Top 5 Signs Your Amazon Ads Are Dead in the Water

When I am evaluating a new account and creating our custom strategy, there are five signs that always stick out to me as dead-end signs that a product or an ad campaign will not work on Amazon Ads. In this list, I will go through each sign and why we don’t see performance, as well as what I would implement instead.

1. No Clear Goal or Performance Benchmarks

When speaking with a new client, I always ask them upfront what goals their ads are being managed towards. If the client can’t present a target return on ad spend (ROAS), advertising cost of sales (ACOS) goal, or growth goal, I know the ads have been managed with a reactionary strategy rather than a proactive strategy informed by goal metrics. 

When an account is managed without goals in place to compare against, it’s easy for an ad campaign to overspend, underspend, or miss growth opportunities on key products completely. To correct this, I will dig through the client’s historic sales, compare them against the current ad investment, and determine which products deserve more ad budget, which need less, and which campaign types have proven to have the strongest return. From there, the client and I set mutual goals that the Amazon Ads can be managed toward.

2. Products Have a Star Rating of 3.5 Stars or Lower

It’s no secret that reviews are critical for a product’s success on Amazon. Having a solid base of reviews is critical for the success of Amazon Ads campaigns as well. Amazon shoppers typically convert when directed to a product that has a 3.5-star rating or better. Driving more visibility to a product that has poor reviews will not improve sales conversions. If anything, the increased traffic with few to no conversions will inform the Amazon algorithm that once shoppers arrive at your product pages and do not purchase, it’s not a match for those searches, hurting the product’s search ranking. 

To address this, we determine what is affecting the product. If it’s a brand new listing with no reviews, we launch a strategy to drive early adopter shoppers to product detail pages for newly listed products. If the product has been plagued by negative reviews, we do a content audit, product review audit, and offer guidance on how we can improve the product content to improve customer messaging and refine the target shopper who is purchasing the product. To learn how to gain more reviews on your product pages, check out our previous post, 5 Ways To Earn More Reviews on Amazon.

3. Low Inventory

If a product has low inventory, ads will just accentuate the problem. On Amazon, the algorithm rewards products that are in stock and do not frequently stock out. The more a product listing goes in and out of stock, the more damage that does to the search ranking. We won’t want to advertise products that are already affected by low inventory as it will expedite the out-of-stock issue.

So to address this issue, we would move ad prioritization to products that have healthy inventory levels and limit the low stock products to only show in a brand defensive strategy.

4. Consistent Impressions and Clicks With No Conversions

When I am evaluating ad campaigns, this is a dead giveaway that something is not resonating with shoppers. If we are seeing the ads get adequate impressions, shoppers are clicking through the ad to the product detail page but never converting. We need to do a two-step audit of the campaign and then of the product/storefront page that the ad delivers to.

The first step is evaluating the keywords and search terms that are in the campaign. If there is a mismatch between the relevancy of the keywords and the purpose of the product, then no wonder conversions aren’t following. Shoppers’ search intent is not being met with the advertised product. If the keywords and search terms are relevant, then we know there is an issue on the product detail page. 

This could be that the reviews are hurting the conversion rate, the product images are not meeting customer expectations, or the product copy is not answering the shopper’s question or need for the product. When the content is overhauled, we then run the campaign again to evaluate the performance with different product copy.

5. No Impressions Earned at Your Max Bid

If your ad has been running for some time with no impressions being attributed to the campaign, this is an indication that your bid is too low to earn placement. This happens when keywords are added to a campaign with bids that are well below the market rate. This is common with accounts that have a fixed budget but operate in a highly competitive market.

To address an issue like this, our team looks at the keyword lists generated by auto campaigns, search term reports, or in the Brand Analytics tool to see if there are long-tail options that are similar to the high-priced keywords that could have lower CPCs. 

With these five signs, we can quickly assess the status of an account and whether or not it’s ready for Amazon Ads, needs a strategy overhaul, or requires some fine tuning to the targeting. Remember, your product detail pages need to be ‘retail ready’ before launching ads. If you’re evaluating your product pages and would like a guide, you’re in luck. Check out our post series on writing product pages that will engage shoppers and help drive conversions.

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