How to Unlock Higher Organic Rankings with Amazon Ads
June 30, 2023
June 30, 2023
Right Side Up recently hosted a webinar on how to use Amazon ads to rank higher on Amazon. This session was led by Matt Altman, GM of our ecommerce marketplace practice. Matt offered insights he’s gained helping clients tap into their sales potential on Amazon. To learn more, including information on launching your product on Amazon, watch the full webinar.
Like it or not, there’s no denying that Amazon is one of the most impactful channels for ecommerce sellers. But finding success on Amazon is dependent on a crucial factor: your organic rankings on the channel.
Understanding how to harness the power of Amazon’s algorithm might seem complicated, but we’re here to share our time-tested secrets for skyrocketing your visibility and improving your organic rankings on the platform. We’ll cover important elements—including tips for setting up your product page, types of Amazon ads you can use, and how to implement an Amazon Ads campaign—that will help you get the organic ranking you need to drive growth.
Amazon Product Page Setup
Before you can take advantage of ads as a tool for unlocking organic ranking, you have to create an Amazon listing, or product page, that converts and satisfies the algorithm. We recommend using a four-step process to set up your Amazon product and start getting organic sales:
- Create a keyword ranking plan
- Refine your product page listing
- Generate traffic and reviews
- Optimize for Amazon’s algorithm
Create a Keyword Ranking Plan
Amazon search runs on keywords, similar to what you’ve seen in traditional SEO on Google and other search platforms. Many of the same principles apply on Amazon, but with a few more granular details to increase your chances of receiving a high relevance score:
Planning is the first crucial building block for successfully increasing your organic ranking on Amazon. A ranking plan is simply an organized list of the keywords you intend to target during your product launch. Use a tool like Data Dive to monitor competitors' targeting of the same keywords and let that inform your choices.
Focus on keywords with low competition, words that competitors aren’t actively targeting, and select keywords with sufficient search volume that generate a minimum of 90 sales per week. Key metrics to know you’ve got the right ones include:
- 1% or greater click-through rate from search
- 10% or greater average conversion rate for products within that keyword
- 5+ ranking competitor products for that keyword
Refine Your Product Page Listing
Life isn’t always fair and, as it turns out, neither is the way Amazon indexes listings. Rather than fight the algorithm gods, your energy will be better spent focusing on optimizing your product listings on Amazon to improve SEO, get your product in front of more eyes, and enhance conversion rates. Here are the elements that matter most:
- Titles: This is most relevant to Amazon algorithms; include your top 3–4 targeted keywords and phrases in the title. Avoid keyword stuffing (it doesn’t work).
- Bullets with features and benefits: Shorter and more precise bullets are more effective, especially considering the rise of mobile traffic. Focus on key features and long-tail keywords.
- Back-end details: Many sellers overlook these fields, which is an opportunity for you to rank higher on Amazon. Understand what fields Amazon is looking for specific to your category in the Browse Tree Guide.
- Descriptions: Descriptions contribute to keyword indexing, but hold less weight in Amazon's ranking algorithm. Include as many relevant keywords as possible within the 2,000-character limit.
Learn more about how to increase sales on Amazon.
Generate Traffic and Reviews
Once you’ve identified your target keywords and your product page is live, you’ll need instant traffic to your listing to help with indexing and boost organic rankings. Social promo coupons and price discounts are the best places to start. If your traffic doesn’t increase quickly, look to influencers and Amazon Vine for a jumpstart.
- Social promo coupons can be set up in the back end under promotions. These generate URLs that automatically add the discounts in-cart.
- Share social promos on the back end with influencers through the Amazon Influencer Program. There are thousands of affiliates within the program, and getting a high placement could dramatically increase traffic.
- Price discounts attract organic traffic and boost your click-through rate to show Amazon that you’re relevant for the keyword. We typically see a 10–14% organic lift from discounts.
- Engage with influencers. An Amazon-specific influencer program, Levanta, allows you to pass a brand referral bonus or commission to influencers. In exchange, you can ask influencers to post user-generated videos on their channels, as well as request permission to use that content in your own ads.
- Amazon's Vine stacking program allows you to obtain up to 30 reviews per product. The enrollment fee is around $200 per product and can help drive your review ratings.
Optimize for the Amazon Algorithm
Amazon wants to see that you have ongoing traffic to and engagement on your listings to ensure product fit for your keywords. This is done through algorithm fluffing, which is giving Amazon the inputs they want to move products up organically. The key things the algorithm watches for are page interactions, add-to-carts/wish lists, product comparisons, and purchases.
Page interactions are measured by scrolling, viewing images/videos, highlighting text on the page, and clicking into reviews. Use coupon codes and engaging landing pages to encourage on-page interaction and add-to-carts.
If you haven't yet built your product page, read see to launch a product on Amazon.
How to Rank Higher on Amazon With Ads
At this point, we’ve covered the basics of how to set up your listings and detailed how Amazon’s ranking works. But to really improve your organic rankings on Amazon, you’ll want to dive into using paid ads.
Types of Amazon Ads
There are four primary ad types that you can use to boost your organic rankings on Amazon. Let’s explore the basics of each type and how to allocate your budget.
1. Sponsored Products. Similar to Google Ads, these are highly targeted to specific keywords and usually have the highest cost-per-click—but also the highest conversion rates. They appear prominently in search results, helping to drive traffic and conversions. You should put 50–60% of your Amazon ad budget into these because they are served to customers with a high intent to purchase.
2. Sponsored Display. Also highly targeted, these are the most under-used ads. The main difference between these product display ads and Sponsored Products ads is that these show up as a small blurb with editable headlines, images, and call outs. They also pull in coupon codes, making it easy to increase your click-through rate. We suggest you allocate 10–15% of your budget here.
3. Sponsored Brands. This type appears in search and allows you to be creative with logos, images, and headlines to encourage clicks. These ads have less expensive clicks than the other ad types because most sellers don’t focus on them, but they help drive product association with other top-selling competitors. Sponsored Brands ads also increase your chance of getting placement within the “frequently bought together” section. Aim to place 20–30% of your budget here.
Note: You should prioritize adding Sponsored Brands ads with video to your mix. Video ads have the highest conversion rate and are great for brand exposure and launching new products. One major benefit is that you pay per click, not per impression, so the ads work to create awareness for your brand or product without necessarily costing you more.
4. Display ads. These top-of-funnel ads are served on and off Amazon. We recommend staying away from these at first while you’re trying to increase keyword rankings. There is a $35K minimum and, while they do produce high impressions and traffic, it’s usually at a lower conversion rate.
How to Set Up Your Amazon Ad Campaigns
As with setting up your listings, launching or improving product rankings on Amazon requires thoughtful planning. Here’s a general four-week process you can implement for a well-structured campaign strategy:
Week 1: Launch Ad Campaigns
- Sponsored Products:
- Run exact match single keyword campaigns for your 15–20 target keywords to improve rankings. Suggested bid = +15%.
- Launch competitor targeting campaigns for the top-ranking ASINs (Amazon Standard Identification Number) associated with the keywords. Suggested bid = <$0.5.
- Use Brand Analytics data daily or weekly to see the top three products converting for the targeted keywords and include their ASINs in the campaign.
- Sponsored Brands: Launch your video ads campaign with phrase matching your top terms (rather than exact matching). Increase bids if you’re seeing low impressions (you should be seeing 10% per day).
- Sponsored Display: Focus on those same top ASINs, and using a custom image and headline.
Week 2: Review Conversion Rate and Expand Sponsored Display
- Sponsored Products: Review conversion rates and ensure they align with top sellers' performance based on Brand Analytics. Optimize campaigns that are not meeting the weekly sales unit goals for the products and keywords.
- Sponsored Display: Expand ads with tailored copy, emphasizing unique benefits not offered by competitors.
Week 3: Launch Phrase Matches
- Sponsored Products: Launch phrase match campaigns for all top keywords, aiming to increase impressions and clicks across the board. Suggested bid = 20% less than current exact match bid. Exclude exact match keywords from previous campaigns to avoid bidding on the same keywords in multiple campaigns.
- Sponsored Brands: Launch targeted headline campaigns, focusing on specific offerings that differentiate from competitor ASINs. Target 15–20 top terms and segment by groups of similar target keywords. Tailor your copy around these clusters.
Week 4: Optimize Performance
- Remove underperforming campaigns from all ad types and optimize campaigns that are generating favorable results.
- The primary goal is to achieve strong conversion rates and ensure the ads are generating desired visibility on Amazon.
Tip! The number one thing we see most people do wrong is optimize too quickly because they’re losing money. If you can’t afford the cost to rank, don’t launch.
Target Optimization Metrics
After you’ve got your paid ad campaigns up and running, how do you know if your strategy is working? Here are the three metrics that you should look at in those first four weeks:
Conversion rate: Compare conversion rates to Brand Analytics data for the top three products. Continue spending on keywords with higher conversion rates, even if the ACoS (advertising cost of sales) may not be ideal, initially.
Overall sales should be high, and your CPAs will start to drop after that four-week period. But by then, your organic rankings will be so high that the organic flywheel will produce enough sales to make those spins worth it.
Detail page views: Pay attention to detail page views as they influence Amazon organic rankings. The key to ranking high is matching the current top-performing ASINs.
The search query report shows you how many detail page views you’re getting, what the add-to-cart rate is, and what the purchase rate is. You'll typically see purchase rates are 10–15% on most keywords.
Brand Analytics data: Keep an eye on how you’re trending both in search queries and top terms. You want to see an increase in traffic, higher ranking on your top keyword, and sales.
Continue optimizing campaigns based on conversion rates, detail page views, and organic rankings for the first three months.
Amazon is the place to be for online sellers, but finding success on this platform requires a careful understanding of product listings, the Amazon algorithm, and how to set up paid ad campaigns. With that knowledge, you’re ready to harness the power of Amazon Ads to rank higher on Amazon, and drive traffic, engagements, and purchases.