The more products you sell on Amazon, the more complex your job as a Seller or Vendor becomes. It can be challenging to identify a niche and source products. Sellers then need to think about how to launch products, drive traffic and grab conversions. If you don’t make the right choices with every product and product line, you risk inefficiencies and losses that will stall your campaigns and could even drown your business.
Paid advertising is a critical component of success on Amazon. Whether you are launching a new product, looking to expand your market share, or simply stave off competition — PPC ad buys will help you reach your goal. But, just like selecting products to sell, a large product portfolio on Amazon adds complexity to the ad campaign structures you must deploy. You don’t just need a PPC strategy; you need a multi-product PPC strategy that will work for your products, not against them.
If aligned well, your multi-product ad strategy can really exploit the benefits of retailing on Amazon. If you do it wrong, you will end up competing against yourself and wasting time in an administrative malaise. Here, we are going to explain how to do it right. Let’s get started.
Step 1: Define your portfolio
The first thing: group your products based on how you are going to structure your ad campaigns. Your thinking should not be about selling individual products in isolation, but the overall solution you can provide to the customer. This is where the ability to bundle and cross-sell comes into play. You will also start to see how you can market combinations of products to contribute to Average Sale Value and Total Customer Value, rather than just focusing on individual product margins.
One way to develop this product portfolio structure is to imagine you are setting up a website’s navigation for these products. Categorize your SKUs as if on a website to ensure groupings make sense and that you are thinking about how potential customers would see items most relevant to them.
Focus on the key groupings of your products, like brand, product line, or product type. For example, if you sell luggage, you could break your products down by bags, backpacks and briefcases. You can then look to create ad campaigns by breaking these categories down even further based on your business goals.
By doing this, you can more easily identify the different goals for different products within each category, and you can already be thinking about how to structure your ad campaigns around that.
You can then further refine your campaign approach. For example, you may want to take a higher ACoS for a new line of backpacks to gain exposure and traction. At the same time, you could look to drive maximum revenue at a profitable rate for your best-selling backpacks, which is an entirely different ACoS strategy.
Another area to consider in defining your multi-product strategy is how to bundle your product on Amazon, and when to consider using product variations. Applying some thought to how you structure the hierarchy of your products into a portfolio will make it much easier to identify bundling or variation opportunities.
First things first: product variations are not bundles. A backpack with multiple colors would be considered as one item with variants by Amazon. But the backpack combined with a bag would be considered as a bundle, and a good one at that. Adding product bundles to your Amazon listings improves the shopping experience. When done right, this can increase your overall sales and help improve sales for slow moving products. It also reduces the chance of you bidding in different campaigns for the same basic product (e.g. red backpack and green backpack).
Selling bundles on Amazon is a great way to control your listings and build a brand. When two or more products or items are bundled together and sold as one, that can increase the perceived value as well as the Average Order Value (AOV) — but only when done right. The real key here is understanding your Amazon customer data. However, one thing to note is that when you increase your AOV, you can also increase your customer acquisition cost. That means you will have more breathing room in your bidding strategy.
Building an Amazon Store
Another Amazon feature that comes into play for a multi-product strategy is to create your own Amazon Store. The main benefits include:
- A multipage experience for shoppers to learn more about your brand and products
- Integrated promotional features
Building an Amazon Store helps drive shoppers to your customized destination to learn more about your brand and products. This is a free, self-service option and is growing in significance as Amazon is releasing new features and capabilities regularly.
Step 2: Tailor your advertising
The key advertising PPC vehicles: Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brand and Sponsored Display each have a role to play in promoting your multi-product portfolio. When advertising multiple products — Sponsored Brands can take the lead.
If you advertise through Amazon Sponsored Brands, you can promote three of your products at the top, or side of a page based on the keywords you select and the bid you make.
Even better, its product optimization feature lets you engage shoppers with more dynamic Sponsored Brand ads. Your Sponsored Brand ads can automatically display the most relevant ASINs from your product listings or landing page based on a shopper’s search.
One of the problems in moving to a multi-product strategy is maintaining control of all the moving parts. Amazon has introduced Portfolios to enable you to group and organize Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands campaigns into collections that mirror your product structure. With Portfolios, you can structure campaigns in a way that’s meaningful for you, such as by brand, product category, or season.
By allocating budgets at the portfolio level, you can save time, control costs, and remove the need for manual monitoring. You can also get Amazon reports at the portfolio level. There are several ways you can benefit from portfolio-level reporting:
- Get a more complete picture of your overall sponsored ads performance organized in a way that’s meaningful to your business
- Quickly identify high-level trends that you might not otherwise spot when reviewing individual campaigns
Because you don’t need to manually consolidate data, you can spend more time analyzing trends and optimizing your campaigns.
Step 3: Be tactical as well as strategic
In a multi-product strategy, competing with your own ads is something you never want to do. If you have multiple products that could qualify for the same keyword, there is a chance that you will be competing against yourself in bids — driving up costs and under-performing.
The ideal approach is to use unique keywords and eliminate any crossover between products, but this does raise other issues. Finding, isolating and targeting those best search terms per product is a process known as Search Term Optimization. There are also some structural approaches that will be a great help.
Filter out keywords
When trying to decide what keywords to filter out, look for keywords receiving a large volume of traffic but few conversions. This can happen with keywords that are too general and too short, such as “bag.” Ideal shoppers are likely looking for something much more specific that can be targeted with a better long-tail keyword (such as a “leather overnight bag for men”).
Modify keywords to meet your ACoS goals
Obviously, the lower the ACoS, the better. Low is preferred, of course, but every campaign should have a goal depending on whether you’re launching a product, ceasing a product, or trying to shift inventory and you should modify your keyword strategy accordingly.
Targeting your own products
Although you don’t want to compete with your own ads, you might consider targeting your own products with ads for complimentary products within your own portfolio. You can create a product targeting campaign and either enter your own brand or one of your specific ASINs to target. Not only can this help with upselling and cross-selling, but it will also stave off competitors from targeting your brand.
Step 4: Measure, review and refine
To implement a successful multi-product strategy, you must make best use of the business metrics available to measure and improve your performance. Take a portfolio-view and look at the big picture.
We’ve already mentioned ACoS. This should be tracked in line with Total Revenue, Gross Profit, Average Order Value, Customer Lifetime Value and, don’t forget, TACoS (Total Advertising Cost of Sale). On Amazon, PPC and organic feed off each other, so TACoS is an important measure as it shows how your ad spend impacts overall revenue, including organic.
There are free tools that Amazon provides which can help manage your product strategy. One that is very important is Brand Analytics — however, it’s only available to brand registered Sellers. But it’s still worth looking at in some detail to provide a useful context for the kind of data outcomes that are possible — even if they have to be pursued using different tools.
The data provided within Brand Analytics enables you, with the right software, to gain insights far beyond what is provided in individual reports. But let’s look at what is available “out of the box”.
Making the most of Brand Analytics
There are several ways you can use this tool when implementing a multi-product strategy.
Refining your keywords
Using the Search Frequency Rank metric, you can seamlessly identify potential keywords to help you target your product listings towards better organic rankings.
With access to competitor data, you can get a picture of the current market and identify where valuable opportunities lie — tweaking your marketing strategy accordingly.
By evaluating your current keyword sets on Brand Analytics, you can identify what products users are searching for the most within your range. With this data, you can innovate your product listings to more precisely meet what users are looking for.
For example, if the highest search term was ‘backpack’ and the top-performing keyword was ‘backpack for hikers’, you could increase ad spend for this keyword and also incorporate it within your product listing in order to reach a specific audience group.
All parts working together
Building out a multi-product strategy on Amazon is a step-by-step process. It involves:
- working on your optimum portfolio — products, product variants and bundles.
- choosing the right sponsored advertising — product, brand and display — to make the most of your product listings or store.
- monitoring, reviewing and amending both your listings and advertising keyword approaches based on real customer searches and results.
While the complexity of this seems to increase exponentially, AI and machine learning-based analysis software products and services can help you sort through the masses of sales data to provide real insights and keep your strategy on track. Depending on the size of your operation, the value of advanced analytics tools will be different. But no matter how few products reside in your multi-product strategy, you need to make sure that your product lines are properly segmented and optimized.
By skillfully crafting a multi-product strategy, you can leverage untapped potential for further growth on Amazon, become more visible, and offer ranges that seemed previously not manageable or realistic.