As cars get smarter, the more mundane parts of driving are now being handled by your car's brain. In the most advanced vehicles, pretty much every decision other than picking your destination can be handled by your car. Marketing Automation is another application of robot brains and, in many ways, very similar. It can handle all of the marketing "fine tuning" for you but you still have to pick the right destination.
Making Amazon PPC Work Harder
Amazon's Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising tools are extremely powerful but difficult to use. There are two main options available to brands: Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands. The former allows you to buy spots in search results while the latter presents much like a banner ad. Setting up and adjusting campaigns can be done through Amazon's web-based interface, via "bulk upload" templates, or through 3rd party applications.
Setting them up, however, is just one part of the equation - keeping them running well requires mastery of several tasks:
- Bid optimization: On Amazon, you can buy any keyword you like but if you don't pay the right price, then your profits will suffer. Determining the right price is tough but the bigger challenge is that this can change over time due to changes in pricing, competitive dynamics, and other factors. If you have a campaign with hundreds or even thousands of keywords, keeping your bids optimized can be overwhelming!
- Keyword harvesting: Amazon's "Automatic" campaigns are a great way to find valuable new keywords that should become part of your strategy. These campaigns will test many different potential matches for you based on category searches, related products, and more. To fully take advantage of this tool, though, you need to harvest the best keywords and move them into your "Manual" campaigns. If done manually, this could involve hours every single week.
- Budget allocation: As you evaluate the overall performance of individual campaigns, you'll want to adjust budgets to ensure that your funds are focused against the highest performing campaigns (or the ones that best support your current strategy).
If you want to learn more, check out our previous tips for creating and managing great Amazon campaigns.
The Growth of PPC Automation Apps
Given the heavy manual workload involved with PPC, it's not surprising that the number of automation options continue to increase. Some, like PPC Entourage, offer the user very granular control and a "hands on" experience while others, like TeikaMetrics, try to do everything for you. Increasingly, applications like Sellics which are known primarily as Amazon business dashboards are also getting into the PPC automation game.
The philosophy behind these applications also differs dramatically - some are 100% "rules based" which means that the user has to define very specific automation rules for the software. Others have a "black box" philosophy - in other words, the designers have created built-in rules and logic that will make decisions on behalf of the user, prioritizing simplicity over control.
Sellozo falls somewhere in the middle. Given the simplicity of its interface, it offers a surprising level of configurability. While it does include a business dashboard and financial analysis tools, it is very focused on what it does best - making your PPC efficient and effective.
Sellozo: The Good
What sets Sellozo apart from most other tools is the visual campaign designer ("Campaign Studio") and its built in recipes. This all makes initial campaign setup a breeze - if you do lots of campaign setup, this will easily save two thirds or more of the time.
Once you've got your campaign set up, you set optimization criteria including your target ACOS ("Advertising Cost of Sales") and whether you want "Aggressive" or "Conservative" optimization. Then the tool goes to work for you.
Adjustments are made daily and the number of changes the tool makes increases as more performance data becomes available. In the first 4 weeks that we used the service, Sellozo had made 30,000+ bid adjustments, discovered 400+ relevant keywords, and created 40+ campaigns all by itself. The tool also saves you money by automatically creating negative keywords so that your campaigns no longer spend on unprofitable terms.
Sellozo is also very reasonably priced and can pay for itself very quickly. The company offers both individual and "agency" pricing for clients who run multiple accounts. The support team is also great and very responsive.
Sellozo: Some Challenges
We do have just a couple of warnings about Sellozo...
First of all, your spend in the early optimization phase can be a bit higher. If you're starting with "fresh" campaigns, Sellozo will have to learn what works and what doesn't through trial and error. This means that your initial ACOS could be quite a bit higher than your stated target as the optimization dials in. Longer-term, we've found results to be very good however.
Also, while Sellozo's campaign setup and optimization are great, the business tracking features (sales, profit, and inventory reporting) are somewhat rudimentary compared to other options more narrowly focused on data presentation. In light of other features, it's easy to overlooking any shortcomings in this department.
We've found Sellozo to be an outstanding addition to our suite of tools and highly recommend it. We have yet to find a better tool for campaign setup and bid automation. While it won't replace ALL of the dirty work , it will save you a tremendous amount of it.
If you'd like to speak to us about your PPC campaign strategy, let us know!