Automation for PPC? Not so Fast!
Quite a lot is happening with regard to Amazon. In fact, things move quickly. Thus, with these fast-paced developments and changes, what does the future of Amazon PPC look like? We have asked this question many times ourselves. After operating for over six years as an Amazon PPC marketing agency, we have developed several opinions with regard to automating Amazon PPC. With over one million new sellers in 2020 alone—a truly staggering number—the need for marketing and getting your product in front of potential customers has never been more important (Feedback Express, 2020). Many sellers offer products in their lineups and need quality management for all of them. One modern marketing solution that offers an affordable and simple solution to managing accounts both large and small is automation software.
There has been significant hype regarding automation tools, especially because they claim to offer superior performance over traditional manual management methods, with a fraction of the time and stress required. Cost, however, is something that we find remarkably close to hiring full agency services in most cases; they are not cheap solutions. Several articles state that artificial intelligence is the future of Amazon Marketing and offer it as a cure-all to marketing. In other words, they suggest flipping it on and simply letting it rake in the profits. What is the short answer? Well, while we believe that artificial intelligence can help to a degree, you may be missing out... As you have probably noticed over the last couple of years, many top software providers have focused on automating Amazon ads. Almost every known PPC management software has some form of AI or automation to handle ads. It was only a couple of years ago when you began to see these providers, such as Teikametrics, offering fully autonomous bid control. Over the last couple of years, we have been able to test many different software providers to determine what benefits they provided and if they could automate Amazon PPC. As you can imagine, in the early days, we were very skeptical of this idea, and we remain that way until there is a method to completely replace experience, strategy, and intuition. We found that these tools can automate your bids for you and alleviate significant amounts of time managing ads to meet ACoS targets. However, there are some potential downfalls.
While these tools for the most part did a wonderful job hitting the ACoS targets that were added to the program, we found that many of our clients' sales were beginning to fall off a cliff. After analyzing several accounts over a few months, we discovered that many of our main keywords were being lowered and/or paused to bids that were well below the average CPC. We were no longer in the ad auctions given our low bids on these keywords, and we weren't gaining impressions on these high-traffic keywords. As expected, we began to see sales drop significantly as a result of limited impressions on these high-traffic keywords. By not getting impressions, our products began losing organic placements due to decreased sales velocity. This reflects one small oversight that could cause catastrophic problems for marketing efforts. Missing Components
Automation looks for numbers and reacts accordingly by turning up or down bids based on the ACoS goal without taking into account for certain factors that are out of its control. In many cases we see software turning down high converting keywords due to ACoS, without taking into account how vital that keyword is to the overall sales. It is very common for artificial intelligence to see these main keywords and turn them off without taking into consideration that it may be one of the top or only keywords that are converting for the product. Removing a keyword like this could lead to massive or complete sales and ranking loss. There are ways to set parameters and limitation controls for AI. For example, many of these tools have ways to automatically add negative exacts based upon certain criteria instead of adding important keywords to negative exacts. The same goes with the bid adjustments; there are parameters and rules that can be established in most softwares to limit risk. However, with the rules and parameters that must be set up and monitored, we believe that this brings back the necessity of an experienced manager, even while using automation software. We believe that automating your ads can help in some aspects, but we do not recommend switching on the AI and simply leaving it, as it doesn't understand anything more than ACoS targets. Our agency uses automated features to help us identify problems and catch runaway keywords, bids, and search terms that we might have otherwise missed manually. Still, we cannot rely on automation to handle everything at this stage. Perhaps sometime in the future there will be a program that can fully automate Amazon advertising processes; however, for now, we must put in the time to continue achieving optimal results with our ads.
So, What Now?
Our recommendation? We believe that in the future it could be possible to switch on software and let it work autonomously. Still, we don't believe that this technology is there yet. For now, hiring an in-house team and freelance contractors, or outsourcing to an agency that works effectively through non-automated means may be the most effective method for managing Amazon PPC marketing. If you have found a software that works well with your product lineup and goals, we would still advise hiring an experienced manager to keep an eye out for the potential downfalls of artificial intelligence.
We are sharing our unfiltered opinions regarding our experience with Amazon marketing automation tools in their current state. Our opinion may or may not change as these tools become more advanced. If you are in search of an agency that can help you manage your PPC through manual proven strategy and methods alongside modern software tools, you can find us at PPC Strike. Mention this article and you can get a FREE Account Audit that is personalized for your brand.
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