How to Build a Profitable Amazon PPC Campaign Quickly & Easily

Amazon PPC is key to a successful private label product. The lion’s share of e-commerce sales are of Amazonian origin, so you’re in the right place at the right time.  However, how can you get your product in front of potential customers with Amazon PPC – and (more importantly) – how can you do that profitably?

Slapping up your product name, a photo, a few short bullet points, and a line or two of copy in the description box is not likely going to get you noticed. That’s where a combination of keyword optimization and Amazon PPC campaigns come in. With good ad copy, pictures, keyword optimization and pay-per-click advertising on Amazon, your product listing can move to the top of the search results and get the sales.

Amazon advertising campaigns – anchor or jet ski?

Your product is an H2O molecule in the Pacific, so you’ve got to put in some serious effort to bubble up to the top of Amazon’s search rankings. Fortunately, we have been busy formulating the tools you need to nudge the competition out of the way so the people who want your product can find it with ease.

Amazon SEO tactics can help you get found on Amazon eventually if you don’t have much competition, but if you’re like most sellers, time is of the essence and competition is tough. You want to start making money right away! And as the saying goes, it takes money… well, you know the rest.

To help ambitious sellers take control of their listing visibility, Amazon followed the lead of Google and Facebook and developed the Amazon Sponsored Listing advertising program.

Paid search on Amazon, just as with the others, has the potential to make you a pop star or a pauper. If you don’t create and manage your PPC (pay-per-click) strategy right from the start, you’ll bleed money and maybe even worse, cause Amazon to punish your listing.

Lay a solid foundation for a successful Amazon PPC campaign (Also known as Sponsored Products) by creating a keyword-optimized product listing using WordTree’s Organic Search Report and Listing Builder, then make some sales on your own and elicit great feedback (always following Amazon’s review rules, of course). Some great tips on optimizing your listing can be found here: Increase Sales on Amazon.

Follow the rest of this brief but powerful Amazon pay per click tutorial brought to you by WordTree, and you’ll most likely start seeing your sales increase for both paid and organic sales.

Finding your top performing keywords with an automatic campaign is costly

Running an automatic campaign to expose the PPC terms for your listing will get expensive till enough time has passed, and you have it optimized. That’s why we don’t recommend this method. It’s much cheaper to get an Organic Keyword Report that will provide the keywords to you right away.

Generating a WordTree Organic Keyword Report and using that to jump-start your campaign by using the keywords from it to create an exact match manual campaign. In addition, using those keywords as negative keywords in your automatic campaign. Keep reading for more on this.

Keywords are the key to a profitable Amazon PPC strategy

When you create an organic keyword report in WordTree, you can use that complete list of search terms for more than just creating a killer SEO Amazon listing.

The method we recommend is to take advantage of the leak on Amazon’s Ad servers that tell you exactly what the search volume is for each search term and then leveraging that data with an exact Amazon PPC campaign and an optimized automatic campaign.

Using your WordTree keyword report, you’ll be able to see the search terms, and you can see the search volumes that are giving your competition sales. Put them to use in an Amazon PPC campaign with the following five steps:

  1. Select Ungrouped and leave everything else as default. Click on CSV or Excel depending on the program you will use. This will download the document you will need for step 5.

2) In your Amazon Seller Central dashboard, choose “Advertising” from the main menu, then “Campaign Manager” to create your first campaign. Name your Campaign. A $30 daily budget is a good starting place but should be raised or lowered based on your product cost and profit margin.

Create Amazon PPC Campaign

3) Next, choose “Manual targeting” so you can add your keyword list.

On the “Campaign Settings” screen, name your Ad Group, then select a product you want to advertise for.

Provide Keywords for Amazon PPC Campaign

4) Then, set your default bid. This will be the maximum amount you are willing to pay when someone clicks your ad, meaning you could end up paying less depending on what your competition is bidding, but you will never pay more. The bid amount applies to all clicks unless you set a custom bid amount for a specific keyword. More on setting your bid price in the next section.

*Note – Amazon also gives you the option to choose “Bid+” which will automatically raise your bid up to 50% more than the default you set when your ads are eligible to show at the top of search results (Not recommended).

5) Now the click the option to “Provide your own keywords” and add the top 550 keywords from your WordTree keyword report into the keyword box by opening the document you downloaded and selecting the top 550 keywords.

Click the first word, hold shift, and then click the 550th word. Then click edit > copy. Now paste these in and select “Exact” from the “Match type“ drop-down list, and click the “Add these keywords” button.  

Note: If you want a more optimized PPC campaign, we recommend that you read over the 550 keywords and remove any that don’t make sense to advertise for. Use your best judgment. Poor performing keywords can be removed during the maintenance phase as well.

Setting the bid price

Now you’ll see the suggested bid for each keyword compared to what your competition is paying, and you can adjust your bid amount accordingly, but generally, we recommend setting all the bids to the same price when creating a new campaign and adjusting later.

Keep in mind that a sale on any term will help boost the rankings of all of the other search terms you’re ranking for. Moreover, don’t be afraid of longtail keywords if they have a reasonable conversion rate because this is often the proverbial “low-hanging fruit” that will often be low competition for you.

When a seller bids a certain amount on the keyword for which they want their product to appear the seller with the highest bid will appear in the first position in Amazon’s search results, the second-highest bid will appear in the second position, etc.

We recommend for most people to aim for break even on their PPC and use it as their starting point. The break-even point to set your bid at can at can be figured out by using your conversion rate, selling price, and Amazon’s fees.

The following is for established listings. New listings will need to rely on Amazon’s suggested bids at first or looking for an average of the suggested bids and making that the default bid for the campaign. Once a listing has been active for a bit, you can come back and complete the following.

Your listings listing’s conversion rate can be found by going to Reports > Business Reports.

Seller Central Business Reports

Next, you’ll want to select  Detail Page Sales and Traffic by Parent Item on the left.

Seller Central Detail Page Sales

Now, look at the numbers under the column Order Item Session Percentage. Those are your conversion rates.

You can get your listings selling price and find the fees for that item by going to Inventory > Inventory Management and looking at the Fee Preview column and the Price + Shipping column.

Inventory Management

With the conversion rate, selling price, and Amazon’s fees you can now put them into this calculator and get your estimated bid price.

Now that you have your bid amount, you can enter it here:

Seller Central Ad Group

You can either click the “Apply All” button to save all of your bids or choose to apply the bids only to specific keywords. You can also delete any keywords you don’t want to keep. After you apply your bid prices, click the “Save and finish” button.

Set Bid Price

That’s it! You’ve started your first manual Amazon PPC campaign. Your ads should be live within an hour or so, but you won’t be able to check your campaign’s performance for up to 48 hours. Be sure to check your ad performance and adjust your bids and budget as needed, removing low converting ads and scaling up those ads that are bringing you sales.

Starting an automatic campaign

Now that you have your manual campaign you’ll want to start up your automatic campaign to get your listing to show up in a few more places like your competitor’s listing.

First, you want to follow similar steps to the manual campaign you just setup only now you want to select Automatic targeting with a budget of $10 per day and a default bid of 36 cents to start the campaign. You’ll want to adjust these when you start monitoring your campaign.

Now you want to take all of the keywords you put into your manual campaign and put them into the negatives of your automatic campaign. Click on Advertising and then your campaign. Now select Negative Keywords and then use the Match Type drop-down to select Negative Exact. Now all that is left is to drop in all of the keywords from you manual campaign, click Add these keywords, and you are done!

Monitoring and adjusting your campaign

Once your campaign has been running for a week, you are going to want to start maintenance on it. The way to do this is by pulling up a search term report at Reports > Advertising Reports. With the report, you can see exactly what terms are being clicked and lots of stats to help you make informed decisions on what search terms to keep and what terms to kill.

The other important thing to do at this time is to see if your conversion rate has changed and do a recalculation on what you should be bidding if it has changed. This bid adjustment should be made at least once a week.

If you find that a keyword has had ten clicks and no conversions, then you’ll want to stop it.

There are more complicated methods for doing maintenance on your new PPC campaign, like increasing or decreasing bids on the individual search terms after they have reached five clicks, but this is a good starting point.

How to handle Variations

When you have a listing with variations under it, you’ll want to build the same campaign for each of the variations, or you will want to run separate WordTree reports for each of them and use those keywords for each. You’ll find that Amazon only allows one of the variations to get impressions for a search phrase.

Reap the benefits of a killer Amazon advertising campaign strategy

When you’re first getting started with a new product on Amazon, it may be in your best interest to keep your product’s price low so that when shoppers do see your listing, they click through and buy from you. This will aid in your listing ranking up organically and aid in more Amazon PPC conversions.

The more sales you make, the higher your product will naturally rank in Amazon search results. The real money made on Amazon is when you get your listing to show up high in customer search results naturally. A viable strategy to do this is to choose a keyword you want to rank up on and increase your bid on it. This will increase sales on the keyword cause your listing to start moving up organically for it, but it will cost you in the short-term to do this method.

View the Amazon pay per click cost as an investment in your product’s future. Boost purchases, and you’ll reap the rewards later.

That’s also why it’s vital that you create a highly-optimized listing using WordTree’s powerful Amazon listing optimization tools. The conversion rate optimization (CRO) techniques built into the WordTree suite will help you create an Amazon sales machine. Turn those clicks into sales with a great product listing and watch the flood of organic traffic come rushing in, making the most of the Amazon PPC campaign cash you’ve invested.

To learn more about WordTree’s products, please visit us at

Do you have questions about your PPC campaign or other tips for our readers?  Comment below and let us know!

The above should be read as general guidance only. In no way can WordTree be held responsible for losses incurred.

5 thoughts on “How to Build a Profitable Amazon PPC Campaign Quickly & Easily”

  1. Awesome content, I really love everything that you guys put out! Just recently found out about and currently testing it out for my product! Can’t wait to see the progress.

    What would your suggestion be as for phrase and broad keywords? Should we run it if so what keywords do you recommend using since all of the Keywords obtained in your keyword research tool have been placed under exact.

    The bid prices for exact are generally more expensive than bidding under phrase or broad. Could you elaborate a little more on what would be the suitable bid price for starters? I understood that the article suggested to remain all bid price the same.

    1. Thanks Shaun!

      Generally, we don’t recommend phrase of broad. They will generate more search phrases, but they are often going to be ones that you don’t really want. Our keyword reports should have generated all the keywords that you would have wanted and outside of that, you’re getting undesirable search phrases with broad and exact.

      Exact looks more expensive, but it’s really the same cost when a customer types that exact phrase. Like when a customer types “garlic press” to get an ad for it is going to cost the same for broad or exact. Broad looks cheaper because it will generate all kinds of phrases that cost less but are generally undesirable and not many people are bidding on them.

      You want to use our formula to get started with your bid prices. After you’ve run your campaign for awhile you can start watching you ad cost and start adjusting bids. You can even start adjusting bids to each phrase, but it will require more attention to do so.

  2. Great post!

    Question — Do you recommend all 550 top keywords in one manual campaign? I’ve heard some ‘Gurus’ say we should not have more than 10 (Max 50) keywords in a campaign.

    Please advise.


    1. I do recommend putting all of the top 550 keywords in one manual campaign. From our testing, this gave us the best results.