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Keyword targeting best practices

Choosing the right keywords helps your ads appear in search results for the right audience.

Successful keyword-targeted campaigns target keywords that will drive impressions, clicks and sales. If you don’t add enough keywords or if your keywords are too specific, your ads won’t receive enough impressions to hit your sales goals. If your keywords are too general, you might spend a lot on ad clicks without purchase.

Use the following best practices to find effective keywords and refine your keyword strategy:

Recommended keywords

Review the recommended keywords in the Related tab when adding new keywords. These recommendations are based on past shopping queries and ads for the same or similar products, and in the case of Sponsored Brands campaigns, they’re based on past shopping queries for the products in the landing page. The recommended keywords will continue to be updated as the campaign runs, so check back in for new recommendations.

Search term report

The search term report from your campaigns provides visibility into the actual shopping queries entered by shoppers that resulted in at least one click on your ad. Use this report to identify top-converting search terms and trends, and bid more competitively on these keywords in your campaigns.

Automatic campaign

For Sponsored Products campaigns, you can start a new automatic campaign with your ASIN and then create a manual campaign with any shopping queries that meet your performance expectations.

Descriptive words

Look at the descriptive words you use in your product detail pages (or in the pages of your competitors) and add them as keywords. Brainstorm a list of shopping queries you would expect your customers to use when looking on Amazon for products like yours.

Find the right amount of keywords for your campaign

While there’s no ideal number of keywords, we recommend including at least 25 keywords in your campaigns and ad groups. Consider adding more keywords to ensure that your ads earn enough impressions to meet your sales goals. Some keywords may not receive many impressions because they aren’t common shopping queries.

Branded terms

Depending on the objective of the campaign, use branded product keywords (containing your brand name and product name, or some variation of it). Use keywords targeting products similar to yours in the same category, or use complementary product keywords. For complementary product keywords, target items sold separately from yours but used together. For example, if you sell SD cards, bid on the keyword ‘digital camera.’ Also consider separating campaigns or ad groups based on campaign objectives.

Identify your purpose

Think about the purpose of your campaign and consider if you need to use general or specific keywords. Keep in mind that keywords that are more specific are more likely to reach a shopper that will click on the ad and purchase your product.

For example, if you sell dog shampoo, you should consider whether you want more specific or more general keywords. If you target the keyword ‘Shampoo,’ your ad may receive lots of impressions, but you’ll bid against both dog shampoo and human shampoo keywords. Also, if shoppers looking for human shampoo click on your ad for dog shampoo, they’re less likely to make a purchase.

Conversely, if you think Yorkie owners may like your shampoo brand and you target the keyword ‘Yorkie shampoo,’ your ad may not get many impressions. Your conversions would likely be higher than a more generic keyword like ‘Shampoo’ or ‘Dog Shampoo’.

Don’t set and forget

Once your keywords have been running in a campaign for two weeks, check which words are performing best and which search terms generate the best traffic and clicks. Consider archiving your lowest-performing keywords and increasing your bid on the high-performing ones. Look at the suggested bid and suggested bid range for ads that have won impressions over the past 7 days for guidance.

Keywords don’t compete against each other

This means that using similar keywords won’t drive the ad cost up or cancel each other out. We suggest keeping similar combinations of ASINs and keywords in the same campaign to best understand your campaign performance. If you advertise the same product with the same keywords across multiple campaigns, your ads won’t perform better or worse, but you’ll have to look at more campaign pages to determine your ad performance.

Other best practices to keep in mind

  • No need to add multiple keywords with plurals or close misspellings of existing keywords. For example, you don’t have to add both ‘Headphone’ and ‘Headphones’, or ‘Head phones’ and ‘Headphones.’
  • Setting three match types for the same keyword with the same bid is the same as adding a keyword once with a broad match type because you can only bid once on each available ad. Setting multiple match types for the same keyword won’t cause you to lose impressions.
  • If you have a broad match keyword but negatively target that exact match, you will still be able to receive impressions on the broad match keyword but not on the exact phrase. For example, if you Broad match “men’s running shoes” and negatively target “running shoes” you may still receive an impression on Adidas men’s shoes for the broad match query. But you will not receive any impressions where the string “running shoes” is part of the shopping query.

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