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How PPC Can Help You Grow Your Business - Amazon Seller Tips with Ritu Java - Part 1
March 7, 2022
How PPC Can Help You Grow Your Business - Amazon Seller Tips with Ritu Java - Part 1
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A. Part

B. Part 2

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Transcription in this episode:
[00:00:01] spk_1: welcome to the seller roundtable e commerce coaching [00:00:04] spk_0: and business strategies with Andy Arnott and Amy wees friend right, it was like a side hobby to start with but then soon this became my main thing, I was so excited by the whole prospect of e commerce and marketing in general um and that's when I moved to the United States and went back to school and I did a course and data science um was very fortunate afterwards to kind of get into the the amazon space um with a very large amazon uh electronic brand um and I you know kind of really fell in love with advertising amazon advertising and that's been about like 5, 4.5 5 years um and you know fast forward to today, I have been living in Canada for the past four years um and I am the ceo of PPC ninja and picks teenager is a software and services company so we manage uh BBC for 67 and eight figure brands are software is also used by agencies uh and also by sellers um it's a self service platform and you can kind of use it, get a lot of analytics about your BBC and also around a bit of optimizations and things like that, so that's kind of my story, I've really been fortunate to you know to know people in the space like Amy have really come close to her after like having attended a couple of conferences and you know just interacted in so many different ways, I really feel uh like you know this is this is kind of my community now, right sole amazon spaces like so tighten it and also like so encouraging, I really feel that there's so much that people are giving back to the community um and that's what kind of, you know, keeps us all together and you know, helps us to kind of keep moving forward. Um so in my own capacity, I've also kind of tried to do that, I run a lot of mastermind programs and uh you know, I used to run them more frequently, but Lately being busy, I've got to cut back on the frequency, but I'm still doing them, so at the end I'm going to introduce a little bit about about that, but for now I'm just going to mention that we've done 24 of these so far and each of them run for about four weeks and we go deep into PPC. So yeah, that's kind of my background, I went all over the place but I hope that was okay, [00:02:25] spk_1: It was awesome. So um let's get into the brass tacks of things. I love, I can see now if you, you know, being raised in Japan held the PBC ninja, you know, the japanese culture was probably an influence there and I grew up in Hawaii so there's a lot of Japanese influence and culture there as well. So I appreciate the Japanese culture a lot. I've never been to Japan one of these days, my mom was a flight attendant went quite frequently, so uh definitely interested someday I think I want to make it out, go see all the uh the katanas and, and [00:02:54] spk_0: all the [00:02:55] spk_1: cool stuff that's out there [00:02:57] spk_0: um [00:02:58] spk_1: but uh [00:02:59] spk_0: I would love to know [00:03:00] spk_1: kind of, you know, you said you kind of learn about amazon through Etsy and things like that, but what, what was kind of, what drew you to amazon and that ecosystem and uh you know, kind of, how did you, when did you first realize that like, hey, I might actually be able to make a business out of, out of the calm and the amazon [00:03:15] spk_0: platform, right? Yeah, I think you know, just having that e commerce background with etc. And also you know, failing at it um many times because you know it was so I think the biggest failure was um just the cost of shipping, like it was just eating into my margin, like I couldn't manage to compete with very cheap chinese um equivalent of what I was producing and that was kind of the time when I kind of thought this is not for me, I mean this is not gonna work, I need to do something different and I started looking at advertising as a way to kind of make uh, you know, a lot more sales so that I could have a lot more volume and so therefore I could kind of cover my costs because all of this 11 offs for was not going to work right? Those were not going to be sustainable for very long. So I think the stars were aligned because when I walked into this company they had an amazon, you know, um existence and they also had at presence globally. So it was kind of just a perfect fit because um uh what I was looking for at that time was a way to kind of make things work like things uh like you make stuff and then you sell it and it actually gets sold and do all of this profitably. So I think having been kind of burned out by my own experience and then finding this opportunity where there was so much data uh that I could kind of play with and kind of learn a lot of tricks very early on uh is what kind of help me stay on and be excited because then I could, you know replicate the success over and over again through multiple launches and also then started helping other clients who were kind of stuck and they were like not sure what PPC is all about, I'm not sure whether it's worth it. I mean there's a lot of people that give up on PPC because it's just so expensive. I think that's also some of the things that we're gonna be talking about today, like just how expensive it is and how to make it worthwhile. Yeah, and I think that it can be made work while um based on how you design your PPC strategies and how you, you know what your focus is with when it comes to keywords and product targeting and other types of targeting on amazon and exactly, you know, knowing where to spend our, you know, focus on where to spend your energies on is probably what separates the the ordinary PPC are with someone who is more advanced. [00:05:47] spk_1: Yeah, absolutely. [00:05:50] spk_0: Speaking on the uh you know, separating the PPC beginner with somebody who's more advanced, how do you recommend people get started with PPC for maximum success? Yeah, that's a great question. I think at this point it's just inevitable, right? Using PPC is something that you have to kinda include as part of your strategy. So I think one of the things that you wanna make sure you, you know do when it comes to pricing your product, make sure that your pricing is right so that you can afford BBC because you're not going to be able to do without it, right? That's just a given in these times. Um and also just because of how pay to play Amazon has become um you know, now we're seeing uh the organic listing number one actually appearing somewhere around 15 or 16th position on page one which just makes it like irrelevant, almost right because all the sales are happening above the fold and those spots are just taken up by ads. So more than I guess. So the biggest shift now is more than focusing on, you know, how to get ranking on page one, which is also important by the way. Uh you know, it's now the focus is now on how to even show up, like how do you compete even with ads? How do you show up on page one but then also showing up not just at very high cpcs but very profitably. Like how do you do that? How do you make that switch? I think the thing I would like to say to people who are maybe just starting out is not to follow the crowd in terms of going aggressively after keywords that are, you know, um that have high search volume or are expensive. Um and I guess everybody knows about the long term and the short term and all that good stuff. But you know, even more so these days you've got to have other strategies, not just going after every kind of large keyboard in the space, but you know, finding low hanging fruit, having a diversified strategy so that you can compete because you've got to compete otherwise you're gonna get burned out and it's going to be unsustainable one year in and you'll be like, oh I can't do this, you know, so knowing those strategies from the get go might be your best chance at success with amazon. Yeah. And that's something that I love about when, when you present PPC at the different events, you're not just talking about general techniques, you actually get into really cool strategies. One of my favorite strategies that you taught me was to on the auto campaigns to actually split it out by um targeting groups. So just putting substitutes in one campaign, just putting complements in one and I've seen that do so so well um and even much better than product targeting campaigns. So I I love your how you kind of mix what's available in two different strategies for people. So they should definitely check out when one of your masterminds because a lot of your master minds are free, you know, and you're just you're just there to help people understand this stuff and implement some of these strategies, so it's really great but um along that line, so you mentioned, you know, getting started, not necessarily just following the mainstream but actually understanding it and having a strategy behind picking those certain keywords and going after that. But what about optimization? I think it's one thing to set up your PPC and use cool strategies. But another thing that people struggle with is optimization. So what optimization systems do you think people should have in place? Right. Um So I think with optimization there is yeah, a few different things that you can do to kind of make sure that you're not bleeding right? Um and there's you know, different approaches and people do things in different ways but it's I think optimization starts from your campaign design stage itself, like you're not optimizing after the fact but you're designing for success. I think that's one of the the ships that I want to kind of encourage people to, to make uh you know, you want to design your campaigns and your PPC strategies so that you have the best chance of success and have have an easier time optimizing um rather than, you know, just launching expensive campaigns and then trying very hard to kind of balance the rising cost per clicks and then also trying to balance your relevancy and your profitability and so on. So um I think uh the best way to go about this would have would be to have like a diversified ad strategy from the get go. And what I mean by that is, you know, when you have all the different ad types um you know targeted from the beginning, you have a better chance at finding out which of those is actually going to work for you. You know, it's like you can't see which ones are going to work unless you try it right? And and if you try it, you you're you're better off, you know, doing all of the data types and then finding out the ones that are actually working and double down on those and letting go of the ones are easing off on the ones that are not affordable, right? So however, most people will start with, this is a typical pattern, right? Most people will start with auto campaigns and manual cuBA campaigns, both of which are becoming the most expensive at types. Um you know, keywords are becoming more and more and more expensive and people look at product targeting or category targeting as an afterthought, like they think once let me get the keywords going, then I'll add product targeting or category targeting. Um I would encourage people to think slightly differently. You want to start with product targeting and category targeting from the get go. And the reason is because these are much more affordable but people don't realize that they are much more affordable. And they're also um, you know, the green fields at this point because not everybody is using product targeting and category targeting the way we could we could be right. So um I guess I just wanted to share an example um you know this morning as I was preparing for this, I was looking at brand analytics for one of the key words that is extremely, I guess popular. But so everybody sells everybody and everybody's dogs cells. Bluetooth headphones on amazon for some reason it's the most one of the most crowded uh you know, spaces and you've got like so many sellers selling bluetooth headphones ranging from $5 bluetooth headsets to $500 or whatever. There's a huge range there. But everybody wants to target that keyword, right? That bluetooth headphones, they want to be right on page one for a $5 product, that's, it's just not, it doesn't align the whole idea of uh, targeting keywords to show up on page one for a certain keyword. Um, you know, doesn't align with the margins you have on such a, maybe a cheap product. So I look at brand analytics. Right? And I see, um, for this keyword, what are the top three competitors? Right. So the top three winning competitors, one was some no name brand from china. Um, I think it was called JBl tune or something. It's less than a year old, right? It's, it was launched in february of this year. Their ranking number one for bluetooth headphones. Now, I don't know how they do it. Of course the stories behind that, we don't necessarily need to get into bed. Number two is um, beats, right, beats. So three. That's number two. And they have a legitimate reason for being number two because they're popular offline. But in this space, these two guys are at the top now, uh, you know, if I were to go, let's say I'm selling bluetooth headphones and if I were to start targeting couldn't code bluetooth headphones, I'm going to be, you know, wiped out. Like I won't have any budget to do anything, right? But if I target these guys, you know, they stopped three or four or whatever number of products that are already kind of attracting a lot of traffic for that product. And if I catch those people lower down the funnel, which means I've already cleared intent, I know that these people are interested in bluetooth headphones. Um I'm gonna win those clicks much cheaper. Now, the bottom of funnel, I do not mean like a page that is, you know, far further down on the search results page. I don't mean that um, it's not even just uh, you know, the product detail page, I am talking about intent by our intent or where they are in their shopper journey. So um, The boy I'm trying to make is that if you target these top competitors, you can actually show up on page one without targeting bluetooth headphones, you can just target these guys and just piggyback off of their traffic and show up on page one much much cheaper. And now, how, how do I know that this is, you know, going to be much, much cheaper? Well, if you try this experiment, I did it myself this morning, I opened up my own. So I started creating a new ad and I put the key word bluetooth headphones for a keyword targeting ad To see what the range was. That Amazon was giving me the Amazon recommended mid range that is calculated based on the past 14 days uh of data from our peer group, right. Whoever else is selling, that's the range they've been winning auctions at, right? So that range was showing up for me as going between uh $3.06 dollars. That's the range per click click. If you're selling a $5 product, one click and you're gone. Right? Nothing that better paid 20 cents for those. It's right, Right? And with 20 cents, you're not going to get impressions. Right? That's the other problem with these, the keyboard based bidding. Now I look at product targeting for the two products that I just mentioned, the JBL tune and then the beats solo, and I'm looking at how much would it cost to target them? And Amazon is giving me back 23 cents To a dollar, 43. That's the range. And the suggested range in between they're saying is 46 cents Not bad, right? Not bad. Compared this to $6. I can win this product target uh for just $0.46, if I if I set it up. Right? So that's the kind of difference I'm talking about. Like if you're smart about what you're going after, you can do the same thing that people who are spending a lot of money to be on page one through keyword targets are doing. So that's kind of one of the things that I wanted to touch upon to them. I love that. That's a really good tip for people. So just to summarize the point is that you're trying to make is for optimization. You really want to look at your strategies from the beginning and you want to try the different campaign types, So not necessarily match types, the different types of campaigns mash types or how you set those up within those campaigns because you don't know what you might be missing opportunities that you might be missing out on. And it's really interesting when you cast a wider net of ab types because then that also cast a wider net replacement, you know, and then you can kind of decide what's what's working for you. And uh you know, I'm just thinking of one of my clients right now, we casted a really wide net and we started with different ad types um and um and she her main keywords, the things that she was going after in her exact match campaigns and stuff like that. Um she wasn't converting well for those, but she was able to get in on a gifting keyword that the auto campaign picked up and it just flew like it just took off and she was on page one organically for a major gifting keyword and now she's just trying for dear life to hang on to that keyword, especially during this season, right? But she would have never known that or even been given the chance if she just did an exact match campaign for what she thought were her most relevant keywords by reverse searching her competitors or whatever, right? She would have never even had this opportunity um to get on page one for a major short tail gifting keyword and this and it's funny because we set up after that auto campaign took off, we set up another campaign to see if we could isolate that keyword right? And just really get a lot more traction on that keyword that other campaign never took off. Like the auto is just going crazy. So now we're just negative matching all the other stuff in that auto campaign. So it's just like without the techniques that you just talked about, people could be missing out on key words that they didn't even realize would be their top selling keywords. Right? I totally agree. It's all about finding gems in the data, right? Because you know, if you just talk about optimization, there's only very little you can do with, you know, certain formulas, you can easily everybody knows the formula, right? And it's easy to kind of work on the formula and see, okay if the cost is above target then reduced by so much if it's below target increased by so much. Right? So that part of it has limited um, I guess limited impact, but the other strategies of, you know, embedding your success uh, in an earlier earlier stages of design of product or sorry, your campaign design are what will give you the opportunity to kind of, you know, have a lot more going through your VPC, not just you know managing to a certain because to follow up [00:20:18] spk_1: quickly on your example, Amy um I've seen that a ton in my own campaign and other campaigns where if you try to take an auto campaign, what's converting, whether it's keywords, whether it's product targets and you break them out and do manual targeting for some reason it won't work. Um, and I think the main reason for that is the auto campaigns that amazon is now supplying are so good because they're using machine learning to figure out the intent of the purchase rather than just like, you know, it's one thing to have a target, right? It's one thing to say like, oh there's somebody shopping for, you know, a big pen, but then there's another intent that might be like, hey, this person is shopping for office supplies and big pen is one of the things on their list. So amazon is getting really, really good at automatically finding out, you know what the shoppers actually looking for and presenting that to them without your interaction. And that's why you're getting these, you know, really great performances on auto campaigns. The opposite can be true as well though, you know, you can break out some manual or even start out with some manual campaigns and it will do awesome and then the auto campaigns won't work. The other thing to do if that ever happens is kill the auto campaign and start a new one honestly, people don't realize, but that can work because it's kind of resetting what amazon thinks they know about your product and if you just launched it, they will now take probably, I don't know, I don't work for amazon. My guess is they're now going to take signals from some of your other campaigns that you may have had whether it's auto or manual and kind of mash them together on that new auto campaign. So that's something you can do to to kind of kick start those kinds of of um, you know, if you're having a bad experience or bad conversion on one type or the other. [00:22:01] spk_0: Yeah, so one of the follow up questions we have is obviously we've covered a lot of this already, but what about launch? Is there specific launch strategy that you use for PPC? Yeah. So, uh, so you know, when we launch our campaigns are kind of Okay and covering and touching every at type, we don't launch with just auto and manual. We actually run about 40 or 50 campaigns, poor Allison. Um, and that's basically for this reason, right? We're making sure that we're getting all the placements right. Um, and we're able to find gems wherever we can get them right. Um, so one of the things that has, you know, I've noticed that works the best at at launch for, you know, some of the, some of the brands that we work with our category, targeting ads now, these are broad based ads, they're almost like the equivalent of a broad match, but on the product side of things, this is going to help us discover new product targets, right? And those can be perfect for then launching new manual campaigns going specifically after. But then we also noticed that you know, we create like this um uh you know, um kind of momentum by setting up all different types going after a certain category or going after certain products. So you have the manual targets, right? You can go after um sponsored brands. Product targeting, you can do video ads with product targeting and you can do display ads. So all for ad types can you sponsored? Uh sorry, can use category and product targeting. So I think that's a great way of quickly establishing relevancy between your product and others because you're paying for it right? You're, you're making amazon, learned that hey, when someone saw the sad and they were on this page and then they bought it, it shows it's a signal to them that you know, these two products are related or there's an interest the invisible paths that are kind of laid out between all these different campaign, all these different products on amazon um they are not visible to us, but we are establishing them and strengthening those paths by paying for those uh you know, category targets and so on. So yeah, one of the things that we always do is we launched all ad types where we make sure that we're running category targets for sure. And then the other at type that works very well in the beginning, you know, Andy's point, I think auto campaigns are amazing and you know, if you set them up the way Amy was talking about in the beginning by splitting them out into like four different targeting groups. Each campaign has just one targeting group. And what that does is that it gives you very clean data. Um, and it also gives you the ability to manage those bids and budgets without kind of having them all mixed up into a single campaign because that doesn't give you much control over your cost. And your cost for auto campaigns could go really high if it's all mixed up. Right. So split them out and that will help you. I have a clean start. Now, the other kind of strategies at launch that Amy is also very good at external traffic and she talks about it a lot. Um, is basically to make sure that this diversified, you know, uh, stream of external traffic hitting your, your recent from all kinds of places including like pr or any kind of publication or um, you know, google ads, facebook ads, things like that, even your social media and emails and so on. So all of those kind of signals are important to kind of have a successful launch. Don't be surprised if you're a cost is extremely high in the beginning, it will kind of start to uh even out maybe two months in a month and a half to two months in and then you can start focusing on the cost but just be prepared for uh slightly higher than desirable. Uh because um in the beginning got it. Yeah, I completely agree. Diversified traffic is good. The only thing that I'm careful about what auto campaigns is when I first launched listing before it's completely indexed. Sometimes I will run like for a few days I'll run exact like an exact match campaign for like my top five key words before I start an auto campaign because I want to tell amazon what my product is and I want to kind of direct the traffic during those first few days. Well, my listing is getting index because what I've seen happen when people start an auto campaign before they're completely index, is it just amazon, I'll show it, you know, their product all over the place because it's not indexed enough yet. And then sometimes that can throw off their auto campaigns. So that would be the only thing that I would say about auto campaigns to be careful about in the beginning. But yeah, then right after that, once I know that I'm investing for like those main keywords and everything is looking good then with whip out that auto campaign, get it going and definitely use your technique to split up the targeting types inside of the auto campaigns. Love that. So what about organic ranking? Right. We talked about external traffic, which is so important. We talked about PPC. What are you using to rank your clients organically for certain keywords. Thanks for tuning in to part one of [00:27:33] spk_1: this episode, join [00:27:35] spk_0: us every Tuesday at one PM pacific standard [00:27:37] spk_1: time for live [00:27:38] spk_0: Q and A. And bonus content after the recording at cellar Roundtable dot com, sponsored by the ultimate software tool for amazon sales and growth seller S EO dot com and amazing at home dot com.