Once the holiday dust has settled, the end-of-year promos have slowed, and the QBRs have been R’d, you’re faced with a new year for your business. A new year is the perfect time to reconsider your channel mix: what’s working, what isn’t, and – our focus today – what’s new and test-worthy?

Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) is one of the fastest-growing advertising platforms online, and it’s only projected to keep growing. If you’re an Amazon Vendor and want to test out this self-serve channel, here’s a best practices guide to getting started with an efficient test in the New Year.

For a full breakdown of account setup and ad types, take a look at Jarod’s post here. The rest of this blog will be building off of those fundamentals!

Ad Types: Sponsored Products are the best ad type to get started on. They’re less competitive than Headline Search Ads – multiple advertisers win in each auction, improving your reach. They’re also more controllable than Product Display Ads, which don’t give much data about performance by placement or targeting element (interest/SKU). Once you’ve gathered your initial Sponsored Products data, a Headline Search Ad campaign will serve as a great complement, dominating the SERP with your brand name and product images.

Efficiency tip: when deciding which products to sponsor in your initial tests, check what’s doing well organically. Don’t just consider sales volume, but also star ratings and reviews, as this will impact your CTR.

Campaign Details: One inconvenient element of the AMS platform is that certain campaign setup details cannot be changed after the campaign is submitted for review and goes live. This includes campaign name, and (for Headline Search Ads and Product Display Ads) the images and copy used in the ad. This means that you need to have your naming structures ironed out before launch: do you need a parameter naming the channel, in order to incorporate with the rest of your reporting? Don’t forget parameters for the product you’re advertising, the keyword match type you’re using (hopefully only one, if you’re adapting from the Alpha-Beta Structure!), the keyword type/category, the headline copy, etc.

Targeting: If you’re starting out with Sponsored Products, the key will be to organize campaigns based on narrow groupings of keywords; this will allow you to allocate budget based on a user’s anticipated intent. For example, if you are selling lipstick, you will want to have one campaign targeting keywords like lipstick, lip gloss, lip stains, etc. You’ll want to use another campaign to target makeup, skincare, and more category-wide terms. Then you can expand to more niche categories like gift-related terms, competitors’ names, etc. Don’t forget to leverage negative keywords in order to avoid overlap in your search terms.

Efficiency tip: your AdWords data should inform your keyword selection – start with your existing top performers!

If you’ve gotten this far and still need to be convinced to try AMS in the first place, check out this story on Amazon’s epic Cyber Monday – including real wins for small businesses. There’s a gigantic revenue opportunity waiting to be tested.

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Madeline Fitzgerald
Madeline joined 3Q Digital as Strategy Development Manager in September 2016. She is a Southern California native who graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in English—then rushed right back to the sun and beaches. Outside of marketing, Madeline loves reading, enchiladas, and Oxford commas.