#270 – PPC Talk – Advertising Amazon Products on TikTok
One of the reasons that our semi-regular PPC Talks have become so popular is the speed with which PPC has become a central aspect of selling on Amazon. In this episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Evangelist, Bradley Sutton welcomes a PPC expert who has been experimenting with another platform which has seen the same kind of unparalleled growth, TikTok.
Lazar Zepinic is the owner of Sellers Alley, Amazon PPC agency. He is a PPC Specialist and has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world, including Samsung, Sony, and many others. Lazar has also worked with 7-9 figure Amazon sellers and has experience with optimizing multi-million accounts on both Seller Central and Amazon Advertising platforms. In this conversation Lazar speaks about how he’s using TikTok advertising to reach a very committed and underserved audience.
Interested in how Lazar quickly reached 85 million customers with a TikTok ad AND hearing his latest PPC tactics? This episode offers both!
In episode 270 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Lazar discuss:
- 02:30 – Recent PPC Changes
- 04:40 – What’s New in the PPC Arena?
- 07:00 – How to Transition to Audience Targeting
- 09:40 – Why Consider TikTok?
- 13:45 – 85 Million TikTok Views
- 18:00 – TikTok’s Filterable Influencer Marketplace
- 20:00 – TikTok Advertising Types
- 23:00 – Can Anyone Advertise on TikTok?
- 26:00 – How Would Project X Start with TikTok?
- 29:00 – Running Experiments is a Good Thing
- 31:00 – Lazar’s Top PPC Strategies
- 33:00 – Using Bulk Files and Negative Search Terms
- 34:00 – How to Get in Touch with Lazar
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Podcast or wherever you listen to our podcast.
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Bradley Sutton: Today, we’ve got another episode of PPC talk where we’re going to have Lazar talk about the latest Amazon PPC strategies, but he’s also going to give us tips on how to do advertising for Amazon products on Tik Tok. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think.
Bradley Sutton: Hey, guys. You know we’ve had a few guests here on the podcast that work for Thrasio. Thrasio is a company that acquires leading FBA brands from small business owners, just like you. They’ve got the experience of acquiring over 125 Amazon businesses. They’ve seen it all when it comes to managing and growing an Amazon brand. So if you are thinking about selling your FBA business, visit thrasio.com/helium 10 to connect with the Thrasio deal team. That’s thrasio.com/helium10 for more information on if your brand is a good fit for Thrasio.
Bradley Sutton: Hello, everybody. And welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host, Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that’s completely BS-free with unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the Amazon world. From the other side of the world, from Serbia today, I believe. Lazar, how’s it going?
Lazar: Hey, man. How are you?
Bradley Sutton: I just saw you in Vegas and you’re in my town in San Diego. I was just joking with you. It seems like you spend more time here in the States than back in Belgrade.
Lazar: Yeah. Oh my God. This year, I think I have been to five countries so far. I’m not really sure when I’ll be in Serbia again, probably just visiting for a holiday or something just to see the family or friends.
Bradley Sutton: I love it. I love it. The life of an entrepreneur. Now guys, this is not the first time Lazar has been on our podcast. If you want to get a little bit more into Lazar’s backstory, make sure to go back and take a look at episode 114 of the podcast. We talked a lot about Amazon attribution and some other things. Today we’re going to completely switch gears and talk about something we haven’t really got into that much, which is advertising on Tik Tok. But maybe before we get into that, I’m just curious; it’s been over a year and a half since you’ve been on one of our little, what we call PPC talk episodes like this one. Since February of 2020, what are some of the, I don’t know, maybe five biggest things that have changed just in the regular PPC world that you’d like to talk about.
Lazar: Oh my God. So many things. That’s one of the reasons why I really love PPC and advertising. It’s a live beast. Every two or three weeks, you get lots of new stuff. If you didn’t go into any of the accounts for, let’s say free 4 months, and you still think that you’re huge experts on everything there, there is a realistic chance that you’re missing a lot of buttons because on Amazon, for example, is introducing so much. So many new things are displayed all the time. As you mentioned that we talked around like a year or something. Since then, there would probably be a huge list, maybe more than hundred changes on Amazon, from AMS and changes in the platform. It sounded like from there and adding new stuff and some of the stuff that we’re just starting, in that episode, I talked about attribution. Today, we’re going to talk about Tik Tok. One of the things that definitely you need to know with, if you want to advertise on Amazon or Tik Tok and send people to Amazon product listing, you definitely need to know how to do attribution. Literally you need to immediately increase your knowledge and build up your knowledge over time, because there are so many new things that are showing up and being introduced across different channels, not only to Amazon.
Bradley Sutton: You’ve brought up a good point though, about how even something that existed before like Amazon attribution has changed in itself, but you also mentioned right there, different things where if you’re looking at a screenshot from seller or from the seller central for advertising now compared to a year and a half ago, it’s different. What do you think are the biggest additions that have been made, the newer things? Like you said, things have changed in Amazon attribution, but Amazon attribution was there a year and a half ago, but there’s a lot of things that didn’t even exist a year and a half ago. What are some of those that you’re utilizing with your clients?
Lazar: Yeah, so campaign types, targeting audiences, that’s all new, like some retargeting stuff. DSP is becoming bigger and bigger all the time. Like a year and a half ago, everybody wanted to do DSP. And you could– if you invested lots of money directly in Amazon, there were lots of agencies now that you can use and you don’t need to invest like 30 or 35,000 per month on advertising using DSP. Today, it’s way cheaper. They’re splitting the costs through different plans.
Bradley Sutton: Let’s talk about that first thing. I like that thing because you know what, that is something I have zero experience in, but it’s not the DSP one, but I think the first thing you mentioned was the campaign, the campaign level, like audience targeting. Which campaigns are audience targeting available in sponsored display and sponsored brand? Or am I mistaken there?
Lazar: So, basically that’s something that was a huge lack on Amazon. That’s something that everybody really wished to have and like it’s finally available and like it’s still not at the level. That’s what most of the people would like to see, but I’m pretty sure that over time it is going to be more and more refined and it’s going to have like more and more options when it comes to retargeting. It’s still like, it’s some pretty basic level compared to what you have. I just want to jump in with one more thing that has become pretty huge- video ads, like sponsored brand video ads. They weren’t that big, a year and a half ago. It just started to roll out as I remember. And now it’s a pretty standard thing to have.
Bradley Sutton: You’re familiar with the Project X account, the coffin shelf and egg tray. As I mentioned, I’ve never done one of those things, which is like audience targeting. So, let’s say I was your client, Project X is your client. How would you manage us? How would you start? How would you suggest we start? We’re doing regular, sponsored branding. We do some sponsored displays, but just product targeting. How would we transition into getting some campaigns started that are doing audience? How in the world do I choose what audience I’m targeting with the campaign?
Lazar: So like, depending, first of all, like, I would definitely think of like our brand register to not like with the 2.0. And like, that way you are going to be, you would be able to get like brand analytics and brand analytics is super important for you. That’s where you’re going to learn more about your audience. If you have your website on the side, like a B2C website, like Shopify or anything like that. So, go to Google analytics as well there, but it’s not completely the same as the brand analytics that you have on Amazon. But still give lots of information and like, brand analytics is such a valuable resource on Amazon. That way you’re going to learn, like, who are your potential customers, who are the people that are buying the products that you’re selling, and that way you will be able to target the right group of people that would be willing, would be interested in buying your product.
Bradley Sutton: Guys, if you haven’t even, or if you didn’t even know that there is this audience targeting, it’s definitely something to look into. If you have a sponsored display available, you probably have what Lazar was talking about, which is the brand analytics where you can take a look at your customers. And then in this audience targeting, I actually just opened it up for the very first time right now, as we’re talking. I could see how you can go into lifestyle, you can go into interest and life events like this are pretty crazy, like recent movers or getting married or recently acquired a vehicle. I mean, there’s a lot of crazy different audiences. You can really get niche down into, but just like with any PPC campaign guys, you don’t just like to set it and forget it. You have got to be checking back, because if you go too broad, you could start having some crazy spend. And you don’t even know what’s going on. All right. So, that’s Amazon PPC, but something that I noticed from like– I have followed you and your company on Instagram over the last few months, and I noticed you guys talking more and more about Tik Tok. So, the first thing I want to ask about is just like, why should people consider Tik Tokas a viable platform to advertise on? Because of course, most people say, oh, Tik Tok is a bunch of teenagers doing dances, which I’m sure that obviously it has a lot of, but why is it something that Amazon sellers should consider?
Lazar: Yeah. So, this year we signed a partnership with Tik Tok. We’re official partners with them. And like, it started basically randomly because I’m a huge fan of Tik Tok. And I like spending evenings, scrolling through the videos and everything. And like, there was a thing. Everybody thought that Tik Tok is more for kids, for teenagers, sort of like 16 to 18 years old. But things changed, when they started like that. And it’s a platform that uses short form videos for dances, comedies, education and stuff like that. And it was usually from 15 seconds to one minute, then they expanded it to two minutes recently, maybe two or three weeks ago. And from October last year, Tik Tok got more than 2 billion downloads for their app. And that’s insane. Tik Tok is growing exponentially and more and more people are on Tik Tok. So basically it started with teenagers and everybody else started using Tik Tok. And today, Tik Tok has more than 800 million users worldwide when it comes to average age of people that turn Tik Tok, switching from 16, 17, 18 do 25 to 34, 35. And in Europe, for example more than 11% or 12% of users are older than 35. What’s also interesting is that people that are on Tik Tok are not on other platforms.
Bradley Sutton: Before we get started into some of the details of Tik Tok, Lazar, do you have a couple case studies of the end result? So, let’s just get people excited so that they listened to this next section about how, what are some strategies, but like, what are some examples of some Amazon selling customers that you have on how they went from X to Y. Thanks to Tik Tok ads and like, maybe you can talk a little bit about their strategy too.
Lazar: Yeah, that sounds great. So basically what we have there, some white papers, and like we tested a lot of stuff for our clients as well. We saw BSR going from a couple of thousand to just under a hundred and that’s combined like two different options and two different strategies, one strategy is using influencers, the other one is using Tik Tok ads. And like, when it comes to Tik Tok ads, you can use URLs with a lot of stuff and send people to your product listing. That way you can see the things that are going in the right direction. And we saw some really good CPA for clients and even better when it comes to comparing Facebook, let’s say, or Google ads, because there is less competition. But when you think about the expenses on Tik Tok, I would definitely compare it more to Facebook rather than to Google ads, because the platform is more similar to that. So you can do lots of stuff from retargeting and like targeting different audiences. You can connect with the audience from your websites and then retarget them and send them through your Amazon listing page and so on. And that kind of stuff is working pretty well. Also, we have some–
Bradley Sutton: What about something specific though? You don’t need to give me the actual– everybody wants to be secret on Amazon. You don’t have to give me there probably, but can you just mention something and then, I don’t know, if it’s possible what category they’re in and then what their strategy was and what happened?
Lazar: Yeah. So, we have one client that is in the coffee category and they gave away not too many coffees, but like they ended up having 85 million views that resulted in a lot of sales. Their CPA was–
Bradley Sutton: 85 million views.
Lazar: Yeah. Imagine that. That’s insane. We were shocked by the number. Imagine giving away–
Bradley Sutton: This was from an ad or like an organic post?
Lazar: They literally– they reached out to you faster using the marketplace. And they said that they’re going to give away like one unit of their coffee, if they record the video about the coffee. And like, people really loved it. And like maybe 10 influencers made those videos. And like, those videos ended up having 85 million views, which is insane. Their sales skyrocketed. We have so many situations. It’s like more than one situation when the sales skyrocketed, just because the marketplaces, like the platform, are not saturated with ads and not saturated with brands. So it’s pretty easy to show up on the top and like, people that are on Tik Tok, they’re engaging. They are more in industry or flight computers and everything. Like they’re buying more basically compared to other platforms like on Facebook. You go there to have fun and so on, but on Tik Tok, it starts like that. But when you end up, like in the funnel, you eventually end up buying and purchasing the product. So, we have situations where, let’s say CPA on Facebook was around 60, $65, which was pretty high. And like, that was like one of the headaches for one of our clients, they ended up having CPA around $8 on Tik Tok. And like, that was pretty insane to be honest. And as I mentioned, using Tik Tok ads, you can end up having your BSR going in some crazy ways. We had around 5,000 as the BSR and ended up being a 70 something. Obviously when we stopped with the ads, it dropped a bit, but not even remotely close to back to 5,000. It went back to like 550.
Bradley Sutton: Well, that’s a crazy story right there. So, not to say that, Hey, everybody, if you’re going to start on Tik Tok, you’re going to get 80 million views from a campaign but it just shows you what the potential is.
Lazar: Tik Tok is having a bit of a different approach compared to other platforms, basically when everybody likes, at least once try to use the influencers, let’s say. On Tik Tok you have a marketplace for influencers. So basically you log in and you can filter all the influencers that you have. So, imagine going to Amazon and that brand analytics that I mentioned, that we talked about like two months ago, and like you saw who’s your potential customer. And then with that information, you go back to the marketplace for influencers on Tik Tok and filter out potential influencers that can be used to record the video with your product. That’s crazy. Another thing that is pretty cool, and that’s something that they have never seen on any other platform before is like creating campaigns that are oriented to influencers. So, for users that are producing content, not the consumers, and that’s something that I literally never seen before. I’m pretty sure that the other platforms don’t have that. And what’s interesting there, you basically create a campaign. You write down, like in the campaign, like what you want to accomplish, who do you want to target there. Like you want to target the influencers that are oriented to health and fitness let’s say. That have like, from 50 to a hundred thousand followers and like have certain amounts of engagement and stuff like that. And you pick what’s like the rewards for them and how are you going to pay them? Or like, if you’re even going to pay them or give away products for free, or if you’re going to pay for the content. You can even pick the option to negotiate what you want and you create the campaign and activate it. Usually if it’s like that, then people like influencers come to you, which is like the opposite of what you’re used to when it comes to other platforms. And a month ago we created two white papers. One of the white papers was how Tik Tok ads affect Amazon product listing rating. And the other one was how influencers are affecting the rating on Amazon for product listings. And that’s something pretty interesting. And I can share it with you. So, if some of these interests double check all the information, like, what are the tests? What are the strategies that we tried? And there are some interesting things. We failed a lot with some stuff while the other stuff was pretty good. So, yeah. When it comes to ad types, for example, on Tik Tok, there are a couple of ad types that are available right away for everybody.
Lazar: So you have an image of creativity, which to be honest, really sucks. You don’t want to have an image on a platform that is based on video. Like nobody’s going to engage in that. You need to create the video. And the other one is to have videos obviously, and there are options, like in feeds or top view and brand decor. So basically what, all those meanings, is when it comes to brand takeover, it’s like, when YouTube does their rebranding and like it’s with stuff, it’s usually while there is a political campaign or like Eminem, like one day YouTube does the same thing with Tik Tok. They have that option as well. So, you bail out this money and everything is branded with you. And like, when somebody opens the app the first video that they see is your video. And that’s the expensive one. There is an auction version, like top view or in feed that’s something like when you scroll through the videos, every fifth or six or 10 videos, depending on the niche. If there is an interest, like when it comes to people that are advertising on Tik Tok like, depending on that number does the amount of videos that are going to pass until the ad shows up. So, that’s like in feed and that’s something that is pretty usual and that’s pretty standard. And what’s really cool about what we’re testing right now. We got a couple of options from TikTok that they’re insanely good. Like one of the options that we’re having at this point is to create coupon ads. And that’s really interesting for Amazon users. And the other thing is something like shopping ads on Google, or DPA ads, like on Facebook, like that kind of ads button Tik Tok. So basically what you do there, you dig the feet from your website and you connect it to TikTok, and you can do remarketing. You can target people with different interests and so on. And when they see the ad, they scroll to the right or to the left. And like, they like to slowly transition after three or four swipes from Tik Tok to your website. And they don’t even realize that they’re leaving the platform.
Bradley Sutton: So these things you mentioned though, do people, for example, if people want to use Amazon DSP, you kind of have to use an agency unless you’re going to spend like $30,000 or whatever a month, like these things, can I just go and make a Tik Tok ad account and try, I mean, obviously it would be better with somebody like you either way, or is this something that is kind of like only the people who are approved advertisers are able to run these kinds of ads or can anybody do it?
Lazar: So, when it comes to basic campaign types, you can do it on your own, like basically to create videos and like do auction type of campaigns where– those kinds of campaigns are available for everybody. But when it comes to those things that I mentioned that we’re testing like coupon ads or shopping ads, they’re not publicly available yet, but you can use them through us. And that’s pretty straightforward. There are so many different things and aspects that are super important. They’re– people usually say like, I don’t have a content for it. And when it comes to TikTok, what we really like and what we see that is working pretty well, like what TikTok is trying to push is to create content that is natural. So, take a phone and record whatever, and just be engaged in– create something engaging. What’s important is to capture user attention in the first couple of seconds, like a free second with high-impact visuals or images, or whatever that is going to stop people from scrolling. And from there, it’s important to highlight the brand as early as possible and often to place key messaging takeaways and clear branding at the start of the video. It’s important to have clear and concise messaging in those videos to explain to people what you want there. And at the end to finish, obviously with some good call to action, like even though the Tik Tok videos are really good when it comes to engagement, because people need to listen to them. An old platform makes sense only if it’s with volume turned on, it’s still like, recommended. Like, what we see that is working is to have that release.
Lazar: If you’re not having captions for everything, it’s still good to have the main message written down. It works pretty well. And if you’re creative, if you’re funny and like you can do a lot of really cool videos. So, you don’t need to have Hollywood style production to create videos that are going to be engaging. When it comes to music, you have a lot of music that can be used on TikTok. And one of the cool things that TikTok has is challenges. So, that’s trending. I don’t know if you use TikTok, then that’s something like that. When one person starts doing something and they start using hashtags on the video, like everybody tries to replicate the same thing and do it with their own touch. So, it looks more and more interesting. So, try to participate as a brand there. That’s pretty cool. And that’s important so people would recognize you as part of something that they like.
Bradley Sutton: Now, coming back home, like, again, let’s go back to that coffin shelf. All right, I’ve got this Manny’s mysterious oddities brand. We’ve got a coffin shelf. We’ve got a couple other spooky products right now. It’s not a huge seller. Like I would say, yearly sales is, I don’t know, $250,000 for this brand. How would I start? What’s my first discovery campaign and what am I looking for? And what am I doing, or do I– instead of starting with ads, do I go directly to influencer marketing? What would you suggest I do?
Lazar: What I would suggest doing is to create the profile and start creating videos. Imagine that you’re on Instagram and you have your profile there and you post pictures for your brand, imagine doing the same thing with videos. I know that it sounds like a lot of hassle and a lot of problems, to have that many videos, but as I said, like, you don’t need to have videos that are super professional. They just need to be funny. They need to be engaging. You need to show people what you’re doing. Like for us, for example, we use TikTok and like, we’re recording stuff from the office, nothing like, this has any connection to like specific campaign type or anything advertising. We just like to record random stuff that’s weird. And from there, you basically want to start through that. There are two ways that you can go, like, as you mentioned, you can go with influencers, you can go with advertising to see what’s going to work for you. But I definitely suggest doing advertising because that’s like the fastest way, how to reach out to all the customers. And that way, when you’re doing that kind of stuff, basically you’re the one that is sending the message to the consumer. The brand is talking to a consumer, but like when you go doing plasters, they’re basically like a social proof. So, if you’re a cool brand like coffin, for example, that’s a pretty cool product. As a matter of fact, to be shown on TikTok. I’m pretty sure that if you give away like a couple of them to some cool influencers, you would end up with a bunch of years there.
Bradley Sutton: Hey, Lazar, how about this? How about in the meantime, you and I just do a quick test where you guide me on this, but let’s do something, let’s find the influencer, a Gothic influencer, and then let’s actually put what we’re talking about to use.
Lazar: I think that’s more than awesome. We should definitely do that.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Right after we film, right after we stop recording, let’s do that. I like it. Sometimes, we don’t always do that. We talk about these strategies, but I like doing the strategies, not just– and guys, by the way, if you’re listening, that’s what we want you. I don’t care who the guest is. There are some people out there who know who you are. You listen to this podcast every day in your car on the way to work, or just at your house. And you’re like, wow, this is great stuff. And then you don’t do anything about it. I want you guys to, like, you hear something on here and you get excited. Like I just got excited right now, but go do it guys. Go actually put it into practice. Right, Lazar?
Lazar: Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s a great idea. Well, that’s the whole point of the podcast and your focus is awesome. And like, it would be such waste that people are not using all the strategies that people are talking about in the podcast. And like when it comes to Tik Tok, I would definitely recommend trying to record videos. Like just take the phone and do it.
Bradley Sutton: Yep. All right, cool. We’re going to try and do that right after this, but anyways, for the last like five minutes or so of this, I want to just do some heavy hitters. I know Lazar, you can’t keep to the 30-second tip. The T in TST for you means like a 30 minute tip, or three minutes at least. But let’s see how many, like in the next five or six minutes, just different strategies, like quick hitting strategies, either. It could be about Tik Tok advertising. It could be about Amazon PPC, but just give us like, two or three or four of some of your top strategies that are going to be easy wins for people to start doing.
Lazar: Oh my God, there’s so many. I didn’t know where to start. So, let’s start with Tik Tok, since we were talking about that. So, as I mentioned, if you’re making videos that you want to advertise, what you want to have is to capture attention for the first three seconds. So, most important is to have something that is going to capture the attention after that, to send a clear message and get like clear call to action at the end of the video, if you’re creating videos, when it comes to campaign types and campaigns on Amazon, let’s say what’s important, never mix match types. Like that’s super basic. I know that everybody’s like, oh my God, like everybody knows that. Trust me, we do a lot of audits for huge sellers, send us something super basic. And a lot of people are still missing– mixing match types is not enabling you the option to place negative keywords. So, you’re going to block a bunch of your keywords just because you have all the match types mixed in one ad group. Another thing is what you want to do is, as we mentioned to not only target ASINs from the same category, try to target similar categories to do some cross selling. Also try to do, when you’re targeting ASINs, don’t totally target competitor ASINs. Target your own ASINs because you want to protect your listings. That’s the other thing. So, oh my God. So I feel like I need to say so many things in two minutes.
Bradley Sutton: I like it. One or two more, one or two more.
Lazar: What’s pretty cool, if you’re having more and more campaigns using the bulk files or using the excel spreadsheets you use Helium 10, you have Helium 10 ads to do this stuff. So, that’s one of the things that you should use as well. Also, if you’re having, let’s say, oh, this one is cool. If you’re having some search terms that are highly relevant, but unprofitable, just like blogging them by negative keywords, blogging them from the current campaigns, see which keyword star triggered those search terms. If those search terms are triggered by the exact keyword, then just decrease the bid. Don’t pause it right away. If some browser or phrase keyword negates it in exact form and takes it out and creates separate campaigns for it in exact form and place lower bids compared to the one that you found in the search term report.
Bradley Sutton: All right. Pretty cool. You gave us some good ones there. So, Lazar, if people want to reach out to you too, maybe get some help with either TikTok ads or just Amazon PPC, how can they find you on the interwebs out there?
Lazar: Website is sellersalley.com, [email protected] is the email. You can find me on every social network and on LinkedIn.
Bradley Sutton: Awesome. Awesome. All right. Lazar, thank you so much for joining us on this PPC talk episode and we’ll definitely catch up with you in 2022 to see what’s new.
Lazar: Awesome. Thank you so much for inviting me.