Amazon PPC Tips for Q4 with Sean Smith – Session 025

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Sean Smith is back and really really good. The owner of Jungle Hustle doing Amazon PPC for Sponsored products is here to share the latest Amazon PPC news for Q4 and Amazon 2018. Sean also has a software product called PPC Agility so has lots of testing and data to share.

In the eye of the storm of Amazon Ads in Q4

  • Data from Sept & Oct – sales volume and ACOS was bad
  • A lot harder to manage ACOS for the agency – make bid changes more frequently and run more aggressive tests
  • Sept/Oct is really really tricky to manage
  • They have a client doing $50m in retail and been going a while – they know their seasonality and every year Sept is his worst year
  • FB posts are popping up that sales are down
  • Sean happy to get out of that Sept period – it’s a pain in the butt
  • Clients always want to tweak campaigns rather than deal with the season itself
  • Seasoned business people who have been in ecommerce for a while it’s easier to deal with them, newer sellers worry more about the sales seasonality because they measure things more short-term than seasonally

November on Amazon

  • Preparing Amazon PPC for the holidays Cyber Monday and Black Friday
  • Looking for PPC keywords around black friday, cyber monday, Christmas, etc
  • Some volume for some of the giftable items the clients have can be seen
  • Putting together a plan for capping the daily budget for each account – it goes through the roof on those days so it’s good to cap it as the value isn’t there but it’ll burn a load of money
  • Talking to clients about planning inventory
  • Getting everything ready for Amazon PPC Q4 and planning and communicating to clients

Changes in Amazon Ads November from Oct and Sept

  • New things with client accounts this year are limited
  • We’re keeping it low key before these big shopping days as lots of people are just doing window shopping before the  big spends
  • Flying under the radar but some people are pushing up bids to gain traction before the holidays
  • Sean prefers to go left when everyone is going right
  • Keeping it cashflow positive and profitable for now
  • Don’t want to end up in a race to the bottom situation

People saving buying for later?

  • If people are window shopping now and clicking on ads but not buying but putting them on a wish list for later
  • Could be flagging fraudulent clicks
  • Also, if people are moving from device (mobile with limited ads) to device (desktop) then they may not be seeing all the ads but you may get lots of clicks without sales because of this
  • If you make keyword judgements on this data you may be going wrong
  • Two huge things happened

Fraudulent Clicks refunds

  • Sean’s had emails from three clients with refunds for fraudulent / invalid clicks
  • Sean’s hoping that Amazon will do these fraudulent clicks sweeps every few months to show they are getting better at finding fraudulent clicks

Is the Amazon Right Rail Going Away

  • CPC Strategy wrote a post about the right rail going away
  • Sean’s Amazon Agency Rep said the right rail is being ‘deprecated’
  • Sean checked Dictionary.com to see what ‘deprecated’ means
  • It just means Amazon are not ‘favouring’ it is all
  • It will decrease the impressions you get for an ad and increase the CPC for the ad as there are less spots
  • Sean waiting to see what’s going to happen there
  • Sean looking for confirmation that they are going to get rid of it too – it’ll have a huge impact with reduced spots available
  • Could pump up CPCs if this happens
  • External Traffic will come more into the fore to mix it up

Q4 Aspects

  • Increased clicks are going to come
  • Most people’s strategy is “balls to the wall” and up the bids and panic afterwards
  • Sean’s strategy is to maintain what he does, low key and let everyone else fight it out
  • Focus on a profitable campaign and sustainability then see organics go up

End of Q4

  • How to prepare / adjust Amazon PPC campaigns for Jan/Feb before you go on hols
  • Bulk operations (not with Campaign Manager) you can snapshot and archive your campaigns/bids and save it
  • Then in Jan you upload these back afterwards to bring your bids back down or you’ll lose some money
  • Most accurate way is to use bulk-operations, bring down your current campaign structure and save it in Google Sheets
  • Make your changes to up bids etc
  • Then in Jan just upload your archived campaigns back to replace the changes you’d made

Capping on Inventory

  • Sean had a capping the amount of units you can send in on some accounts in Amazon
  • This affects your inventory planning for Q4
  • Sean’s client has a separate account that he can fire up a new listing on to sell
  • Sean is just going to copy campaigns from one account to another but not sure now how that campaign will work on a different account and listing
  • If people have invested in new products since August and then find they’re capped it’s a real problem
  • Workaround would be to use a friend’s account if you can this would be best
  • You could start another Seller Account under another entity as long as you get user permission from Amazon then just download you campaign data
  • Sean is a big believer in months and date data, Sean’s favourite and uses this data for at least 7 days of data
  • Download it to a spreadsheet and when you have your new account and inventory in it just upload it and everything is replicated
  • Use a Friends’ account, you’ve got seller ratings, account history where as a new account has no data so it’s not an ‘aged’ account but a new dry account
  • Aged accounts are favoured as it has a history

Predictions for 2018 Amazon PPC

  • It’s going to be more competitive than it used to be, especially if they deprecate right rail
  • Bigger brands are going to get favoured as they can pay for the clicks
  • Amazon will continue to consolidate their traffic
  • We need to get good at Conversion Optimisation because if they are consolidating traffic Amazon is going to look for you converting well
  • On the PPC side – focus on conversions because that drives your ACoS down
  • It’s going to get a bit more pricey so go for higher priced SKUs
  • If you have any history on Amazon – calculating your average cost per click over time for your SKUs would be a good practice – that’s data at a asku level and you can pull that by category as well

When Sean audits a new account he needs to know:

  • Average cost per click
  • The price
  • And the  Margins

With these three pieces of data he can go forward with that account

Also, other marketplaces will be big in 2018 – really take a serious look at them as they can be much more immature as platforms and give you a good move to grow in 2018

Contact Sean