AF272 - Expert Amazon Advertising & PPC Strategies with Mina Elias

If you have ever run an ad on Amazon, you know how complicated and expensive it can be. Today we have a special guest, Mina Elias, who is going to help us change the way we perceive Amazon PPC and empower us to take back control and dominate our ads.

Today's guest is off the chain! 

We are so excited to have Mina joining us this week to talk about all things Amazon PPC strategies. You guys know we need all the help that we can get! 

These PPC strategies can help you launch products on Amazon, whether it's private label or wholesale bundling. It's a very data-driven, logical, and fundamental approach you can follow no matter what you're doing. 

So his normal beginning came to America in 2011. He was born in Egypt and grew up in Dubai. He studied chemical engineering, graduated top of the class, and got his bachelor's and master's. Got a 9-5 corporate job in new product development for a medical devices company. Worked there for five years. After changing jobs a few times, he realized corporate was not for him. And so he decided to start a supplement brand business since he is an MMA fighter and still trains. He fought and competed many times. He got interested in creating a supplement brand that would help him as an MMA fighter.  So he created MMA nutrition, which is an electrolyte powder. It is still on Amazon. You can go check it out. He created a few other brands after that. 

Later on, he realized is all marketing, you're just putting a bunch of words, and you make it sound cool to people, and then you market it through influencers and to Amazon, and then you sell the product. 

At first, he went from gym to gym and door-to-door supplement stores. No one would like it. He would take one and take one out, but no one wanted to take it. And so he decided to figure out how to sell it on Amazon. He went super obsessive, deep dive, read every single article, video, YouTube, podcast, everything. He consumed every single possible piece of content out there in 2018. Then he called Amazon and told them that he wanted to sell his product on Amazon. They sent him a starter package and an email. He filled out those, and after that, he got a seller central account. He submitted a Certificate of Analysis and an invoice since he will be selling supplements. He was rejected four times, and on the fifth time, he was approved. Sales reviews and PPC are two things to make your products sell on Amazon. They are the biggest needle mover. And then SEO, images, and keywords. PPC is in charge of bringing people into the listing. Reviews get those people who are at the listing to convert. And by 2020, he was doing $94,000 a month in revenue with just one supplement. 

Covid hit. He decided to hop on some podcasts and Facebook groups to share what works for him. People like it very much and would love to hear more about what he is doing. And then, this aggregator hits him up and invites him to provide training in advertising. They tested him for one of their brands and then four months later to six other larger agencies but all failed. He performed the best. Then he looked back. He might be good at supplements, but he is really good at PPC stuff. So he decided to start an agency because he figured out that people need PPC help, and he can earn through that. If they don't pay him, if he doesn't exist, they are going to pay someone else. 

He wanted to do it as a service to people. He wanted to share everything and give people all of his knowledge. Currently, his business manages 72 brands, 4 of which were his brands, and he has four of his team managing their own brands and other people’s brands. If they want to do it themselves, they can. If they don't have the time and they need the execution, then that is where their company comes in.

3 Do-it-Yourself PPC Tips

#1: Look at your portfolios

If you have a parent ASIN, separate each parent ASIN into one portfolio. This way everything is kind of clean and easy and simple to separate. And you can see the performance per product. Then move into, if you have a bunch of portfolios, this is time to clean it up. Then go into campaign nomenclature. Campaign names are very, very important. 

Naming campaigns: It is your product code. So for example, my H unflavored was hu and then space, Space, which is my spacing, it will be SP or SB or SD based on sponsor product, brand, or display. 

#2: Type of ad

Is it close match, loose match, compliments, or substitutes, broad, phrase, or exact product targeting, or category targeting?

Purpose to that campaign: is it a ranking campaign, general campaign

Where that keyword came from: search term report or Helium 10

These all help you in terms of pattern recognition. So you can go and say, let me type in SP and look at all your sponsored products and then type in SP and look at all of your sponsored brands. And then you can notice your overall performance if it improves or worsens. As you launch your sponsored brands, they show up in the same place as your sponsored products, they end up eating budget but not actually. 

#3: Campaign budgets

Go into the campaign. The structure that he follows is one campaign should have one ad group and then a maximum of five keywords. You can audit this. If you look at the multiple ad groups, you'll notice that the budget is not splitting evenly. What he would do in that case is go into the ad group with the least amount of sales, and pause anything that is not working. So that you are not spending money on campaigns that are not making any sale. Just to get rid of it. 

For the other ad group that there is, go look at the keywords. If you have more than five keywords sort by sales, and if you notice that five or six of those keywords are generating sales and the rest are not, pause everything that is not generating any sales in the last 30 days. You can take those and relaunch them in their own campaigns. And when you do that, you will notice that maybe in this campaign it was not generating sales because there is a big keyword there that is sucking up all the budget. But when you launch its own campaign, it might generate two or three profitable sales and that adds up.

Running Multiple Campaigns on the Same Product and Why is it Important

The goal of Mina’s PPC is to drive as many sessions as possible into the listing at the lowest cost possible. Do not look at rows. Do not look at ACOs. All of these things are one indicator, and that indicator is like, did you convert? Did you spend money and convert? But conversion rate is a huge portion of that equation. So when looking at how effective Mina’s PPC, you are looking at how much money you spend on PPC and how many sessions you are getting, and if you are able to bring more and more and more sessions into the listing at the same cost per session or the lower cost per session, then you know you are winning on the ad side. And if that does not convert into profitable sales, that is not on the PPC, that is on the conversion, that is on the listing. Main image, price reviews, title, bullet points, enhanced brand content, questions, videos, and all of that stuff that is on the listing. 

Bring as many People into the Listing

You have to track sessions. If you do one campaign, you do whatever you can to bring a certain number of sessions. Put the keywords in, bring the budget, and dig bids. At some point, it is going to get capped. How do I get more sessions? A session is a unique Amazon account, a visitor. We are not tracking clicks coming from one and the same person. We are interested in more unique people. And so when you launch a new campaign again with five different keywords, you'll notice that you are getting more sessions. The more campaigns that you launch with unique keywords, the more sessions you get, and then it is all going to come down to how much you spend to get those sessions. If the spending is proportionally going up, then maybe you are overspending and you need to stop and optimize. And if it is going down, then that is amazing. It could also be that because you are spending more on ads, your organic rank goes up. When your organic rank goes up, you get that free sessions into the listing. And so then the strategy becomes okay.

Launching Campaigns Targeting Keywords

Start off by having your four auto campaigns broken up. They are close match campaign, loose match, compliments, and substitutes. Close match and substitutes usually perform better. Loose match and compliments not as much. Have the auto campaign go and do keyword research to find your main keyword. Go into helium. Go into Amazon. Type in the main keyword that you think would find the top 10 competitors using x-ray then launch them into Cerebro. And then use a few filters. You should have at least eight out of the 10 minimum ranking competitors. You should see the intersection of keywords between all of those competitors, at least 300 searches a month or more. And no more than position 60 because maybe someone's ranked a position 120 for a keyword. It's not that relevant. It will give you a refined list of keywords, and you start with the most relevant high search volume ones. Let's say, take five or 10 of those and launch them in their own campaigns. Do broad and phrase and exact keyword. They behave completely different. So even you use the same keyword as exact or broad, broad could perform 10 times better than exact because broad is cycling through different keywords at different times of the day. So it just might have different performance than exact. That's targeting one keyword at a certain time of the day. From those auto and broad and phrase campaigns, go into the search term report and find which ones converted profitably. Take those out. Make sure that you are not already targeting them, not some of the main keywords, and then launch them in their own campaigns. And so that is the cycle of launching keywords, finding which ones worked, launching in them in their own campaigns and then the ones that worked, spend more money on them, find new search terms, launch them, the ones that didn't work, lower the bids.

If it is an auto broader phrase, in the auto campaign, you could have a few keywords that just spent a lot of money and did not make sales. Go into the search term report, identify those, extract them and add them as negative. So that we stop spending money on keywords that did not work. And note and beware, do not pause any keyword or add as a negative if it is a keyword that worked and you want to generate good sales. Put it in its own campaign and pause it here or turn it off or add it as a negative because you are not guaranteed to be able to replicate performance. So if it works in the broad campaign, it does not mean that it is going to work in an exact. And the last thing you want do is to have something that works, pause it, and then launch it in the exact and then it does not make money and then you just lost money. 

In order to know that a campaign is working, understand what your profit margin is.

If I have a $20 product with a 50% profit margin, my sale price is $20, my cost of goods is $5, and my Amazon fees is $5, I'm left with $10. So I know that out of those $10, I have $5 to work with in terms of marketing and then $5 in profit. That is a 25% total that I can afford. If I have a 25% total, I'm generally going to be okay with up to 50% on the ads because there you're also missing the organic attribution. That is how to gauge it. Anything that has 50 percent or less as a campaign or a keyword, that is good. Let us keep it running. If it is above 50 percent, the higher it is, the more significant I'm going to lower the bid. So if it is 60% equals I might lower it by 5 cents. If it is 75, I might lower it by 7 cents. If it is a hundred, I'm sorry, I might lower it by 15 cents. That is the way that I would look at it.

What is Amazon D S P?

This is something that Mina want to talk about because he does not think that there is enough education about it and there is a lot of misinformation. Basically, Amazon DSP is Amazon’s demand side platform. So you have regular Amazon PPC and Amazon PPC is where you are targeting keywords in the search. People are coming to Amazon, they are searching and then they see ads. It says sponsored and then if they click on the listing and scroll it down, it says sponsored products related to this item. And then there is obviously the other placements like a sponsored video and headline search ad. Now Amazon DSP is different. It allows you to target Amazon's audiences based on the shopping behavior. 

So you can target people who visited your listing, people who purchased your listing, people who purchased your competitor's products, people who visited your competitor's products but have not purchased from them or people that have shown that they are in the market for your product based on Amazon's data. It allows us to leverage Amazon's first-party data and at the same time target on and off of Amazon. So you can target on amazon.com, the mobile app, the mobile web, and if you just type in amazon.com on your Safari or Chrome on your phone, or you can target publisher sites and third party sites. So Amazon has access to a lot of third-party sites, we can leave the third-party and publisher sites on the side. Their conversions are usually not that great. But what you can do is you can literally start targeting people who have visited your listing in the last 30 days but have not purchased from you or your competitor. 

People who have purchased from you in the last year but have not purchased from you in the last 90 days. People who have visited your competitor's listings but have not purchased from you or your competitors in the last 30 days, meaning that they're interested in the product, they just haven't purchased one. And that can be very powerful because you can start building this funnel where the bottom is loyalty, bringing back people who have purchased from you in the past, bringing them back cross-selling your products to each other. Then you can move up and start retargeting so people who have shown interest in your product, have not purchased to competitor targeting, taking stuff from your audience, from your competitors, complimentary product targeting, and so on. And that will bring new to brand shoppers to your audience. So it is people that might have never purchased from you, you are now expanding. So instead of just trying to capture demand, you are now getting new demand from other people and that is the power of DSP. The only thing is you have to run this through an agency, you can not do it yourself. If your PPC is working and you're converting profitably, then you can move on to DSP and start building that funnel. Start with loyalty, bring up retargeting, and then you can start doing competitor and complimentary to actually bring new people. 

Why Still Use Spreadsheets?

Mina is not against software, but he is against automation. There are a few reasons why use spreadsheets and not software. Do not get too comfortable with the software, set a rule. That rule is running anything with a 50% or  55%. Automation is going to add it as negative. You find this one keyword that is generating 30% of your sales but has a 57%. So what are you going to do? Are you going to keep it or kill it? Obviously, you are going to keep it because it is generating 30% of your sales, but a machine cannot think about that, so it is just going to automatically kill it. The software making so many changes that are really unwarranted. The automation it is making where things are just running. 

The system that he follows is a tool that can help do things at scale. Atomic is one of those and PPC Ninjas, too. Real profit comes from a great analytics tool. It does not allow you to do things, but it allows you to interpret data very quickly. You can set some filters and you can choose to take actions based on that. When doing bulk sheet optimization, download the spreadsheet, highlight everything, sort and filter, look at one product at a time, sorting through highest to lowest spend without any sales, and then highest to lowest impressions, anything that is high. Change the bids. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

PPC Agency

You have to understand that a PPC agency is not going to fix your problems. They are only going to enhance what you have. So if you have a good product and you are getting some traffic, and it is converting, then when you put it in the right hands of someone who can run ads and bring traffic to it, then you are going to get a lot more traffic. And whatever is happening right now will be amplified. So if right now you're making $5,000 in profit a month, then you can make 10 and 15. But if you are losing money or if you are not even able to break even, do not think that a PPC agency is going to come in there and then start making you profitable. Because everyone has that silver bullet dream where they are going to hire a PPC agency who are experts, and next thing you know, their business is going to explode. This is one tiny piece of the puzzle where we are bringing more people to come and check out your product. Because yes, the agency can help you scale over time.

Number One Strategy for Setting up Your First Campaign 

The easiest thing is to go to Helium10. Sign up for whatever the cheapest program is. A full course about it is available. It is 35 videos of exactly how to do PPC. You can learn how to do it yourself. But if you want something simple, go into your search term report. Go to campaign manager measurement and reporting. Go into get a report, search terms last 30 days, download it, and then sort by sales from high ST and find the top five keywords that are generating the most amount of sales. Make sure that you are not already targeting them. And then you can launch those in their own campaigns as broad phrases and exact. That should hypothetically help enhance what is already working.  

WATCH:

LISTEN:

QUOTE:

“So I love the fact that you still use that and you're understanding, and most people are thinking that way. Tools are simply tools. A hammer does not work without your cooperation. It doesn't hammer nails for you on your behalf. You actually have to pick it up and hammer nails in. Same thing with our software. So that's why I love what you guys do because I know that you have personally spent your time and energy and expertise figuring this stuff out for us and on our behalf. And you're constantly testing these things to see what works and what doesn't work. And being flexible with your PPC campaigns is really important. What works today isn't necessarily gonna work 30 days from now. So we have to pay attention to our own PPC, our campaigns because they will drain your account faster than anything else if you've got the wrong filters, the wrong rules, the wrong things set up.”

                                                                                             -Kristin Ostrander

 

I appreciate Mina for his time and energy. This is so informative to help people understand what they need when it comes to PPC, why they need it, and why they need to keep their finger on the pulse and not just let an agency take over. And the best you can do guys, is you are the CEO of your business, you are the driver of your business and what you want has to align with the people you work with. 

Full training on helium 10 is available at www.mommyincome.com/helium10, sign up for Helium 10 and then go watch the training. Get 20% OFF Your First 6 Months When You Use Code: MOMMYINC6M20 or 10% OFF Every Month When You Use Code: MOMMYINCOME10

If you go to www.triviumco.com, you can get a free audit. Someone from the team can take a look at all of your campaigns, and then instead of just giving you some brief advice, we will give you exactly what to do on how to fix everything thing in your campaigns. And then you could do it yourself, or you can find Mina on LinkedIn or Instagram. His Instagram account is @theminaelias and on LinkedIn, it is MinaElias

 

RESOURCES:

            Use Code MOMMYINC6M20 or MOMMYINCOME10

 

Share your AHA moments with me on my free private Facebook group  - the Amazon Files (use the code word MINA) and tag me so I can celebrate with you! 

Have questions? Email me directly at [email protected] with all your questions, concerns, or doubts. I would love to answer them all for you.

Keep on bundling…

-KO

 

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