#194 – PPC Talk – Prestozon’s (and Helium 10’s) Ben Aldern Offers Expert Advice
Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Brand Evangelist Bradley Sutton welcomes a new member of the Helium 10 family.
In late September 2020, Prestozon became part of Helium 10. That’s why Prestozon’s Co-Founder Ben Aldern is here today to give us the latest PPC advice and talk a little bit about why it made sense for the two companies to join forces.
Ben says that the reason Prestozon works so well is because it wasn’t built by some software engineers in an ivory tower. It was developed from the ground up for actual Amazon sellers by actual Amazon sellers.
Ben was selling on Amazon when he decided to spin off the internal bid optimization software that he created with co-founders, Chris Hang-Hicks and Dana Kittrelle. Now, Ben, the rest of the Prestozon team, together with Helium 10 are looking forward to the new advertising solutions they have in store for Amazon sellers.
In episode 194 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Ben discuss:
- 03:30 – A Mechanical Engineer Pivots to Data Science
- 05:05 – Building Software Was More Interesting Than Selling Products
- 06:15 – Selling a Breadbox on Amazon
- 08:05 – A Viral Blog Post Gives Prestozon Momentum
- 11:45 – What is Search Term Isolation?
- 14:05 – Focusing on Search Terms or Keywords
- 18:15 – What’s the Biggest Win for Amazon Sellers?
- 20:55 – Do We Start PPC From Day One?
- 23:00 – Where Do You Draw the Line on PPC?
- 27:05 – What Does the Future Hold for Prestozon and Helium 10?
- 29:30 – Video, Sponsored Display, and Other Easy Wins
- 33:15 – Diving Deep into PPC
- 36:40 – Ben’s PPC Launch Tips
- 38:20 – Can You Crack Amazon’s PPC Code?
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 Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.
Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:
- Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
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Bradley Sutton: On this episode of PPC talk, we’re going to talk to a co-founder of Prestozon, and he’s one of the smartest data scientists in the business. Ben, he’s now part of the Helium 10 family, and he’s here with cutting edge PPC strategies. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think
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 a completely BS free, unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the e-commerce world. And before we get started here, just again, thanks to the DJ Slushii who was a guest on this show, a few episodes back, and he’s the one who provided that intro music that you guys just heard. So thank you again to Slushii for that. And speaking of serious sellers, though, we’ve got somebody who has helped sellers over the years sell hundreds of millions of dollars on Amazon. We’ve got Ben. Ben, how’s it going?
Ben Aldern: I’m doing well. How are you doing Bradley?
Bradley Sutton: Pretty good. So, Ben here for those who don’t know is a founder of Prestozon, but now he’s one of my teammates here because Prestozon is now part of the Helium 10 family. And we’re definitely going to talk about that a little later, but Ben, I’m not sure how much you listen to the show, but one thing we try and start off when somebody’s on the show for the first time is we love to get your backstory because no matter if we’re six figure seller, an eight figure seller, or we run a software company or whatever it is like we’re somehow we ended up here in the Amazon ecosystem in the same place, but we all come from such diverse backgrounds and both offering the educational side from the life story side. So, I love getting this background information. So, where did you grow up? That’s my first question, I guess.
Ben Aldern: Yeah, actually my young childhood was in the Midwest in Michigan. But most of my middle school and high school is in Southern California.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So growing up in Michigan there, like you were like 10 years old. Did you already have a vision of what you wanted to be when you “grew up” for work? Were you one of those baseball card entrepreneurs and flipping things, or did you want to become a doctor astronaut or what do you think you’d be?
Ben Aldern: Race car driver, for sure. But also mechanical engineer and that’s kind of what I ended up doing.
Bradley Sutton: Really interesting. Okay. So a nerd when he was younger, I like it. Wanting to be a mechanical engineer. All right. So then you moved out here to California and then graduating from high school. Did you go to college out here in California as well?
Ben Aldern: Yeah, that’s actually what brought me up to the Bay area. So right now I’m living in San Francisco, but I came up here to go to school at Berkeley and study mechanical engineering.
Bradley Sutton: How Berkeley mechanical engineering. Yes. We have a nerd alert here. I love it. I love it. All right. So you got to fulfill your childhood dream of becoming a mechanical engineer and upon graduating with such a degree, did you ever start working in that field?
Ben Aldern: A little bit. I was doing some physical product design for a video game company, but then the company realized that they needed somebody looking at the data and that’s kind of six months into my career. I made the transition from mechanical engineering to data science.
Bradley Sutton: Data science. Okay. So now how did you make the second transition from all of that into the e-commerce or more specifically the Amazon ecosystem?
Ben Aldern: I don’t actually consider it a transition, the tools that I’ve used and the skills that I’ve used as a data scientist have stayed the same. Basically, Prestozon is built off of a couple of algorithms and a bunch of data wrangling and kind of looking at the lowest level of data that Amazon provides about advertising and figuring out how to make it work for your sellers.
Bradley Sutton: I mean, even if we don’t consider ourselves data scientists, I mean, anybody who is running sales on Amazon basically is by definition almost a mini data scientist, to run your PPC, you’re downloading reports, you’re analyzing data. You’re making decisions based on that data. And that’s what I guess data science is all about. So I totally feel where you’re coming from there. So how did you then just decide, Hey, I want to start Prestozon, did you start just like helping Amazon sellers? Were you selling on Amazon yourself or how did Prestozon come to be?
Ben Aldern: Yeah, my two co-founders, Chris and Dana, we all met at the company we had worked at previously and we all kind of decided to leave at around the same time, we wanted to start something and kind of got interested in the FBA, private label, kind of business. So we actually did do that. We started out selling on Amazon and we wanted to kind of build market analyzer and like, look at all the data science behind it and you figure out what markets to get into. And so we did that for a bit and then decided that we actually just like building software more than we liked selling products. So when we started managing our ads, I was writing scripts to just kind of download the search term report, make bid automation, adjustments and stuff like that. And then we actually just pivoted and started doing that full-time and never looked back.
Bradley Sutton: When did you actually start selling on Amazon yourself, you and your partners?
Ben Aldern: That was late 2015.
Bradley Sutton: What was your first product?
Ben Aldern: Our first product was a poster hanger.
Bradley Sutton: A poster hanger.
Ben Aldern: Yeah, it was these pieces of wood that had magnets in them. And then you snap them together and you like pinch a poster between it basically. I still have a couple of hanging in my house. They’re pretty cool.
Bradley Sutton: Was that your most popular, or what was your most popular product that you sold?
Ben Aldern: The most popular was probably a cold brew coffee maker, which we kind of got into right as cold brews, getting it, getting exciting. And that was fun because I like coffee and it was cool to sell that product. We also sold a breadbox and that was I think the coolest story from the data perspective, because we built this app that helped us analyze markets. And we were actually walking around a trade show in Hong Kong when we came across this vendor selling a breadbox. And I was like, who buys breadboxes anymore? I didn’t know anybody made them, I didn’t know anybody bought them. We put it in and sure enough, like tons of folks are buying breadbox on Amazon. And the cool thing was that we saw a lot of volume all the way down through like page four, page five. We’re like, okay, great. We don’t even need to like ace it and be on page one here we can be on page three and still kind of like hit our targets. So, we sourced a breadbox and we got it on Amazon. And it did pretty well for a while.
Bradley Sutton: Interesting. Now, did you sell your Amazon business once you saw that the software side was going to pretty much take up all your time? Or did you just like slowly phase out selling on Amazon or are you still selling on Amazon?
Ben Aldern: No, we kind of phased it out. We just use it as a test account basically. So, we kept the inventory that we had and then we ran kind of experimental ads on it and just kind of saw what worked and what didn’t, if it’s super useful to have a real account to test stuff out on, but most of it that’s all phased out now and it was just the software at the end of it.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now, one thing I heard a about you guys is one of the things that kind of put you guys on the map was this blog that you had written, a few years ago that kind of went mini viral about what was it about search term isolation? Was that it, or?
Ben Aldern: Yeah, that’s right.
Bradley Sutton: So can you talk about that a little bit, what that blog was about and if you know that the strategies you talked about there, you think are still applicable in 2020 and 2021.
Ben Aldern: Yeah, totally. So, we kind of got motivated to write that because we saw so many people giving bad advice about, Oh, you got to start up all these match types and you should be running like broad phrase exact on all of them. And it’s like, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, slow down. Like, if that’s what you’re trying to do, you don’t actually understand how Amazon works. You really need to understand the auction. You need to understand, understand what gets entered into the auction, what keywords actually mean to Amazon, what they control, what the customer is experiencing. And we kind of essentially pulled all that apart and laid it out and really clear terms in that blog post. And yeah, I think that really drove most of our signups and really changed how people thought about stuff. And so many folks copied us after that, but it’s good. Because like, I think it really just leveled up how people thought about advertising and didn’t get them caught up in this weird trap where they were making super, super complicated accounts. And then what we saw a lot was people giving us advice and then they were also selling managed services. So, folks would make these complicated accounts that they couldn’t manage. And then they’d have to hire these guys to manage their accounts. I’m like, no, no, no, no, no, keep it simple. You should be able to manage your own account. And that’s what we tried to do with Prestozon.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, now, this is one of the– we have a series and that’s what this episode is that we call PPC talk where every, seven, eight, eight weeks, or a little bit less, we’ll invite a PPC expert either in-house, or a guest to talk about the latest strategies. And we’ve got some great experts who have come in from agencies and of course events here at Helium 10. And we talk about things like sponsored display strategy and sponsored brand ads and things like that. This one, I wanted to do a little bit different because none of the ones I’ve invited here on the show really come from that data science background. They’ve all got great strategies and they’re very applicable, but I want to kind of like, just bring a different flavor here and take advantage of having someone like you. So thinking as a data scientist, what are some things that you have discovered that Amazon sellers just aren’t taking advantage of, or some strategies that you implemented with Prestozon or any of the accounts that you manage that really came from the more analytical side of PPC, as opposed to the, Hey, let’s just make sure that we’re targeting the right keywords or let’s make sure that the sponsored brand has a nice image or things like that.
Ben Aldern: Yeah. So, I mean, I have a bunch of different answers to that and I’ll start off by saying search term isolation was purely data-driven. We actually just did a kind of checkup on it for our presentation that we gave it a prosper show about a month ago. It wasn’t even a month ago, a little bit less than that. And that like, it just shows up in the data like the search terms that have just one target targeting them, meaning one keyword targeting one search term performed better significantly than a search terms that have a bunch of keywords targeting them. Now there are–
Bradley Sutton: Can you take it a step back really quick? I sometimes I take this, I take for granted that people understand that term, but can you just give the, you kind of touched on it right there, but can you just define for those new to PPC what search term isolation is?
Ben Aldern: Totally. Thanks for bringing us back. I think that this is actually one of the easiest things to mess up about PPC in general and it’s the most important to get right. So, really happy to explain it in depth. So, the search term is what the customer puts into the search box in Amazon. That’s the customer’s interface with Amazon and that’s what you want to target. And the targets, keywords and product targets, are how you tell Amazon to put you in front of that customer when they put that search term in the box. And so when I say target, I’m saying, I’m talking about broad phrase, exact match keywords. I’m talking about auto campaigns. I’m talking about product targets. Product targets are a little bit different because those show up on the product pages, but they’re still a target type. So again, customer search term is what the customer puts in. Your keywords are how you communicate with Amazon about where you should get placed. And so, search term isolation is really about taking one keyword and making sure that all of that search term traffic is going through that one keyword, what you don’t want is like 10 exact match keywords, plus a bunch of broad match and a bunch of auto campaigns all targeting the same search term, because then Amazon gets final choice about which target that search traffic gets attributed to. And so that makes it really hard to manage your bids. It makes it really hard to manage your budgets because this traffic just keeps bouncing around all the time.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, let me just throw a counterpoint, people who always bring this up when this debate comes up is we hear some people say, well, I was doing well in this auto campaign for this keyword, or I was doing well in a broad match. So I’m like, Oh, for sure, I need to make it an exact match so I can target it. Now, when I did that, I didn’t get any impressions at all. And I had negative matched it on my broad so that I wasn’t targeted in two different campaigns or two different endeavors there, but now for whatever reason, I lost all my juice. So, is what you’re saying, maybe Hey, yes, try that sometimes. But then the other thing that you could do is just, don’t put it to the exact match. If it’s doing great in the broad match, leave it there, or what exactly does the data show?
Ben Aldern: So, the important thing here is to know if you’re looking at search terms or keywords. So, what you don’t want to do is say you’re advertising top hats and you’ve got a broad match for top hat, but people don’t convert on top hat too much. They generally convert on like, say your top hat is yellow for some reason. Now, if somebody searches on yellow top hat, they’re definitely going to convert on yours because nobody else is selling that. But that’s going to show up under your broad match top hat. So, if you promote top hat as a two– from the broad match keyword to an exact match keyword, nobody was buying that anyway. They were all buying on the yellow top hat search term. So, what you need to make sure you’re doing is promoting from search term to keyword, never go keyword to keyword cause that the keyword doesn’t actually mean anything. That’s what you tell Amazon. Search term is what the customer is searching.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So then without an auto campaign, it’s not keyword. It’s just a bunch of search terms. So like you’re doing really, like you do an auto campaign and you start converting, let’s just take that Project X coffin shelf. I remember there was always random words that would come up from the auto campaigns, which is the reason why you should run auto campaigns. Because you never know what buyers might find relevant. So I think there was something where it was like goth decor, which I had never thought about because I was just mainly doing like Gothic decor or something. So I do three or four conversions in an auto campaign for the goth decor. So, what do I do? Do I move it now to abroad match or do I move it directly to an exact manual? And then if so, do I negative match that now in the auto campaign?
Ben Aldern: Yeah, that’s a good question. So, what I would do is I would move it to an exact match and negate it. I would actually move it to, I have three campaigns running, so I’d have an auto, broad and exact, and I’d take a goth decor, make it a broad match. So, you can target that a little bit more specifically in your broad match and make an exact match. And I would negate it in the auto. It’s totally cool for you if you don’t want to do that, like you can move it over to just the exact, but the problem is if your bid is higher in the auto campaign, for any reason, you’re probably not going to get any traffic to the exact.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So then, what if it happens though, like Hey, we saw that on this search term, I got a hundred impressions or a thousand impressions and I got 50 clicks and 10 people bought it based on this and now I moved it to an exact manual and just, I can’t get any impressions. Is that just a– do I need to raise the bid, or do I just, okay. You know what, it didn’t work. I’m going to take it off of this exact and I’m going to un-negate it from the auto and hope that Amazon starts showing me, or what do you do in situations like that?
Ben Aldern: Yeah. If it’s really just not working at all, you’re getting zero. I would probably un-negate it. And that should fix the problem. But check your bid. There are a lot of other campaign settings to make sure you’re not running out of budget. There’s all these dynamic bidding settings, make sure those are all the same. There’s a lot of other stuff that if you’ve been trying to like play with your exact match to get it to do very specific things with all these campaign level settings that could also kind of surprise you if they’re not doing exactly what you think they’re going to do.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. You guys kind of focus a lot on, you had a lot of huge, huge Amazon sellers, six, seven, eight, nine figure sellers that were using your platform. So we have a lot of six, seven, eight figure sellers as well listening to the show. So for larger sellers, when they would first come into the Prestozon platform, and then you guys obviously are taking a look at their campaigns, what was the biggest win that you would bring them like, Oh my goodness, I can’t believe these guys are doing this. This is going to be an easy thing. That’s going to really lower their ACoS or it’s really going to increase their sales. What was the biggest common thing that you could usually bring sellers because they just didn’t think about doing it on their own.
Ben Aldern: I think it was– there were a couple of things, but the one that I would usually wow, people with when I was on demo calls is going over to the search term explorer and then adding the keyword breakdown. And that shows you all of the targets that are targeting each search term. And this view is pretty hard to get an Amazon, Amazon doesn’t provide it natively and you have to do some pretty trick Excel stuff to do it yourself. So just seeing this view, it’s usually the first time they’ve seen it. And once they understand what they’re looking at, they have a totally different view of their account. So a lot of the times it’s like, Oh wow. I’m making a bunch of my money on this one– or a common scenario is like one target was way better ACoS. But Amazon wasn’t giving it the traffic because this other target was outbidding it. So most of the traffic was going to this other target that wasn’t actually doing that well. So, just cleaning that up, it was really kind of the first thing that most people did.
Bradley Sutton: Is that functionality available now or going to be available in ADS, the Helium 10 ADS platform?
Ben Aldern: Yeah. That’s available in ADS now. And it’s available in Prestozon.
Bradley Sutton: How would you run it in ads then to do that? We have a lot of listeners now who are using ads, so where would they go to be able to see if that’s happening to them?
Ben Aldern: Yeah. You just go into analytics and then go to the search term level. And then there’s a little toggle for keywords, click that button and then just, you’ll immediately see what keywords are performing at different levels for each search term. What I would do is that, especially if you don’t have a lot of data in your account, if your budgets are kind of low, look over a longer time period, maybe look over a month, maybe two months, and then you can say, okay, somehow this target was getting more traffic, but it was performing worse than this other target that wasn’t getting as much traffic and was performing better. How do we move that search traffic over to this target that was performing better? That’s kind of what you should do.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now what about, I mean, I think that’s actually probably applicable to any level of Amazon seller big or small, but going to the opposite side of the spectrum, like for newer sellers. I’m sure you’ve dealt with a lot of newer sellers as well. What are some easy, easy wins that newer sellers, regardless if they’re using ads or Prestozon, but just in general, what should somebody do? Hey, I’m launching my first product. For example, the first question is, or debate, I guess is, do we start PPC from day one?
Ben Aldern: Yeah. So, if you can get a couple of reviews first, that’s always a great thing to do because ads, you can’t put great ads on top of a bad product listing. Ads are always with sponsored products. It’s always the star rating. It’s always the images, it’s always the price. That’s what your ad creative is. And so if you need that to be good for there to be a good click-through rate and a good conversion rate. So, if you can get a couple of reviews first, like that’s definitely going to help. If you have the money to start ads right away, you’ll start gathering data more. And click through rate is going to be interesting. Conversion rate is probably going to be low, but it’s still going to be interesting. But the most important thing I can tell everyone, this goes for any level seller, if you’re like just selling one product and you’re just getting started, or if you’ve got a catalog of 10,000 products, simplify, simplify, simplify, what we see so often is people starting up way too many campaigns, way too many ad groups splitting up everything and all these different ways. And it feels like you’ve got a lot of control when you do that. But a lot of the time it actually just gives up a lot of control and it gives it to Amazon and it makes it harder to figure out when things are going wrong.
Bradley Sutton: What else, for brand new sellers, should they keep in mind, like some sellers start freaking out because, like it’s very, very difficult to stay profitable in a launch with PPC or with anything, because that’s just how it is on Amazon with launch, but like, how do they know they’re losing too much money. I think we, most sellers should probably take a small hit because you want to take advantage of that initial bumps that Amazon gives you during your honeymoon period, both organically. And it seems like on the PPC thing, they’re a little bit more generous with where they show you. So, but then where do you draw the line as far as, yeah. Don’t spend $200 a day on PPC if you’re a new seller, like do you have any lines that you draw there?
Ben Aldern: It’s never a hard and fast, there’s not a blanket answer for everybody. This all comes down to what kind of capital you’re starting with, what your goals are. If you’re trying to sell a thousand units a day at some point, then maybe your levels are a lot higher than somebody who’s trying to sell one unit a day. So, it all kind of comes down to the specific business scenario. What I would say is it’s good to not go too crazy with the keyword research, right, in the beginning, especially if you’re budget limited, start off with keywords that you really think you have a good chance with. What you don’t want to do is be spending, say 20 bucks a day on ads, but you’re trying to research a thousand different keywords. You divide those up and you’re spending a couple cents per day per search term at the end of the day, and you’re just not going to get good data. You’re not going to get the traffic you want to the keywords that you do have a good chance with. So, start with maybe like 10, maybe 20 keywords that you’ve like picked out because you think you can rank for them. And you’ve used all the helium 10 tools to analyze your competition for, and put all your money towards that in the beginning. And once you get traction there, then it’s going to be much easier to run a profitable ad account.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Excellent. Now, going back to you being a data scientist, you came up with some really cool information based on a lot of data that you were doing analyzing prime day ad spend. And thanks to that data. I was able to turn that into a blog. So guys, check out helium10.com/blog, and then type in prime day PPC data or something like that. I’m sure I’m sure it’ll come up, but for those who didn’t get a chance to read that blog, what was your big takeaways when you really analyzed tens of millions of dollars of sales from 2020 prime day compared to prime day 2019?
Ben Aldern: There wasn’t as big of a bump in 2020 as there was in 2019. And that might’ve been due to some of the folks already being at kind of a high level. And so there wasn’t as much of an appetite to go up, but I thought the cool thing was that the folks who had really aggressive strategies still really reap the rewards there. And I was looking at it really as a how’s Q4 going to go, like, everybody’s kind of looking at the holiday season and like, okay, have people saved up their money during COVID, do people have money to spend on gifts? Are they going to buy gifts for folks, all these questions. And I think prime day was kind of a lead in to that and a way to look at holiday planning. And what I can say for sure is that there’s definitely, there are definitely buyers out there and they’re definitely looking for good deals and if you have an aggressive strategy, you can definitely take advantage of it.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Excellent. Excellent. What else can you tell us what are some way different ways that people can maybe think about PPC, regardless if we’re talking sponsored brands or sponsored videos, or sponsored product, et cetera, et cetera, or how can they analyze their data in different ways to get new insights that maybe they hadn’t thought about before? What are some tips and tricks that you can give the Amazon sellers out there?
Ben Aldern: Always be testing. I wish I could give blanket answers for that work for everybody. But I think that the folks who come up with really creative strategies that work really well for their account are the ones who do the best with advertising.
Bradley Sutton: Let’s talk about the, what it means to those who are using Prestozon now, what it means for those who are using Helium 10 ads. What does the future hold now that we’ve kind of joined forces? What’s the next six months look like for the two platforms?
Ben Aldern: Yeah, that’s a great and very important question. And the reason we were excited to join forces is because there’s so much data that Helium 10 has that can help advertisers manage their account in more advanced ways. So, bringing in this organic rank data that Helium 10 has bring in other search term or keyword suggestions, or competitive product listings and like bring those into product targets. And there’s just so much kind of data exchange that can happen. And we’re really excited to bring that power to both Helium 10 and Prestozon users. So yeah, I think everybody’s going to benefit a ton from this partnership.
Bradley Sutton: So Ben, what if somebody out there is using either Prestozon, that they’re using Helium 10 ADS, or maybe they’re just running their own PPC and they have a request or a suggestion on what they would like to see from Helium 10 ADS software. How can people reach out to us to give us their suggestion?
Ben Aldern: Yeah. I mean, you can just message me directly at email@example.com. I would love to hear ideas from advertisers and Helium 10 ad users, and Prestozon users about what they want to see in the product, because we’re designing this product right now. We’re designing all the features that we’re going to start releasing in 2021. And we want to make sure that we’re building the stuff that you guys want. So just drop me a message firstname.lastname@example.org and yeah, just looking forward to hearing what everybody has to say.
Bradley Sutton: Excellent. Let’s go ahead and talk about some of these newer things that maybe before were only available to vendors, such as the videos and sponsored display and things like that. I know it’s still kind of new to the seller central site overall, considering the age of PPC on Amazon, the platform itself. I mean, it’s been around for a few– quite a number of months now, but in the last six months in the customers that you had who were kind of taking advantage of this now being open to brand registered sellers, what are some of the easy wins that sellers on how they should be utilizing sponsored display and sponsored brand ads?
Ben Aldern: Definitely, I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about videos. Folks are seeing great conversion rate there and they don’t have to be super complicated videos, but just getting that moving image in front of folks, it gets them onto your product page. I’ve also heard a lot of good things about sponsored display product targets. So product targeting is important. We’ve got some cool feature releases coming up with both Prestozon and ads around product targets, and sponsored display. So, keep your ears open for that. But yeah, kind of just experimenting with all these new ad types is a good idea. And I think that as time progresses, you can kind of like read the tea leaves. Amazon’s investing a lot in helping sellers and vendors brand, right. So like vendors, we’re all brands, but sellers didn’t have to have their own brand, but I think Amazon is starting to give a lot more tools around that so that sellers can establish themselves as a brand.
Bradley Sutton: All right, guys, now it’s time for a new feature that I’m going to be placing randomly throughout every episode. And that’s going to be called a BTS. No, it is not the Korean boy band that is world famous and that my daughter loves, but this is Bradley’s 30-second. Bradley’s 30-second tips. We’re going to have the TST, or the 30-second tip from Ben a little bit later, but every episode I want to give you my 30-second tip and mine for this one is about how you spend or how you pay for your PPC. So by default, usually how seller central charges you for whatever you’re spending on PPC is they take it out of your disbursement or the money that you make on Amazon. Well, there’s a feature that you can go in there and check, change your settings, put it to a credit card, either a credit card that gives you cash back or a credit card that gives you points because depending on how much you ramp up your PPC, you’re going to get thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of points like me. I have not paid for a flight and I can’t remember how long thanks to credit card points. So guys, don’t just let it take the money out of your disbursement for paying for PPC, put it on a credit card so that your PPC is working for you in another way. Cool, cool. Now I’ve been doing a lot of deep dives into data. I’m not, I wouldn’t call myself a data scientist, but I would call myself a data nerd because I just love diving into data, especially related to launches. And I’ve been doing a lot of case studies, analyzing the honeymoon period and how just how ridiculous sometimes and how different it is than how the algorithm works normally. There was a one launch. I did, I’m going to write about it sooner. I think though one of the keywords had like 70,000 searches and I just, I went ahead and just did a quick experiment and I did a search find buy, I got three people to search for a certain keyword, find the product and buy it. And it was ridiculous, a 70,000 search volume keyword and zero reviews on this product, but it was brand new. And I think I got to page one on it. And then another thing I noticed too, is on the ad side. It just seems like I don’t dive too deep into PPC, but I’m like, man, like I’m guest getting so many different impressions and really, really just getting a wide net. And I’m really getting great placement on some of these impressions too. Have you ever studied that like on newer listings, how it just seems like on the algorithm side, Amazon is giving organic NPPC love to these newer listings.
Ben Aldern: Yeah. I haven’t done a really broad study on that, but I definitely see it in accounts. I’ll analyze a new account and they’ll, just started a new campaign and the impressions will go sky high for like a couple of days. And then they’ll come back down. And I mean, I see this as a consumer too. When I search on Amazon, sometimes I’ll see this product with 15 ratings and all the ones around it have like 4,000 ratings and it’s page one and it’s like, how did that get there? But from an algorithm design perspective, it makes a lot of sense. So, what Amazon’s doing is testing the waters like they’ve got all this millions of impressions of search traffic to play with. And what they want to do is maximize putting the best product in front of the customer every time over the long run. And so what they’ll do is they’ll toss in these kinds of wild cards and see what happens and if you do well, then they’ll give you some more love as time goes on. And if you don’t, then they know. So yeah, it’s– as a data scientist looking at how I would design that algorithm is definitely important to make a good impression in those first couple of days.
Bradley Sutton: All right, now, speaking of first few days and things, I’m sure people have come to you for help with launching. And of course, I mentioned search find buy, and of course there’s Facebook ads that you can do to help. And people use many chat there. Everybody has their own launch strategy, but a lot of people nowadays, they love to be able to just try and launch with PPC, a lot of people are doing that. So in your experience with helping sellers with their launches, what are– did you guys have specific strategies? Did you choose certain keywords that are like the hero keywords and then you just go with this ridiculous budget on them to try and get that first place 24 hours a day in search results, or what is your advice? I know we could probably do a whole podcast episode just about this, but in the next couple of minutes, what is your general advice if somebody just wants to use PPC for when they launch a new product?
Ben Aldern: Yeah. I mean, there’s kind of no replacement for budget. You can dominate ads if you have the money. And so starting off with a really high bid high budget to just kind of see what happens those first few days, if you can stomach it, let it run for two weeks and see what happens. That’s going to get you a ton of really great data. And then you can make really solid decisions after that, the way to mess it up and to lose a bunch of money is to kind of not have that big of a budget and like watch it every single day, super closely and like pause things. If they don’t seem to be working right away, you don’t want to do that. You want to let it run for a bit. So you can gather this data. You can think about it as buying data. The first two weeks is just buying data and then you make your optimization adjustments and then you can like actually start seeing some returns on those ads.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, good to know. Now you’ve been giving us a lot of tips and strategies throughout this episode, but we want to do that TST, or the TST. That’s a section of our show that you give a 30-second tip. So, what’s something that’s highly actionable, highly valuable that our listeners can do PPC related that you can say in 30 seconds or less.
Ben Aldern: Cool. Okay. Bradley. So my 30-second tip is to do what I was saying earlier, go into the search term level and analytics and Helium 10 ADS and expand the keywords and see if you have two exact match keywords that are equivalent advertising on in the same ad group. So let’s say you have a top hat and top hats. Those are the same to Amazon. And if you have both of those, you’re directly competing against yourself. So just make sure you pause everything that’s equivalent so that you just have one targeting that main search term.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. I like it. One last question I have, I just kind of came to me though is, have you ever cracked the PPC algorithm on how Amazon kind of deems the relevancy because obviously internally to Amazon, that’s kind of like what drives their algorithm and why some products, first of all, they won’t give impressions too, because it just, they don’t think it’s relevant to that category. Other ones it’s really easy because, you know, Hey, you have that phrase, like in your title and then to Amazon, it sends those relevancy signals. So it’s like, Oh yeah, this is obviously very relevant to this keyword. There’s no necessarily public relevancy score that Amazon gives outside of that Amazon recommended thing that we have because that just shows what weight Amazon gives when they recommend. But I don’t personally always see that tying directly to impressions and how cheap my bid is and things. So, what can you tell us about what you’ve cracked as far as how we can get Amazon to really understand that this keyword is relevant and they need to show me for this and ads?
Ben Aldern: Yeah, that’s a great question. And I think it’s the thing that will never be revealed. That’s how Amazon keeps the control that they want so that they can kind of place ads where they want and that’s– they have a lot more data than we do, right? So like, we don’t get any advertiser data. We are, sorry– we don’t get any consumer data. We just get search data. So, we know what they’re searching for, but we don’t know how old they are, what they bought last, what page they were on previously. Amazon has all that. So I think, if I were Amazon, the way I would dictate relevance is, what else do I know about that shopper? Are they in market? What do they click on people who were in that market previously? Did they have a good conversion rate on your product? That kind of stuff all leads into this relevant score. So, the things that you can control or the things that you can get feedback on is click through rate and conversion rate. Those are the most important by far. So, make sure people are clicking on your ads, make sure people are buying your product, that doesn’t, you can’t solve that with ads. You just solved that through having a better product, a more competitive price, better images, a better title, all of that. So really getting back to, I think what I started off this conversation with, you can’t put great ads on top of a bad product. You have to focus on that product listing and get that to a good place. That will determine your relevancy. That’ll determine your CTR conversion rate, all that stuff.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. All right. Well, Ben, thank you so much for joining us here on this episode and joining our company here, your team is definitely adding in like so much insight to what we know and what we teach about ads. And I know we’re going to be able to do a lot of content together, you and your teams, that’s really going to help people with their PPC strategy. So, we look forward to having you on, on a future PPC talk, where you can give some more data science dumps on us.
Ben Aldern: Awesome. Thanks, Bradley.
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