PPC Roundtable (pt1) with Brian Johnson & Sean Smith

Sean Smith and Brian Johnson come in for a ppc roundtable discussion.


  • A lot of Sellers (new and established) ask do my numbers look right compared to everyone else
  • Am I in the range of expected numbers on my metrics
  • 1st things to look for are click-through and conversion rates
  • Clickthrough rate = How good are the ads getting the shopper from search to my listing (Normal is 0.3% to 1% and above would be great <0.2% is a potential relevance or pricing mismatch )
  • Conversion = getting them from click through to purchase

Check yourself

  • Take the target search term and look at page one results
  • Compare how would my title, price, image and reviews fit in – if you stick out like a sore thumb then you’re going to stick out for buyers too (you don’t belong on that page)
  • You need to get out and have your product in people’s hands and speak to them so your get the human intelligence along with the data intelligence too
  • Sean looks at the business report as well to see how they are doing over all
  • Report on the last 30 days and the number of sessions and unit/session % to see which ones are worth advertising or not
  • Hard to manage a product that does poorly organically or on conversion rates

Categories and choice

  • In baby category are there a lot of window shoppers than buyers
  • lower conversion rate is because the buying process has slowed down
  • Process slows down as there is too much choice
  • Some categories have more of this (size, colour, boys, patterned, etc)
  • Forces the potential buyer to become a window shopper but not on the first visits (hits conversions)
  • Decision fatigue is what it’s called when people struggle to decide between choice
  • Steve jobs would wear the same black top each day
  • The more decisions you make in a day the more fatigued you become as a buyer

Follow the crowd

  • Do I follow my competitor and have variations or
  • Do I go to a completely different product and avoid the fatigue
  • Sean tries not to work with products with multiple variations
  • Sean prefers to work with high velocity products
  • Unit session % are usually lower and so not right for Sean

Investment in Advertising

  • If you give us a product with a $10 price tag and a 5% conversion rate then it makes it harder to get to a good breakeven cost when finding out who the target audience is
  • Your advertising won’t show as good a return on this kind of product as opposed to a high velocity product with a higher price tag and higher conversion rate
  • As an Agency you need to be able to show a return to the client and it’s easier with higher velocity SKUs
  • Easier to work with and a more predictable return
  • If you can’t provide an outcome that is equal to or higher than the fee then it’s not going to fly

Goal Setting

  • If you’ve been banging your head against the wall for 60 days you need to look at your goals
  • Being good and realistic at goal setting
  • What realistically can you do?
  • You can keep testing but you have ti have a destination in mind
  • Look at what’s happened in the last two months


  • Panic without looking at what’s going on seasonally
  • All the main keywords are ranking fine, position is still 1-3 but sales are down and ACoS is going in the wrong direction (as is everyone else)
  • We set new goals for the Summer to work at a new ACoS, or let the market tell us what’s going on
  • Leave everything as is pre-summer and then watch, when things correct we follow suit and correct along with it
  • Sometimes you can confuse seasonality for some of Amazon’s decisions they make on PPC

Slump in Sales

  • Brian put a chart together regarding Google Trends on ecommerce platforms to show the holiday predictable season within the USA (2 yrs old now)
  • Events that happen in holiday seasons:
    • Distracting the Shopper from buying – Holidays, kids on break at Home distracting them
  • Amazon knows of these distractions and flexes their ads and marketing for when they can get their biggest bang for their buck
  • They put Prime Day in July to counter the slump during the worst month of the year
  • Amazon ad network for ad retargeting meant they pulled away from Google ad retargeting and overall sales dropped

Part 2 coming next…

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