PPC Roundtable (pt2) with Brian Johnson & Sean Smith

Sean Smith and Brian Johnson come in for part 2 of the ppc roundtable discussion.

  • Use Best seller rank to review your  product position compared to others
  • Are sales dropping but BSR is holding the same?
  • Is my organic keyword ranking holding the same?
  • If so then it’s like a trend / seasonal issue and affecting all
  • And you notice that great seller that you admire and compete with is increasing his BSR and sales bucking the trend
  • Well they are probably using off-Amazon traffic such as email lists, pinterest, instagram, youtube influencers
  • Pulling in outside traffic to supplement the lower Amazon traffic

New Ad Placements – External Ad Network

  • The external ad network for retargeting and external ads driven by Amazon
  • You could opt in through an automatic campaign
  • Brian had ads back in October in the external ad network – these are still running and never turned off
  • Like a gold-panning campaign – bringing in some extra cash but not a magic bullet
  • Amazon recently reintroduced that and it’s still in Beta through sponsored ads automatic campaigns
  • If you are doing it and your competitors are not then you have a slight edge
  • Think they use AAP inventory for advertising
  • The reporting on this is not great (like AMS reporting)
  • Turns all your auto campaigns – see performance in the placement report but gives no insight into what website it was advertised on
  • AAP inventory advertising usually shows which website you got traffic from
  • Amazon should include in the search term report keyword performance on external ads

Headline search Ad new placement

  • Used to be just the top banner along the search results
  • Nov/Dec Amazon introduced 4 new placements (skyscraper ad, three rectangle ads below search results and a couple more on best seller list and other product categories
  • Not the same as product display ads available through AMS
  • These new placements only apply to new ads not your existing ones

Unit Session versus Conversion Rate PPC

  • Unit session % is always higher than your PPC conversion – two to three times
  • Optimising on these platforms – treat those separately
  • Unit Session Business reports – Brian has always been critical
  • ASIN reports showing the sales and order metrics overall and doesn’t separate out
  • A session is a visit to your product listing page (an ad click would produce a session)
  • How come the numbers don’t add up – when we fired ads why did the sessions stay the same?
  • Been raging asa debate for 2-3 years
  • Supposed to include organic and ad driven traffic but wasn’t consistent when ads were turned on and then off
  • A lot of people rely on unit session %

Expansion to an Account

  • What do you look for in terms of growth in an account to see if there’s opportunity to grow
  • Expectations – you must define growth with that person
  • You don’t add any more SKUs as a constraint
  • What levers could you use to grow the account
  • If time is not a key driver
  • Look at unique search terms – what are we not bidding on that we could be
  • This would be unique traffic and higher probability and segment out on the number of conversions
  • This tells us if we can grow the account
  • Established accounts have search term data that can be used and researched to forecast
  • Tricky as to whether you’re going to see the opportunities on the organic side as well

Areas to look at

  • How well have they done their optimisation?
  • Key metrics?
  • What kind of conversion rates are they working with?
  • How are they placed organically for a variety of keywords?
  • How ads have hit their target market (100-200 keywords per product)?
  • Expecting 75-100 of those keywords will get ad clicks
  • Probably 30-50 keywords get conversions
  • Some teach you should have only 50 keywords in a campaign – this is not true!
  • What are 20% of the products that are producing 80% of the Sales – could be a red flag
  • Which products have high conversion rates but not hit their sales potential
  • You could move the needle on 20% of the products and meet the client’s expectations
  • Ideal candidates for showing growth:
    • Someone who will launch more SKUs
    • They have never pulled search terms reports on their account
  • You can do a lot with the ‘Product Performance’  report on variations and sales
  • Use 7 day advertised SKU units when looking at sear-term reports


  • Keyword audit – find out if you’re bidding on the right keywords for the product
  • It’s a really manual process
  • There’s no historical data to show the success you will get bidding on a particular keyword

Fathers Day

  • Use Google Trends to spot the days to advertise for the holidays
  • Pre-upload campaigns with start and end dates in them
  • “Gifts for Father Day’ keywords – bid low on these as they are generic terms and will be low converting



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