Nailing Amazon Advertising with highly competitive keywords is an art, Kyle is an artist.
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[0:00:00] George Reid: Welcome to It's Always Day One. My name is George Reid, a former Amazonian turned Amazon consultant. Each week on the podcast, you're gonna hit industry experts. Brand owners on Amazon employees share their answers to the basic yet fundamental questions. You should be asking yourself about your Amazon business. Now, let's jump in. Hello, Kyle. Thank you so much for coming to join me today from the team. A better. Um, MSU would make our third guest from the better MST. We've had destiny. We've had Gabriel. Now we've got yourself. Would you say we've kind of saved the best for last or is there more to come? How would you position yourself?
[0:00:40] Kyle Kirkwood: There's always more to come from better AM s, but I'll take best for last for now. I'll take that.
[0:00:46] George Reid: So, Carl, you wanna give us a quick background into a little bit about what you're doing a better m s from a personal perspective. Obviously, the team were doing lots of things and a little bit about yourself is well, just so people can paint a bit of a picture for Kyle.
[0:01:01] Kyle Kirkwood: Sure. So I started on Amazon six years ago. I think 2014 and was mostly just e commerce manager for brands. I helped set up their listings. Did data entry for them would go to fire meetings at Amazon in downtown Seattle. And then, um, kind of became obsessed with the Amazon advertising side of things and, you know, started getting pretty good results, but not really knowing what I was doing. And I was just watching Webinars and blog's and reading whatever I could to become better at PPC. Um And then just to the beginning of this year, I decided to join up with a advertising, you know, agency. And that was better. AM s they just seemed like the A team in the space. And I was really I felt really honored to join that team. And since joining, um, I have become the director of DST so kind of moved. I still managed PPC clients, but DSP has become, you know, at least half of my time is spent on DSP growing that side of the business and, you know, while maintaining our regular sponsored ads clients as well
[0:02:16] George Reid: and for those who are a little bit unfamiliar and I certainly am I d S P I hear lots of whispers of its possibilities and what it can do. But for those little bit less familiar again doing, give us a brief background exactly what DSP is and what possibilities are out there if you can utilize it.
[0:02:36] Kyle Kirkwood: Yeah, there's a lot of flashy words used around DSP, so I like to try to keep it really simple. And the way that I would look at it is if you're familiar with the marketing funnel where at the top of the funnel you have people who are just becoming aware that they want to buy a product, Let's say a podcasting microphone there, just like I want to start a podcast. I need a microphone. Well, DSP is able to look at certain things that they do on Amazon like search for, like a podcasting microphone and retarget to them. Even if they didn't look at your product, I'm able to present them with a product that they might be looking for. And throughout that marketing funnel, you could take different actions to serve ads to people based on if they're ready to purchase, or if they're just in the beginning of their search and just the difference between it in search. PPC would be that I can proactively go out and serve and add to a customer before they're necessarily ready to purchase. Whereas PPC you're kind of catching them right at the last second, right when they're they're going to go at it to their car Pretty soon and you're just trying toe join in this knife fight between all of these other products and and capture that sale last second. So DSP gives you a chance to serve and add long before that last that last minute before they purchase
[0:04:00] George Reid: so on. That kind of plays a little bit mawr into kind of wider marketing strategies like bigger ones. If you look outside of amazin, you're looking further up the funnel on dure, asking those questions like, Are they problem aware? Are they problem in solution? Aware? Now they're solution. A. Where are they have high buying intent? Because I think this this with this pyramid I've seen before, where it's like 3% of people have very high buying intent on their problem and solution aware. I know I need a microphone because I'm starting a podcast. I know it needs to be a good one. I am now ready to go by this microphone because I'm starting in two weeks time. My first recording. I need everything to be right. I am going onto the platform searching toe. By today, I think they said around about 3% off the whole audience. You have sit fits into that position. That's the knife fight you're talking about, right? That is the search elements on Amazon, where it's kind of battle to the end, really, where it could be quite aggressive, but you're looking Maurin, Amazon and going, What sort of actions can you track at the moment with DSP? What sort of insights can you get on these customers?
[0:05:19] Kyle Kirkwood: Yeah, some of my favorites would be looking at lifestyle audiences that Amazon provides where, Let's say someone, um, someone is buying diapers or something like that, somebody that tells you a lot about what their life is. If someone's actually buying diapers monthly, then there's a whole lot of other products that they might want to be served right. You can make up in idea of some things that they might need in their pantry or in the closet or in their bathroom in their kitchen and, um, just being able to look at, you know, lifestyle audiences in market audiences. That's another beautiful one where, let's say somebody is hunting for a product that they just can't seem to purchase it. They can't. They haven't made a decision. Um, and I can say that I someone's looking for a protein powder and they haven't purchased one. But there they continue to be looking, and it's, you know, why wouldn't I serve them my product? If I have a protein powder and just all that, there's a bunch of different examples. You know, if if I want to relate it more to search people who are used to PPC, I can simply take what your best selling product is and say anyone who's looked at my product in the last 30 days but didn't purchase it, I want to serve them and add three times a day.
[0:06:42] George Reid: Mhm, yeah, on board on with that in mind than you seeing the features and the capabilities get evermore complex. Social as a sophisticated is Amazon put Mawr and Mawr resource from their side into building out the functionality because that certainly being happening from the PPC side Every week we see something new, some sort of new No capability. Is that exactly the same of the S B side? Are you seeing the same things?
[0:07:14] Kyle Kirkwood: I think campaign manager, the ad console and the developments we've seen this year is far beyond where we're at with the DSP. The DSP is not very user friendly. Um, you really have to understand DSP to go in there and and make a campaign and optimize and make it actually work for you. You might get lucky, but it's not as user friendly as campaign manager. I feel like Amazon's doing an incredible job of making our lives easier as advertisers. When it comes to PPC, DSP is a little different animal and the support isn't quite a strong. The reporting isn't as beautiful. You know, you don't get a big dashboard that you could break down all these what you do. But ah client, let's say you have a product. You can't go look at it. I have to share it with you. You can't go look at your own results, so it's got a ways to go. But, you know, it's I think that the people who are in it. Appreciate all of the metrics we get to look at. And, you know, every time something new drops were pretty excited to see what what they've given us
[0:08:19] George Reid: on. These are the features rolling out as quickly Azaz you're seeing on the PPC much lower,
[0:08:26] Kyle Kirkwood: much lower. Yeah, not not not not nearly as fast. I wish. I mean, and you kind of have to request access to things like I will hear whispers of some new bulk operations, access or option, and I'll have to go requested. It doesn't just roll out onto my console, so that's you don't get these big, massive rollouts. You kind of requests for these Betas custom, and you have to hear about them so hopefully it gets more user friendly over the next couple of
[0:08:55] George Reid: years. But I think it is more logical if it's get more user friendly. But at the moment it's tied up, isn't it? Not everyone has access to DSP for those wondering. How can I get access to lifestyle and in mark audiences? This isn't available to everyone, right?
[0:09:11] Kyle Kirkwood: Well, if you really wanted to use lifestyle audiences, you can use it if you have sponsored display in your region, but it's not. You don't really get the same dynamic targeting um, so you can work with Amazon directly, and they have certain minimum thresholds that they need to hit with with cost per month and things like that spend per month. And then you would have to use an agency if you want to run it for your brand. I've heard whispers that maybe it will be rolled out for, uh, you know, larger companies that have big budgets and that have an internal team that can manage it. But I think for most most sellers and most vendors, using an agency or using Amazon is your best bet.
[0:09:55] George Reid: Uh huh. On that being said, kind of, How do you see the whole of Amazon advertising evolving over the next 6, 12 18 months? Obviously, they're putting so much energy and resource into developing it. What are your predictions for what we can expect to see? But the next year, year and a half,
[0:10:15] Kyle Kirkwood: I think placements are going to continue to expand and get more creative and more dynamic. Like video in search has been a beta that everyone I've talked to absolutely loves. The performance is incredible. Higher click the rates. Higher conversion rates just in general. Even if you have a poor video, it performs better than most of your other campaigns. So at this point, we all just want more placements, and you could imagine videos being in a carousel on product detail pages. You could imagine video being, um, perhaps in the search bar, like a many, many video popping up A. Soon as you type in a really fat head keyword eso, I expect placements to get more dynamic and to spread out across the page. Um, and I expect video to really grow a lot more. I'm not sure I haven't heard anything about these placements, but just assuming with how well it's done, um, in its beta, I think video really has a lot more. A lot more growth potential
[0:11:17] George Reid: on that kind of echoes what we've seen with other types of content right across any platform. It's always video is performing much better. It's much more engaging customers find videos more insightful, helps to make their buying decision on bond. I think Ah, lot of people are, I mean in America. How quickly do you think people are jumping on on things like video because I'm seeing a little bit, but I wouldn't say people are jumping on it very quickly. So a What are you seeing and be? Should people be jumping on every new placement every new our type as soon as it comes out? Or would you recommend something differently?
[0:11:58] Kyle Kirkwood: Video In search, I would recommend If you have access, you should be running it. The results will speak for themselves. It might be more expensive than you prefer. Like I typically don't see below a 20 or 30% a costs on video in search. It seems to have a price floor of in the U. S. Like a 90 cent cost per click where if you go below that, the amount of impressions drop off significantly. And if you're right above that, it let's say 94 cents. You're always gonna have a cost per click of 90 cents. So it seems like they said this is what it costs for us to run this this placement. Um, so if you have access to video in search, definitely give that a go. There's so much potential there, and I just see higher conversion rates higher, click through rates and, you know, get there before your competitors dio. Now, when it comes to all these other things that Amazon rolls out, I think I think that most people know the value of one. I mean, if you're scrolling through the detail page or ah CERP search engine results and you see a video in the middle of the page, it totally distracts you from all the other products. That is a powerful placement. All these other things that come out, I don't get as excited. I think that this video in search thing has a huge huger on Amazon, and that's my number one
[0:13:15] George Reid: I think it ties into traditionally when you go through any sort of feed of results, whether it be instagram, Facebook news, anything. Whenever there's the opportunity for something moving around a video, a gift, it usually holds that scroll a little bit better. On that certainly was the case of kind of Facebook ads when they initially allows you to run videos. There was some great success from those. The results now perhaps not as good depends on category in, but now people become on Amazon. The customers become used to seeing a very stationary, um kind of results page across the whole board on videos, even on the detail page were prominent. There were always last. So perhaps it's just the fact they're so different on it. Ties into what people are used to another platform say, is getting so much more engagement. That being said, though, what do you think Brand should be thinking about? In terms of, you said, Some people are saying great things with bad videos. I've always worked in the Prem myself. If you're gonna do something, put a little bit of effort in a leased rather than just throwing up a shitty video, spending that little bit first to ensure that you're getting strong, click through rates rather than okay, just because the placements good. Would you agree with
[0:14:41] Kyle Kirkwood: that? E would disagree. We've We've got these. Uh, if you have an Amazon account manager, someone who like an advertising account manager, someone
[0:14:52] George Reid: who works
[0:14:52] Kyle Kirkwood: internal at Amazon, they have a spreadsheet that they can send you where you just plug in the ace in a few bullet points, a title and they will whip up a fairly generic looking video, but it looks native to Amazon, so it looks like it belongs there. And it looks just like a detail page. It just has bullets and things like that. But you didn't go spend $2000 getting it created. It's free. And it gives you an idea of the potential, um, in that like your click through rate, it will be decent. You will be impressed with the results. As long as your product is okay. You have good reviews. You know, the price is good. It's competitive. Then I would say you want that placement rather than waiting for that perfect content or that better content?
[0:15:39] George Reid: Yeah, kind of releasing early in it, being an 80% job rather than spending six months fattening around. They're missing the boat, right? Yeah, it's interesting. I believe it all uses a company called Rock Hattie. Um, just like rocket are, um it's an Indian company. Have developed the software for an Amazon, partnered with them in India in order to offer it to companies over there on Dave now, kind of connected the platforms a little bit in India. So within the Indian console, you kind of just connect race and you can get a quick video thrown up. E think particularly for those lots of Softwares out there that could do similar things where you can kind of get some sort of quirky video. Um, I think as it gets more competitive, though, where you've got 10 2060 100 videos competing for that placement within the search results. That's when it's gonna be okay. You can't just get a generic video thrown up. You need something mawr stimulating. Um, Andi work. Working with kind of your graphics team or art director is somewhat news term near the days is gonna help with that on with regards to kind of other other content of the DSP sort of things. Obviously, you can present Aled different types of ads right now. How important is it for you to invest in that content first before you just throw adds up because you've got a bit more functionality. If I'm correct,
[0:17:13] Kyle Kirkwood: Yeah, you can make the ads as long as they get passed by the creative team at Amazon. You can You can make the ad look like it's straight from your own website or something that you would put in a magazine or wherever you do other marketing. Um, what's funny is that in my experience, the best performing creatives are native to Amazon, meaning that you don't go create a special creative just for this DSP. You actually use what Amazon already has kind of built into the system where you say, Here's my ace and here are my bullet points or my review or whatever you want. A feature in your creative and Amazon will make a creative for you that looks like it's from Amazon. It looks and feels like it should be there on Amazon, where, as someone might see a bright blue and green creative that's been made custom and the digital team might love it. And, you know, the whole branding and marketing team might love it, but a customer might think it's going to take them away from Amazon, or they might not trust it. And we see a lower click through rate on those non native looking at. So I'm all about testing out different creatives, Um, but so far that's the results I've seen.
[0:18:27] George Reid: Very interesting, because I guess people are accustomed on Facebook to going. I know I'm going to click on this bright green thing, and I know I'm going to get taken somewhere else because that is my experience. But you're right with anything Amazon. The risk is kind of tone and brand voice. They've got across order there, things that they do, which is a bit more subtle. Eyes interesting. Because the customer is different, the type of person shopping in Amazon is different. They don't expect to be taken away. That's very interesting point. But is that those ads only available if you're going via someone internally, or is it something you can kind of do yourself opening a case? Kind of. How could the average jokers and had some on ads like this made up by Amazon?
[0:19:18] Kyle Kirkwood: You mean the DSP ads?
[0:19:21] George Reid: Well, you know, with those DSP you want, even just with the general video wants, Like you said, you could just give them your race. And it's, um, bullets. Right? When internally
[0:19:33] Kyle Kirkwood: A. So far as I know you do. But sometimes when you think they call it G s s on the vendor side, better support system or something like that, sometimes submitting a case and just requesting Hey, I want to create a video in search. Can you send me that sheet? Can you send me that video creation sheet? And sometimes you'll get the right person internally at Amazon, whether they're working in India or the US or wherever. Sometimes they can help you out. So I would definitely try to get those internal assets made because it's free and it does. It gets the results you want
[0:20:07] George Reid: on. It's obviously a volumes, gamers. Well, if you can tap into that and you'll say someone who's got 1000 listings and you're like it Z unfeasible for me to go out and get 1000. Video is made up quickly, which is going to perform. Do you have the option to split test HMAS? Well, are they going? Okay, if you're not happy with that video will create another one. Or is it? I get what you're given.
[0:20:33] Kyle Kirkwood: Yeah, if you haven't ad manager at Amazon that I know that you can use these different types of creatives. They even have, like, stock footage that they may have bought from Adobe or something like that, and it will be a bamboo forest or it'll be a beautiful home or whatever. And, yes, your images kind of just like rendered into this video, but they do it in a way that doesn't look completely cheesy. Um, and you know, there's different options that you can have. I think it's all about just asking and utilizing assets. If you have an advantage. Er,
[0:21:08] George Reid: I guess ensuring that your keywords within the listing your listings being done well, the data you've already given Amazon is correct, and you've given them a much as possible to ensure that whatever machine they're using to create that ad is going to be relevant. Right? Because if you used shoddy keywords and it's throwing up a bamboo forest, been thanks to your products made of timber, for instance, then there's gonna be some issues there now, that being said, obviously having. So we've got an account manager ourselves over here, over here in the UK, help to sell a lot of things. But if we think mawr internally for your own operation, what one individual would you be looking to hire right now? If you are a brand on what skill set where they have kind of a staple, skill sets go right. We need to grow at Amazon business right now. What area would you be looking at? Would be advertising would be operations would be branding. What peace do you think is the biggest pie that people need to be going after?
[0:22:10] Kyle Kirkwood: Yeah, it's tricky to know, You know, if I was gonna make a broad statement like that about it's hard to know each company has their own internal needs. Obviously, I always come back to the detail page being perfect, Um, and being as strong as possible. I mean, you can't You shouldn't advertise to a detail page that is weak, and that doesn't convert. So, I think a conversion specialist, someone who could come in and look at your detail page and say, Well, we've only got three out of nine images. We don't have a video. Our bullet points are confusing and they don't tell features and benefits. We have no brand. We have no store, things like that. I think that someone who knows Amazon and knows how to increase conversion His ah, fundamental piece of running your business on Amazon. How high can you get? Conversion. And then from there you start playing with these other options. But that's usually where I like to start is what's the conversion rate? Can I make it higher? And then let's drive people toe to to this page because it converts so well
[0:23:20] George Reid: on, would you? It's an interesting gonna play here because there's also the premise off that you've just got started. You've thrown your product up. I completely agree with you, by the way. But for those people going, we need to get sales straight away because we want that flywheel working. We have a bit of a halo effect upon launching. Anyway, where we get a leg up per se from Amazon on, we want to get those sales in. So for those who perhaps haven't nailed the detail page just yet, should they still be flicking on ads? Are you going avoid at all costs until you're very confident that your detail page is very strong?
[0:24:00] Kyle Kirkwood: If you need the sales, then ads are going to be the fastest way. Amazon ads are going to be the fastest way, in my opinion, to get those sales there is, I don't think that there's another channel that makes it faster, I mean, and I'm talking white hat right? No black hat, no gray hat tricks. Uh, if you just turn on Amazon ads, you focus on maybe your top three keywords, the ones that are going to be the bread and butter of the business. And that's all you focus on. You keep it extremely profit focused. Um, you should be doing that. If you need to be driving sales in the beginning and you need to move through inventory you need, you need to move this product. You need to get reviews. It's just a rough start. And I think that having those ads on I've seen products that start, you know, selling below what profitability, you know, they're selling at a loss, their advertising at a loss. And they just say we're gonna lose for three months, and we're okay with that. At this rate, we're gonna lose for the next three months. And if it depends on how long you can last, right, like, how long can you advertise? How long can you lose before you have enough reviews? And it actually starts working on its own. And every company has their own thresholds.
[0:25:13] George Reid: How do you is an interesting point and I think In my opinion, I always thought that would be this sort of mindset when having a conversation with the manufacturer in China whose coming onto the platform on the sort of aggressive nature they go about advertising and Amazon. But you're sit. You're saying that a lot on the U. S. Is well, companies going. We know we can't be profitable for three months, but we're buying a stake in this sub Bernie, should the market is that quite
[0:25:42] Kyle Kirkwood: common? It depends on the scrappiness of the company, and it depends on the niche. You know, if you're if you're going head first into the supplements category and you've got this product that you know is great. But the cost per click for that top keyword is $9. Uh, you need to get those sales. You're not going to get found any other way on Amazon. So if you don't have outside presence, what's your what level can you pull? And you know, it's about just doing that quick math of we can afford to lose for Maybe it's not three months. Maybe it's 30 days, but you need to get X amount of sales, and you need to get a few reviews so that that listing so that it starts becoming profitable piece by piece. You get more reviews, you get more organic sales and it all kind of starts coming together. And you start you stop burning money, start making money. Hopefully,
[0:26:33] George Reid: yeah, absolutely. I think it's ah, lot of people perhaps view advertising. Maybe wrongly, I'd be interested to hear your opinion on this off is just a cost as opposed to an investment, which, in my opinion, it certainly should be viewed as an investment. Because for those looking to build sustainable success in the marketplace like I'm not looking for a quick buck, they know that they're going to have invest in advertising because you're requiring customers you're requiring organic placements for those top keywords you're requiring relevance on, That's what it is. It's certainly certainly an investment that being said that you mentioned earlier right about Amazon ads being the fastest way to get those immediate sales on. Obviously, DSP plays a role in building out your funnel, but then how important do you think it is driving traffic from off of Amazon rather than just focusing all your energy on?
[0:27:32] Kyle Kirkwood: Yeah, I look at if we're talking about marketing more broadly, I love the book traction it has. I think there's 23 different marketing channels that this group discovered. As you know, this is who we need to use, or these are the channels that we can use to leverage sales, get sales as quickly as possible or leads whatever the business model is. And what I love about that book is you come up with a plan, you say, Here's our product. Here's who our customer, who we think our customer is. And here are three or five favorite ways that we want to go try to get them, and then you run a test on those five different ways, and whichever one gets the most leads for the least amount of money should be your little rock star for the beginning. That's where you start. And when it comes to driving traffic off Amazon, there's so many options I think you can get really overwhelming and you can run too many tests. So depending on the product, the brand and the customer that you're trying to get, I think having you know, looking at that book traction, I highly suggested to anyone who's in three Amazon world or just business in general. Um, try to identify some areas where you can have a profitable marketing channel and test slowly. You know, make sure that you've got Once everything is set on Amazon, you've got your detail page converting. You've got your sponsored ads running. Um, and you're doing all the different things that you can do and sponsored ads. Okay, what's the next thing we can dio We could run Facebook ads, Pinterest ads. We could run display. You can run Google whatever your thing is. Um, you know, test it slowly and measure the results against each other and see which one is going to do it most affordably for you,
[0:29:18] George Reid: then obviously doubling down on that particular one that's working well, right? Yeah, And it's it's interesting you say about testing slowly there. And if we bring it back to kind of Amazon PPC and Amazon dsp Ah, lot of people, particularly the conversations with is how long should I be? Waiting to build up data, particularly for new launches, is a common question about just launch. How long until I should start seeing some sort of results. How long? Obviously, it depends on the niche. But how long until I should start analyzing my data like, what's a good period of time? Do you have any thoughts on
[0:30:00] Kyle Kirkwood: that? E Think the 1st 30 days of a launch, our could be an indicator of what kind of trajectory you're on now. There's so many different products that launched horribly. And then, you know, 90 days or a year later there are bestseller or five years later they become a bestseller. Um, so there's I don't think there's a golden rule here. But what I've seen is in the 1st 30 days, if you are having a hard time, maybe you launch your product and organic sales air coming fairly easily, and you're like, this was a good lunch. So far, you turn on your ads and they're profitable from the beginning. That's just a beautiful launch. It feels so good. You know that you're you've done things right. And then there's other times where you launch and conversion rate is low. You're not getting a lot of sessions on your page. You're not having the best a C. O. S in your ads. Um, I think When you're kind of in that 1st 30 days, you can *** we're off to a decent start. There's some areas that we'd like to improve our conversion rights a little bit lower. It costs a little bit high. Let's make adjustments, Um, or if you're in trouble and you're not getting a lot of sales and your advertising doesn't seem to be working, you can go back to kind of the drawing board and be like, OK, did we go? Did we go wrong here with our imagery? Did we go wrong here with our bullet points or something like that? Because if you're this far along, you probably didn't choose that product on accident. You know, it should have potential on Amazon, and it may just be that you're not getting the people to the page who need to be there. And the page that you're sending them to isn't convincing enough to get a sale.
[0:31:44] George Reid: And is that kind of If you break it down something simple, you're not getting the right people to the page, and you're not converting or convincing enough if you just look at getting the right people. Technically, the right people are on Amazon, right? And it's your job on me. I guess you're viewing things like impressions and click through rate to be like, Okay, we're doing a good job of getting people there, but then we're not converting. But then you may be looking at whatever your Gallic conversions and they're really good to you, like, Okay, we're doing something right. The products rights is described. Well, you're then looking back, thio your advertising and going, What can we do to reach different people? Are you going back to the keywords and going from a PPC perspective, we need to go and find some new keywords because these ones clearly are the ones that our customers want. Or we need to go to something like pick food and start asking some questions about how would you describe our product just so you can get more insight? You doing things like that as well?
[0:32:44] Kyle Kirkwood: Yeah, with the advertising it it depends on where you are and what kind of ad types you have access to. I think always more keyword research never hurts. I mean, you can have a product that's been running for 10 years, and it's a best seller and there's going to be a new slang word or something out there that's starting to get sales, that if you sleep on it, someone's going to dominate it, and you might have a hard time taking it now that it's ingrained, right? So keyword research is always something that you should be doing. Um, just consider that a constant process, you know, whether it's weekly monthly annually. Just don't ever stop it zits forever on den with those other ad types that you have. If you have access to sponsor brands or sponsor display, I think that that's where you have your best chance of really reaching
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