Amazon PPC Automatic vs. Manual Campaigns

Rick Wong 26 October 2020

Amazon, the largest online retailer globally, has an integrated advertising solution. This solution is for professional sellers, agencies, vendors, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) authors, and book vendors. It’s called “Sponsored Products,” or popularly known as Amazon PPC (Pay-Per-Click). Amazon ad campaigns can be automatic or manual. What we’ll be covering in this article is Amazon PPC automatic vs manual campaigns, and how you should use both!

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How can Amazon PPC help increase your sales?

Amazon PPC helps increase your sales by allowing you to create ad campaigns. These ad campaigns target top-performing keywords relevant to your products. These keywords are what shoppers usually search on Amazon. You can be rest assured that they’ll work for your benefit! Amazon PPC helps your brand and your products gain visibility on Amazon search results, product pages, and more.

Amazon PPC Automatic vs Manual Targeting

Since Sponsored Products are cost-per-click ads, you only pay for your ads when customers click on them. You can control how much you spend on the ads by setting your bid per click on each keyword. If you’re interested in starting your Amazon PPC campaign, it’s essential to know that you can do your campaigns in two ways: automatic or manual.

Amazon PPC Automatic vs Manual Campaign Overview

What is an Amazon Automatic Campaign?

This type of campaign is ideal for PPC starters. With the automatic campaign, Amazon automatically chooses the target keywords for you. This means that you have no control as to which keywords to pick on your campaign. Amazon determines which keywords to include on the campaign based on the content of your product listings as well as on related customer searches. This solution requires you to bid for the entire campaign and/or ad group, not per keyword.

At the same time, your ads will show up on relevant search results and product pages related to what you offer. Your ads will also appear in front of customers who are searching for any keywords that you have in your product listing. For example, if you offer running shoes, Amazon may automatically choose the keyword “running shoes” for your campaign. Therefore, when someone searches for the phrase “running shoes for women,” there’s a huge chance that your ad may appear on the search results for this query.

What is an Amazon Manual Campaign?

Contrary to the automatic campaign, the manual campaign allows you to choose (and customize) which keywords to target on your ads. You can do this by using an Amazon keyword tool or by evaluating and analyzing the performance of the keywords in your automatic ad campaign. You can target three types of keywords: broad, phrase, and exact match keywords.

Another great feature of the manual campaign is that you can bid on your choice of keywords, and you have the option to bid different amounts on each of them. This means that you can bid more competitively on top-performing keywords to help you meet your sales goals fast. Manual campaigns are ideal for PPC experts as there’s a huge risk of losing money since keywords and bids are manually encoded.

How to Leverage Both Automatic and Manual As Campaigns

If you’re wondering which type of campaign is better to use, we say both. This binary approach allows you to do two important things: stay on top of search trends of automatic campaigns, and find the most effective keywords for your manual campaign. Here’s the step by step process on how you can leverage both automatic and manual ad campaigns.

Phase One: Automatic Campaign

  1. Create a sponsored products campaign using automatic targeting.
  2. Let the automatic campaign run for at least two weeks.
  3. Once you’ve completed the campaign period, download the “Search Term” report from the “Advertising reports” tab. Open it on Google Spreadsheet or Excel.
  4. Generate a list of keywords that perform better than others using the data under “Impressions,” “Clicks,” average “Cost Per Click” (CPC) and/or advertising cost of sale (ACos).

Keywords with high impressions and clicks or conversions are considered good keywords, as long as the average cost per click suits your strategy (and you budget, of course.) After you’ve identified the best keywords, you’re ready to start your campaign with manual targeting.

Phase Two: Manual Campaign

  1. Create an additional sponsored products campaign using manual targeting.
  2. Choose at least 30 keywords for a start, not more than 100. To be able to determine the right keywords, export the data or results of the automatic campaign and Identify the keywords that generated the most clicks and sales. Then, add them to your manual campaign. You may also use an Amazon keyword research tool for more keyword options.
  3. For first-time manual campaign advertisers, we recommend using the broad match type. This can help you expand your potential reach by targeting the widest set of shopper searches. But you may also narrow your match types to “phrase” or “exact” to also reach more specific keyword searches.
  4. To help increase your sales on the keywords you’ve chosen, set your bids a little higher on your manual targeting campaign than the amount you set on the automatic campaign. Over time, you can increase your bids on the top-performing keywords.
  5. Keep the campaign up for a week or two to collect a more reliable performance data.
  6. Just like what you did on the automatic campaign, once you’ve completed the campaign period, download the “Search Term” report from the “Advertising reports” tab.
  7. Generate a list of keywords that perform better than others using the data under “Impressions,” “Clicks,” average “Cost Per Click” (CPC) and/or advertising cost of sale (ACos) for another round of the campaign.

Phase Three: Use Both Campaigns Simultaneously

  1. Based on the top-performing keywords on the manual campaign, set up new automatic and manual campaigns.
  2. Keep both campaigns up and running. Tag them as “always-on” campaigns.
  3. Check your search term campaign reports whenever you want to use new keywords, or when you think you’ve already exhausted the earning potential of your previous keywords.

Note: If you will bid on the same keyword in both manual and automatic campaigns using the same account, you won’t be competing against yourself.

How SellerMetrics can help optimize your Amazon Automatic and Manual Campaigns

As mentioned, one of the key reports is the Search Term reports in your Amazon Advertising account. Using SellerMetrics you can easily gather these search terms and further optimize via adding negatives and new search terms.

Final Thoughts

Using both automatic and manual ad campaigns can help you achieve your Amazon sales goals, as long as you would follow the strategy outlined in this article. Meanwhile, if you need help in navigating Amazon PPC, our Amazon advertising software can help. SellerMetrics can help you with bid automation, keyword whitelisting, manual bidding, keyword navigation, search term generation, and benchmarking to develop successful ad campaigns.

If you have questions or insights to share, please feel free to post them via the comments section. Please also consider joining our Facebook Group where we discuss any questions you may have about running an Amazon business.

We are SellerMetrics, our Amazon PPC Software helps Amazon sellers, brands, KDP Authors and agencies navigate Amazon Advertising PPC via bid automation, bulk manual bid changes, and analytics.




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