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Amazon PPC Marketing Mastery With Mike Zagare – Part 1
March 8, 2021
Amazon PPC Marketing Mastery With Mike Zagare – Part 1 Part 1 Part 2 Things we mention in this session of Seller Round Table: * Join us every Tuesday at 1:00 PM PST for Live Q&A and Bonus Content at Try the greatest Amazon seller tools on the planet free for 30 days at
Amazon PPC Marketing Mastery With Mike Zagare 

[00:00:01] spk_0: Welcome to the seller Roundtable, E commerce, [00:00:04] spk_2: coaching and business strategies [00:00:05] spk_0: with and er not and Amy Wiis. [00:00:08] spk_2: Mm. Hey, what's up, everybody? This is Andy are not with [00:00:14] spk_1: anyways. [00:00:15] spk_2: And this is sell a round table number 85 we're super stoked. I can't believe it's taken this long, Mike, but we have Mike Zakarian. Thanks so much for being on Mike. [00:00:24] spk_0: Hey. So excited to be here and never too late. Excited to be here? [00:00:28] spk_2: Yeah, better late than never, right? [00:00:30] spk_0: Right, for [00:00:31] spk_2: sure. So, like, for people who don't know who you are, if you can give a little background on yourself as much or as little as you like, you know, maybe where you're born, where you live now. Past jobs, college school. Uh, you know, you know, hard knocks, whatever you want to talk about, failures, successes, [00:00:47] spk_0: and you get [00:00:48] spk_2: to know you a little better. [00:00:49] spk_0: Let's dive in. So I started E commerce back when I was 16. 17 and I sold on eBay. I actually scalped tickets for the very first time. I bought these Rod Stewart tickets for, like, 100 bucks and sold them for 800 I was absolutely hooked back in like 1999 then a little thing called college hit. And I said, Well, you know what? I'll go to college and I got a degree in. Physical therapy was the longest four years of my entire life. My hair fell out. I really knew at that point that I did not love physical therapy but then graduated. Went on to do it for about 10 years, started my own business with seniors in their homes, treating seniors in their homes, which was great. Got some business experience. But then I hired a coach. He's like, Dude, you you've got a lot of energy and I can see Um, I can see that you're spinning your plates here. Why don't you try doing something else? Like what? Do you see me doing that? He goes, he goes, I see you doing importing and exporting like alright. Importing, exporting. What the hell do you mean by that? Three days later, I'm chilling on the couch trying to go to the gym. It was too wet, like wet outside from a rainstorm, and I scroll through my feed and I see something for eBay and drop shipping on eBay like this is what he means by importing exporting went through the course, learned how to do drop shipping, learned how to do retail arbitrage, online arbitrage. Hated that. And I asked myself like, What is the next thing here? And, of course, that was private label. So at the time, I was like, dabbling in all these different businesses, and I was just looking for a sign and literally somebody as I was saying, that rang my doorbell. It was my first sample, and I knew that was it. I just went from there in my first sample, Um, got into the business, and here I am. That was in 2015, um, and that my journey started from there. Now, advertising is my thing. [00:02:35] spk_2: Awesome. So, um, are you still Are you still doing any Amazon stuff or are you just concentrating on the software side of things? [00:02:42] spk_0: Um, mostly concentrating on software. And we have an agency as well, but I do still sell on Amazon in the pet supply category. [00:02:49] spk_2: Awesome. So, man Amy, that I guess I'm missing out. The pet supply category seems to be where all the ballers are. man. [00:02:58] spk_0: Yeah, [00:02:59] spk_1: I think you're I think you're a baller to Andy. It's okay. [00:03:05] spk_2: So, um, how did you get into Amazon advertising? [00:03:09] spk_0: Yeah. So, back in the back in 2015, advertising, thankfully was really easy. You know, it was brand new to me, and I didn't have any background and Google advertising or anything like that. So I would literally go to Starbucks and just figure it out and just download search term reports, try to figure out a cell. I failed miserably with Excel. I still don't know how to use Excel spreadsheets, and I thought to myself like, There's got to be a better way, you know? And also, back then things were really super easy and simple. I would keyword dump. I think I've had, like, campaigns with 10,000 keywords in them and just stuffed crazy amounts of keywords in there. But at the time, it actually really worked really well. And I just needed a way to figure that out a little bit more. And then PPC entourage came about. I start to get a little bit more cleaner with our strategy. Stop doing the keyword dumping started to learn how to optimize, and there wasn't really a tool to figure that out. So I built Entourage. Awesome. [00:04:04] spk_1: All right, well, I have a question for [00:04:07] spk_0: you. You [00:04:09] spk_1: know, we're talking about tools. We're talking about optimization, but let's back it up a little bit. So how do you recommend that new sellers get started with advertising? How did they get started? You know, so many people just get overwhelmed. I recently did a poll in my group and I was like, What do you guys want to know about PPC and somebody posted everything you know, like, what's your biggest struggle with PVC? Somebody said everything and we got a bunch of votes. So how do you recommend people get started learning about advertising Get started with PPC? [00:04:44] spk_0: Yeah. First off, it's really easy to get overwhelmed with advertising, especially right now with all the new bells and whistles and features coming out. So to get started, I recommend really dialing in sponsored product ads, sponsored product ads, still bringing the majority of sales, and it's really the easiest place to get started with some simple campaign structure and strategy. Um, you can start with start off with an auto campaign and a basic manual campaign. The other thing is, make sure that your listing is super dialed in because that's the other aspect of this is getting higher conversion rates. So if you can start there and really do some really thorough keyword research research, really do a great manual campaign a great auto campaign, dial that in and then start to learn the foundations of a good structure and campaign. You want to start with something easy and that's going to build out multiple campaigns in the future. [00:05:33] spk_1: So in terms of keyword research, I think so many people you know there's so many tools out there, and it's stuff that people get confused about. So I love your advice about just start basic start running Auto campaign Start Emmanuel campaign. Do your keyword research any tips about keyword research and where people should get started. For example, if they're launching a new product, what is your recommendation for finding keywords for that [00:06:01] spk_0: launch? Right. So if you have access to brand analytics, I would use brand analytics to your advantage and then keep things super simple. So do a launch. Find the most relevant keywords because initially, during the launch phase. You really want to tell Amazon what you're selling so the right keywords in the right lessons that's going to make up your launch campaigns. So two separate campaigns, but you want to be specific and relevant with what you're targeting at that phase. Then you can branch out and start to utilize those keywords with a broad match type or a phrase match type, because that allows Amazon to give you more reach compared to just doing your own keyword research. So start with about 5 to 10 really highly targeted keywords. Tell Amazon what you're actually selling and then start to create some research campaigns and leverage the power of those broad match types and the phrase match types to start to get a little bit more reach. I would say, though, keep it really simple, keep it really relevant and slowly start to build out your keyword list over a period of time rather than dumping in a lot of stuff all at once. Because a lot of sellers Amy have a budget, and if you start with a huge list of keywords, it's going to be hard to really test out how those keywords are doing so if you start small and then you start to reach out, branch out. I think that's the way to go for a lot of sellers not to get overwhelmed. [00:07:15] spk_1: Yeah, I love to use the Amazon search far and see what the suggested search terms are, and then look at the results of those suggested search terms and see if that product would fit well there. And that's a really great way to find keywords. And then you can also put those keywords into your research tools, especially if you don't. A lot of people are not going to have access to bring an analytics if they're just getting started. But if you start with the search bar on Google and on Amazon, it's going to give you a really good start to your keyword research. But I love what you said about. Just start with, like, 5 to 10 of your main keywords. Andy and I always preach that, because otherwise you're going to You're going to spend all your money. If you're bidding on all these keywords, it's just going to run away with your budget, right? [00:08:03] spk_0: Uh, and there's a There's a time for all of that, like so we're starting to really think about how to really build out your funnel and not to get people overwhelmed. But you start off with the foundation of those really great keywords. And then over time you can start to use the results and the data from those keywords to build out other parts of your funnel. And I think of it as a journey and your journey starts with the most relevant keywords, and then you build it out over time, and before you know it, you'll be using Asians and, like sponsored display campaigns and sponsored brand campaigns. And then as you mature, you may even dabble into other things, like DSP, but that comes further down the line. Just start off really simple 5 to 10 keywords, get the ball rolling, and then start a research campaign with a few more keywords and then go from there [00:08:44] spk_1: and use those initial 5 to 10 keywords and campaigns to really understand what's happening. So speaking of understanding what's happening, and Guzman has a question here, too, so I'm going to throw that in there. But speaking of understanding what's happening, what kind of optimization systems should sellers have in place, so should they be optimizing every day? What do you recommend for them? What should optimization look [00:09:11] spk_0: like? Right. So ultimately, we want to keep things as simple as possible. So it really depends on how much data you actually have. Let's say you're running and thousands of dollars in ad spend You could optimize every couple of days. But most sellers really on or not doing that so typically once a week would be a good a good good guesstimate to go in there once a week, maybe once every two weeks. I wouldn't go longer than two weeks because a lot can happen in two weeks. You want to keep things like super simple, though. Like there's this debate whether or not to use negatives. And I believe negatives are good to you. So I'm on the camp of using negatives. Amy, I don't know if you are or not. You're not. Okay. So there's this debate [00:09:52] spk_1: PPC mentor. Sorry. [00:09:57] spk_2: Yeah, You know what, Mike? I bet if you go back and look, I think I'm the Ogi. No negative keywords. I was saying it pretty early on, and I mean, I've tested it both ways, and there are arguments for both ways. Um, for simplicity. Um, you know, if you're trying to keep your campaign super simple, you know that that might be, you know, like removing keywords and and and negative, you know, negative matching them out so that you're not having to manage that. I I see that, Um, but, you know, I like the negative. I like the, you know, the let it ride kind of thing where you just do a super low bit, and so and and and I've seen it work where, you know, like especially this time of year. It's funny because you start getting all you know, because Amazon Amazon turns all those dolls in q four, and now all of a sudden, you're you're getting, you know, impressions and clicks on stuff that you haven't gotten all year because you left those keywords in. But, um, you know, all to their own. I'd love to hear you know, your strategy in terms of of why you like to negative. [00:10:55] spk_0: So we do less negatives than we used to do. It used to be a big part of our philosophy and strategy But now we're very selective and careful just because of things like you just said, You know, certain keywords, Think of a listing and the maturity of a listing it could get, uh, the conversion rate could improve over time. So if you're negative, negative out, negating is the word. A keyword early on that isn't performing well. Maybe that will perform six or seven months down the line. So there are examples, though, where I think it's really important to do negatives. There could be specific negative phrase matching that really doesn't describe your product like, for example, wooden spatula or metal spatula. You may want to use a single word and do negative phrase, but do it carefully. Or perhaps there's negative phrases that really just are not connecting very well at all, and you can do selective negative exact matches on those. But I agree less than before, and bid optimization is more critical than before. And with that, it's really important to keep that simple, too, because you can get really complex with bid optimization. But we have a simple recipe that I think works for most sellers. [00:12:00] spk_1: Yeah, I want a [00:12:00] spk_2: caveat that real quick sorry, Amy. [00:12:02] spk_1: And one of the things, [00:12:03] spk_2: one of the one of the things that you actually, you know using negative matches are important. Are an auto campaigns, right? That's where they actually are really important. Because on auto, you you're not controlling the down to the keyword level. So on auto, you know, if you pull up your auto search term report and you're spending 20 bucks on a keyword, that makes absolutely no sense, Um, for your your product and your spending money on it, then you know, in that case, absolutely so I want to. I wanted to throw that caveat out there. Uh, definitely on the on the auto campaigns, it's It's something that you want to look at. [00:12:34] spk_0: Yeah. Now you can do negative ace in targeting two with auto campaigns as well. [00:12:39] spk_1: So give us all of your secrets about how you launch a product with PPC. [00:12:46] spk_0: Yeah, awesome. So there's different strategies and structures for each type of campaign. Inside of our playbook. We have 28 different types of campaigns, and I honestly think that's just scratching the surface, not to get people overwhelmed, but when you're when you're starting out and just launching a campaign. You want to look at a couple of different aspects of your campaign and think about what you're trying to do first. What you're trying to do is you're trying to get on Amazon's radar and to try to teach them what you're actually selling. So you want to start off with a base of really highly relevant keywords 5 to 10 really highly relevant keywords. Now, keep in mind, you likely don't have the social proof at this point. So you want to try to overcome the lack of social proof with some kind of coupon or promotion. You know, ask yourself, why would somebody buy your product when they could buy someone else's at the same price? Because you don't have the social proof, so you have to layer in that element of social proof. Then you gotta ask yourself, Okay, well, what am I really trying to do? I'm trying to get a sale for that actual keyword to tell Amazon what I'm actually selling. So think about the placement. We also want to think about where we want to show up when we do this launch campaign. So Amazon has what's called top of search modifiers. You can also do a product page modifier if we're doing a keyword campaign, we want to try to show up at the very top of search. Get that sale, tell Amazon what we're going after and get that started to get that sales velocity for that keyword. So we also introduced a bit of an element of the top of search modifier, which means we're telling Amazon we're willing to bid a little bit higher to get top of search placement. But then, on the flip side of that, we have an ace and launch campaign where we do and we do a product detail page modifier. So we're trying to show up on the product detail pages of the nations that were targeting. So we tell Amazon. Hey, these are the actions that we are the most like, and we try to show up on their product detail page. Of course, we have some kind of a coupon to try to steal the show. Dell from a competition. That's the basic structure and foundation. The other thing that comes into play is fixed bidding, so fixed bidding is a really great way to get in there and get more impressions right away, because think about it. You do not have any data for Amazon to go on to try to improve your bid or raise or lower your bid. So the dynamic bidding goes on campaign history and they raise or lower your bid price based on the history of that campaign and that innocent you don't have that yet. So fix bidding sort of forces. The issue gets you more impressions, and now you're taking highly relevant keywords. You're trying to get to the top of search. You're forcing it in with fixed bidding and just keep in mind everyone, you're probably going to do it at a loss. You know, this is initially early on. Don't don't be surprised if you're running 60 70 80% a costs. And that's okay because the first goal is to get those sales and to get on Amazon's radar. And then you go from there. [00:15:28] spk_1: Yes, always optimise after you get data. But if you don't pay for data and you're in no man's land, that data doesn't do you any good, right? Andy [00:15:39] spk_2: and and Mike, that's a great point. I always make that point to when it comes to launching. You know, it's it's funny because you get the people in. The group's going Well, I I you know, I did PBC for a month and my products failing. You know who wants my inventory, And you're like, No, like you had no launch plan because, you know, especially when you're in, uh, you know, super competitive categories, you know that it's a long game. It could be three months. It could be six months where you're negative. You're going for the long game you're going for. You know, once you get on the page one and all of a sudden all that money that you spent for the first 3 to 6 months on ads is now going to get paid back in, you know, a couple of weeks by all this organic stuff that you're gonna get. So, um, you know, to me, people really need to have a good launch plan. They need to know, uh, you know, expect to lose money in the beginning, especially if they're in a competitive niche. And like you said, like, you have to differentiate, You know, in the beginning, coupons are one of the most underutilized, um, things you know, even if you do a buck off for 5% off, you get that little orange badge and you also get the little coupon section that people probably don't even a lot of people don't even know exists. Uh, we pretty much have coupons running on all of our program. All of our products almost 24 73 65. Um, you know, especially during the holidays, like right now people like, Why are you doing coupons? You're you know, you could be you know, you know, it's like ha ha, but there's, you know, people are raising their prices and not offering any coupons. We also, you know, follow that tide, which everyone does. But we still offer coupons because once again, Mike, like you said, that makes our offer more attractive for comparable products. So, um, I love all those points. [00:17:12] spk_1: I like a fixed bid to because I just learned about fixed spitting recently and using that technique with launch, and it's worked really well. [00:17:21] spk_0: That's awesome. I cut you a couple a couple other things that you can do like maybe outside of the box in terms of launching a new product. If you have an existing category line, you could also use the traffic you're getting from your new product from your old products to launch a new product, especially if you have brand recognition. So if you're starting to see your brand show up on the search term, report congratulations. That's awesome news. Take advantage of that. You can have a store, a store front page dedicated to new arrivals. You can have a sponsored brand headline ad that's saying, Hey, just arrived from this brand and you have your new product. But you also have the social proof and the brand recognition from your old products. You can brand protect your product detail page with sponsored display ads and sponsored product ads with your brand new product. Because people already have. There's a bit of trust already, even if people are just getting to your older listings that don't know you before they see the social proof from your old listings, and now they're starting to see your new products. So start to think outside of the box a little bit and combine brand protection with launching. That's another thing we've been talking about lately [00:18:26] spk_1: you just give me an idea of one of my launches. Thank you. So what about let's talk about seasonality, right? What are some factors to think about in terms of seasonality for targets, bidding and budgets? Usman wants to know. How do we estimate the cost of PPC at a monthly budget? [00:18:48] spk_0: Yeah, So seasonality is interesting. In fact, I was just on a call with someone who's, um, telling the stuff that's really important around the Valentine's holiday season, like so stuff that really sells really well in February and then fell off a cliff. And we thought that it was maybe because of covid. And this was just an issue that happened in March. But when you look at the trends, there's a big seasonal push around February for this particular product. So that's when you want to really push the product. But also leading up to that. You want to make sure that you get, uh, the proper placements that you have your sponsored brand ads in place, that everything is set for that that season. But then, also afterwards, you want to make sure that you modify your bids because things are going to get more expensive conversion rates are going to go down. You know, they're still going to be people looking for those products, so you still want to show up. But modify your bids and a lot of lot of sellers are now. We're going to be facing that in the holiday season. We see that leading up to like the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th of December. Some at some point conversion, where you start to go down, and that's a seasonal trend. You can start to lower your bid, lower your budget and then see, you know, to make sure that you don't overspend in that time because Amazon will take your money. So a couple things you can do is go to Google trends and look at the trends of some of the products that you have, like the keywords. And look at that. I know a couple of tools. Have you can actually see the sales volume and the search volume rather seasonally, and you could you could do that as well. Um, eventually, we would love to implement that into our tool, where it follows those trends and raises and lowers your bids and the autopilot. I think that's something cool for the future. But for now, you know, you got to do it manually, which is gonna be good because you can set yourself apart from your competition if you take that extra step. [00:20:36] spk_1: Oh, that was a really good tip. I love thinking about not just before we always talk about. Prepared for Q for prepare for Q one. Set up your campaign's a couple of weeks early and spend everything up, but we don't often focused on what to do afterwards and how to kind of focus on that. So I love that. And then not only that, looking at the trends related to your keywords, Um, and he was showing us some tricks on Google trends recently. So my last question before I watch you and Andy completely nerd out over PPC uh, is profitability. So really, you know, profitability is hard for people. It's difficult. They aren't really sure how much they're spending. They're not really sure how much to track. So what should people be focusing on in terms of being profitable with their PPC as well as tracking of profitability? [00:21:37] spk_0: I love this topic. It's probably my favorite topic when it comes to Amazon PPC. So first off, bottom line is you have to know your margins. You have to know exactly how much money is left over at the end of the day, and you're gonna start there and also know that there's a difference between a cost and a campaign and your true a cost. I know you guys probably heard this before. Tacos. We call it ad spend margin impact, and typically that's between six and 12%. If it starts to get higher than 12% then that could be eating away at the profitability or the margins of your product. So you want to look at that, True, a cost on an account level. But then break it down on Anne Askew by skew level. Because if you find that you're overspending on your ad spend and it's eating away at your margins, all of a sudden you're at 2025 30% true, a cost that could mean there's no money left over. And then when you go to reorder, that's just going to eat away at your cash flow, and that's going to cause a really big problem in your business. So it's important also to have targets. That true cost might be a little bit higher at the very beginning, when you're launching your scoop because you don't have the organic sales to balance it out. We want those organic sales to be about 80% of the sales coming in and 20% coming from our organic from PPC sales. That 80 20 rule really works really well here, but initially that's going to be reversed. So your ad spend margin impact is gonna be very high. Keep that in mind when you're first starting out, but you want to eventually see that flip, you know, as things get more mature to 80 20. And then at that point, if you're at 80 20 don't be afraid of a high a cost campaign. It won't bite you. It's okay because you're getting all of those organic sales on the other side. In fact, some of those campaigns could be helping you out in many ways. So think of it as like more of a holistic approach where you're you're looking at the true costs and how these campaigns actually impact your organic sales and your organic revenue over time, which takes a bit of time to get to that point. Does that make sense any [00:23:39] spk_1: absolutely. And then, you know, tracking profit. You mentioned really just kind of taking a look at your overall costs. But are there any tools that you suggest for tracking the profit with your advertising included? [00:23:54] spk_0: So, um, I hate to tout myself, but actually I love to tell myself, but we have the margins tool, which no one really knows about. I'm going to really make a big wave about the margins tool soon because it really looks at all the different avenues of where you could be leaking profits in your business and tracks that over time. One of that is ad spend margin impact. We have FBI safety margin impact return fee margin impact promo fee margin impact, other Fiat margin impact, their storage margin impact All of these different fees that show up on Amazon in various locations across thousands of hundreds of different not hundreds but dozens of different reports. It's hard to know exactly how much money you're actually making and then track the individual components of that over time. So I use the margins tool our management team uses the margins tool. We basically go in there and we're like, Okay, you're 70% organic sales, 30% PPC. That's a good start. Where can we make improvements? And we look at it like, Okay, your overall margin is 28%. How can we get to 30%? The goal is at least 30% or more so you can pay yourself. You can reinvest in new products and also reinvest in, uh, an inventory. You want that to be around 30%. So in answer to your question, yes, I use my own tool for that Margins tool Some Thanks for tuning in to part one of this episode. Join us every Tuesday at one PM Pacific Standard time for live Q and A and bonus content [00:25:18] spk_2: after the recording [00:25:19] spk_0: at cellar round table dot com, sponsored by the ultimate Software tool for Amazon Sales and Growth seller s c o dot com and amazing at home dot com