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Use Manual Campaigns To Grow Your FBA Business On Amazon

August 20, 2021 by Andrew Minalto
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Manual campaigns are an important tool in your Amazon Advertising toolbox. In a recent post I covered PPC advertising on Amazon and why it’s an integral part to any successful product launch that so many people skip out on, and then wonder why they’re not getting any sales and simply can’t climb up the search rankings! 

In that post we covered everything you need to know to get started with advertising on Amazon and we walked through the steps needed to create your very first Amazon sponsored products advertising campaign, so if you’re completely new to this I suggest you check that out first.

There’s a few very good reasons why I always suggest starting with an auto campaign, rather than a manual, even though the manual campaigns are more important and profitable for us in the long run.

Why do we need to start using PPC Auto Campaigns?

1. It’s the easiest and fastest way to start PPC on Amazon

With an auto campaign you really don’t have to do much to get started – simply create your campaign, set your max bid, and off you go! Amazon takes care of the rest and you don’t have to provide them with a list of keywords to target. 

2. It provides valuable data to use in our manual campaigns 

There’s simply no tool or software out there that will give you every possible keyword to target, it’s impossible. So no matter how meticulous you are, you’ll always miss some. And this is where the auto ad campaigns come in; you can download a special report via Amazon called a Search Term Report, which will not only show you what keywords have been used but also how many clicks and sales they generated!

This is incredibly valuable real life data that you can use when building the rest of your advertising campaigns on Amazon. 

3. Auto PPC ad campaigns can still be profitable by themselves 

While in most cases I would happily run my auto ad campaigns at a slight loss, purely for the data and added sales velocity, often they can still be profitable by themselves!

So it’s a definite win-win situation here. 

And that’s why we always start with an auto campaign and then let it run for a while before moving on to creating a manual campaign as well. 

How long should you let the auto campaign run for? 

Well this really depends on your max bid and daily budget as ideally you need 100+ clicks before doing anything further. 

It obviously goes without saying that you’ll get 100 clicks faster with higher bids and a higher daily budget as Amazon will show your ads more… 

As covered in Part 1 of this guide, I suggest a minimum of £20+ for your daily budget and then going a few pennies above Amazon’s suggested bid amounts.

You can be confident you’ll get a good amount of clicks at those rates and it should only take a week or two for you to get enough data. Of course if you’re being more aggressive with your launch and have a bigger budget, then go for £30-£50 daily to speed up the process. 

Sometimes you’re even able to do this on a smaller budget if you see that your auto ad campaign is delivering a profitable ROI by itself, then it’s safe to increase the daily budget as you’re making money on it anyway! 

Alright, let’s now move on to the real action – creating your first manual ad campaign on Amazon. 
I already covered the process for creating an auto campaign step by step in Part 1, and they’re largely the same, so I won’t repeat it all now. 

How to create a Manual Campaign?

Of course the main difference is that this is a manual campaign, so change the name to “Product – Manual” and make sure you select manual targeting as well: 

Create Campaign Page

And you’ll see that this brings up two more tabs that we didn’t get with our auto campaign:

Targeting Page

We’re going with keyword targeting, which as the name suggests means our ad is shown when people search for specific keywords on Amazon. 

Then in the next tab where we can add our keywords, you can see that there are three match types we can choose from: 

  1. Broad 
  2. Phrase 
  3. Exact 

And it’s really important that you understand the differences before we move on. 

Three Different Match Types for Keywords You Must Master

1. Broad match 

When you use this keyword match type, Amazon will show your ad for any search that contains your provided keyword(s), regardless of the order, if it’s plural etc. And it will also show your ad for searches of related keywords. 

For example, if my keyword was “mechanical keyboard”, this would show up for searches such as:

  • Keyboard
  • Keyboard cover 
  • iPad keyboard 
  • Tenkeyless keyboard 
  • Keyboard and mouse combo 
  • Etc! 

As you can see a lot of the searches are clearly for a different product, even if they do contain the word keyboard. And this is why broad match is the cheapest keyword match type, as they’re less targeted and relevant, which means a lower conversion rate and higher ACoS. 

2. Phrase match 

With this keyword match type, your ad is only shown when the keyword is used in full and in the same sequence, such as: 

  • Blue switch mechanical keyboard 
  • Gaming mechanical keyboard 
  • Mechanical keyboard for girls 
  • Mini mechanical keyboard 

So the search terms with phrase match are much more relevant and it removes a lot of the false positives we saw with broad match. As a result the bid prices are generally higher, but so are the conversion rates. 

3. Exact Match 

Lastly we have exact match, which means my ad will only show when someone searches for the exact keyword I’m targeting, so “mechanical keyboard”. 

This is obviously the most relevant and targeted match type and will give the highest conversion rate. 
Now I know what you may be thinking – “why would we even consider using broad or phrase match? After all exact match means we won’t show up for any irrelevant searches and we’ll get the highest conversion rate…” 

Well true, but you’ll miss out on loads of traffic like that!

Like I said before, it’s simply impossible to find every good keyword that people use to search for your product – there’s just too many variations and it would be a full time job constantly researching and updating your list. 

Not what we want to be doing!

But with broad and phrase match we can still target these other searches and make extra sales.

Yes they will in general have lower conversion rates due to some false hits, but this is usually made up for by the fact that they have lower bid prices as well.

So long story short – we’ll be using all 3 keyword match types in our ad campaigns

But I do still like to keep them all separate to make tracking and optimization easier, so what I do is create a new ad group for each match type. 

Creating an ad group for each match type in Amazon Advertising

Again, just stick to the same simple naming we used for the ad campaign. So for my ad group name I just use “Product – Manual – Exact”:

Creating an ad group Page

Just to go over it again – we create 2 ad campaigns for each product. One automatic and one manual. And then under the manual campaign we create three different ad groups (one for each keyword match type). 
I hope that’s all clear!

After selecting the product you want to advertise, it’s then time to add keywords! 

Adding of Keywords

Now Amazon will give you a long list of suggested keywords, which is a perfect starting point. All you have to do is click add and they’ll be added to your keyword list:

List of suggested Keywords

This really depends on the product but generally I suggest using the top 5-10 suggested keywords as a starting point. 

But as well as that you should also have a good-sized list of keywords of your own from your own product research as well as from the auto campaign that you’ve been running for at least a week. Can you see now why I said it’s going to come in very useful when creating our manual campaigns? 

To add these keywords as well, just click on enter list and enter them one by one (one on each line): 

Sample of added Keywords

Simply click add keywords and they’ll also be added to your list along with the suggested bid. Sometimes certain keywords won’t have a suggested bid, so just judge by other similar keywords and put something that makes sense.

Remember we want to adjust all of the bids to be a few pennies more than what Amazon suggest, so do that as well.

Lastly we have the negative keyword targeting tab, which we won’t use for our exact ad campaigns. This will be very useful later on for our broad and phrase ad groups, as we want to remove any keywords that we can see are performing very badly.

And that’s it – click launch campaign and you’re done! 

Congratulations, you’ve now got both automatic and manual ad campaigns (with three different ad groups) running on Amazon. 

The next step is to again let them all run for a week.
And that’s where the fun starts – optimisation!

Optimisation is what separates successful Amazon ad campaigns, that become profit making machines, from failed campaigns that just burn money day after day.

So stay tuned for part 3 of this guide, where I’ll share the exact strategies I use to optimise my Amazon PPC campaigns.

Until next time!

All the best,

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