How To Scale Your Merch Account Through Amazon Advertising (AMS) Automation
It has been a while since we posted anything on the Merch Informer blog, and for good reason!
The last few weeks we have been extensively testing one of the coolest tools that has JUST hit the market that anyone serious about Merch by Amazon will easily find the value in. This tool takes one of the only guaranteed ways to scale any business (advertising), and takes it to an entirely new level!
I should have titled this blog post “how to scale your merch account through amazon advertising without losing your mind”. Lets face it, competition is increasing on Merch by Amazon. Using the proper keywords to get in front of the right audience is only a single piece of the puzzle. Once you have a successful design, if you really want to grow your numbers, you have to act like a business and put some ad spend behind your assets (your designs). When you have a design catalog of 100+ or even 10,000+ designs, this entire process becomes near impossible. You have to set up ads one at a time, change bids, add campaign names…the list goes on and on…for each and EVERY shirt.
There are people in the Merch Community that have spent over 1,000 hours creating ads for all of their shirts, and their royalty numbers reflect this.
But what if there was a way to create all of these ads for ALL of your designs in just a few button clicks?
^^That sounds like absolutely click bait, but ever since we have started testing this tool, it has really blown us away.
Introducing Merch Amigo – Merch Ad Automation
Merch Amigo is the brain child of someone this community knows very well: Ken Reil.
Ken has not only become a great friend over the years, but has his hand on the pulse of Merch by Amazon.
He is leading the fight against frivolous trademarks (through the Trademark Watch Dawgs), knows more about licensing art for his Merch account than anyone I know…and knows a thing or two about selling a LOT of clothing through the platform.
One of the driving factors behind getting the initial boost in search and getting great selling designs to the first page has been to put ad spend behind his business. There is absolutely no quicker way to get your designs in front of the right audience.
Doing the ads one by one is something that most of us do NOT want to do, so Ken came up with the automated solution and let us tag along for the ride in making sure everything was working properly in just a few clicks of a button. Merch Amigo is truly the Amazon Advertising solution that you need if you run a real merch business.
Let’s get into how it works!
How To Set Up Merch Amigo In 3 Easy Steps
Step 1: Get The extension
The first step is to actually go get the Merch Amigo chrome extension here: https://merchamigo.com/.
Sign up (which is 100% FREE), and get the extension by clicking on the link!
Step 2: Log Into Merch by Amazon
The next step after you have the extension installed is to log into your Merch by Amazon account.
Go to your “manage” tab and you will see that now you have the extension enabled, the manage tab has a navigation bar.
Step 3: Click Settings
From the manage tab, click on the settings button.
This will bring up the settings window. In order to get the plugin to “talk” to Amazon advertising and your Merch account, we need to enter in some settings.
The first is your US Account ID:
To get your US Account ID, log in to advertising.amazon.com (you can click this link), and your ID will be the LAST string in the URL. What you need to copy and paste will be right after “entityld=”.
Copy and paste that into the account ID into the settings and the plugin is now ready to work!
Before you save and reload the page, make sure you enter:
- Daily Budget – This is the TOTAL amount you will spend per day PER ad that you set up with Merch Amigo.
- Default Bid – This is how much you will spend “per click” on your ads.
- Campaign Bidding Strategy – This is how the ads will function. If you want to spend the same amount per click every time, start this at “fixed bids”. If you want them to change depending on the competition to get more clicks, you can switch to dynamic bids.
Once you have selected these settings, click on save and reload and you are now ready to set up your automated ads!
Automating Your Merch by Amazon Ads
Let’s go through the functionality of how this is going to make your life a LOT easier to set up and start running ads immediately.
Note: This is phase 1 of the plugin which has everything you need to get started. There is a LOT more in development that we will let you know about in time.
When you go to your manage tab, you will now have the Merch Amigo bar at the very top:
You can set up GLOBAL bids by clicking on the settings button like we did above, but the way it starts, is that you can create individual ads by clicking “create ad” under each shirt.
This will use your global settings (for budget and bid), but if you have a shirt you want to change budget and bids on the fly, you can change that in the top menu bar!
Clicking on “create ad” will automatically open up an Amazon Advertising tab and prefill everything for you, including the name of your campaign (the clothing title) so that you can easily track later.
Here is an example shirt. This shows what settings were selected and everything is pre filled:
That’s pretty great and all, but the reason we got excited about this tool is when you switch the selector at the very top under “ad type”
Once you have this flipped on, it allows you to create ALL the ads with the click of a single button:
You can go through and select what shirts you want to run ads for individually, or you can set the selected (right below the live dropdown menu) to on, which will select ALL your shirts on that page.
Then all you have to do is click on “create” and it will open up all the AMS tabs for you with ALL of the information in the campaign prefilled. The only thing you have to do from there is click on “launch campaign”.
There is also an option as you can see from the top menu to run group ads, but I would recommend running 1 campaign with a single shirt in that campaign for the best results!
Wrapping It Up
Head over to Merch Amigo and grab a free account to try it out here: https://merchamigo.com/.
That about wraps up what this tool can do right now (and Ken has some amazing updates planned in the next couple of weeks).
What used to take hours and hours of “pull your hair out” time, can now be done in 3 button clicks. Click the “ad type” selector to on, Click the “select all” slider to select all the shirts on the page, and then finally click create to launch all the pre-filled tabs. Everything done for you so that you can spend time on what REALLY matters, creating and uploading so that more customers can buy your products on Merch by Amazon!
After you have clicked the link above and given it a spin, let us know what you think in the comments below.
Until next time, keep creating!
3 Ways To Stay Competitive In Merch by Amazon
It has been a while since we last posted an article here on the Merch Informer blog but this not without good reason. We are working on some really exciting updates to Merch Informer that will help everyone really deep dive their research and get a competitive edge in Merch. If you have not checked out our latest update where we added the social hunter, make sure you check that out!
Before we release that though, we thought it would be a good idea to go over the three best ways to stay competitive in the Merch environment.
It’s true, Merch has changed A LOT over the past few years. When it comes to running a business, you have to constantly be evolving. If you don’t, you will get left behind! If you are willing to test and evolve your business and practices, you can stay at the head of the pack, which is exactly what we want for all of our readers.
Here are the 3 ways to stay competitive in a changing Merch environment.
1: Research Research Research!
This has probably been pounding in to your head since you first began your merch journey but this is more important than ever. Things are getting more competitive, there are more sellers than ever, with even more products live on Amazon.
So how can you possibly stand out?
Deep dive research!
The days of uploading “dog” shirts and making 100 sales a day off a single shirt are pretty much over unless you get really lucky. What strategy has been working lately is that you upload t-shirts in a niche that are very specific to a sub niche of that category. An “mind map” example of this research would be something like this: Dog Niche –> Dog Groomer Niche –> Dog Groomers who run their own business. We know that the dog niche is HUGE, but using the mind map I just showed you, there are only a very select few shirts targeting the sub niche of dog groomers who run their own business. This an opportunity! If you do this enough times, you can easily gain market share in that massive niche.
If you take a look at the keywords and results inside of Merch Informer, you can see that the overarching niche is doing very well and that there are a lot of keywords you can use inside of your dog grooming shirts:
Research is really the only way to stay ahead of any competition that will crop up. If you are first, and your designs are good, you will stay first!
Everything else in this list relies on you understanding the market, and what they are looking for. Get this piece wrong, and you are going to be in for a rough time.
The example above is perfect for evergreen niches (niches that sell year round), but research is also CRUCIAL for holidays and trends. Trends you have to jump on really fast, and can be hit or miss. While this can work really well when you are a lower tier, I like to focus on holidays when your account has grown.
Previously, it was recommended that you get your shirts up about 60 days in advance of the holiday actually happening.
What we have found is working even better is getting these designs up 6 months in advance. This helps them get properly indexed so that by the time the actual holiday is rolling around, you stand the best chance at search visibility.
This means that if you are going to be doing Christmas shirts, you should be getting those uploaded to Merch by Amazon in JUNE!
2: Putting Money Behind Your Work (Amazon Marketing Services AMS)
Since Merch has changed so much over the years, one of the easiest way to stay competitive is to actually put some real money behind your designs.
MOST people are not willing to do this, which automatically gives you the edge.
That being said, your designs have to be GREAT in order for this strategy to work. Your 10 second text design does not count and should probably not be used with a paid traffic campaign.
You can read about how to set up your first campaign here:
Launching Your First Amazon Advertising Campaign (Sponsored Products)
There are a few key things you need to remember when running ads though to make sure that you get the best out of them.
The first, is that this is not a set up and forget process! You simply must know your numbers. If you do not, or do not keep an eye with what is going on inside of your AMS account, you will more than likely lose money. We recommend setting up auto campaigns which will pull keywords for you. Once you have run your auto campaigns for a while, take a look at the keyword report and see which of them is performing. Kill off all the keywords in a campaign that is NOT performing, as those are just losing you money if they are getting clicks and no sales.
The second, is that the lower the ACOS, the better. ACOS stands for Advertising Cost Of Sales. You will need to do the math to see if you are making money. For example, lets say that you price your shirt at $14.99 and make a sale via AMS. If you spent $1.72 on ads to make that $14.99 sale, you have an ACOS of 11.49%. This looks GREAT right?
You actually lost money on this transaction because you spent $1.72 on ads and only made a $1.45 royalty on the sale through Merch.
You will see so many people running AMS and bragging about their sales and how much money they are making, when in reality they are losing money on every shirt they sell. This strategy CAN work if your goal is to kickstart organic traffic and then turn them off, but if you are running ads to make a profit, keep an eye on them!
Nothing is worse than spending money without a return, so always be testing and watching your ACOS as it relates to the royalty you are making per sale.
Note: Remember when we mentioned that the best time to upload Christmas designs was in June? We recommend that you start playing around and testing AMS ads on your holiday shirts about 2 months in advance of the actual holiday. This will really give you the boost that you are looking for.
3: Explore Other Markets
As much as we are lead to believe, Merch by Amazon is not the only outlet out there!
There are so many places to go out and get ideas as well as see where and what customers are buying off Amazon. This leads to an opportunity for you!
We see this all the time. There might be a popular niche over on Etsy where the seller is doing very well. Many Etsy buyers are purchasing, they are happy, and the niche seems to be flourishing. Yet, when we go on Amazon and look into the same niche (notice I said niche, not the same design), there is nothing to be found!
This is an arbitrage opportunity for you. You can create a bunch of unique designs around that niche and control it over on Amazon.
The best part about using Etsy as an outside marketplace to do your research is that you have access to social proof and actual traffic that the product is getting! This gives you a good idea if there are buyers out there or not.
In the example above, we used the Social Hunter inside of Merch Informer to gather some information on this product. We can see that it has 70 favorites, so people like it (social proof) and that they are getting a lot of views to their single product. This would be perfect to look into further and maybe use some keywords to get ranked on Amazon.
You do not need to just look at other marketplaces though! You can look at MARKETS.
By this, we mean places that have certain demographics. A good example of this is Pinterest.
Pinterest is a visual search engine, and is a GREAT place to get some ideas and concepts that you can use to create unique Merch by Amazon designs. Their demographic is women who are highly educated and love to spend money on things they find on Pinterest. This makes it perfect for marketing as well as get ideas of what people are buying.
Very soon you will see a Pinterest option inside of Merch Informer to help you really deep dive your research. There is no easier way to come up with unique designs than by looking at other markets that may not even exist on Amazon yet. Talk about low hanging fruit!
Wrapping It Up
To quickly wrap it up, our suggestions are as follows:
- Focus more on research
- Put some money behind your products
- Explore other markets
You will notice that some of these actually require a bit more work than you may be used to. However, if you are willing to adapt and put in the time and effort, you can easily stay competitive in this changing Merch ecosystem.
Good luck out there!
Introducing Merch Legend – Sorting Your Dashboard With Ease
In a massive sea of Chrome plugins that can help you with your online business, it can be difficult to decide what to download and use, and what to ignore.
You have all seen those Chrome screenshots where people have half the screen taken up by different plugins that they never ever use! What if there was a plugin that helped you grow and monitor your Merch business and that you used everyday? Would you try it then?
Merch Legend is the newest Chrome extension on the block and it does something important that I have been talking about for a LONG TIME! It helps monitor your reviews (which can be the literal life blood of your Merch Business), as well as different functionality not found in any other plugins. The creator of this plugin actually created Merch Checker which ended up saving me, as well as countless others when MBA changed their terms. We reviewed it here: Merch Checker Overview.
Let’s step through the process of what all is possible.
Merch Legend Walk Through
The very first thing you need to is actually go and download the plugin. You can grab it here: Merch Legend Chrome Extension HERE.
After you download it, you simply need to log into your Merch by Amazon account and notice there is a new tab in the right hand corner right next to “analyze”.
This is where you will find your new Merch Legend dashboard.
At first, the dashboard looks completely blank.
This is because you will need to click on the Start Analyzing button in the middle of the screen. This will grab all the products in your account and give you a dashboard where you can see ON THE PAGE exactly what your product is, what your bullets look like, and your description.
So why is this important?
Because it lets you monitor a ton of really cool information:
You can sort your entire Merch account into the follow categories with the free version of Merch Legend:
- Upload Date: Low to High
- Upload Date: High to Low
- Sellers Rank: Low to High
- Sellers Rank: High to Low
- Review Count: Low to High
- Review Count: High to Low
- Review Rating: Low to High
- Review Rating: High to Low
By far, the most important one of these to me is the review count as well as review rating.
I have been preaching for years that when it comes down to it, you want to sell as much volume as possible to get those sweet sweet reviews. Keeping track of the reviews though can be a real pain, especially when your account has more than just a few products.
Keeping track of your reviews can also actually help you make more money.
As soon as you see a product get a higher review rating, or simply more than one review, you can play around with the pricing. The higher price you can get (with more reviews backing it up), the more money you are going to make. This plugin makes the process of figuring out which products to play with, and which to leave alone so easy.
Before you can do any of this though, you will need to click on the Start Analyzing button in the middle of the screen:
This will grab all the ASINs of your account, and go look them up on Amazon for you (to bring back all the detailed information).
At the bottom of your screen, you will see something that looks like this:
This means the plugin is working to bring back all your information and should be available for sorting soon.
NOTE: This can take a LONG time for bigger accounts. I would click on Analyze and then walk away for a bit. When you come back, all the information you could possible want will be in your dashboard.
Even when the plugin is working, you can refresh the page to see the products that it has loaded. As you can see from the screenshot, I have sorted the details that have loaded in by review count which is showing one of the highest reviewed shirts in this account:
As you can see I blocked out the information for the specific listing, but this is how your dashboard will look with all of the sorting options.
You can always click on the name of the listing to bring you to the Amazon details page to see all this information as well, but upgrading to the Pro Version of this extension is very well worth it.
If you click the Upgrade to Pro to view button in the right hand corner of all the products, you will see this:
Clicking on the “Go PRO” button at the top, or scrolling to the bottom to click on “Get License Key” will take you to Gumroad.
This actually unblurs some of the options but most importantly lets to sort by upload date, product type and REVIEWS. With a single glance, you can keep track of your reviews and use that to make MORE MONEY (which is why we all do Merch by Amazon in the first place right?).
Not only does this extension let you sort by reviews, but the other sorting options are gold as well.
Sort by sellers rank will of course show you your best sellers (but you already knew they were your best sellers!). What I like to do instead if actually sort by sellers rank, and sort the account by high to low.
What this is going to show you are shirts that have sold before, but that are not selling WELL.
What does this mean for you?
It means there is customer demand there, and the listing might need a little help. The easiest way to get these ranking higher in search is by running AMS ads directly on Amazon. If you are not comfortable setting those up, I would highly recommend checking out our guide on that here.
As I mentioned previously, its also a great way to pick out not your best sellers, but the shirts that have gotten great reviews, that maybe you did not raise the price on yet:
By sorting reviews from low to high, you get this data immediately instead of needing to go through your entire account looking for them. As you can see from the screenshot above, I have some prices that need to be raised.
Wrapping It Up
The developer of this plugin is literally top notch and cares. The Merch Checker plugin that we reviews in the past on the blog was from the same developer and that single plugin has helped save countless accounts from violations after the MBA terms changed.
If you want to get your hands on an Amazing plugin that I am sure will be supported into the future with more features coming, I would pick this up as soon as possible.
To your success!
Launching Your First Amazon Advertising Campaign (Sponsored Products)
Once you are accepted into AMS (Amazon Marketing Services), you are probably ready to jump in, set up some ads, and make thousands!
However, you quickly realize that AMS rebranded within days of it going live for Merch by Amazon into “Amazon Advertising”. Then, unless you are very familiar with running ads online, you might be getting in over your head before you begin.
Which is exactly why I want to write this post. I want to try and attempt to help save you as much headache as possible, make sure you do not flush your money down the drain, and have a solid understanding of how the platform works (and what all those weird words mean), before you get your first ad up and running.
Launching Your First AMS Campaign
When you first log in to Amazon Advertising, you see this little screen staring at you:
There are a few more options in the top menu, but other than that, the page is pretty bare. You will want to click on this to launch your first campaign.
Note: Before you do this, it is advised to click your name/brand in the top menu, click on Payment Settings, and enter in a card so your account is billable.
Once you click on the “Create a Display Ad”, you will be presented with three options.
You have 3 options:
- Sponsored Products
- Headline Search Ads
- Product Display Ads
This will be part 1 of a 3 part series where we go over each campaign type. Today, we will be going over how to launch a sponsored products ad inside of Amazon advertising.
We are going to start out this series on Amazon Advertising with sponsored products for one simple reason. These are the easiest ads to get up and running, and are one of the easiest to “get right” where you are both making money, and understanding the advertising process.
Putting it simply, sponsored products are going to allow you promote your shirts for specific keywords in search. They will make your shirt show up FIRST or in the first few results (depending on your bid which we will get to later).
This is incredibly important because this allows you to
- Target customers based on keywords
- Grab customer interest FIRST
At the end of the day, Amazon is nothing more than a search engine. The higher you rank in that search engine, the more traffic you will receive organically.
Sponsored products allow you to pay for this position, and thus bring in that traffic.
To put this in perspective, another massive search engine is Google. Here is how position on the page, relates to traffic:
If you are not the type to really like graphs or understand what you are looking at, let me help you break it down. On the Y axis (up and down), you see Click Through Rate, which is often represented by “CTR”. This represents what percentage of people actually click the listing after they search.
As you can see from the image, when you rank number 1 in google, over 35% of everyone who searches for a specific keyword, will click on the number 1 result.
On the X axis (left and right), you can see the search rank position. The further you rank away from the number 1 position, the less CTR (click through rate), or traffic you will receive.
This does not 100% line up to Amazon data, but with them both being Search Engines, the data makes it clear. Ranking first gives you a HUGE advantage.
The SAME advantage that sponsored products give you!
Alright, now that you know why we are starting with Sponsored Products, and you understand what CTR is, let’s talk about actually launching a campaign.
Creating A Sponsored Products Campaign (Automatic Targeting)
After you select sponsored products, you will be presented with the create campaign settings.
This page is pretty straight forward but lets walk through it.
Campaign Name: This is pretty straight forward. You are setting up and ad, and it needs a name. If you plan on running multiple campaigns per shirt to test, you will want to name this something specific so you know exactly which campaign this is. Remember, this campaign is only visible to you (not potential customers).
Start and End: SET AN END DATE. Let me repeat that again… Set an end date. This is incredibly important. Set what day you want it to start, and when you want it to end. By default, this will be set on “no end date”. There is literally nothing worse than waking up a week later, or a month later and realizing you have spent $3,000 in ads because you forgot to set an end date. I would know =/. To start with, let you campaign run about 24-48 hours from when you are launching it.
Daily Budget: The daily budget is a little bit tricky. I typically TEST with 5-10 dollars a day budget in order to dial in a campaign. However, if you read the little tool tip inside of Amazon advertising, it will tell you: “Your budget puts a limit on how much you will spend for this campaign. Your daily budget is the amount you are willing to spend on a campaign averaged over a month. You can always change your budget later.”. This is important because it tells you that this daily budget is misleading. It tells you that this is actually averaged out. Meaning if you set a 10 dollar budget but it only spends 5 dollars the first day, it might spend 15 dollars the next day. This is another reason I like to set a start and end date, so you can easily do the math on how much you are willing to spend.
- Note: Amazon has said they recommend $75 dollars a day as a daily budget. This is TERRIBLE advice and if an Amazon employee is reading this, I urge you to change it. Never set your daily budget anywhere over $10-20 a day unless you are done with your testing and you are ramping up your campaigns. This is hands down the easiest way to give Amazon money without getting anything in return because you have not properly tested.
Targeting: You have two options here. There is automatic targeting where Amazon will target your ads to all relevant shopper searches based on your product information, and there is Manual targeting where you can choose keywords to target shopper searches and set custom bids. We are going to go over both in this article, but do yourself a favor and select automatic targeting to START WITH. I will explain the technique further down in this article.
- Note: Make damn sure you have not keyword stuffed your product listing. This option is going to pull keywords from your listing and run variations of them for your ads. If you keyword stuffed your listing, not only is that going to run your ads to the wrong keywords, but you will end up wasting money. Make good listings first and foremost, THEN run ads.
The next box you will see is for products.
You can add more than one product per campaign, but I would highly suggest you use only a single product per campaign. This makes testing a LOT easier.
You will see there is a place to enter a product name or ASIN.
There are two different ASIN structures for Merch by Amazon products. You can typically open up the product from your dashboard and look at the URL. It will typically look like Amazon.com/name of the shirt/dp/ASINHERE.
You can usually copy and paste the asin into the above box, click on search, and it will show up.
If you uploaded the shirt before they changed their ASIN structure, you May see something like this:
If this happens, you simply need to go to the product page of that product you want to advertise, click on a gender and then a size, and THEN grab the ASIN from the URL.
Click on Add product which will move the shirt to the right hand column. Then all you need to do is set your bidding below.
Bidding: Simply put, your bid number should be the amount that you want to pay PER CLICK that your ad gets. Amazon will give you a default bid and give you a suggest bid.
There are multiple schools of thought on this. The first is just to go with the suggest bid range and then monitor the campaign. The HIGHER the default bid, the more you will win out against other ads.
Think of this as an auction. You are competing for the same spot with everyone else running AMS for similar keywords. The higher you bid, the more often you will get displayed. However, you will only pay directly above what your competition pays if your bid is higher until your ad spend runs out.
Example: Say you and your competition are both running ads to the keyword “dog t-shirt”. Your competitor sets a default bid of $0.75. You set a default bid of $1.00. Both of you have a budget of $10 per day. You end up winning the auction and your ad is displayed first, yet every click you get, you do not pay $1.00. You actually end up paying around $0.76. Once your $10 ad spend runs out, then your competitor’s ads start displaying.
Setting a high bid does not mean you will pay that much, it is just that you are willing to pay that much per click. This is a great way to quickly test the market, but also might cost you more.
The second school of thought is to set a super low default bid. Think 20 cents and below.
What this does, is that you will not get nearly as much traffic, but you will basically run out the ad spend of everyone else, and slowly trickle in your own traffic to your listings. This is a LOT slower, but can be used to see if your ads are effective or not. It really depends on how many campaigns you are running and how fast you want to see results.
Since I am testing a campaign, I generally set my default bid right in the middle of the suggested bid range. Remember though, I only have my campaign run for 24-48 hours so I can keep an eye on what is happening and what the CPC ends up being.
Note: CPC stands for “cost per click” and is what you are targeting with your bid.
All that is left is to finally launch your campaign. Click on the button and you will receive the message your campaign was successfully launched:
Make sure you read what they note, which is that the campaigns can take an hour to process before they can be eligible to receive impressions.
What they do not say though is that Amazon Advertising is a new platform and there may be lags of up to 3 days in reporting. Anyone who has been using this system long enough knows that this sometime happens. We have to roll with the punches for now! Thankfully, my campaign began quickly.
The Campaign Manager
The campaign manager is where you will see all your metrics, active campaigns, and be able to tweak things such as end dates, budgets, and see how well your ads are doing in general.
Right after you launch a campaign, you can click on the “go to campaign manager” yellow button and it will take you there. However, it will pretty useless to you until your ad starts running and they start displaying all the juicy data.
As you can see, it will show the campaign, that it is active, and that it is a sponsored product. As this was an older campaign, I didn’t set an end date (as I was going to monitor and close it out the next day). You can also see that there is no spend, sales, or ACoS displayed as the campaign had JUST launched.
You can actually click on the campaign name, which will bring you into the screen you will probably spend a good chunk of time in (once your ads start running)
This is going to show you the products you are running, but the important parts are at the time. This will show you the spend, sales, ACoS, impressions, and let you see keywords, negative keywords, campaign settings, and advertising reports. We will revisit this!
Creating A Sponsored Products Campaign (Manual Targeting)
While the other campaign is left to start running, I thought I would take the time to talk about manual targeting. This is very similar, but involves a bit more work by yourself, and some more understanding of specific terms. I want to walk everyone through that.
Go back to the main page, select start a new campaign, and then fill in your details.
As you can see, I have done pretty much the same campaign, except I have picked manual targeting. This is going to allow me to add specific keywords. I also only picked a single shirt for this campaign.
After you have entered in a daily budget and picked out your product to run an ad to, this is where things change. You will now need to upload keywords.
Before you do that though, you will set a bid. This works the same as above, I would pick something right in the middle of the suggested bid range, but the technique is going to change depending on your tests.
Note: You are going to see a new checkbox called “Bid+”. I would HIGHLY suggest not ticking this box as this is going to pretty much just spend more of your hard earned money.
Bid+ increases the opportunity for your ads to show in the top of search results. When Bid+ is turned on, Amazon will increase the bids for your eligible ads.
Now that you have a default keyword bid in there, it is time to actually ad some keywords!
You will see 3 little tabs in this screen. Suggested, enter keywords, and upload file.
As you can see from the screenshot above, their suggested keywords are almost always as bad as they can get. I would suggest NOT adding these, but instead clicking on the “Enter Keywords” tab.
You can enter up to 1000 keywords on this page, but first, you see a drop down that says “Match Type”. This is incredible important to understand.
Broad, Phrase, and Exact are going to act very differently when you are running ads.
Broad Match: This setting will allow someone to see your ad if a customer searches for that specific keyword as well as a variation of it. A good example of this is we have the keyword “autism apparel” added but if a customer typed in “buy autism apparel” the ad would still show up.
Phrase Match: This is a very similar modifier to broad match where they will show the ad based on the searches that directly match the phrase or are very close variations of a phrase. It also allows addition words before or after.
Exact Match: These ads are going to be shown for searches that are EXACTLY the keyword you added as well as very close variations (such as a reordering of words but the meaning stays the same). These are great if you know exactly what you want your ad to show up for but when testing, you will want to stick with broad match.
If you are confused on which one to pick, it really depends on what you are going for. I was reading something that our friend Matt Sheeran emailed out the other day and thought this might clarify things and puts it into perspective:
These different match types are not equal. Someone searching for an exact long tail keyword is further along in the buying process. While you’ll get less clicks and less impressions, they are more likely to buy. Therefore when bidding on these different match types, you should not be bidding equally for each type.
.50 cpc on a broad match type is not going to convert the same way as a well targeted exact match. But those broad matches will have way more impressions, because the factors for them to be shown are way wider.
This is why I tier bids. Broad match is the widest portion of the funnel, so they have the lowest cpc. Phrase match is closer in the buying process, and deeper in the funnel so it would be slightly higher. And then Exact match is the closest to a buyer clicking that buy now button, so I would bid the most for those. ~Merch News Email Newsletter
I typically START the ad process using auto campaigns. However, once I am further along, I will then use broad match, and dial down from there.
Next, you will have the option to enter in some negative keywords.
Negative keywords prevent your ads from displaying when a shopper’s search terms match your negative keywords. You can exclude irrelevant searches, reducing your advertising cost.
There are two different match types for negative keywords, negative phrase and negative exact:
Negative Phrase: This is an advanced technique that I may go over at the end of this article. Essentially, if you put in a negative phrase, ads will show on searches without this term.
Negative Exact: This is an advanced technique that I went over in the ultimate amazon advertising guide here. Essentially, if you put in a negative exact keyword, ads will show on searches without this term. This is VERY powerful stuff if you understand the impact these can have on your campaign.
Note: Campaigns typically do best with 30+ keywords added.
Once you have all those sections figured out, you are now ready to launch! As you can see, I have added 16 keywords as a test only to see what happens. I kept the keyword bid at the suggested rate:
After that, you are ready to launch your campaign.
Where do I get keywords to put in my ads?
This is probably the easiest part of the entire equation.
You want to run ads to keywords that are known to convert and lead to sales right? After all, the point of running these ads is to put your designs in front of the line for potential customers.
It just so happens that Merch Informer gives you ALL of this information in every single search for the Product Search and Merch Hunter.
You can use these keywords which are proven to get traction and are proven sellers and string them into multiple word phrases that you can then run broad ads to. Incredibly easy!
Reading Your Stats (Doing the Math)
This is very important, so do not glance over this section. If you are unaware of how to do simple math, you are going to end up losing a bunch of money.
Your ads should start displaying information in a day or two after you start running them. They say 12 hours, but from my tests, this is a bit hit or miss.
Here are the results of my auto campaign. As you can see, I spent $5.87 and had sales of $29.98.
Quickly looking at these numbers, you can see that I made two sales at $14.99. This leads to an ACoS of 19.58% after almost 3,000 impressions.
This might seem good, but take a step back and do the math. ACoS stands for “advertising cost of sales” and just so happens to be calculated on REVENUE not profit. Remember that we are paid a royalty on each sale, we are not getting the full price of the shirt.
At $14.99, this means I made $1.60 per sale, leading to a total of $3.20 in royalties for $5.87 spent. This means I LOST MONEY. However, this is not a bad thing necessarily. This just means that I need to tweak the campaign a bit.
Update: Since running this campaign, and launching this article, after I turned OFF AMS ads, I have sold 7 of these organically.
Adverting Reports (Tweaking Your Campaigns)
The reason I tell everyone that wants to try out ads to run auto campaigns, is that they will give you a good starting point to tweak from there. You might lose money like I did, or you may not. Whichever happens, you can learn from it, and move forward.
Do NOT expect to launch an ad and never look at it again. These things require constantly monitoring.
At the top of your campaign manager, you can see “advertising reports”. If you are going to be running AMS ads, you are going to spend a lot of time inside this aspect of Amazon advertising. It lets you actually pull back reports of how everything is doing.
Take a look at part of the report here.
You can see that all the keywords I put in where broad, they all got an amount of impressions and clicks, and you can see how much was spent over a few days.
HOWEVER, all of those clicks and impressions mean nothing for most of these because I did not get any sales. I did make a sale based on this campaigns data, and as you can see, it got 70 impressions, 1 click, and 1 sale. It cost me a whopping 26 cents to make a sale. 26 cents to make 1.60 (which you can play with pricing as your shirt gets more popular.
This leads to an ACoS of 1.7345%. This is what I am talking about!
Since this was an auto campaign, I actually learned a lot from it even though I ended up losing money. I learned a bunch of keywords that I should NOT run ads to, but 1 keyword that I can set a low bid to, run for a long time, and should turn a profit on (When you launch a new manual campaign with this keyword). This technique has been very popular with Merchers in the past. Lots of campaigns with very low bids, just to trickle the traffic to your listings. THIS technique I showed you above though, is exactly how you find the keywords that convert, and ditch the ones that do not.
Wrapping It Up
That about wraps it up for launching sponsored products. If you are serious about making money on the platform, then this can almost be considered a magic bullet. That is a big IF you are willing to put in the effort. If you are not willing to actually look at the data, and test different things, then this is not for you.
If you want to put your amazing designs (and yes, they have to be great to do well), in front of everyone else, as well as put in the work of split testing different campaigns and losing a bit of money along the way to figure out the profitable campaigns, then this IS for you.
If you have any questions or concerns, drop them in the comments below!
Merch Informer Trademark Protection Plugin Released
We have finally released the most comprehensive trademark protection that you can have for your Merch by Amazon account. Merch Informer has always been dedicated to helping you save time, maximize your profits, and make your life easier. Today, we are changing the game!
Grab the plugin here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/merch-informer-trademark/aakigomphmlnijlfonlhcobonfhfipoi
This Chrome plugin is powered by Merch Informer and will check every single word, every single word/phrase combination, and line by line EVERY SINGE WORD of your Merch listings.
This all happens from your Merch by Amazon upload page, which means you never leave the page.
Not only does this save you valuable time going back and forth to the USPTO TESS page (which is exactly where we get our data for this plugin!), but it keeps your account safe by identifying words and word phrases you may have skipped in your search process.
Let’s go over an example to show how you are never going to miss a phrase in your bullet points ever again.
Merch Informer Trademark Protection In Action
The first thing you need to do is simply upload your design and fill out all your information.
Once you get to the last page before you are about to submit, you will see a new button on your page:
Now as you can see, I have put in some trademarks for the brand, title and bullets for example purposes.
Before you submit any shirt, make sure you click on the MI Trademark Check button. This will search your entire listing for any trademark issues.
Once you run the check, each line will become clickable and highlighted so you know where the problem areas are.
Simply click on the line you want to dig more into:
From here, all the trademarks with their serial numbers, registration numbers, and type/status are displayed.
Need more information on a trademark? Simply click on the serial number which will bring up the USPTO page:
If you check the goods and services, you can see that this is for the 025 category:
Currently, this will only check for the 025 category, so keep that in mind. More categories may be added later.
The Merch Informer Trademark Protection plugin ALSO works on any front facing Amazon page:
Wrapping It Up
This chrome plugin for trademark protection is absolutely free for everyone. If you want it to work in the back end of your Merch Account you will need a Merch Informer account to log in with, but this plugin will work on ANY plan that we offer.
Stay safe out there and let us know what you think in the comments below!
How to Use AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) to Create Brand Pages
Now that AMS is rolling out to everyone, I thought I would take some time to do a writeup on one of the coolest new features there is: Brand Stores!
Brand stores are important for a few reasons. The major one is that you can use these to funnel traffic to your listings so you can give out your store link to anyone and they will instantly see your brand on Amazon, linking to every product you have. You can even set up a website and have that website direct to your store.
If you are not familliar with brand stores, they look like this: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Neil+deGrasse+Tyson/Neil+deGrasse+Tyson/page/C08C5673-6189-4501-9910-EE1BBD8C527F
By the end of this tutorial, you should be up and running with a brand page of your very own!
Let’s get into it.
Step 1: Open Up Stores
The first step is to actually just log in to AMS (Amazon Marketing Services). If you have not been approved yet, make sure you take the time to go through the instructions on our AMS guide here, and then wait for the email that says you were approved.
After you are approved, click on the stores tab in the top menu:
The stores page basically tells you exactly what you will be creating as well as getting your own branded page ON Amazon for your clothing.
Once you are ready to actually begin the process (it does not take long!), then click on the orange “create store” button.
Step 2: Creating Your Store
After you get into the store builder, everything is pretty straight forward.
The first thing you need to do is edit some store settings:
Add a brand name, a brand logo, and then any tags that describe your store below. You will want to have a brand logo already created as well as a banner for the top of your store. Make sure sure the logo is high quality and at least 400X400 pixels.
Click on the next button and this is where the fun actually begins. You can start to create your branded store!
The page meta description is what will end up displaying in Google when someone searches your brand and this Amazon page is ranked. Just enter a sentence or two about your brand and what it represents.
Then you get to start with a template. I went ahead and picked the first option which is a Marquee. You can pick whichever template you like best!
After you have those two things selected, simply click on the create page button at the bottom of the screen.
You then will want to fill out the sections of the template that you selected.
First, upload yourself a banner at the top. You will want to make sure that these banners are 3000X600 pixels.
Click on “done” in the upper right hand corner. This will bring you back to the main page where you can then begin filling out all the tiles.
Click on “add tile” and on the right hand side of the screen you will be able to add products. By clicking on product, you simply need to add an ASIN. You can get the ASIN in the URL of any of your shirts right after /dp/. It will look something like this: amazon.com/title of the shirt/dp/ASIN. Grab that ASIN and add it to your new store page.
Play around with all of the options you have, they each look slightly different and offer different options.
Depending on what template you pick, you will need to add a main template image.
I would HIGHLY recommend that you get a mockup of a model wearing your shirt. You can do this via placeit and clicking here.
After you are done editing up and linking your front page to different products and making it look nice, I would highly suggest adding different pages to your store!
You can do that from the side menu:
Each of these pages can have a different clothing category. You can make a page for t-shirts, one for popsockets, so on and so forth:
You will see that on the mockup to the right, it will actually give visitors a drop down menu.
The way to you get this drop down menu instead of different categories going straight across the screen is to simply drag and drop the categories from the left so they are categorized like a tree. This is exactly the same way the Merch Informer favorites work!
Step 3: Submit Your Page For Review
The final step here is to simply submit your page for review on Amazon.
You may need to wait 72 hours, but from our testing, these are going through in a few hours currently!
You will know that it has been submitted when you see this up in the upper right hand corner:
I will be adding to this FAQ section as time goes on.
Can I have more than 1 brand page?
Before I get a ton of different comments asking if you can have more than one brand page, the answer is YES!
On your main “store” page by clicking on the store tab in the top menu, you will see something like this:
As you can see it tells you to register a brand if you do not see your brand listed, but this simply brings you back to the SAME page.
The trick here is to go into the upper right hand corner, click on “brand management” and then add a brand:
So to answer the question, you can have as many different store fronts as you want as long as you actually have multiple brands.
Wrapping It Up
That about wraps up the process of creating your own store on Amazon. This can be used for so many things, but running traffic, funneling that traffic, and building an actual presence on Amazon is going to be a powerful tool going into the future.
If you have any other questions, make sure to drop them in the comments below!