Amazon Pay Per Click Campaigns: How To Advertise Your Private Label Product on Amazon

Greg MercerAmazon PPC, Private Label Product Launch, Product Marketing, Selling on Amazon40 Comments

amazon pay per click

The Amazon Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising platform is a great opportunity to sell more products online. If properly created and managed, a PPC campaign on Amazon can help you sell more inventory faster, while increasing your organic rankings as well. That's a great deal, right?

On top of that, Amazon’s sponsored ads program is quite simplistic, especially considering that it is developed by a $278 billion dollar tech firm (I don’t mean to bite the hand that feeds, sorry Bezos….)

The simplicity of Amazon’s advertising platform is a double-edged sword, but let’s try to make it something that works for us. In this guide, I will outline all the PPC optimizations that I use to juice my profits as much as possible for my private label products on FBA.


The #Amazon #PPC game is a winning proposition for FBA sellers, simple and straightforward. Click To Tweet


How Paid Search Works

Starting from the beginning, let’s break down exactly what Amazon’s paid search is and what it looks like. Amazon receives millions of searches every month, with a majority long-tail searches (three words or more) of purchase-ready consumers.

People don’t go to Amazon to window shop and discover ideas. They know what they want, go to Amazon , and type in their desired product. Amazon will return the products that it deems most likely to satisfy the user’s desire. These are the “organic” results. Then there are the “paid” search results, which you will see mixed in with the organic results, and sometimes in the right column and below the organic results:

Amazon results paid and organic


Amazon Pay Per Click Campaigns: The Strategy

Creating the ad campaigns is very straightforward, but it is important to understand the strategy and milestones before starting to advertise so we don’t make quick decisions that undermine our campaigns

Here is a brief outline of how we will run these PPC Campaigns:

  • Run campaigns to find profitable keywords that convert to sales
  • Remove non-converting keywords and targeting
  • Increase bids for keywords that convert well

Before we go further, let's get familiar with Amazon's key metrics. This is how they describe them:


Advertising Cost of Sales – The percent of attributed sales spent on advertising. This is calculated by dividing total ad spend by attributed sales. For example, if you spent $4 on advertising resulting in attributed sales of $20, your ACoS would be 20%.


Attributed Sales – The total product sales generated within one week of clicks on your ads. Your sales data can take up to 48 hours to populate. As a result, sales data is not available in the “Today” date range and may be delayed in the “Yesterday” date range. You can view the individual sales totals for advertised products and other products in the Campaign Performance report


Impressions – The number of times your ads were displayed. Once identified, it may take up to 3 days to remove invalid clicks from your reports. Clicks from the last three days may be adjusted due to click invalidation.


Clicks – The number of times your ads were clicked. Once identified, it may take up to 3 days to remove invalid clicks from your reports. Clicks from the last three days may be adjusted due to click invalidation.


A few assumptions I am making for this PPC Guide:

  • I assume that you have already created an optimized listing. You want to ensure that you are doing everything possible to convert a visitor into a sale, so you want to make sure that you have the following: high resolution images, keyword-rich descriptive title, descriptive bullet points, product description. You can see how I put together the listing for Jungle Stix here.
  • We are only going to focus on sending traffic to your product page on Amazon, ie Amazon Sponsored Products. We will not focus on Amazon Product Ads, which drives traffic to your own website off of Amazon. You really don’t need a unique website outside of Amazon to start being successful selling FBA, so let’s assume that you don’t have a site to drive traffic to.


Low Barrier To Entry

Fortunately, there are not many campaign settings that you need to address, which makes the process simple, especially compared to more complicated paid advertising platforms.

The main things you will need to focus on are:

  • Generating a list of keywords
  • Understanding different match types
  • Setting your budgets and bids
  • Creating campaigns and adgroups that are logical and easy to navigate with a good naming convention
  • Optimize, Optimize, Optimize!

For the budget, I like to start with $50-$75 per day. This is a maximum limit, not the amount that you will actually spend on the campaigns, and I find that I rarely hit this max anyway. Better to get as much exposure as possible in the beginning and then refine it afterwards.



How Much Should You Spend On Amazon?

I’m sure you can guess my answer to this: it depends! It depends on how much margin you have to devote to advertising, how much you are willing to invest on a listing for the long-term, how the paid traffic converts to sales on your ad, and much more. However, as long as you are acquiring customers profitably, it absolutely makes sense to continue your ad spend to infinity. Seriously, I would trade a one dollar bill for a two dollar bill any day of the week! For this reason, I think it is more helpful to think of your advertising spend on a per-unit basis as opposed to evaluating your spend on based on an overall budget.

One metric that can help clarify how much you should spend to acquire an individual sale is the Advertising Cost of Sale, aka ACoS. So you will want to calculate your ideal Advertising Cost of Sales should be before you start our campaigns.


How To Calculate Your Ideal ACoS?

Amazon calls the cost per conversion as “Advertising Cost of Sale”. Here is the information you will need to know in order to understand what number works for you:

  • Selling Price (that you are selling your products for)
  • Cost of Goods Sold (cost of one unit that you pay your supplier)
  • All FBA Fees
  • Miscellaneous variable costs (cost of shipping, packaging, etc)
  • Note: we will not incorporate any promotions or discounts here


Let’s use Jungle Stix as an example:

  • Selling Price: $27
  • Cost of Goods: $4
  • All FBA Fees: $11
  • Miscellaneous: $3 (this is just the shipping cost from the Chinese supplier to the Amazon warehouse).


Subtracting the COGS, FBA fees, and Miscellaneous from the Selling Price leaves $9 in profit per unit (27-4-11-3=9). So we can spend up to $9 to get a sale and still be profitable. To calculate our ACoS threshold for our break-even point, simply divide the net income from the Selling price, ie $9/$27=.33. This leaves us with a 33% ACoS threshold, meaning that we would be making money on any keyword that has a Cost of Sale at 33% or less.

You can see your ACoS in the Keywords tab of the Advertising tab, and it looks like this:

ACoS as shown in seller central

So it's really easy to see which campaigns, adgroups and keywords are performing within your target ACoS, and optimize accordingly.


Creating Your First Campaign

Now that we know how much we can spend and still be profitable, let's create some campaigns. It is frighteningly simple to create an advertising campaign on Amazon, which is good because you can launch before your morning coffee gets cold, however you want to make sure you follow certain steps so that you don’t have money leaking out of your account. Every penny counts towards your bottom line!

I like to create two campaigns when I first start my Amazon PPC campaigns: one is an “Automatic Targeting” campaign where Amazon determines which search queries to show my ad; the other is a “Manual Targeting” campaign where I choose the keywords to show my ads.

Select a targeting type


Starting An Automatic Targeting Campaign

Automatic campaigns are very easy to create, all you need to do is enter your campaign name, budget and start date. The way this works is that Amazon will crawl your listing and run a campaign on your behalf within your budget limits. Amazon effectively decide what keywords and match types are bid on and at what bid, based on the information it has about your listing.

It's usually a good idea to run an Automatic campaign when you start out with PPC and let it run for a week or two, in order to get some real reports and data on what people are searching for to find your product, and which of those terms converts well.

Once you have this information you can feed it into Manual campaigns (see below) and at this point you can reduce the budget in your automatic campaign, or add negative keywords to your automatic campaign, and keep it running in the background to mine for useful keyword opportunities.


Starting Your Manual Targeting Campaign

Manual campaigns allow you to upload a list of keywords that you find on your own or from your search terms report from an Automatic campaign. You can structure your campaigns how ever you like with adgroups for sets of keywords.

Another key part of this type of campaign is that it you can also define your keywords by using different match types. This allows you to control how broad or narrow the shoppers actual search term can be in order to trigger your sponsored ad. Here's a chart to explain how those match types work:

Amazon PPC match types explained


Tools that I like to use for identifying new keywords are Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, or You can usually find plenty just using Google’s Keyword Planner (which is free to use after you create your free AdWords account, but with more limited search volumes unless you are running campaigns).

When running manual campaigns, there's a few tricks you can use to get the most out of them. One tactic I like to use is to set up adgroups for the same group of keywords for each match type. So I would create three adgroups with the same keywords each with a different match type. Then over time, I can see which keywords perform best using which match types, and optimize accordingly.


Run The Campaigns – Don't Touch!

It's important you stand back and watch the beauty of the Amazon FBA business model at work. That means: run your advertising campaigns for a week without making any adjustments.

Important Note: If you check your campaign results a few days after you start the campaigns, you may not see any sales. Don’t fret it! Amazon’s advertising reports have a several day latency, which means that it takes 48-72 hours sometimes for conversions to be reported.


Run AMZ PPC campaigns and gather data w/o pausing. Great long-tail keywords will appear! Click To Tweet


Optimize Your Campaigns

Once you have collected a good amount of data, it’s time to sift through it and see what’s working, what’s not, and sharpen up your money-making machine. Like I mentioned, Amazon’s advertising platform is very straightforward and simple. This means that the levers you can pull for optimization are more limited than what Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, Bing Ads offers.

These are the areas that I focus on to optimize and refine my campaigns:


Filter the keywords by ACoS

After a week or so, you should be able to identify which keywords convert to sales, and at what ACoS. You will want to scan through the keywords and slowly reduce the bids or pause keywords that have an ACoS that is higher than your threshold–for Jungle Stix that threshold is 33% ACoS. By the same token, you will want to identify any keywords that are below your ACoS and you can think about increasing the bid so that your ad will appear more frequently for that converting keyword.


Filter by Order Numbers

This metric is perhaps most important at a high level, so you know which keywords are driving the most conversions. Of course, you will want to cross-reference this number with how much it costs you to acquire the sale, but this is often the first metric I look at.


Filter the Keywords by Spend

You will want to filter by Spend just to make sure that you know all of the keywords that you are investing in. Make sure that these are converting keywords for you, and that it is a profitable investment for your ad to appear for the given search query. Remember, an optimized paid search campaign is all about ensuring that you bring qualified traffic to your listing at an efficient and profitable cost.



If a keyword is converting but at an ACoS that is above your targeted threshold, you don’t necessarily need to pause the keyword. Instead, you can just adjust your bid accordingly. So if your ACoS is


Broad Match

This is the only match type that will trigger your ad for any search query that is remotely relevant. Broad match casts the widest net of searches, so your bid on “shoes” can also show your ad for search queries like “sneakers”, “red shoes”, “coolest summer shoes”, etc. At the moment this is the only match type that Amazon offers, so if you want to control your searches more accurately, you will have to employ the Negative keywords.


negative keywords for amazon ppc campaigns




When do you turn on paid campaigns?

I like to turn on PPC campaigns as soon as I have just a few reviews. Others may say to wait until you have 10 or more, and though it may be true that your conversion rate is higher as you have more reviews, I think it is more valuable to get a more active listing (remember that PPC campaigns often boost your organic ranking), and you can start collecting data on converting keywords so that you can also incorporate those into your listing if it makes sense.


How long do you collect data before making any changes?

Ideally, you would be able to collect data until you have hit a point of statistical significance, which some consider to be at least a few hundred conversions. We may not have that luxury of time or money, so that’s why I think that 7 days of running an automatic campaign is enough to deterine what is really working and what’s not.


What is the right number of keywords to include?

There is no “right number” of keywords to include, however I like to include 100 or more in my manual campaigns and then the Automatic targeting campaign. Amazon search is often about the long-tail keywords that may be 4 words or more, and it is hard to identify those keywords if you start with too small of a sample set. You can always trim down your keyword list after a week of running Automatic campaigns, and then you will see your ACoS improve and your ROI increase nicely.


Other tips?

If you haven’t started your campaign yet, why not learn on Bezos’ dime: there are always free Amazon discounts and coupons floating around the internet, track one down and apply it to your account!

For a more in-depth look at launching your first PPC campaigns through to optimizing like a pro, check out these recap posts from the Million Dollar Case Study:


There's a full recap, webinar replay and tons of extra insights to help you run extremely profitable advertising campaigns in there.

Good luck with your PPC campaigns, I'd love to hear other hacks and tactics that have worked for you! Please share them in the comments!

Greg Mercer
Follow Me

Greg Mercer

Founder at Jungle Scout
Founder at Jungle Scout.Loves all things FBA.Digital Nomad.Amazon Data Nerd.Caffeine Enthusiast.Happiness Fanatic.Tweet him @mercer_greg
Greg Mercer
Follow Me

40 Comments on “Amazon Pay Per Click Campaigns: How To Advertise Your Private Label Product on Amazon”

  1. Spectacular !! My Gratitude to Greg the Man..
    Modern Day Luminary & Jungle Scout Creator.

    We Appreciate all that you do for us!!

    John Tighe
    FBA Research

  2. Am a newbie to Amazon. Been running it for a week now no sales as yet or reviews. Do you think I should start a PPC campaign now?? What’s your advise. I have strong keywords in the keyword section and search terms but as it is a new product I make myself I guess it harder to drive traffic too. Can you offer some tips?

    1. Hi SD
      I would run some PPC on Amazon even if you haven;t got any reviews yet. If you run a small auto campaign, you can let Amazon provide you with some keywords to target, and potentially some sales.

      Then you can expand your Amazon PPC campaign into exact and phrase match campaigns/adgroups to get a better ROI.

    2. Yes, I’m a fan of starting a PPC campaign as soon as a product is live, even before any reviews.

    1. Sorry, I can’t be of much help here, I’ve never sold books before. I assume it’s the same for media products as non-media products?

  3. Hey Greg —

    Thanks for the great content. I’ve been running ads for a while now, and have 30 or so keywords that I want to rank well for organically. There are 5 keywords that are definitely better than the rest, but all have pretty substantial search volume.

    What is the best practice here? Do I add all of these without commas in the search terms section of Amazon’s backend, or only the top 5?


    1. Hey Drew,

      I would advise that you pick out your top, most important keywords and weave these into all of the important elements of your product listing: title, features, description.
      Then you can put any additional keywords that you have not targeted on your listing in the keywords tab in the backend of Seller Central. Without commas as you say!

      Here’s a useful article you can check out that goes into more detail:

      Thanks for reading Drew!

  4. Hello
    Well done to the detailed article. I wanted to know why it’s necessary to run two campaigns at the same time? Is it not right to run an automated campaign and only then a manual campaign? Thanks in advance

    1. Hey Erez,

      It’s not necessary it’s just something that we recommend. Running an Auto campaign for a few weeks with a decent budget is a great way to figure out which keywords perform well for you.

      Then you can pull these keywords out into your manual campaign and target them accordingly with match types and set your own bid for these keywords. At this point, you will want to add any keywords you add to manual campaigns as negative keywords in your auto campaign.

      You could pause your auto campaign after this, but I prefer to keep it running with a lower budget, to continue to scout out new KW opportunities that I can pull out into manual campaigns on an ongoing basis.

      Hope that helps!


    1. Hi Sarah,

      Pay Per Click, or PPC, is an auction model where you pay each time someone clicks on your ad.

      There is no fee to set up PPC campaigns, but you will pay an amount for each time someone clicks your advertisements. You can set bids for each individual keyword, and you can pay anything up to that amount per click, but never more than the bid you set. The amount you do pay will vary with each click, depending on a variety of factors and competition.


  5. With a new private label brand in a very competitive product category, would you advise investing heavily in sponsored ads early on, where your ACoS is way more than break even? The challenge is to build sales in a category where your competitive products have been around for a longtime, with many reviews.

    1. Hi Jeff,

      If you are launching in a competitive category and you know this to be the case, then you may indeed have to invest more heavily at the start to get ahead. It obviously varies by product and category, and this is why we often advise new sellers to go for non-competitive categories with high demand. That’s not to say you should never launch in a competitive category though – and props to you for going for it!

      If you take a look at our recent Million Dollar Case Study recap, Greg shows how he is investing more heavily at the start in our product Jungle Snugs, even when the ACoS is more than break even. Also keep in mind, this money is being taken out of your top line revenue from Amazon, rather than cash being removed from your bank account. So we see it more as an early investment from our top line to ensure success later down the line.

      Go with the max budget you feel comfortable at the beginning, for maximum return, which includes climbing those rankings and becoming competitive in your category!

      Let us know how you get on and the best of luck!

  6. Well done ,I read your content it is very interesting . In which you give all information about ppc campaign .It is clearly explain how we can easily online advertise .then i like it and and it seems to be easy way. THANKS FOR SHARING .

    1. Hi Tom,

      Amazon will offer a suggested bid which is a good place to start, or you can start at $1.00 and monitor what the actual bids and daily spend turns out to be depending on the competition. Hope that this helps.


  7. Hello there,

    I’ve been working as a Virtual Assistant for a long time for Amazon sellers and I find your article very helpful on my work. I have a question. In selecting keywords to run on PPC at Amazon, does it need your listing to be seen in a particular keywords before including that keyword in your ad campaign? I was told that if your listing doesn’t show in the search result in a particular keyword it’s useless to use that for ad campaign.

    1. Hey Evelyn,

      If I understand your question correctly then it’s quite the opposite.

      You can target any keyword with your PPC campaigns and the benefit of it is (especially when launching a new product) is that you get the opportunity to appear at the top of the search results as a sponsored ad for the keywords that you are looking to target. Whereas it can take a little while to climb the organic search results for the same keyword. Plus, running PPC campaigns boosts your sales velocity, which also helps to improve your organic ranking over time.

      Obviously PPC ads are a bidding system, so you do need to have a competitive bid for that particular keyword.

      Hope this helps!

  8. Should i include keywords that are niche related or just product related keywords?

    Meaning, if someone searches for russian stainless steel mugs, and my product is stainless steel mug, than should i try in my campaign to target the first keyword and hope he will buy my product?

    1. Hey Israel, that certainly would make sense…..the most important thing to do is focus on the relevancy of the search term to your product, with the key question being: “is this customer likely to purchase my product?” of course you don’t know for certain, but unlike Google AdWords or Facebook, you are not trying to get impressions to build brand awareness, you only want a sale. you can also use the Keywords section (up to 5000 characters) to target these keywords which are you are not certain about. I’d recommend combing through your Search Term Report to see which searches actually result in a sale. Hope this helps!


  9. Hi folks,

    New at advertising on Amazon. Amazon just posted a change to keyword search in listings dated 8/24/17. It mentioned that it will affect ALL listings not just new ones. Will this page be updated to adjust for these changes?


  10. Pingback: 4 Mistakes That Destroy FBA Business Models | Business News

  11. Pingback: How Little Brands Can Win Big on Amazon - Visiture

  12. Thank you for such an in-depth and resourceful article! I’ve been following your blog for a while now, and have been able to discover valuable nuggets of information for myself. I just have one quick question.

    I noticed ACoS is used for two key metrics that you mentioned in the article—Advertising Cost of Sales and Average Cost of Sales.

    From my understanding: Advertising Cost of Sales = total ad spend/attributed sales, while Average Cost of Sales = net income/selling price. Ideally, you would not want to avoid spending more on ads than your net income, because then you’d be losing money. Therefore you would ultimately want to keep your Advertising Cost of Sales and Average Cost of Sales aligned?

    Average Cost of Sales his the math you do before your PPC to determine and compare with the Advertising Cost of Sales results that appear after you’ve run your campaign?

    1. Hey Lou,

      Sorry for the confusion, but the two mean the same thing. This article is a little older and has not been updated but Average Cost of Sale should be Advertising Cost of Sale.

      For your Amazon PPC campaigns you should calculate total ad spend by attributed sales, to find out how much you are spending on advertising, on average, to gain one sale. As you said, you need to ensure that you understand what your maximum ACoS can be before you break even and then start losing money per sale, and optimize your campaigns accordingly. This will vary from product to product.

      For example, if you know that an ACoS of 40% is the point where you break even, that is, make 0 profit on the product because you spent it all on advertising, then you have a benchmark to work with. Of course you would ideally want to keep your ACoS as low as possible so you are still making profit.

      Sometimes, for a product launch, you may also choose to break even or even lose profits in order to get your sales velocity and rank up in the early stages.

      Hope that makes sense & thanks for the heads up to update this article 🙂


  13. Thanks for the article, I have one question. When trying to differentiate sessions driven by ad clicks and sessions driven by natural search, is it appropriate to simply subtract ad clicks from sessions over a specific time period?

    1. Hey Michael,

      This is a fantastic question.

      I have thought about this and I think you might be right. But I would need to ask a few more people to confirm it for sure.

      So your thinking is you download the business report for “Detail Page Sales and Traffic” by a specific date period, then download your PPC report for the same time period, and deduct your ad clicks from overall sessions?

      In theory this seems to make sense to me. You have got my brain ticking now, I will write back if I find a definitive answer 🙂

  14. What i don’t understand is how you can start with the promo right a way. I started selling on amazon a month ago, and i still see this “Your ad is not eligible for impressions because your listing is not in the buy box.” for my PPC adds.

    1. Hey Giorgio,

      It sounds like if your listing is not in the buy box that you are not a private label seller? Or not the only seller making sales from your product listing? If you are selling wholesale as a reseller, and sharing a product listing with other sellers, then there is no effective way to market your product using PPC. Even if you used other ad platforms, you would risk sending sales to other sellers.

      If you are a private label seller, and have created your own branded product and Amazon product listing, then you would have 100% of the buy box, and be able to run PPC ads and market your product effectively.

      Hope this helps!


    1. Hey Maisha,

      I’m not so familiar with the inner workings of the amazon affiliate program. I would advise contacting Amazon support through your account and asking them to help. I have found that using the email or call back feature tends to work best in terms of getting through to support 😉

      Sorry I can’t help further!

  15. I have a book, and my publisher has arranged for it to be Amazon listed. A good keyword brings up a nice display of the book from which a sale can take place.
    How can PPC be used to bring more traffic to this display (ad)?

    1. Hey Manuel,

      Great news that you are ranking organically for some of your top keywords. Ultimately, all sellers want to be generating sales from these organic (free) searches as much as possible.

      PPC can help your listing to appear at the top of the search results for any number of keywords that you might want to bid on. So you may, for example, want to bid on additional keywords that your book is not ranking well for, but that shoppers may use to find products like yours.

      Here’s a useful post from our latest case study which details how to set up PPC from the beginning:

      Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *