Management of Keywords on Amazon PPC Campaigns

February 3, 2021

his guide is designed to show you how to successfully complete manual keyword management of your own Amazon PPC campaigns. We want to caveat that keywords can be managed automatically, or they can be managed manually.

This article explains how to manage your keywords in Amazon to improve your Amazon PPC Campaigns
This article explains how to manage your keywords in Amazon to improve your Amazon PPC Campaigns
This article explains how to manage your keywords on Amazon to improve your Amazon PPC Campaigns
This article explains how to manage your keywords on Amazon to improve your Amazon PPC Campaigns

There are benefits and drawbacks with each route. The gist however is that if you have time and the ‘know-how’ (which you’ll get in this article) – manual is the best route to go.

Frankly, if you have no time and very limited experience, choose automatic.

Additionally, if you don’t have budget for a professional Campaign Manager/Consultant (such as the service we offer for clients), we recommend that you:

  1. Set up an automatic targeting campaign with dynamic up and down bidding,
  2. Set the bids around the suggested bid level and,
  3. Hope for the best

However(!) – it’s worth considering this: if you’re not investing in either learning to manage your keywords manually yourself, or paying for someone to professionally do this for you, is that actually costing you more in the long run? Manual keyword management in general, will offer the best results – IF – done correctly.

If you’re up for learning how to manage your own Amazon PPC keywords – or how it works so you can have someone do it for you – read on.

Ineffective keywords on Amazon leading to ineffective Amazon PPC campaigns

Too often, clients find us because they are running ineffective Amazon PPC campaigns. Upon inspection, we’ll see that often, due diligence has been done and they have lots of variations of keywords for the product they are trying to sell.

What’s missing? Well, initially lots of keywords is a good strategic starting point. It enables you to ‘cast the net far and wide’ and then identify which keywords are performing well.

So when looking at an Amazon campaign keyword report (see example below) we can see that only the ones highlighted in yellow are actually performing well.



Where do issues arise?

The issues start to arise if you have a keyword like “wallet” that’s being targeted as a ‘broad’ or a ‘phrase match’.

  • An Amazon campaign keyword that’s targeted as ‘broad’. Essentially, it means you’re asking Amazon to show your product in searches that include “Wallet” AND are ‘related’ to Wallet. This includes synonyms, misspellings, and variations of your keyword. You can appear in searches that aren’t quite right. If people click and realise it’s not for them – you lose money on that click regardless… It does however mean you can show up in searches you perhaps hadn’t thought of that are in fact relevant. So there are benefits and drawbacks to be aware of.
  • An Amazon campaign keyword that’s targeted as ‘phrase match’. You’re asking Amazon to not show your listing, if words have been put between your chosen keywords as a phrase. For example, we want to appear for the keyword phrase ‘Wallet UK’ – we WILL appear for “Wallet UK Men’s” and “Men’s Wallet UK”. We will NOT appear for “Wallet Men’sUK”. This is because the additional term (mens) from the searcher is in the middle of our chosen keyword phrase. You can control word order with Phrase Match. Variations may include misspellings, singulars and plurals, stemmings (backpacking instead of backpack), abbreviations, and acronyms.

How this leads to poor keyword management

So – back to our point of where issues arise. In your campaign, you’re likely going to be using keywords that have many different variations of what is essentially the same thing. This is because you’re not EXACTLY sure how customers search. You want to allow wiggle room for when customers accidentally type things incorrectly. However, you still want to appear within their search results. Some of the keyword variations around your desired keyword are good and useful. Others are totally ineffective or just totally irrelevant. What happens though, is that your Amazon campaign will just bid for the useless and useful keywords. For the same amount of money. So you might be paying £0.15 per click for ineffective keywords. But then also paying the same price for your most effective keywords. This is poor keyword management.

The main aim of managing keywords in Amazon PPC campaigns


Poor management of keywords for Amazon PPC campaigns is easily one of the greatest and most common mistakes we see in accounts that we take on. Our free audit tool is designed to help you identify how effective your keyword portfolio currently is. It highlights exactly where you can make improvements.

Below is an example of an Amazon campaign with automatic keyword management set up:

Above, you’ll see that there are a few search terms generating the sales that have really low ACoS. The rest are effectively wasting money. There are some with higher ACoS. But we still want to separate them out. This is because it will allow us to lower the bids and reduce the overall ACoS of the campaigns.

Key reasons why you should separate keywords into high-performing (sales generating) and low-performing keywords for Amazon PPC campaigns – but keep both!

We split out both high and low ACoS converting search terms. This is because regardless of the ACoS, the keyword generated a sale which is the end goal from the ads. The issue with it is simply the cost which is easily altered by controlling the bid.

The way we create campaigns on Amazon, broad and phrase match, plus auto to an even greater extent, enforce a bid across all the search terms regardless of their effectiveness. Looking at the above examples we can see the keyword card holder had a bid of around £0.3.

This means all the search terms (good or bad) are subjected to this bid. By separating the search terms out into their own keywords, we can give each one the correct bid. So, higher or lower, and therefore achieve the desired ACoS.

Why you should only split out sales generating search terms i.e. the more lucrative keywords on Amazon PPC campaigns

The obvious question here is why not split out all search terms, if it allows more control?

Put simply it would be a massive waste of time. It would literally take you 100 times more effort to do this. Also, if none of them are generating sales, it is logical that you would manage them all in exactly the same way anyway. Also, by splitting out the converting search terms, you are able to extract all the data you really need. The aim with ads is to generate sales. So that’s what we focus on.

Lets use the “card holder” keyword example above. By splitting out the converting search terms, what’s left are all the bad search terms that generate no sales. All of them are currently under the £0.3 bid. By not splitting them out, they are all contained within that one keyword “card holder”. Therefore it’s much quicker to adjust the bids up or down across all keywords simultaneously, than if they were split out.

By splitting the sales-generating ones out, we can target them with correct bids.

Low ACoS keywords on Amazon, you want to be bidding higher, to get more traffic and therefore more sales

High ACoS keywords on Amazon, you want to bid less to lower the ACoS.

If anyone isn’t sure – bidding is essentially an auction process (exactly like google ads). It has a form of quality score system built in. Higher bids means higher placements like top of search.

All of these above principles apply to product targeting as well as keyword targeting. A further article will come soon on product targeting.

Practical steps: How to actually separate your Amazon PPC Campaign keyword search terms

How to separate your Amazon campaign keyword search terms. Our top recommendations:

  1. Each week you’ll need to download the search term report for the whole account
  2. Add in any new, ‘converting’ search terms (i.e. any new terms that are generating clicks plus sales)
  3. The search term report is created by:
  4. Clicking on the top left
    Then click “Reports”
    Select “Sponsored product”
    Select “Search Term”
    Select “Last 7 days (or since the last time you checked)
  5. Open the excel file
  6. Filter the results to exclude ACoS<0 and remove blanks
    This gives you the list of all the converting search terms.
    Then filter for ‘Customer search term contains b0’ (that’s a zero not an O) to find the ASIN targets
    Add these to your ASIN targeting campaign
    Switch the filter to ‘Customer search term does not contain b0’ and add both the broadand exact match types to your keyword targeting campaigns

We hope you’ve found this article useful. Should you need any further specialist help, please do get in touch with one of our Amazon PPC Campaign Consultants.

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