It’s no secret that launching products on Amazon has kept sellers on their toes in recent times.
Policies have changed, strategies have evolved, and the current lay of the land is markedly different from what it was just a few short years ago.
A tandem pressure of maintaining both consumer trust and shareholder satisfaction has seen Amazon put an end to strategies like incentivized reviews and post-purchase rebates.
These changes have created an environment in which two of the best - and safest - ways to launch products on Amazon are native PPC ads and Google ads.
Combined correctly these two powerful tools can skyrocket your sales from day one of your new product launch.
And in this article, we’ll walk you through exactly how to do just that with a well-crafted product launch strategy.
The Importance Of A Product Launch Strategy
In working with hundreds of Amazon sellers over recent years, the biggest mistake I see them make is to adopt a publish and pray strategy.
Publish a product listing, and pray it makes some sales.
However, if you’re going to have any chance of succeeding on Amazon you have to think far more strategically about a product launch.
A good strategy is essential when launching a new product for several reasons:
- Organic Visibility. An effective product launch can create an initial spike in sales that can influence Amazon's algorithm positively. Amazon's search ranking algorithm tends to favor products with higher sales velocity (i.e., the speed and consistency at which a product sells). Therefore, driving a significant amount of sales in a short period can boost your product's ranking in search results, leading to increased visibility and potentially more sales in the long run.
- Reviews & Ratings. Customer reviews and ratings play a significant role in a buyer's decision-making process on Amazon. A successful product launch strategy helps generate early reviews, which can help boost your product's credibility and attractiveness to other potential buyers.
- A Path To Profitability. Organic traffic that converts well is the key to profitability on Amazon and a burst of initial sales through an effective product launch is the fastest way to achieve that. Often launching without a clear strategy takes much longer and costs more in the long run.
So where does this strategy start?
A successful product launch starts way before launch day.
Before spending precious resources on sending traffic to an Amazon listing, make sure you’re not pouring that traffic into a leaky bucket with these three essential pre-launch optimization steps:
1. Ensure base product quality
It should go without saying, but often it still needs to be said.
Good marketing won’t fix a bad product, and throwing an Amazon PPC or Google Ads budget at one is a fast track to failure.
Do the hard work upfront to create a high-quality, well-differentiated product that stands out from the competition and will encourage a steady stream of positive customer reviews.
2. Create an optimized Amazon listing
Once you’ve created a great product, it’s imperative that you communicate just how great it is.
There are two key objectives to optimize your listing around - attracting the click and generating the conversion.
With Google Ads, you’ll be able to send shoppers directly to a product page, so attracting the click is an ad setup function as opposed to your Amazon listing.
The success of your Amazon PPC however will depend on your listing’s ability to attract the click when appearing in search results.
To attract more clicks, focus on these areas:
- Main Image: Get creative with packaging, accessories, and layout to create a scroll-stopping image.
- Title: Convey the unique benefits of your product in the title.
- Pricing: Consider a special launch price to help your new product stand out.
- Review Count & Rating: Secure those all-important first reviews ASAP with the Vine program.
- Promotions: Add an eye-catching coupon for your listing.
And to convert more browsers into buyers, focus on:
- Product Images: Utilize engaging product images and infographics that convey the benefits of your product in comparison to competitors.
- A+ Content: Make the most of this brand-exclusive feature and use rich, engaging images and copy.
- Benefit-Driven Bullets: Use each of your five bullet points to turn features into benefits and show the customer what the product will do for them.
Further Reading: The Art of Crafting The Perfect Amazon Listing
3. Preserve the Honeymoon Period
While never confirmed by Amazon, the ‘honeymoon period’ is a concept widely adopted in the Amazon seller community.
The theory is that Amazon gives new product listings a bit of extra ranking juice right after launch to test new products on the platform and see how they will perform.
As such, we always recommend sellers close a newly created listing while stock is being manufactured and shipped.
Then we always look to future-date both the ‘Offer Start Date’ in the Offer tab:
And also the ‘Launch Date’ under the ‘More Details’ tab:
Set them in advance of the estimated arrival date of your products with a healthy buffer - you can always bring the date forward if needed.
Taking these steps will help give the algorithm all the right signals that is a brand-new product when it launches.
Next step? Time to launch!
Launch Lever One: Amazon PPC
Once you’ve optimized your listing, the next step is to create some launch-specific ad campaigns using Amazon PPC.
Whereas Amazon advertising used to simply be a tool to generate additional long-term sales, it’s now become a vital tool for launching products by driving organic ranking right out of the gate.
To maximize the impact of your Amazon advertising efforts at launch, here are three steps to consider.
1. Carry out in-depth keyword research
If you’ve taken a keyword-driven approach to optimizing your Amazon listing, you’ll now have a comprehensive list of relevant keywords to target.
While these may all become useful as your product matures, when launching products I’d always recommend focusing on a smaller list of the most relevant keywords.
This is because Amazon’s algorithm will be looking for relevancy signals between your product and various keywords.
If you throw a bunch of broadly related keywords into the mix too early it could weaken those signals and limit the organic ranking impact.
So, take your list (or create one with some in-depth competitor analysis) and streamline it to the top 10-20 most relevant terms.
2. Create a solid campaign structure
Next, take these keywords and create some launch campaigns.
Depending on how much work you want to put in you have a few different options here:
- One campaign. Put your shortlist of keywords into one exact match campaign. Easy to manage, but may mean high volume keywords consume all your ad spend.
- Volume-based campaigns. Split keywords into tiers based on volumes so that lower-volume keywords get some traction.
- Single keyword campaigns. Create one unique exact match campaign for every keyword on your shortlist. This gives maximum control and exposure but is a bit more work.
Of course, you can mix and match these by putting most of the keywords together and then creating single-keyword campaigns for your highest volume and most important keywords.
The key is getting each of these relevant terms to drive clicks and sales as soon as possible to impact your organic ranking.
Once your product matures, then you can look to add a more involved campaign structure that will continually hunt for new keywords and can be optimized for long-term profitability.
3. Optimize around key performance metrics
As your product launch progresses, you’ll then want to begin the process of optimizing your Amazon PPC campaigns.
The metrics you optimize around will depend on a few key factors:
- Product lifecycle. The newer the product, the more generous you’ll want to be with ad spend to help get early traction.
- Marketing objectives. Are you trying to use ads for profitability, or driving organic visibility? The overarching goal will affect your definition of success.
- SKU economics. The better your margins, the more room you have for ad spend.
As such, it’s impossible to give a specific metric to optimize around that applies to every business.
Instead, a good place to start is targeting a break-even ACOS (Advertising Cost Of Sales) and then adjusting the ACOS you’re targeting up if you want to be more aggressive, and down if you want to be more conservative.
A good Amazon PPC optimization schedule includes four key tasks:
- Improving conversions by adding non-converting search terms as negative keywords
- Improving relevance by adding low click-through rate search terms as negative keywords
- Improving profitability by reducing bids on high ACOS search terms
- Driving growth by increasing bids on low ACOS search terms
You can carry these tasks out either by regularly downloading your Search Term Report from inside Campaign Manager and manually adjusting bids or adding negative keywords, or you can speed things up by using an Amazon PPC tool.
Launch Lever Two: Google Ads
Amazon PPC is a necessity for a good product launch strategy, but it can only reach shoppers already on the platform.
By driving external traffic you can reach a whole new audience of buyers, plus get some extra benefits in the form of organic ranking favor.
Amazon is widely believed to give extra credit to traffic that comes from an external source, in a clear attempt to encourage sellers to bring new customers onto the platform.
Given Google Ads are very similar in structure and set up to Amazon PPC, this makes them the perfect launch combination.
To get started, here’s what you need to do.
1. Activate your Brand Referral Bonus
First up, you’ll want to make sure you have enrolled in Brand Registry so you can access the Brand Referral Bonus.
Once set up, Amazon will issue a rebate - usually 10% of the selling price - for every sale you generate from external traffic.
One of the key differences between Amazon & Google advertising is that your Google ads will generally convert at a much lower frequency.
Whereas you can expect a 10-20% conversion rate with Amazon ads, you’ll usually be looking at 1-3% with Google.
The Brand Referral Bonus is a nice little boost that makes Google Ads viable both in the short-term and potentially long-term too.
2. Set up Amazon Attribution
In order to track external traffic, Amazon created what is called Amazon Attribution. With this functionality, you can create trackable links that will feed back data in relation to clicks, add to carts, and sales.
To set this up, head to Campaign Manager inside Seller Central, then navigate to Measurement & Reporting tab, followed by Amazon Attribution.
From here you can create as many campaigns as you need, then use the generated links as the target links when creating your Google ads.
3. Create optimized Google campaigns
Once you’re set up on Amazon, it’s time to get your Google ads launched.
If you have any experience with Amazon PPC, you’ll notice that the general structure is similar.
However, there are some unique factors to consider:
There are a number of different formats within the Google Ads platform, including Search, Discover, Shopping, Display, and YouTube ads.
When running Google ads for Amazon products, the best format to use is Search.
This is because they are text-based ads that are similar in setup to Amazon PPC.
They also give you a good amount of flexibility with targeting and ad copy which will come in very useful later on.
There will be a lot of crossovers between your Amazon PPC keywords and your Google keywords.
The key with Google, like with your Amazon PPC launch campaigns, is to use only the most relevant keywords to begin with.
Given the conversion rate is generally lower with Google advertising, it’s important you stay focused on what will produce results in the launch phase.
Google, like Amazon, gives you the option of exact, phrase, and broad match keywords but I’d highly recommend sticking to exact for your launch.
To stipulate exact match, add [brackets] to each keyword when including them in your ad.
If you’d prefer to use phrase match you can use (parentheses) or for broad match, leave keywords as they are without any modifiers.
Another strategy I use is to duplicate my keywords list and add ‘amazon’ to the end of each one.
This helps target a more specific audience of high-intent buyers much more likely to convert on Amazon.
Sponsored Product ads on Amazon don’t require any kind of copywriting and instead use existing listing content and keyword targeting.
Your Google ads however will need to be customized with headlines, descriptions, and callouts.
Here are a few tips for optimizing these areas:
- State your product’s price to either attract more interest (low launch price) or pre-qualify buyers (premium price) to reduce the number of clicks from buyers who won’t convert.
- Include social proof such as a 5* review count to improve conversion rates.
- Leverage Amazon’s trust factor by mentioning free Prime shipping.
- Utilize callout features for extra ‘real estate’ in search results.
Once launched, it’s important to fine-tune your Google campaigns as you would your Amazon campaigns.
The problem, however, is that even with Attribution set up, Amazon gives very little data on the performance of external traffic right out of the box.
To truly optimize your campaigns for long-term performance you need to understand what is happening at a more granular keyword level.
The good news is that by using Ampd's proprietary technology, you can now gain precise visibility into which Google keywords are driving conversions and hone in on the highest-performing ones to improve long-term profitability.
The Perfect Product Launch
A successful product launch on Amazon is one that drives sustained organic visibility.
It’s a front-loaded strategy that relies on a burst of advertising, but slowly over time results in a growing percentage of your sales being made thanks to your products appearing high up in search results.
Combining targeted Amazon PPC and Google Ads campaigns is the best, most effective way to create this initial burst of traffic due to the high-intent and data-driven nature of the platforms.
As your product matures you can continue to introduce new Amazon ads with extra advanced features like Sponsored Brands.
And, to stay one step ahead of the competition you can continue to deploy Google ads by harnessing the power of the Ampd platform.