Structuring Amazon Ad Campaigns | Part 1

June 7, 2023

Today, I'm going to show you one of my favorite ways to structure your ad campaigns, which works for almost any product and budget. This is the first video in our series of structuring your ad campaigns. And in each video, we'll go over a different campaign structure you can use for your Amazon ads.

How to set them up and automate them with the help of Merch Jar. If you're not a Merch Jar user, you can still use the strategies in this video to structure your own campaigns.

You'll just have more manual work to do. If you want to save those hours of time managing your own campaigns, you can sign up for a free Merch Jar account at One of the most frustrating aspects to managing and optimizing your Amazon ad campaigns is the time it takes to structure your campaigns.

Analyzing search term reports, downloading spreadsheets, moving keywords from campaign to campaign, adding negative keywords. It's a never-ending process, and it takes a ton of time to stay on top of even just a few campaigns. And as you scale your business to hundreds or thousands of products, it becomes nearly impossible.

Or, you sacrifice good campaign structure practices, combining all your products into a few campaigns just so it's easier to manage. Which muddies your data, makes it difficult to optimize effectively and wastes your ad spend. Now you can have your ideal campaign structure without spending hours managing them, introducing promotions from Merch Jar. Champions allow you to automate the most tedious parts of managing your ad campaigns, and works with even the most complex campaign structures. With promotions, your keywords are automatically moved from one campaign to another based on their performance.

And when it comes to managing your campaigns, it's generally a balance between the time it takes to effectively manage a campaign and a campaign structure that provides useful data and optimal performance. On one end of the spectrum, we have a structure with a single campaign with all of your ads in it. Easy to manage, but doesn't give you a lot of control over your ads, which isn't great for ad performance.

The data you're paying for isn't very useful either, since it's hard to attribute which search terms are working for which ads. On the other end of the spectrum, we have a structure with a separate campaign for every single keyword for every different product. This gives you a ton of control over your bids and budgets, letting you dial them in perfectly. But with thousands of campaigns, this is incredibly difficult to manage without tools for more than a few products.

This type of granularity with your ads also doesn't make sense if your campaigns don't have the budget or aren't getting enough orders, as you won't collect enough data for it to be actionable. So how much you're spending and the amount of data you're collecting should also be a factor in choosing an appropriate campaign structure. With a tool like Merch Jar, we can create more complex structures without spending the time to manage it. This means you can make a choice based on the effectiveness and what's best for your spending budgets, not the amount of time it takes to manage. We're going to start this series with my recommended structure, which works for nearly any product or budget.

It uses three campaigns, each with a single ad group and each ad group with a single ad. So all three campaigns are advertising only one ASIN. First the pros, it isolates your keyword bids, provides accurate data reporting, gives you budget control for different campaign goals, has harvesting campaigns to find new search terms, and has great all-around performance for most advertisers. Now the cons, your placement adjustments will get applied to multiple keywords. It doesn't have a separate campaign for testing your exact match keywords, and it can be time-consuming to manage manually without tools.

This structure will be made up of three campaigns. One auto campaign for harvesting new search terms, one manual testing campaign also for harvesting new search terms, and one manual performance campaign for dialing in your bids for exact match keywords. You can create new campaigns for this, or convert any of your existing campaigns are already running to one of these campaigns. I'm going to create all new campaigns for these.

First we'll start by creating the campaigns and ad console, then we'll jump into Merch Jar to set up our keyword automation. If you're following along without Merch Jar, you'll just need to move the keywords around manually, rather than Merch Jar automating it for you.

Okay, so we've jumped into ad console. The first thing we're going to do is create an automatic targeting campaign for our product. We're going to be using sponsored products for all of these campaigns. The first thing we need to do is name our campaign. I have an ASIN that we're going to advertise. I like to put the ASIN at the start of the campaign name.

Now anything that you put in the campaign title here is searchable and filterable in Merch Jar and an ad console. Next, I like to put the product type, so an RK sponsored product ad, so SP or you could do SPA. Then next I put the goal of the campaign. This is our automatic targeting campaign, so I'm just going to put auto in the title so that we know what type of campaign it is.

Next, I like to add keywords or even just the product title itself, so that if you do want to do any searches or filters based on the keywords in your product titles, you'll be able to do that through the campaign name. So I'm just going to add cat tree because that's what we're advertising, but you could add additional keywords if you'd want.

Most important for me is having the ASIN in there with any single product campaigns, making it really easy to find exactly the campaigns that you're looking for and be able to see all the campaigns that belong to that ASIN. Next we have budgets. This is really going to depend on your product and market.

If you're launching a lot of different products or they're not necessarily validated, you're testing them, you may want to start with a lower budget where if you have fewer products or a lot of money invested into sourcing and getting the products delivered and now you're launching the products, you may want to have a higher budget.

So for this case, I'm going to start with $5 for the low margin products or launching a lot of products somewhere in the $2 to $5 range. For example, if you're immersed by Amazon seller, if you have fewer products and you're an FBA or an FBM seller, you might want to have a higher budget in the $20 to $50 range for each of these campaigns.

For the targeting, we're going to keep this at automatic targeting since this is our automatic targeting campaign. Next is bidding strategy. For auto campaigns lately, I've been using the dynamic bids up and down. Amazon claims that this bidding strategy has historically delivered more sales for the same ad spend.

And since this is a harvesting campaign, we want to find as many sales as possible. It's not necessarily about the cost of those sales since we can control the bids in our other campaigns. I'm going to stick with the up and down bidding strategy. But you could also use down only if you want to have a little more control of what your bids are instead of letting Amazon control that. Next for the ad group name, I like to put the targeting or match type of the ad group. Typically I only have one match type per ad group.

So if this was a manual campaign, I would have all my broad keywords in one ad group. If I had a second ad group in the same one with, for example, exact match, I would have a separate ad group for those. So this one, I'm just going to name auto. And for our product, we're just going to paste our ASIN right in here, which I already have copied.

So I'm going to paste that in, change to all Amazon products. And we have our cat tree here that we're going to advertise for. It's not my product. This is just for demo purposes. And we're going to add it here.

And onto our bids. This is another area that's going to really depend on your product and market and how aggressive you want to be with your advertising. One thing I do recommend no matter what product you're using is not to set the default bid, but instead set your bids by targeting groups for your automatic campaigns. This lets you set each of the auto targeting match types to a different bid than for all of them to use the exact same default bid.

So again, you have a little more control over your bids. I want to be aggressive with our product launch with this advertising. So I'm going to use the suggested bids for each of these just by clicking on the suggested bid. If you did want to be a little more conservative, you can start with lower bids, even extremely low bids, like five or 10 cents and slowly move those up over time. So it's a little bit of dealer's choice here and how aggressive or conservative you'd like to be the negative keyword targeting.

We're just going to leave blank for now since we don't have any data for this product. If you did have historical search term data and you had search terms that you know, don't convert and you don't want this ad to be seen for, you can add your negative keywords here to prevent that. And then we're just going to launch our product. Next we're going to launch our manual testing campaign. This is another search term harvesting campaign, just like our auto targeting campaign. Search terms that sell will be added here as a broad match so we can find other similar search terms that will sell as well. For the manual campaigns, it's going to be a very similar process as our automatic campaigns. For our campaign name, we're going to use the ASIN again, the type of ad so sponsored product and this is our testing campaign. So we're going to put testing there so we know what campaign or the goal of this campaign is.

And our keywords budget, we're going to stick with $5 and we're going to change our targeting to manual targeting for our bidding strategy on manual campaigns. I do leave this on dynamic bids down only for more control over our bids for naming the ad group. We're going to be adding broad match keywords to this campaign and only broad match. So we're going to name this ad group broad so we know what this ad group contains. And then we search for and add our product. And for targeting, we're going to use keyword targeting for the keyword targeting. We only want to have keywords in here that have already sold from our automatic targeting campaigns, but Amazon won't let you create a new campaign without at least one keyword in it.

So we're going to add one keyword and set the bid to as low as we can. And we're going to end up just pausing this as soon as we launch it so we don't waste any spend on a keyword that hasn't already been validated. You can again add negative keywords if you have data to support this. And then we launch our campaign from here, we can go into edit our campaign to pause that keyword that we don't want to be shown to pause that campaign. We're going to go into our ad group, which shows our keywords here and we're just going to pause it. Now that won't be shown, and we have our campaign set up ready to start adding keywords to it when they sell from our automatic campaign. And finally, we're going to create our performance campaign. Any search terms that get an order from our automatic campaign are also going to be added to this performance campaign as an exact match keyword. That way we can have precise control over our bids. So each search term that gets an order from our auto campaign will be added to both our testing campaign as a broad match keyword and to our performance campaign as an exact match keyword.

To create our performance campaign, instead of going through and creating a whole new campaign, since we're using the same settings as our testing campaign, we can just make a copy of it and change our campaign title. We don't want to have our campaign pause when we launch it. So we're going to uncheck pause and copy campaign. We've now copied our campaign. All we need to do is go into our campaign settings so we can edit the title. We're going to change testing to performance and get rid of this copy one and save. Next we're going to go into our ad group and change the name of this since we're going to be targeting exact matches in our performance, not broad. So all you have to do is click on your ad group and then go to your ad group settings. And we're going to change this to exact. Let's take a quick look at the targeting and make sure that keyword is still paused, which it's not.

So we want to also pause this. Moving back to our campaigns, we now have all three of our campaigns, our auto, our testing and our performance campaigns. Before we jump into Merch Jar to set up our keyword automations, let's look at how this campaign structure works from a high level. We have our three campaigns, our auto campaign, our manual testing campaign and our manual performance campaign. When a search term gets in order from our automatic campaign, we want to add that search term to our manual testing campaign so we can find other similar search terms that also sell.

We also want to add that same search term as an exact match to our performance campaign so we can dial in the bid to hit our ACOS goals for that term. So when a search term gets one order, it's getting added to both the testing and performance campaigns at the same time. Our trigger that causes the search terms to be added to those campaigns is one order. That trigger can be adjusted. For example, if you wanted more product validation before adding the keyword to a performance campaign, you could wait until you had two or three orders. You could also set other parameters for the trigger, such as needing to be under a certain ACOS before the search term gets added to another campaign. In this way, you can create some pretty complex systems, but for this one, we're going to keep it pretty simple.

Our trigger will be when a search term gets at least one order. And with our manual testing campaign going, we still want to be able to pull out any search terms that get an order from our broad match keyword and stick them into our performance campaign as an exact match. Once a search term from the auto campaign is added to the manual campaigns, that search term can still be targeted and bid on by the auto campaign, meaning we'll be targeting and bidding on the same search term in the auto campaign, the testing campaign, and the performance campaign.

While Amazon won't let you bid against yourself, it's not ideal to bid on the same keyword in different campaigns and defeats the purpose of this structure, which is to have more control over our bids for specific search terms. But we can get around this through negative keywords. When a search term is added as an exact match keyword to our performance campaign, we don't want that search term to also be targeted by our auto and manual testing campaigns. If we add that search term as a negative exact match to an ad group or campaign, your ad is blocked from being shown for that exact term.

So anytime you add an exact match keyword to your performance campaign, we also want to add that search term as a negative exact match to both our auto and manual testing campaign so only our performance campaign can target it. However, one caveat with exact match search terms you should be aware of is that they target both plural and singular versions of the search term. So the exact match keyword for cat tree will also target cat trees and cats tree. When you negative exact match a search term, it also blocks both the singular and plural forms.

If you have a product that performs well with the plural version of a search term, but not the singular version, you can't block the singular version without also blocking the plural version. Similarly, if we're bidding on a broad match keyword in our manual testing campaign, that keyword will target search terms that our auto campaign is also targeting. We want to eliminate as much of this search term overlap between the two campaigns as possible by blocking search terms our broad match keyword is targeting in that auto campaign. Since there's not a way to add a keyword as a negative broad match, negative phrase match is going to be the next best thing to block as much of that search term overlap as possible.

This will block any search term that has extra words before and after the keyword, but the keyword has to be in the search term and in exactly the same word order. So a phrase match for cat tree will also include big cat tree and cat tree for kitten, but not tree for cats, since it doesn't include the keyword in the exact word order. There will still be some overlap in search term targeting between the campaigns, but this will help isolate your keywords, giving you more control over your bids. And just like our keyword targets have triggers, so do our negative keywords. In this campaign structure example, our negative keywords have the same trigger as when we add keyword targets since they're happening at the same time. So we're adding the keyword as a negative phrase match and as a negative exact match when it has one order, which means the trigger is one order. The trigger for negative keywords doesn't need to be the same as your keyword targets trigger and you can set additional parameters such as using a cost or the number of clicks for more complex systems.

But for simplicity, we're going to keep the same trigger for our negative keywords as our keyword targets, which is one order. So this is what our entire campaign structure looks like at a high level. Now let's jump into Merch Jar and set up these exact rules with promotions. If you don't have a Merch Jar account yet, sign up for your free account at Merch You can have your Amazon ad account connected to Merch Jar in just minutes and be on your way to smarter ad optimization. If you create new campaigns for this structure, you'll need to wait for the next Amazon API update for your new campaigns to sync to your Merch Jar account. This happens every six hours and you can see when the last update was at the top of your Merch Jar app.

If you have more products you need to create campaigns for, now's a good time to do that so they're all ready to sync when the next update happens. To create our keyword automations for our new campaigns, we're going to create a new promotion by clicking on promotion at the top of the app. This page shows you all of your create promotions, the number of rules and ad groups that belong to that promotion and whether that promotion is enabled. To create a new promotion, we're going to click add promotion in the top right of the Merch Jar app.

Next we'll name our promotion. I like to use the ASIN, but you can also add other keywords or metadata as well. Each promotion is made up of one or more ad groups and one or more rules that apply to those ad groups.

We're first going to add all the ad groups that we want this promotion to manage. To add the ad groups, we're going to add items and then search for our ad groups. You can search by campaign title or ad group name. Since we use the ASIN and all of our campaign titles, we can search by that and it'll pull up all of our ad groups that we want to work with. You then select all the ad groups you want to be included in this promotion group and in this case we're going to select all three and then add items. Next we'll create the rules that will apply to these ad groups by clicking add rule. Each rule has three parts, the search term source, the trigger, and the actions. The search term source is determined in which ad groups the rule will evaluate search terms. This is the use search terms from here column. Any ad group that is selected will have each of its search terms evaluated by this promotion rule each day.

If a search term appears in more than one ad group, for example in our auto ad group in our broad match ad group, both targeting the same search term, the search term data for both ad groups is aggregated together and then evaluated by the promotion rule. So if the search term big cat tree got 10 clicks in our auto ad group and five clicks in our broad match ad group, it would aggregate all those clicks together to 15 clicks and then the rule would evaluate it. Next we have the trigger. This is the criteria that is evaluated by the promotion rule for each search term. If the search term doesn't meet this criteria, the rule isn't triggered and nothing happens for that search term.

If a search term meets the criteria that is set here, the rule is triggered and the rules actions are performed. This section here is the actions. It's the ad groups that the search term gets added to as a broad phrase or exact match keyword target. Or the ad groups that the search term will be added to as a negative phrase or negative exact match keyword.

You can create multiple rules for a single promotion group to create some pretty complex campaign structures or combine multiple actions into one rule. Recalling our campaign structure, since all of our actions have the same trigger of one order, we can create all of these actions using just a single rule. First, let's set up our criteria for the trigger, which is orders equal one or more. So we're going to change this to greater than or equal to one order. Since our trigger is going to be set as soon as there's one order for the search term, we don't need to set up a look back period. This sets the date range that this promotion rule will look at when it's evaluating search term data.

Leaving it blank will use all of your campaign data in your Merch Jar account, which is logged beginning with 60 days prior to your sign up day. If you don't want to use your entire campaign history, a 30 to 60 day look back window should suffice for most rules.

However, if you're running new rules for an existing campaign with lots of order data, you may want to start conservatively with the look back period as low as just a few days, as it can create a lot of new keywords the first time it's ran depending on your triggers. You can start with a look back period of just a few days and then extend that out over time as your promotions run.

Once we finish setting up our first promotion, we'll touch on how you can test your new promotion rules and the keywords it will create before you ever run them. Next, we're going to set up our actions. These are the actions we want to happen whenever a search term meets our trigger criteria. In this case, one order.

When a search term gets an order, we want to add it to our testing campaign in the broad match ad group as a broad match. So we're going to select broad match for this ad group and campaign. We also want to add that same search term when it gets an order to our performance campaign in our exact match ad group as an exact match keyword. So we're going to select exact match. Next, we want to add this search term as a negative keyword to the correct ad groups. Looking at our campaign structure again, we want to add the search term as a negative phrase match to our automatic campaign so our new broad match keyword won't have as much overlap and targeting.

And we want to add it as a negative exact match for our manual testing campaign since it will now be targeted as an exact match in the performance campaign. Search terms that get orders from our broad match keywords in our testing campaign may also be targeted by our auto campaign. So we also want to add the search term as a negative exact match to our automatic campaign when we're adding it to our performance campaign from our broad match keyword. So for our auto campaign, we're going to add it as both a negative phrase and a negative exact match keyword, the negative phrase for the search terms moving from our auto to testing campaigns and exact for search terms moving from our testing to our performance campaigns. Our testing campaign, we only need to add it as a negative exact match to block the search terms we're moving from our testing to our performance campaigns. So now we have our trigger and our actions for our rule.

The last step is determining the search term sources for this rule. This tells the rule which ad groups to evaluate search terms from. Since we're creating keywords in our manual testing and performance ad groups from the search term data in our auto targeting ad group, if they meet our criteria of one or more order, we need to evaluate the search terms from our auto campaigns ad group. So we'll check the box for search terms from here for the auto targeting ad group. And since we're creating keywords from the data in our broad match ad group for the exact match ad group, we need to evaluate the search term from our broad match ad group as well. So we're going to check the box for broad match include its search terms for evaluation as well.

Now we have all three parts of our rule, the search term source, the trigger and the actions. Now what we have to do is add it by default, the rules turned off. So we're just going to flip it on here with this switch and then save our promotion by default, the promotion group itself will be paused. So you can enable that with this switch here. If you're creating rules for an existing campaign, it's a good idea to test it with our dry run feature before you enable it.

Once a rule runs and performs live actions on your account, there's no one doing it. So it's important to test it to make sure it's working just like you intended it. When you click dry run, all the rules in your promotion group will run and will show you all the new keywords and negative keywords that would be created, but without actually making any live changes to your account. This allows you to go back and edit your rules if it's not creating the keywords you expect, or if it's making too many changes all at once. We recommend using a short look back period as low as just a few days or being more conservative in the triggers that you set.

For example, requiring more orders than one before moving a keyword. You can then modify your look back period or triggers to be less conservative over time. When you're ready to turn on your promotion, simply flip the switch and your new promotion rules will start running once per day.

As a bonus for sticking around to the end of the video, I'm going to show you one more rule you can add to your promotion group that will help you cut down on wasted ad spend. We're going to go back into our promotion group we just created, and we're going to create a new rule by clicking add rule search terms that are getting clicks, but zero sales. We want to add as negative keywords to our ad groups so that we don't waste any more money on them. So for this, we're going to set our criteria for the trigger to equal zero orders. And for clicks, I'm going to set this for any search terms that are getting greater than or equal to 30 clicks.

So it's gotten 30 clicks, but no sales. Any search term that gets 30 clicks without any orders, we want to remove that so we don't spend any more money on that search term by adding it as a negative keyword to our campaigns. The look back period for this one, I'm going to leave as blank, but you can change this to have a set date or change the number of clicks if you want to be more conservative or more aggressive.

For our search term sources, we're only going to look at our auto and our broad match campaigns. Since our exact match performance campaign is only targeting exact match keywords, I'm not as concerned about wasting spend there. Again, if multiple ad groups are selected as the search term sources, search terms from those ad groups will have their data aggregated together. So with this role, if you have a search term that has 20 clicks and zero orders in the auto campaign and in the manual testing campaign, the exact same search term has 15 clicks and zero orders.

The promotion rule will combine that data. In our case, this search term will have 35 clicks combined between the auto and the broad match campaigns, in which case it would meet our criteria of 30 clicks and zero orders and would trigger our actions that we set for the actions we want to have happen. We want to add this as a negative exact match to both our auto and our broad campaigns. So we're going to check exact here. We don't want to use negative phrase match keywords because that could potentially block keywords that we do still want to show up for. The last thing I'm going to do for this rule is rename it so we don't get it confused with our other one.

I'm going to call it keyword negation and then add it and then we would just want to make sure that we turn it on and it's ready to go. While we're in here, let's jump into our other rule and also name that to give it a little more descriptive title and I'm just going to call this one keyword promotion. And with our new promotion rule now running, Merch Jar will automatically promote and negate our keywords, giving us more control, better ad performance and cutting wasted ad spend without us lifting a finger. That wraps it up for our first video in our campaign structure series. There's several variations that could be applied to this campaign structure, like multiple products per campaign or multiple ad groups in a campaign, which we'll cover in future videos in this series, so make sure to hit that subscribe button so you're notified about all of our future content.

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