Amazon Search Tips for the 2016 Holiday Season

Post by Nicole Maley, Media Manager

Holiday is the biggest time of year for advertisers and Amazon alike. Learn how to make the most of your Amazon Search campaigns during this time with the following tips:

(1) Bump Up Daily Budgets for Tent Pole Dates

Seems like a no-brainer but there are more of these dates than you think. Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t just one-day anomalies anymore – they’re weeklong events with new deals popping up every day. Increase daily budgets by 50% the week leading up to Black Friday and the week of Cyber Monday to take advantage of available traffic. For the days themselves? Increase daily budgets by 100%.  In addition, Amazon has deals and events all throughout December. Keep these in mind and make sure you’re not capping out early in the day.

(2) Increase Bids & Monitor Closely

Bids should be bumped up by at least 15% to reflect the uptick in competition during this time frame. Keep an eye on keywords you adjust for increases in traffic and sales. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t provide data on positioning at this time, so you won’t be able to track changes in rank.

In addition, test the Bid + Modifier feature on Sponsored Product campaigns. With Bid + enabled, Amazon will automatically increase keyword bids in the campaign to the Top of Page Bid estimate.

(3) Launch Across All Ad Units

Ensure Sponsored Product, Headline Search and Product Display ads are all live for maximum exposure and halo effect.

Sponsored Product ads will likely be the main volume driver out of all ad types, as there are more available placements for this unit. Try to run as many product SKUs as possible (as long as these SKUs are well-reviewed and meet Amazon financial thresholds) – the more products you run, the more likely a user will click on your ad.

Headline Search allows the advertiser 50 characters of copy, along with the ability to promote three product SKUs within the ad. Though scale will be lower than Sponsored Product, Headline ads often have the best visibility since they run only at the top of the page above search results.

Product Display ads run primarily on Product Detail pages and are targeted by product SKU and interest category, rather than keywords. These tend to generate a lower return on ad spend than the other two, but it gives brands coverage on Amazon pages they wouldn’t have with Sponsored Product or Headline. The unit is also extremely effective for cross-selling & conquesting, since the advertiser can pick the exact SKUs it wants to target.

(4) Use Gifting & Holiday-Related Keywords

Increase click volume by testing broad gifting-related keywords (best gifts, gift sets, gift ideas). Compared to Google/Bing, these types of terms are still relatively efficient and less competitive on Amazon. ROAS will likely be lower than your better-performing Generics, but running on these keywords can garner awareness and sales from consumers previously unaware of the product.

(5) Run an Auto-Targeting Campaign Before Holidays for Keyword Research

If you’re looking for scale in Nov/Dec, run a Sponsored Product Auto Targeting campaign for two weeks in early Q4. Auto Targeting leverages Amazon’s e-commerce knowledge and allows the platform to automatically choose keywords it feels are the most relevant to the product. Performics doesn’t recommend running Auto Targeting for the entire flight, due to lower returns; however, it works great as a keyword engine for Manual Targeting campaigns and provides a lot of interesting insights on searches that convert for your product.

(6) Promote Brand Deals

Promotions on Amazon are extremely effective at cutting through ad clutter to drive sales. If the brand has an available coupon or Amazon Gift Card deal (buy product, get Amazon gift card free), call it out within the Headline Search copy. One Performics account tracked an average ROAS of 840% for Gift Card campaigns during the 2015 holiday season.

(7) Launch Seasonal Copy

If your brand doesn’t have a specific coupon or deal to promote, make sure your Headline copy has a holiday focus, to engage users potentially searching for gifts. Due to legal restrictions, Amazon will not approve copy that specifically calls out Black Friday or Cyber Monday. But a more general gifting or seasonal message should be allowed by their moderators (Example: ‘Give the Gift of *brand name* This Season’).

(8) Always Advertise Your Best-Reviewed SKUs

This is a year-round best practice for all Amazon campaigns. Ensure the products being promoted have strong user reviews, as poor reviews can affect account performance. Amazon recommends only advertising ASINs with a review of 3.5 or above.

(9) Don’t Shut Down After the Holidays

Keep campaigns on and aggressive in the weeks after December 25th. Volume and spend will decrease, but ROAS may be stronger due to less competition from other advertisers. You can also jump on after-Christmas traffic from users looking for products to use gift cards on. Performics tracked a 1200% ROAS from 12/28/15 – 1/3/15 for a brand on AMS, which was higher than the week of Black Friday (600%) for that brand.

(10) Always Be Testing!

Take advantage of Amazon efficiencies while the platform is still in its infancy. Test new keywords, ad types, copy and bidding strategies. Gather important learnings before more advertisers jump on the bandwagon!

For more information on driving performance on Amazon and other commerce engines, contact Performics. Our full-service Direct Commerce offering enables brands to efficiently increase overall search revenue by engaging searchers beyond Google—on Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and other retail engines. Services include Marketplace Advertising, Organic Marketplace Optimization and Marketplace Intelligence.

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