Last week, we partnered up with Amazon for a joint presentation on the strategy behind driving product discoverability and leveraging the revamped Sponsored Products program. There a lot of questions we didn’t get a chance to touch on, so here they are now with answers from both Pat Petriello (CPC Strategy) and Lindsey Green (Amazon):

Q: Given that word order matters, when you input terms (in the Search Terms fields), do you need to use commas to separate the phrases? Because commas don’t matter, right?

A: (Pat) Correct. You don’t need to include any sort of punctuation. You’ll definitely want to save those character spaces for actual letters, not punctuation like apostrophes or commas.

Q: When discussing product content, I didn’t see attributes listed. How important is it to have the recommended attributes, say for Jewelry?

A: (Pat) For category-specific attributes, you’ll ideally want to include these so that shoppers using filters can more easily find your listings. When you’re talking about Jewelry, the attributes surrounding the category (like Material and Metal) will be details you’ll want to include.

Q: Is the Buy Box at all based on the location of the seller’s product (FBA warehouse or ship-from location) in relation to the buyer?

A: (Pat) Not at all. While it’s highly relevant whether the seller is fulfilling the product via FBA or FBM (fulfilled by merchant), the physical distance of the warehouse to the buyer is not an influence on the Buy Box. Products that are FBA, however, do have a very distinct advantage in influencing Buy Box ownership over those that are not FBA.

Q: Amazon recommended that I “fix listings” on listings with product titles over 109 characters. The reason was to make the listing easier to search on. This is contrary to what I understood and what you just mentioned.

A: (Pat) Sellers may run into contradictory information on this issue (like here and here). I believe this could be to discourage sellers from keyword-stuffing their titles.

If you’re uploading individual products manually (in Seller Central), then your product titles will be restricted to 250 characters. However, if you’re uploading products via a bulk upload (ex. like through your third-party platform), then you can submit product titles up to 500 characters.

Q: Another question on information that Amazon provided under their “Using Search and Browse” help section. This was notated under Elements Used as Keywords. Note: The contents of the product description and feature bullets are not indexed in search.

A: (Pat) That’s correct, feature bullets and descriptions are not indexed for search, as stated here. However, they’re still significant influencers on the overall conversion rate of the product detail page. The more robust descriptions and features you submit (and are surfaced) on a detail page, the more likely shoppers will feel confident in ordering that product.

Q: How do platinum keywords differ from general search terms? Are platinum keywords worth it?

A: (Pat) Platinum keywords serve to structure your Amazon storefront and have no impact on Amazon search (discoverability). Generally speaking, shoppers don’t discover products through storefront browsing.

Q: I’ve found that with the detail page traffic reports there is a limit to the SKUs you can pull information on. Do you know of any way to pull reports for 40K-50K SKUs?

A: (Pat) Unfortunately that’s one of the downfalls of manually pulling reports from Seller Central. Larger volume reports can be pulled using Amazon’s API calls, either directly or through third-party technology partners.

Q: If there is time, I would appreciate going back to how to run reports to analyze when to focus on increasing sessions.

A: (Pat) You can find product performance reports in Seller Central by going to Reports > Business Reports > By ASIN > Detail Page Sales and Traffic by Child Item. Once you’ve reached that information, you can start to outline strategy for specific segments of your catalog. More on that strategy analysis in this blog post.

Q: I get frustrated spending time with product discoverability when everything (product content) that I input gets utilized by other sellers – Does product content submission give me any competitive advantage?

A: (Pat) Amazon ultimately decides which seller’s content gets surfaced on the detail page, so you’ll want to be efficient about which ASINs you’re going spend time/resources on increasing the quality of the product info. For example, you wouldn’t want to spend time optimizing product content for an ASIN where you have very low Buy Box share. Amazon’s detail page ownership policy here.

Q: Re: Search terms, I had been advised that it’s not necessary to repeat any keywords (i.e. gift on your example for the glass vase), and that you should just use all the available characters with as many different KWs as possible.

A: (Pat) That’s correct. To be completely transparent, the screenshot we used in the webinar was not a good portrayal of what we would consider optimal use of the Search Terms fields.

Q: My seller rating score has suddenly dropped recently and I am looking for suggestions to boost it back up again.

A: (Pat) There are multiple factors to Seller Rating that could be dragging down your score. These include Buyer-Seller Contact response Time, Late Shipment Rate, On-Time Delivery Rate, Pre-Fulfillment Cancellation Rate, etc. You’ll want to stay on top of these metrics to maintain a high score, and if you’re looking for a bit more info on this, we have a white paper focused on Product Buyability that speaks to this.

Q: Can you share the program for brand manufacturers that I can look into?

A: (Pat) Here’s the link for the Amazon Brand Registry (GCID) program.

Q: Other than high Buy Box % vs. low sessions what other filters would you recommend to help SKU suggestions from my account?

A: (Pat) Solid blog post here on Amazon catalog analysis for both discoverability and buyability.

Q: What is the strategy you would suggest if I am a selling on a good selling ASIN with lots of competition, i.e. Am I simply trying to maximize the number of hits whilst in the Buy Box?

A: (Pat) This sounds like more of a Buy Box issue than a session issue. In this case (where there’s a lot of competition), you would want to focus on increasing your Buy Box ownership share. If it’s a good selling, very competitive ASIN, it probably doesn’t have a low-session problem. But Sponsored Products could play a helpful role here. Our Product Buyability white paper is all about this specific issue.

Q: Is Sponsored Products available for clothing/fashion categories? If not, is this on a roadmap?

A: (Lindsey) Apparel is not an open category right now.  We are continually working to develop the best customer experience for Sponsored Products so that we can add new categories in the future.

Q: Still waiting for the Camera and Photo category to open up.

A: (Lindsey) Each category has special requirements. If your account meets the eligibility criteria, your account will receive an invitation from us to participate in Sponsored Products.

Q: Can Sponsored Products be used for items in the Sexual Wellness category?

A: (Lindsey) No, Sponsored Products cannot be used for items in the Sexual Wellness category at this time.

Q: We are an Agency that manages pay-per-click for clients including Google Shopping. Can we offer Amazon Ads to our clients or do we need to be a seller on Amazon?

A: (Lindsey) Yes, you are able to manage accounts on behalf of clients, however they must grant you access to their Selling on Amazon account in order to do so.

Q: If there is a search term my ASIN is weak on, can using Sponsored Products help my ranking for that particular term?

A: (Lindsey) Sponsored Products provides the opportunity for your ad to show up on page 1 of the search results for any relevant product.  Also, anecdotally, some merchants have reported that sales driven by Sponsored Products have contributed to natural search ranking improvements.

Q: What is a good value for Advertising Cost of Sale (ACoS)?

A: (Lindsey) We know approaches to advertising vary across businesses, products and seasons, so we don’t make any recommendations about managing to a specific ACoS value.  Instead, we provide you with ACoS and other helpful measurements so that you can see if Sponsored Products is meeting your advertising goals.

Q: Why purchase Sponsored Products ads if you typically have 100% of the Buy Box?

A: (Lindsey) Even if you have 100% of the buy box, your product may not appear in the first page of natural search results. Sponsored Products provides the opportunity for your product to be seen on page 1 of search results by customers searching for relevant terms and can help drive traffic to your other offers.

Q: Should we prioritize New ASINs or ASINs that have better conversion rate to ensure a better ROI?

A: (Lindsey) An argument can be made for either – we recommend starting with whatever your top priority is.  New ASINs can benefit from Sponsored Products by gaining exposure and ASINs with strong conversion rates can provide a favorable ROI.

Q: Can a manual and automatic campaign for the same ASIN run concurrently?

A: (Lindsey) Yes, you can run a manual and automatic targeted campaign concurrently for the same ASIN.

Q: I am currently running manual targeting.  Can I test automatic targeting and choose between the two?

A: (Lindsey) Yes, you are able to run both a manual targeted and automatic targeted campaign at the same time.  You are able to pause either at any time if you would like to only run one at a time.

Q: If you create two campaigns (an automatic and manual for the same product) will you be bidding the cost up for yourself?

A: (Lindsey) No, you will never compete against yourself.

Q: How can I ensure that I do not over bid on key word advertising?

A: (Lindsey) You may check the “bid by keyword” report as a reference to the average winning bid of a keyword to ensure you are not bidding drastically higher than the average winning bid.

Q: If I’m bidding for two products with different same keywords in different campaigns, am I competing with myself?

A: (Lindsey) No, you will never compete with yourself.

Q: How do I know what bid will optimize clicks?

A: (Lindsey) After you launch your campaign you are able to use the “bid by keyword” and “campaign performance” reports to gauge performance and bids.  The “bid by keyword” report will tell you what the average winning bid is for each keyword and the “campaign performance report” will tell you how each keyword is performing for your campaign.

Q: Why do you not receive impressions if you are not in the buy box?  I thought I heard you didn’t have to be in the buy box for ads to display?

A: (Lindsey) You do have to be winning the buy box for your ad to be displayed.  We want to avoid sending customers to a product detail page if another seller is winning the buy box so they don’t potentially gain a sale from your advertisement.

Q: Previously you could only advertise products if you were in Buy Box. Has Amazon changed that? Now, can I place ads even though my offer is not in the Buy Box?

A: (Lindsey) You are able to include ads in your campaigns when they’re not winning the buy box, however the ads will only serve when you are winning the buy box.

Q: Does Amazon have a way for us to see the most relevant search terms for our types of products?

A: (Lindsey)Sponsored Products provides “suggested keywords” when you are setting up a manually targeted campaign, which is a great way to see relevant search terms for your products.  However, we do not provide insight into volume of keyword searches at this time.

Q: If keywords I’ve entered in my campaign get very few or no impressions, should I increase the bid or just archive them?

A: (Lindsey) You can download the “bid by keyword” report to learn the average winning bid for those keywords.  If you feel comfortable raising your bid to compete with the average winning bid then you should consider raising your bid.  We don’t recommend archiving keywords simply because they are not getting very many impressions.

Q: When using the automatic keyword targeting for Sponsored Products, will we see what keyword Amazon deemed relevant?

A: (Lindsey) Yes, you will be able to download an “Automatic Targeting Report” which will show you all keywords that received clicks for your automatic targeted campaign.

Q: Should each keyword be a single or multiple words?

A: (Lindsey) A keyword can be either a single word or multiple words.

Q: Any chance of using negative keywords in the future?

A: (Lindsey) Negative keyword match is something we are looking into for a future enhancement but it is not yet available.

Q: Is this new Campaign Manager available in the UK now?

A: (Lindsey)The new campaign manager is not yet available in the UK but it will be very soon.

Q: Is there a limit to the campaigns that we can create?

A: (Lindsey) No, there is no limit to the number of campaigns you can create.

Q: Is there a minimum bid?

A: (Lindsey) Yes, our minimum bid is $0.02, although we recommend bidding higher depending on your comfort and the performance of the keyword.

Q: How long does it take to update the sales information in the visual report?

A: (Lindsey) We use a 7-day sales attribution window in the Campaign Manager UI, so sales may update for up to seven days after the user clicked on the ad.

 

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About the AuthorJon Gregoire is the Director of Demand Generation at CPC Strategy. Jon heads up email marketing, content strategy, co-marketing, and revenue cycle efficiency. A UC San Diego grad, Jon is a Chicago native and full-time San Diego tourist. He enjoys Bear Grylls-like backpacking trips, archery, weekend getaways in Southern California, watching his beloved Chicago Bears, and bidaily coffee consumption. Want to pitch a story? Reach out directly at jon(at)cpcstrategy.com. See all posts by this author here.