Amazon PPC Management: How to Identify Low-Performing Keywords

Rick Wong 16 June 2021


Amazon PPC management can be a complicated endeavor for new sellers. Finding keywords to put in your campaign is the easy part. Knowing which keywords are worth keeping, that’s the difficult part. Amazon provides so many performance metrics, that it can be confusing for sellers to know which ones to analyze. Thankfully, we’ve got some tips for Amazon PPC users on how to filter their data to identify low-performing keywords that just aren’t worth bidding on.

Find out which PPC reports to download, how to analyze them and how to mass upload those changes to the Amazon Advertising console.

Download your PPC reports

First, you need to download the correct Amazon PPC reports, the ones that provide you with the data you need.

The keyword data you need will predominantly be in your Sponsored Products (SP) and Sponsored Brands (SB) campaigns. The best Amazon PPC reports to download for optimization and bid management are:

  • SB Search term report
  • SP Search term report
  • SB Keyword reports
  • SP Targeting reports

These 4 reports will provide you with the bulk of your search term & keyword data for your selected time period. They list your campaign, ad group, target keywords, search terms, match type. In addition, they provide performance metrics for each of those keywords/search terms, including- 7 Day sales, AcoS, RoAS, Orders, Units, CTR, CVR, advertised SKU units and advertised sales.

A Complete Overview of Sponsored Brand Search Term Reports

If you want some additional data, you can also download the following 2 reports:

  • SB Search Term Impression Share report
  • SP Search Term Impression Share report

Search term impression share reports have mostly the same data as search term reports. They have 2 additional metrics 0 search term impression share, and search term impression rank which you can use for benchmarking against competitors. When it comes to the bulk of keyword analysis though, we recommend sticking to the first 4 reports.

We have written in detail about how to download these reports & what each of these reports tells you. Read our companion article on how to interpret & use Amazon Advertising Reports to find out more.

Alternatively, download Bulk PPC Data Reports

A more ambitious way to consolidate your keyword data would be to download a Bulk spreadsheet. These are the go-to method for Amazon PPC management. Go to the Campaign Manager, then click the panel on the left and select “Bulk Operations” to reach the screen below.

If you’re a beginner to Amazon PPC, this might be overwhelming for you. In that case we suggest you stick to the Search term and Keyword reports we mentioned earlier. You can use those to isolate low-performing keywords easily, and then store a list of them to manually update on Campaign Manager later. Or, you could find a bulk upload template, and insert the relevant data into it.

If you’re not a beginner, or if you’re simply looking for the most efficient process, then we recommend downloading Amazon PPC bulk data. Amazon will allow you to download up to 3 months of PPC data, which is what we recommend you to do. Remember to set the end date 3 days before the date available for selection – this is because bulk PPC data is not attributed in real time. Data from 3 days ago will be your most recent and accurate data.

So, if you really want to speed up the process of eliminating keywords, you can just start off by downloading ALL your PPC data for a given period in bulk! Then, you can isolate the low-performance keywords within it, and simply ‘pause’ those keywords in bulk. You can see the ‘status’ column outlined in red, this is where you simply type in ‘paused‘ for the keyword you no longer want active in your campaigns.

You can also write ‘archived‘ to totally delete that keyword. Note that you won’t be able to make it ‘active’ again. So we recommend just pausing it instead, in case you change your mind and want to put that keyword back in your campaign later.

Excel Filtering & Analysis

Once you have downloaded the reports you need. Remember the primary goal of Amazon PPC management – to remove low-performing keywords. Another way to think of this is “cutting bleeders.” “Cutting bleeders” is a term coined by Sean Smith, who created an incredibly useful Amazon PPC course. We will be borrowing some of his methods, and also recommending other tactics we use in conjunction with those basics.

So what is “cutting bleeders”? Simply put, ‘bleeders’ are bad keywords (or even entire ad groups) that are bleeding you dry of ad spend. What you want to do is isolate them from your campaigns, and then cut them out.

Step 1. Download your Reports

This is the easy part of Amazon PPC management. Download the reports you need. Whether this is a Search term report or a Bulk spreadsheet, that is up to you. The following are the paths to download the reports you want:

PPC Reports: Amazon Seller Central -> Advertising -> Campaign Manager -> Top left dropdown -> Reports

Bulk Data: Amazon Seller Central -> Advertising -> Campaign Manager -> Top left dropdown -> Bulk Operations

Step 2. Remove duplicates & index keywords

Before you filter your data, make sure to delete any duplicate values. This is especially true in Search term reports, where some keywords may be duplicated.

We suggest adding an initial column that serves as “Index“. This can be a concatenation of the following columns:

Campaign NameAd Group NameTargetingMatch TypeCustomer Search Term
Amazon PPC management

This will ensure each row is now unique, and you can use the Index column to remove any duplicates.

Step 3. Start filtering your data

Now comes the actual analysis. At this point you need to make a few decisions:

  • What campaigns am I focusing on?
  • Which metrics will I use to judge performance of keywords?
  • What range will I set for those metrics, in order to filter out bad keywords?

We can offer some guidelines, but at the end the actual performance metrics you prioritize are up to you.

Isolate Bleeding Keywords:

  1. Filter Record Type=Keyword
  2. Clicks=>10
  3. Spend=>$1
  4. Orders=0

This is a very basic method borrowed from PPC AMS Accelerator Course by Sean Smith. This lets you isolate low-performing keywords. Why those filters? Because, you’re getting clicks, expending ad spend, and yet getting 0 orders. This means the keyword is not converting.

Amazon PPC management
This is a screenshot of an edited Search Term report (some columns were deleted), bulk reports can be similarly filtered

You can experiment with those ranges, say, you may think Spend of $1 is too low because you keep a bigger budget for PPC. Or, you want Orders=>10, because you think anything less than that is not worth it. If so, you can change the ranges. It’s very easy to filter headers in Excel, as seen above.

Isolate Keywords by ACoS:

An easier way to filter out extremely low-performance keywords is to simply use 1 filter: ACoS.

For example, a keyword with over 100% ACoS is not converting many sales. You are spending far more on it than you are gaining. We suggest to filter out any keywords with ACoS=>100%, and pause them if they are irrelevant.

Amazon PPC management

This is the simplest method to find low performing keywords. While it’s a good base analysis, you may lose out on some good keywords this way too. Many of the best keywords have very high CPC, which makes the ad spend & ACoS high. Many sellers choose to keep high ACoS keywords, seeing it as a long-term investment.

In the end, it’s up to you which performance metrics you use to isolate low-performance keywords.

Commonly Used Metrics:

The following is a list of performance metrics commonly used by sellers to determine keyword performance. If you’re an Amazon PPC beginner, we hope you find this list helpful:

  • Orders – the higher the better, so set a lower bound beneath which keywords will be deemed low-performance
  • Impressions – the higher the better, set a lower bound beneath which a keyword is not worth spending on
  • Clicks – clicks may or may not lead to sales, this metric is generally stacked with the ‘orders’ filter
  • Spend – spend will vary on sales, a high spend is not necessarily bad so choose your higher bound carefully
  • CVR – the higher the better, set a lower bound CVR to filter low converting keywords, generally CVR below 10% is quite poor

Automate the Process

Analyzing Excel files and manually updating your PPC campaigns is incredibly time-consuming. Using bulk uploads is much faster, but there are errors at times that you need even more time to figure out and fix. So, why not cut down the process and simply automate it?

We at SellerMetrics provide a robust bid automation software that does the heavy lifting for you.

Amazon ppc management

Set ACoS goals on a campaign level, bid thresholds and you can even add rules for specific search terms.

If you prefer manual bid optimization, our software also allows you to do that.

Automating your PPC bid optimization can save you so much more time that you can use to grow your business. Join our beta list to test out the software with your Amazon PPC 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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