.
Search Terms Report
You may already be familiar with the search terms report that you can download from Amazon Advertising. The report is straightforward but powerful. It tells you which keywords you are bidding on, your CPC bid, the match type, your spend, and how many sales this keyword is generating. But more importantly, it shows you actual customer search queries and which keywords they matched to. We've included an example below (populated with fake data).
This is an excellent way to flesh out your long-tailed keyword strategy as customers can get very specific with their searches. For those running auto-campaigns, the search terms report is a simple way to continually discover new keywords.
Our recommendation is to download this report regularly to capture any new terms and to also understand which keywords to prioritize. You'll have to do this manually if you're not using an automated platform so don't forget to set reminders as the report expires after 60 days. If you're using Ad Station, however, you can view this information interactively via the dashboard or have the entire report emailed to you automatically every week.
While the search terms report is pretty useful, it's not perfect. First it assumes that you're already running some sort of campaign. Second, depending on your match type, there may be search queries that don't match to the keywords you are bidding on. This may even be true for auto-campaigns. For example, perhaps shoppers are trying to find your items through more category-based searches (e.g., "gift for toddlers"). Depending on your keywords and product description, your items may not appear for those terms even if it would be a good fit. In this case, it's time to fill in the gaps by looking at your reviews.
Using your Reviews to Generate Keywords
Reviews are a great source for new keywords because they give you direct insight into how customers describe your product. For example, if you notice that shoppers are frequently using the words "gift" and "toddler" in the positive reviews, it may be in indication that you should test that phrase in your next campaign. As a bonus, you may learn quite a few things by reading through your negative reviews. It's something that we recommend brands do regularly to stay on top of product issues.
Actually extracting these keywords can be tricky depending on your overall review volume. Once you have hundreds (or thousands) of reviews across multiple products, you'll most likely want to find an automated solution (like Reviewbox) to help both collect and analyze those reviews. Here's an example we ran using the reviews from some popular pet products:
- cleaning litter box
- german shepherd
- clumping litter
- weather stripping
- power outages
- small dog
The results aren't perfect (it is an automated technique after all), so you'll want to curate the results before popping them into a campaign.
Once you've identified new keywords, we highly recommend using Searchbox to track how competitive the keyword is (both organically and sponsored). Below is a screenshot showing all the products that are ranking for a specific product and how those ranks are changing over time.
The ideal situation is to identify a keyword that has very few relevant competitors. Even after creating your ad campaigns, you'll want to keep most of these terms loaded into Searchbox. It will help identify new brand competitors and also help track how well your organic rank changes as you run your ads. At some point the goal is that your organic rankings will naturally increase the longer your ads run.
Selecting and curating keywords is an important piece of creating and maintaining successful Amazon Ad campaigns. Two areas where you can continually mine new keyword data include:
- The search terms report from Amazon Ads
- Commonly used phrases from product reviews
While this information can be obtained manually, most brands will want to find an automated approach as the complexity of their ads and product portfolio increases. After identifying keywords, we recommend that brands continually track these keywords to:
- Identify new brand competitors (organic and sponsored)
- Identify opportunities to reduce ad spend
- Track organic SERP movement relative to ad spend
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