2024 Amazon Ads Best Practices with Steven Pope

June 12, 2024


In this conversation, Cameron Scot interviews Steven Pope, the founder of My Amazon Guy, about Amazon ads and PPC strategies. Steven shares his journey from being a TV reporter to becoming an Amazon expert. They discuss the evolution of Amazon ads over the years and the challenges sellers face. Steven emphasizes the importance of negating keywords in auto and broad match campaigns and highlights the effectiveness of sponsored brand and sponsored product broad match campaigns. He also suggests utilizing day parting and testing different campaign structures to optimize ad performance. In this conversation, Steven Pope shares his insights and strategies for optimizing Amazon PPC campaigns. He emphasizes the importance of testing and finding what works best for each individual account, rather than relying solely on general best practices. Pope discusses the significance of campaign segmentation, the impact of impression share and click-through rate, and the benefits of rotating keywords and prices. He also advises sellers to avoid going out of stock and to regularly add negations to auto and broad match campaigns. Overall, Pope provides valuable tips for improving PPC performance on Amazon.

Key Takeaways

  • Amazon is the fastest way to grow a brand in e-commerce.
  • Negating keywords in auto and broad match campaigns is crucial for optimizing ad performance.
  • Sponsored brand and sponsored product broad match campaigns are underrated and can yield better results than exact match campaigns.
  • Day parting can be an effective strategy to increase ad visibility and conversions during specific timeframes.
  • Testing different campaign structures and staying updated with PPC best practices are essential for success on Amazon. Test different strategies to find what works best for your Amazon PPC campaigns.
  • Segment your campaigns and avoid mixing match types to improve performance.
  • Pay attention to impression share and click-through rate to optimize your campaigns.Rotate keywords and prices to take advantage of seasonal trends and increase sales.
  • Avoid going out of stock to maintain your sales momentum and avoid additional costs.
  • Regularly add negations to auto and broad match campaigns to save money on irrelevant clicks.


  • 00:00 Introduction and Background
  • 05:36 The Evolution of Amazon Ads and PPC Strategies
  • 11:15 Optimizing Ad Performance: Negating Keywords and Broad Match Campaigns
  • 19:54 Increasing Ad Visibility and Conversions with Day Parting
  • 23:30 Testing Different Campaign Structures and Staying Updated with PPC Best Practices
  • 26:24 Testing Different Strategies
  • 28:39 Segmenting Campaigns
  • 31:44 The Importance of Amazon PPC
  • 35:26 Optimizing Campaign Structure
  • 44:56 Stabilizing Impression Share and Click-Through Rate
  • 48:08 Avoiding Going Out of Stock
  • Full Transcript

    Cameron Scot (00:17.269)
    Today we have the pleasure of having Stephen Pope on the channel. Stephen is the founder of My Amazon Guy, a full service Amazon agency with more than 500 employees that manages 800 million in revenue for over 400 brands and helps them with all things Amazon, including PPC, SEO, design, and more.

    Steven Pope (00:19.024)
    Ready when you are.

    Cameron Scot (00:40.885)
    Steven is also the founder of My Refund Guy and My Warehouse Guy and has several successful Amazon brands of his own. A best -selling author with his book Amazon Selling Tips and millions of views on YouTube showing sellers how to handle any Amazon problem, Steven's expertise is unmatched in the industry. Steven, thanks so much for coming on today and taking the time. It's a pleasure to have you on the channel.

    Steven Pope (01:04.496)
    Thanks for having me on Cameron. Excited to talk today.

    Cameron Scot (01:07.605)
    Yeah, absolutely, so we'll be talking about ads and a little bit of this and that, but maybe before we dive into the discussion on Amazon PPC, for those that aren't familiar with you, Steven, can you just share a little bit about your journey from, as I understand, being a TV reporter in Idaho to now founding a leading Amazon agency and becoming a leading expert in Amazon selling?

    Steven Pope (01:32.048)
    Yeah, I love being a reporter, but I hated working for the news industry. And I had a coming of age moment when I was doing a live weather hit in Wisconsin at 10 o 'clock at night. Biggest blizzard hit the decade that the state had seen in 10 years. And my cameraman gave me the cue to go on the air. I couldn't see the cameraman, so I missed the cue. It was just an awful experience. My hair froze over, had hair back then. And it's just been a, you know, it was just one of those times where you're like, man, I just really wish I had home in my pajamas right now.

    And so it took me a couple of years, but I ended up getting into e -commerce after that. And along the way, I ran into this thing called Amazon. And I've been doing Amazon for a long time. I was part of their pilot program to test FBA. I was part of their pilot program to test PPC when they went beta with that. So I've been around the block. I'm one of the OG guys, and I'm still standing. There's a lot of OG guys, but not all of them are still standing, right?

    Cameron Scot (02:28.117)

    Steven Pope (02:28.944)
    And so what I love about Amazon is that it is the fastest way to grow a brand in e -commerce, bar none. Within six weeks, you can have a fully functional, highly big sales engine going on the platform at scale. You can't say that about any other platform in the world at the same success rate. So that's why I love Amazon. I've been burned by Amazon too, though.

    And there's many things that have happened to me that make me go WTF. I tried to launch a hot sauce bottle, which I keep in my desk to remind me how stupid Amazon is sometimes. Right? Like I paid $1 ,500 to build out this nice, beautiful label. I ship in a thousand of these bottles to Amazon, but I do it in cases thinking, I'm doing this out of my house. I don't want to deal with prepping this myself. Amazon starts bubble wrapping it. And then my five pound glass bottles.

    were shipped in padded envelopes out to the consumer. And I started getting text messages with glass shards in the mailbox, glass shards in the padded envelopes, and hot sauce on my front porch. And my dog ate some of this hot sauce that was sitting out of my package on my front porch. And it was just a mess, just a huge mess. And so every Amazon expert has experienced what I have. Every Amazon seller has experienced what I have. And that is that Amazon...

    Cameron Scot (03:28.853)

    Steven Pope (03:55.184)
    is not logical, it doesn't make sense, and there are many broken processes because Amazon is the most buyer -centric platform in the world, but they don't care about sellers. So that's where I come in. I have decided I'm gonna be the most seller -centric Amazon agency in the world. And there's been a lot of fun things that I've been able to do and participate in. Cameron was telling me he first discovered me on the Ad Badger podcast, and we were talking about SEO.

    That was a masterpiece series, by the way. And I've been able to come to the market and talk about things that I think will help Amazon sellers, whether it's Amazon PPC, SEO, by the way, click through it, easiest way to grow sales on Amazon, bar none. And then conversion and designs and how A plus content indexes, still have people argue with me about that in 2024, ironically. But there's just so many things that you can do as an Amazon seller. And so one of the things I've tried to do and focus on is,

    here are the two or three things you must do and go do these things today and have success. So that's been my journey. I've been doing this for what, 15 years now or so.

    Cameron Scot (05:03.765)
    Great, I mean, I can speak to that too. Like anybody that's been doing this long enough has their share of gripes with Amazon, but I agree, there's no better platform to launch products and grow brands and make money. I'm excited to have you on. As you mentioned, we were talking about AdBadder podcasts and I've learned a ton from you already. So I'm really excited to just kind of pick your brain even more and just be able to learn from you myself as well as for our audience. So really looking forward to dive into that.

    Steven Pope (05:30.832)
    All right. Opening up my school, go in, let's, let's do it.

    Cameron Scot (05:35.349)
    Let's do it. Yeah. Well, so over the course of this journey, I mean, no doubt you've seen countless changes to selling on Amazon and Amazon ads. How have you seen Amazon ads evolve over this course of 15 year career? And how has your own approach to Amazon ads changed as well?

    Steven Pope (05:55.536)
    Well, typically what I do is I open up my wallet and I say, how much money do I have available in my wallet? Because Amazon PPC costs keep going up and I fricking need a lot more money this year than I needed last year. I needed more money last year than the year before that. My tacos is going up, my ACOS is going up. Amazon is just charging me more and more and more and more. And then they throw on inventory fees. Then they decide to remove my brand registry. And then there's the lost dogs of Amazon showing up on my Tumblr page.

    So I've experienced that as a change with Amazon PPC. Now there's obviously a lot of new technical things and things that are in our control. And I know this podcast will probably focus more on what we can control than on what we can't control. But I still like to highlight the fact that Amazon is not passive income, but it's still worth doing. And so day parting has been a really cool thing. We'd love to talk about that today. I've seen all kinds of new ad formats, custom brand headline ads are kind of hot now.

    We're seeing DSP and a lot of the DSP features hit the display functions directly in Seller Central. We're seeing more data, more reports. Bulk sheets are really taking a front seat, right? They were kind of a back seat until the 2 .0 version came out just over a year ago. So we're seeing a lot of improvements to the abilities that people have. My prediction is in the next two years, we'll also probably see Amazon give us demographic targeting. It's just purely inevitable.

    because Google does it and they've been doing it for what, 14 years or something crazy or maybe even longer than that, I don't know. And on Amazon, you can only target by keyword. The problem is, is that, you know, like exact match isn't exact match anymore. Phrase match isn't phrase match anymore. And broad match is becoming creatively weird too. So we're seeing that Amazon is being a little looser, which makes it harder to be technical, makes it harder to be specific, makes it harder to control.

    And so a lot of the techniques that we're seeing work today are what worked last year aren't working today. And we're seeing things slip because of all those changes.

    Cameron Scot (08:04.469)
    Interesting, okay, very cool. Is there anything that you see like new sellers overlook when they start, why they are managing their campaigns? I'd assume you've seen, you've done your share of account audits and see all kinds of crazy stuff in there. Is there anything that's common that most sellers tend to overlook?

    Steven Pope (08:12.496)

    Steven Pope (08:24.144)
    Other than the first commandment of Amazon, which is thou shalt never go out of stock. Everybody should understand that commandment, but they still violate it. Commandment two is kind of like commandment one, no seriously never go out of stock. But like, besides that basic, if we go PPC proper, every time I open an account, the first thing I do, I go into the highest span auto campaign and I look at negations. If a negations aren't present on the highest span auto campaign, I already know everything I need to know about the PPC structure of this account. I already know.

    If there's no PPC negations on the auto campaign, that there's probably not gonna be segmentation. I already know there's gonna be mixed match types. I already know they're not doing day partying. I already know so many things. Now the fun thing is that sometimes when I go in an auto campaign, I see the opposite too. And I see good keywords negated. Then I also know a lot of things about the account as well. I also know that they think that the strategy from 10 years ago would work in 2024, which is, you start with an auto campaign. You let that run for two or three weeks and then you start.

    progressively promoting them to exact match. We also know that those things don't work anymore today as well. I've also, you know, I'll go into a bid modifier campaign and I'll see, we got 300 % up bids and a 30 cent bid. That also doesn't work in 2024 as well. So these are all the things that when I look at an account or an audit, those are the first things I look for. The first action I take though is to download a back, a bulk sheet template file of all of the current ad campaigns.

    Why do I do this? Because if I F something up, I want to be able to revert it. If I go in and make a bunch of changes and I make it worse, I want to undo that stuff. So that's the first step you do after you look, you then download, and then you take a breath. Because there's a lot of work that has to happen in the first couple of weeks when taking over an account. And people who are generally watching a PBC podcast, typically a PBC specialist running multiple accounts, typically an agency type person watching this or engaging.

    Very seldomly do we hear the brand proper watching PPC content. It does happen, but typically the people that are watching this are spending 40 hours a week in PPC. Somebody that's spending four hours or less in PPC, that's just not enough these days. The techniques are cutting edge, there's just so many changes, you're gonna be left behind. So those are the observations. I'm happy to go into detail on any one of those that interests you the most, Cameron.

    Cameron Scot (10:48.981)
    Yeah, I mean, you kind of brought up a lot of different points. I'd actually say our audience is probably primarily brand owners. There's probably some agencies and so forth, but I'd say it does lean more towards these are people that are actually managing their own ads. So I'd like to touch on maybe, you know, 40 hours isn't enough. You've kind of touched on this, like things are always changing, always got to, I mean, keep testing new things and see what's working. How would you suggest to somebody,

    that is managing their own ads, what the process is there? Because I think as we all know, we all have tons on our plates as Amazon sellers, where Amazon ads is just a small part of it, although I'd say the importance of it is huge still, but there's still just a lot of things to do. How should they go about, or what best practices would you have for someone that is trying to take on their own ads themselves?

    Steven Pope (11:22.832)
    thousand things you can do.

    Steven Pope (11:39.632)
    Well, I mean, I think getting an annual audit at bare minimum from an outsider will give you some immediate quick wins and hits. Looking at the typical PBC best practices and listening to podcasts obviously is one of the most fantastic ways to do that. We host a PBC summit once a quarter because of that. And it's interesting to see that a lot of people are pushing all kinds of things that you can do.

    but you have to make a strategic decision on what to do. And I think as an Amazon seller or a technician, a PPC manager, whoever is listening to this, there's so many things on your plate. And so you have to set aside some thinking time to decide like, what is my strategy gonna be and start there. If your strategy is I've got to lower my cost to 32%, I've got to increase my budget by $5 ,000 today, I've got to do X, Y and Z.

    and then you work backwards from the strategy and case in point. But there's some general tactics or best practices that almost always work for everybody. That is, always be doing keyword research, always launching new campaigns, adding negations to auto and broad match campaigns, creating a lot of different types of campaign structures to see where you can grow. Sponsored products still.

    Case in point, you need to spend 80 % of your time working on sponsored products. There's no question about it, it's still the best place to spend time. But if you haven't dabbled in sponsored brands or sponsored display in a while, it's worth going over there and taking a quick peek. There's retargeting now, right? They launched that a couple years ago. I know people that still haven't tested retargeting. There's category targeting on ASIN targets as well. I know a lot of people that still haven't done that.

    There are so many opportunities to grow your brand and test out new placements that Amazon's coming out with that are still being ignored. Another example of this would be the custom headline ads on sponsored headline or sponsored brands. Just simply loading, and I think I might have even seen it the other day that they're actually gonna get rid of or discontinue not loading a custom image. As in you must load a custom image or your sponsor brand will turn off.

    Steven Pope (13:55.92)
    And so that might be happening here any day now. So you gotta be paying close attention to that because if you're not, all of a sudden all your sponsor brand turns off and you wonder why you spent $5 ,000 less this week, well, you gotta be paying attention to those PPC news. And by the way, we've been talking about custom headline ads on sponsored brands for I think four years. So if you haven't done it yet, you're way behind, like four years behind, to be honest. So there's a lot of things that I think...

    structurally speaking, people should go about doing. We could also talk about segmentation, every campaign ever, typically less than five keywords. I think a lot of people know about that tip, but they don't necessarily understand the why, so I wanna impact that a little bit. The reason why you wanna stay under five keywords in a typical campaign is because keywords six, seven, eight, nine get less than 5 % of the impressions. Only five keywords will get 80 % plus of the impressions. So why is that important?

    Well, if keyword six is actually good, maybe it's not as good as the other five, but it's still good, and you want it to give you some incremental sales, you're gonna need to slough that off into its own campaign structure. And sometimes you'll see certain techs and providers will be like, one keyword a campaign, a little overkill sometimes, but I definitely have 20 of those on my account. I wouldn't have 1 ,000 of them, but I think there's at least justification for the top 20 keywords to have their own single keyword campaigns.

    I also think that people are over -investing in exact match campaigns, overpaying, and everybody's doing it. Broad match absolutely is easier to scale at a lower cost. There's no question about it. The difference, though, is it takes more maintenance. Why? Because an exact match campaign, you could technically set that up and never touch it again and it might perform. Very possible. Wouldn't necessarily recommend that.

    But it's possible. A broad match will never ever work like that. You'll never be able to set up a broad match campaign and not have to go optimize it. You're going to have to come back in every single week, look for things to negate. You can do this with tech. You can do this with bulk sheets. You can do it manually, depending on your scale and where you're at and what tools you've got available to you. But you must be reviewing auto and broad match campaigns for weekly negations. I also know some people that don't believe in negations at all.

    Steven Pope (16:20.368)
    And to those people I say, you don't have business running a PPC account in 2024. And sometimes it's a time suck. But if you're not adding negations, I'm here to tell you that I could pay for myself by just simply working on negations and not doing anything else for somebody, and I would save them that much money. That's how important weekly negations are on auto and broad match campaigns. At the same time, maybe you don't even have broad match campaigns because you've built only exact match.

    and that you're leaving some incremental sales on the table, I'd also pay for myself by going in there and just building out some broad match campaigns. So I know I'm wandering all over the place, so Cameron, focus me in wherever is most interesting.

    Cameron Scot (16:57.877)
    No, you kind of beat me ahead of that. I was actually going to talk about campaign structure specifically because there is a thousand different ways to structure campaigns. So you kind of beat me to that and touched on a ton of great points. I think I can agree with everything you said as far as, I mean, if you're just doing an exact match, you're just not going to hit the volume. And I've seen in my own campaigns that I run that...

    Amazon's almost had a shift to preferring using their algorithm, using those broad match, using those automatic campaigns.

    And the biggest mistake I see with the accounts I'm in is not negating. That's always the first thing I ask. It's usually the first place I recommend they spend their time to make their campaigns more efficient, to optimize their campaigns. So you've brought up a ton of great points. Is there any certain campaign time? You talk about headline ads and sponsor brand, DSP, and all sorts of things. Is there one campaign type you would say sellers aren't utilizing enough of if you had to just pick?

    Steven Pope (17:57.52)
    Sponsored brand broad match, sponsored product broad match, no question. I've seen the amount of over -indexing in exact match is sickening. I think People are throwing away thousands of dollars over -bidding exact match, and they need to be spending more on broad match campaigns. You could have the exact same keywords show up in a broad match and an exact match, and the ACOS...

    more often than not is lower on the sponsored product broad match campaign. And that surprises people. They're like, how is that possible? It's because Amazon's rewarding the real estate accordingly. Even when you look at the search term report and you see the same exact keywords show up, the ACOS is lower. It's confusing, but that's just the reality of it. So I think broad match is underrated. I also think that Amazon changes the auto completes.

    at least once a quarter, we see new keywords come out, and if you're only using exact match or you're over indexing there, the broad match capacity to get low bids overall in the campaign on things that other people are not bidding on is almost automated. That's why sponsored product broad match campaigns are so underrated. And I also think that not enough people have tested out day porting. There's a couple of reasons for that.

    To successfully day part, you must have an opportunity to, and I'm gonna share my screen to show a little case study here if I can. It's very difficult to do day partying. First, it's because you either have to use technology or you have to set this up independently on every single campaign manually. And that's a huge pain. There's no bulk sheet for day partying. Even a year later, there's not a bulk sheet. I'm very surprised by that.

    Cameron Scot (19:33.551)

    Steven Pope (19:54.32)
    But here is how I would set up day partying. So here is a case study on how we did it and the rules that we built out. And so if I was gonna set up day partying on a campaign, here is exactly the specific steps I would generally use. Now, you may need to customize this based on your own business reports, but essentially this is the average that I see generically across Amazon. So I would first step one, lower all bids by 10%.

    Step two, I would then go through specific days, day by day, adjusting my bids. So on Sunday, I would increase my bids by 25 % between 9 a and 9 p I would then raise my bids on Monday, even more by 35 % between 8 a and 10, 15 % from 10 to 5, and 25 % from 5 to 10 p Why did I choose these specific timeframes and do day parting this way?

    is because those are the times that we see the highest traffic volume and the highest conversion, and you can see that by looking here specifically in the business chart right there. So we see during those times more spikes, more sales. And so by running the day parting during those times and up bidding, we're gonna take more of that traffic. There's more traffic available.

    We're gonna take more of it. It converts better during those times. It's logical to walk through why on a Monday at 9 a it would convert better than any other time or day of the week. It's because that's what happens when you go back to work and you realize, there was that one thing I really need this week. And you go into order mode. So the consumer is trained to do this. Everybody does it at work. Everybody does it on their cell phone. Maybe they're at traffic.

    and they're like, I need toilet paper and they order that, or hey, I need to replenish my soap supply and they grab that. Or they get to their office and they realize they're out of pens, there's a pen thief going around, all my pens on my desk are gone, so I have to order more pens. So we see that. You'll see the bulk of my operational changes are on Monday and Sunday. Then Tuesday through Thursday, I do 11 a to 9 p I just simply up -bid it by 10%, which basically undoes our overall.

    Steven Pope (22:13.328)
    10 % reduction and brings it back to parity. The difference here though is that anything between 10 or 9 p and 11 a during those timeframes is down 10%. So I spend less during those times where it's not as valuable. And then finally I raise bids on Fridays between three and eight p by 5%. And the reason for that is I just see a slight uptick but still not as good as Sundays and Mondays.

    And so those are the days of the week and timeframes that I have particularly seen, but it stinks because you gotta set this up manually, but you can do it directly in Seller Essential for the first time. And so we don't, yeah.

    Cameron Scot (22:55.253)
    They don't make it easy though, for sure. And you can only raise bids, and this is pretty common with anything Amazon does with bid modifiers, right? It's like they only let you bring bids up. So it is a lot of work, for sure. And they do give you, there is a report now on the hourly data that you can download for your own account. So you can see what performances on each hour.

    Steven Pope (23:04.56)

    Cameron Scot (23:21.045)
    I would say from my own experiences, you do need pretty high spend and order volume to really get any significant relevance from that report. But if you want to touch on...

    Steven Pope (23:30.192)
    What do you think the minimum spend threshold is? Like 50 ,000 a month, 30 ,000 a month, what do you think?

    Cameron Scot (23:37.589)
    It's probably close to that, yeah. I like orders personally. That's kind of my data points, is how many orders I'm getting per hour. So I like to have at least some significance there. If you only have two, three orders in an hour with whatever report you're generating, it just doesn't give you significant data. Maybe you can start looking at trends and so forth. But yeah, I'd say to...

    Steven Pope (23:52.944)
    Yeah, it won't be enough.

    Steven Pope (23:59.504)
    I do like the orders per hour metric better than the revenue target, especially if we have like a high end item. That makes a lot of sense.

    Cameron Scot (24:08.565)
    Yeah, that's kind of what I see as the data volume or data points to use when it comes to evaluating actual performance.

    Steven Pope (24:18.704)
    So here was the results of that test that we did. I got a 32 % uplift and you can see the sales and the spend during that timeframe. So interesting to see that. You could get a different result depending on obviously time of day, day of week, month, holiday season, all kinds of factors that could also influence this. But we were surprised to see the uptick on the Tuesday through Friday, ironically.

    even with the bid adjustments down. So I think part of that could be that the budgets went farther on those days potentially, and that could have been why, but everybody's gonna get different results. Always gotta test it on your own account to find out what will work for you. And it does take a lot of effort to set this up. So if we, I don't know, if we divide, let's see how many orders that would be. So let's say we're both in agreement right around $40 ,000 in revenue or ad spend, excuse me.

    divide that by an average unit price of say 25. So that means you need about 1600 orders in a timeframe in a month to make this worthwhile. So take it for what you guys want, whether you guys agree with that or not, but I think it makes sense.

    Cameron Scot (25:30.485)
    I'd need a calculator to maybe figure out for sure, but it sounds probably right, because you've got to think there's 24 different segmentations within each day, and then you have each day of the week that's going to be different as well. So you just end up needing a lot of data, plus just how variable and how much volatility there is from week to week. It's just going to take a lot. So I want to maybe go by those reports for your own data. But I think you can take general trends from the industry and yeah.

    Steven Pope (25:56.016)
    Yeah, the other thing too is you don't have to roll this out on the whole account, right? You could take your top one, two, three, four, five campaigns and just test it there first. Then you don't have to get the stroke or the heart attack from updating thousands of campaigns manually without tech, but it could add up, right? You could also have, four of your campaigns might work and on the fifth it bombs, right? You could also test.

    One campaign with high bids on Sundays and Mondays like I suggested and then the other one do the complete opposite. Maybe your Tuesday through Thursday will outperform your Monday and Tuesday. So it's always worth testing to find out like what's gonna work for your account, may not work for me and vice versa.

    Cameron Scot (26:40.629)
    It's kind of like the mantra of PPC, I'd say.

    Steven Pope (26:44.272)
    Yeah, but that's also the thing that kind of makes me angry about listening to PBC podcasts. They're like, well, if I don't have general best practices preach, where do I start? And so that's why I always try and give like, here's exactly how I would do it generically. And then you guys test all you want on your side. And of course it's not going to work for everybody. But I always like, it always bugged me listening to PBC AMAs. They're like, well, it depends. No, it doesn't. There's some general best practices. Here are the general things that work generally. And if there's an exception,

    Obviously there's going to be an exception.

    Cameron Scot (27:16.213)
    Man, I feel called out a little bit. No, no, it's like our ow, it's like, well, it depends.

    Steven Pope (27:17.776)
    I didn't mean to call you out. I just, that was like broad against the spectrum. Then cue the edit with the, it depends sound bites right here. You'll hear, you're healing on my podcast.

    Cameron Scot (27:27.925)
    Yeah, yeah, exactly. No, I think you're right though. I agree with that. I mean, it is an easy caveat, everything, and maybe we don't want to take responsibility with angry messages and so forth. It's also why I don't do ad management myself. It's not a service we offer. We just don't want the accountability for it, and if you mess up your ads, it's kind of on you. But I mean, do you think this makes sense for somebody that's, you know...

    Like you said, there's kind of best practices and there's kind of best practices of what you should focus on at different levels of spend too. If you're a new seller, you're spending under $1 ,000, $5 ,000 per month, there's gonna be different things that take your spend further than what something like day partying, you know, are you gonna get enough lift out of day partying versus spending that time and effort maybe focusing on some other things? And maybe, you know, for new sellers, like is there certain, strong feeling, okay.

    Steven Pope (27:58.48)
    very much.

    Steven Pope (28:18.192)
    Strong feelings on this one. Yeah. If you're not doing weekly negations, you have no business doing day partying. If you haven't done campaign segmentation and you've got mixed match types, or you have more than five keywords, day partying is way more on the advanced side. You shouldn't be even dabbling in that until you fix some of the basics. No question about it.

    Cameron Scot (28:38.101)
    Could you touch on campaign segmentation? We've kind of talked about structure. Do you have a preferred structure or more best practices you can go into with that? I'd love to talk about segmentation, though.

    Steven Pope (28:40.912)

    Steven Pope (28:50.288)
    Yeah, I think naming conventions are a little boring to talk about, but I'll touch on that briefly. I think that if you name things well enough that you understand what's going on, that's the important part. How technical you want to be and what exactly you put in the naming conventions, I think is second to that. And then in terms of what you do in the actual campaigns, we do generally see mixing match types lead to less performance. Amazon is going to push more ad spend to the broad match.

    versus the exact as one example. Cannibalization between keywords, between ad groups also occurs when there's too much going on in some of those campaigns. For whatever reason, Amazon does seem to treat campaigns in isolation, but when it comes to ad groups and keywords, they don't treat them in isolation. They do relatively optimized impression sharing a little bit differently at the ad group or keyword level.

    So if you build 1 ,000 campaigns and 1 ,000 keywords separated by each campaign, I'm here to tell you that Amazon will probably weight those equally at first and over time build them up. But if you had a campaign with 1 ,000 keywords in it, which I don't even think is possible, but it might be, I wouldn't do that. But if you had one, I guarantee you that 98 % of the impressions would come to less than 5 % of the keyword portfolio.

    And so what this teaches is cannibalization is the death of over -indating and too many keywords. So I would say probably 10 years ago when I first would build a PBC campaign, I would put as many keywords into a campaign as I could. And I held onto that practice for many years, even up until I started my agency. But something changed in the algorithm. It was like a...

    June of like 2019 or something like that. And I saw that that campaign structure just completely collapse. And it's like they flipped a switch in the algo that they made it so that the impressions would go to where it would benefit Amazon the most, not where it would benefit you the most or the brand the most, but where it would benefit Amazon the most. And when that happened, a lot of the best practices before 2019 just completely went out.

    Steven Pope (31:15.44)
    And so shortly thereafter, we started seeing like bid modifiers and all these other smaller features get added over time. And they'll usually like when they come out with a feature, it gets a lot of hype. And if you're the first users, if you're the beta user, the first five or 10 % to use it, you get a lot of value out of it if it's a good feature. Sometimes they launch terrible features. And it's like, you know, when it comes to Amazon features, one out of 10 is generally good.

    When it comes to PPC features, it's usually closer to one out of three. The PPC stuff they've been adding is better than the other features. Fun fact, Amazon PPC makes Amazon more money today than AWS, which is huge. Yeah.

    Cameron Scot (31:56.647)
    It's not slowing down either. I mean, it's what, 25 % year over year growth the last X number of years on billing. It's crazy.

    Steven Pope (32:00.848)
    Insane. So Amazon's running out of space for ads, right? They're now partnering up with Pinterest and Facebook, anything they can do to take out TikTok and Tmoo and all these Chinese companies that are coming along. And God bless, as much of a terrible monopoly Amazon is, I would rather Amazon be a monopoly than work for the Chinese any day of the week. I really hope that we don't have to work for TikTok and Tmoo someday.

    And if we do, they're gonna play these soundbites and probably ban me, so I'm gonna be in trouble. But long story short, I think if you invest properly into campaign structures and follow the best practices of 2024, less keywords is better, less is more in that aspect. And make sure that the way you group the keywords also makes sense. If you have a $5 keyword with four $1 keywords on a campaign, what do you think's gonna happen?

    Well, if I was Amazon, I would put all the money on the $5 keyword. So you gotta make sure that you're segmenting the keyword choices logically as well. And don't just assume that Amazon will figure it out, right? It's got an algorithm. Don't get me wrong, algos are generally beneficial for the most part, but they're not gonna think, how can I help this brand? They're gonna think, how can I help Amazon? And well, I like Amazon. Amazon's...

    Loving its profits on PBC these days. So they're gonna they're gonna spend money on the higher bidded keywords by default So segment five dollar keywords by themselves Dollar keywords by themselves a lot of people don't talk about the bidding methodologies having implications

    Cameron Scot (33:42.933)
    Yeah, that's interesting. I mean, how do you end up going about that? You say you have this account and you haven't been doing this, or maybe you need to restructure it. How do you end up going about this, or just on a day to day, or week to week? What does that end up looking like for someone actually managing their account? Say they have hundreds of campaigns.

    Steven Pope (33:59.536)
    Yep. Any campaign that's doing good today, don't eff it up. Don't turn it off, don't try and reset it, don't try and deconstruct it. If you don't need a surgeon, don't call a surgeon. What instead you should do is start creating new campaigns that fix the problem. But again, don't go back and turn off good campaigns. Your new campaigns might perform better.

    And when they do, you could then decide what to do with the old ones. But if you generally buy the concepts that I'm selling today and you were gonna start fixing your account, the worst thing that you would do is just pause everything and start over from scratch. Don't do that. You gotta do this slowly. You gotta start making new campaigns with the best practices, comparing the results. And by the way, the first two weeks, the old campaigns might still win. Why? Because the new campaigns have no data.

    Just like I mentioned, each campaign operates in isolation. All the campaign history operates in isolation. So if you have 1 ,000 orders in that one campaign, that campaign, structurally speaking, should perform better than a zero order campaign, even if the bids were higher. So when you start those new campaigns up, it really is gonna take two weeks of data collection for them to get to parity or slightly beat the other ones. The ways you can accelerate that,

    wait for seasonality uplifts. So if you do a bunch of new campaign creation right after Black Friday going into the Christmas rush, chances are you're gonna have a good time and you're gonna have some better results. If you launch a Prime Day campaign, chances are you're gonna probably do okay. Those are isolated keywords that usually have a spike and you can ride the waves. Best time to launch a product in my opinion is Black Friday week.

    A lot of people don't talk about this. They're like, what do you mean? Why would I launch it right before the rush? Because that's when it's converting the best and you don't even have to lower the price to start selling it. And a lot of your competitors start stocking out and you just pick up the wave. So it just works out to do it that way. Worst time to launch a product, probably July, which is why they made up a holiday called Amazon Prime Day. Don't get me started on Prime Day because I think it's a waste of time and a waste of resources and nobody's making money on Prime Day except Amazon. But having said that,

    Steven Pope (36:24.208)
    if you create a Prime Day campaign, it might do better than your average, maybe, sometimes, especially if you're running a coupon, but then you won't make a margin. So there's, you know, you're robbing Peter to pay Paul, so to speak. But the reason why I don't think Prime Day matters is because if you look in July and you look at the week in, week out, and include Prime Day sales, you're basically seeing a lower conversion the week before and after Prime Day for a high conversion during Prime Day, and then it levels out. It's like static.

    And a lot of people don't talk about this. And I'm kind of surprised that not enough people talk about this. And I think part of the reason is the biasness of the PBC network is that we want people thinking Prime Day is important so people keep us on staff and pay us agency fees and pay us tech fees and pay whatever fees to get extra campaigns set up for Prime Day. But in reality, I don't know if it's worth doing. And we don't go to our clients and say, hey, we should set up a bunch of Prime Day campaigns. We'll have a couple of modest things set up on the side.

    We'll ask them, can we increase bids, but we don't put a lot of eggs in that basket.

    Cameron Scot (37:29.173)
    I can't disagree. I can't say I've ever gotten too excited about Prime Day. Maybe the first one I participated in. But after that it's just... Yeah, for sure. But...

    Steven Pope (37:34.192)
    First one, yeah. Yeah, first one was killer. But then now we got like Prime Day in November and we got Prime Day in April and whatever. It's like at this point it's becoming a joke. Yeah, here's your monthly way to lose money by selling on Amazon. Here you go, Prime Day.

    Cameron Scot (37:43.829)
    We're going to have one once a month soon.

    Cameron Scot (37:51.381)
    I don't think it's too early to talk about Black Friday though. I mean, I know we're several months out, but I mean, I don't think it's ever too early to start prepping for that. I mean, by the time you get campaigns set up, launch a new product, create a new product, all that takes time.

    Steven Pope (38:05.36)
    It does, and I'll be honest, I don't think many people realize how they can schedule campaigns. Like you can set them up with the date in advance. Sounds really basic, but it's 100 % ignored. So if you wanted to set up your Black Friday campaigns in the middle of June, middle of July, you can. And by the way, most of the keywords that you're gonna use this year probably are what was used last year anyway, and everybody's got the data on it.

    So click a couple AI buttons later and all of a sudden you're ready to go. And you can go to your boss and be like, look how awesome I am. I set up our Black Friday campaigns, but please don't fire me. Keep me on staff. I'll still add value later. So you gotta be careful about how much you sell, but there's a lot of things you can do.

    Cameron Scot (38:50.293)
    The historical data is such an important point though. I think a lot of people end up missing this is that search term data, if you've been advertising for some time, you have the search term data, but how many sellers end up losing that because they didn't download reports or schedule reports and they just lose all this?

    Steven Pope (38:58.)

    Cameron Scot (39:07.637)
    data that they paid for through their ad spend. But that's so useful to go into next year. And I do the same thing. In my seasonal periods, I can just look at last June's a big month for me with Father's Day and then of course, Q4 like a lot of sellers. You can just look at last year's and see what your best performing search terms and keywords and so forth are.

    Steven Pope (39:27.376)
    And chances are, I launched a successful Mother's Day product three years ago. It was a mom box. I sold $144 ,000 in the first 30 days of launching the product. I got the number one organic rank for the keyword Gifts for Mom the day before Mother's Day. And I had no reviews. I didn't do any external traffic. I just did $5 ,000 on PBC spend for the keyword Gifts for Mom broad match. Single keyword broad match campaign.

    And that was the bulk of my success. So I spent $11 ,000 on ads in total. Almost half of that, five grand, was spent just on one broad match keyword. So for Father's Day, gifts for Dad, gifts for Father. Same thing, you could set that up and be ready. There's obviously a lot more segmentation you can do to get technical, and there's 1 ,700 different keywords you can throw into some campaigns. But I use this case study as a case in point that if you just do the most basic thing,

    one broad match keyword, Gifts for Mom, Mother's Day gifts with a product that makes sense. You can do some damage, you can do some sales. And so if you don't change your keywords for the seasons, I think that's a mistake. There's a lot of opportunities to ride seasonal waves. Maybe a Netflix show goes out, you're selling chess sets, Queen's Gambit comes out. If you don't have the term Queen's Gambit in some of your campaigns, you're missing out on.

    80 % of the sales that week when stuff like that happens. Stranger Things comes out with a new thing, all of a sudden there's certain songs that are going viral, there's certain cups that are going viral. So there's a way to monitor the virality or the seasonality of things. Some things are gonna be obvious, some things are gonna happen every year, other things are gonna be more event -based. But you gotta rotate keywords, you gotta rotate your campaign structures. Don't just keep things static. I'll give you one more example.

    Pricing. You would never want to just keep your price static for 12 months. I have personally witnessed if you just rotate your price one time every 30 days for two or three days, your sales will be higher throughout the month. Dynamic pricing is kind of a new thing that people are talking about and just rotating price. Main image, CTR, another example, different topic. If you just...

    Steven Pope (41:52.08)
    rotate or change your main image to increase your CTR or simply add a keyword to your main image, your PPC ACOS could go down a couple of points. Why? Because if you're advertising half your budget on the keyword Gifts for Mom and then you put Gifts for Mom in the freaking keyword on the main image, what happens? I typed in Gifts for Mom, this is a gift for mom, boom, pot, purchase, click. And when your CTR goes up, your conversion typically goes up too.

    In an average PPC click -through rate, what are you seeing these days on your side camera? Is it still somewhere between like 0 .35, something like that?

    Cameron Scot (42:27.317)
    Yeah, I'd say like 0 .4 % click -through rate is probably just average across the board. Of course, it depends on top of search versus product pages far lower, top of search far higher, but aggregate, probably about 0 .4. Then of course, it depends on what you're selling and everything else.

    Steven Pope (42:31.664)
    Average average.

    Steven Pope (42:44.528)
    So I see similar data to that and having a higher click -through rate typically from my experience lowers my PPC costs. Why? Because Amazon wants to reward higher click -through rate because higher click -through rate means higher conversion rate and Amazon has correlated data that indicates this. So if you focus on click -through rate, your PPC costs go down, your conversion goes up, that might very well be the most important thing somebody takes away from the podcast today is that instead of.

    doing all the other basic things we mentioned, just fixing the main image. If you can do a five second litmus test and show your image to grandma and she can't tell what the item is, you have a problem. If you haven't run an A -B test on your main image in a while, you have a problem, right? And so sometimes people structurally forget, like if you don't get the main image right, the PBC's jobs team is a lot more difficult. Somebody's gonna clip this podcast out, put this exact segment and send this to their boss and say, hey, remember that main image thing I talked to you about?

    We gotta improve our CTR and if I don't do that, then it's gonna be impossible for me to reach our ACOS goal. That would be a true statement, right? Like you gotta have that fixed, you gotta have that right.

    Cameron Scot (43:52.981)
    This actually brings me to one of the questions I wanted to bring up, because we talk a lot about performance and results, and you've brought up a few metrics. But what does performance mean? I guess what I want to get to is what metrics do you find?

    be the most revealing? I mean you mentioned CTR and how important it is and maybe it's slept on. Maybe I've slept on it too, right? It's been more of a what I'd consider a tertiary metric with how I analyze campaigns. What other metrics do you find to be most important in your campaign optimization or analyzing?

    Steven Pope (44:28.624)
    So I'm gonna agree with most of the Amazon experts, PBC experts about ACOS, tacos, and traffic and all that. So I'm gonna sidestep what people normally say. I'm gonna say the one thing that nobody's talking about. And that is go into your search query performance report, look up metrics that showcase your impression share is higher versus your click share, or vice versa. On...

    On keywords where you have a higher density of impression share and clicks are lower, I would lower your PPC spin. Why? Because your main image sucks and you need to improve it. And then in the reverse where you have campaigns that are getting a higher click -through rate market share and your impression share is low, I would double your PPC spin. Why? Because when people see your product, they're clicking on it. This is the click -through rate, this is the impression share. So if you see this, bring it to this.

    Also, if you see your impression share on your click -through rate like this, bring it to this. You wanna stabilize these two metrics. Nobody talks about stabilizing impression share and click -through share as it relates to advertising, because it's not on the advertising console, so people just ignore it. But the Search Create Performance Report is a massive tool for advertising experts to go in and utilize. So stabilizing impression share and click -through rate could be the most important thing.

    could be your entire framework on how to run ads. Spend more on things you have a high click -through rate on compared to your impression share. Spend less on ads or keywords where you have a high impression share and a low click -through rate.

    Cameron Scot (46:08.853)
    Interesting. I might have to look at that from my own. I think that's not something I think I've heard from anybody yet. So that's really interesting. And that's done through like the impression share reports that you could download in your reports, right?

    Steven Pope (46:19.696)
    Brain analytics, brain analytics. So search, create, performance, report. I also like to call it the ICAP marketing funnel. So when it first came out about two years ago, I launched an entire campaign talking about ICAP, impressions, clicks, add to carts, and purchases. And the I and the C are way more important than the A and the P, right? IC, way more important than the A and the P. ICAP, impressions, clicks, add to carts, purchases.

    Cameron Scot (46:23.093)

    Steven Pope (46:49.072)
    The reason why I index higher on impressions and clicks is because more people are focused on the conversion, and Amazon's already solved that. Regular conversion rate's 10%. But the average click -through rate can be fixed with a couple of minor changes. Switching the image, updating the price, changing the title. Generally in that order. And so I have found a lot of success in growing sales.

    improving performance on PPC by just simply focusing on these key ingredients.

    Cameron Scot (47:25.685)
    I have one more for you. What's one thing sellers are doing now they should stop or do less of? And then one thing they aren't doing now or doing enough that they should start doing.

    Steven Pope (47:38.832)
    Stop going out of stock. I cannot emphasize how important this commandment is about selling on Amazon. If you let yourself go out of stock in FBA, you're gonna pay low inventory fees along the way, and you're gonna have to pay the consequence of having to spend sometimes double as much PPC to regain your ground, and basically you throw away your honeymoon period, you throw away all kinds of other challenges. So stop going out of stock. Even the big aggregators like Thrasio went bankrupt.

    because they freaking kept going out of stock. It's just that basic, super important. And if you're going out of stock, you're obviously not gonna spend more on PPC anyway, so it's kind of a de facto, like, gotta start there. So that's what I would stop doing. And what I would start doing is I would start adding negations once a week to your auto and broad match campaigns. You will thank me later for saving you hundreds of dollars.

    Cameron Scot (48:31.477)
    Perfect. Steven, thanks so much for coming on the channel today. If anybody watching wants to learn more from you or work with you, where should they find you?

    Steven Pope (48:41.712)
    So I'm prolific on YouTube on the My Amazon Guy channel. I'm also a LinkedIn lunatic. I went viral on Reddit. I'm literally at the top of the Reddit forums right now for LinkedIn lunatics. So I talk a lot on LinkedIn and give out my best trade secrets. And then if you want to hire us, go over to myamazonguy .com. We'll help you out.

    Cameron Scot (49:02.005)
    Great, thank you so much. We'll have links for all of that in the description. And thanks for your time, Stephen. Hope to have you again.

    Steven Pope (49:08.624)
    Thanks for bringing me on Cameron, appreciate it.