Five Reasons Your Amazon PPC Campaign Is Failing

If you’re in any groups or circles where other people are sharing their FBA story, you’ve probably heard a lot of great things about Amazon’s PPC (called “Sponsored Ads”). But you may also be thinking to yourself:

“Why am I not achieving that success?”

Setting up a PPC campaign can seem easy enough on the surface: you just follow the steps, enter your budget, and wait for the sales to roll in, right?

Wrong. There’s a lot more to it than that. PPC is a fine art that needs to be studied in order to be conquered. And when you do conquer it, you will reap the benefits. A successful PPC campaign can not only help you to increase your sales, it can also boost your organic traffic and the overall performance of your FBA business.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at five reasons your Amazon PPC campaign might be failing, and give explanations of how you can rectify that!

  1. You Don’t Have a S.M.A.R.T Goal

One thing we always encourage new FBA sellers to do is create a S.M.A.R.T goal. A goal that is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-based

Before setting up your PPC campaign, you need to ask yourself what you want to achieve. The easy answer is: “I want my business to be more successful!” but that is not a S.M.A.R.T goal–it’s not specific, it’s not measurable–in short, it’s too general and there is no way to measure your results for ‘overall success’.

With PPC campaigns, you need to focus on exactly what it is you want to achieve:

  • Do you want to increase brand awareness?
  • Do you want to increase your keyword ranking?
  • Do you want to increase sales of one particular product?
  • Do you want to increase your traffic on a particular product?

Depending on your answer, the goal of your PPC campaign will be different and this will dictate the type of ad you create, the keywords you bid on, and more.

Here’s an example of a S.M.A.R.T goal that ticks all the boxes:

“I want to sell 2,000 units of stock from my sports collection by the end of the month, and I want to do it with an ACoS of less than 25%.”

This goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based, so it now gives me (the seller) something to work towards and consider when I am monitoring my campaign.

After creating a S.M.A.R.T goal, it becomes much easier to monitor the correct metrics and make informed tweaks and changes to your PPC campaigns. This is key to a successful campaign because even the slightest keyword tweak or bid increase can make a big difference.

  1. You Make Uneducated Bids

Bidding on irrelevant or low-performing keywords is a good way to lose a lot of money in a short amount of time. And it’s easily done. After all, we all think we know the perfect keywords for our products. For example, let’s say you’re selling a yoga mat, you might bid on the following keywords:

  • Yoga
  • Mat
  • Yoga Instructor

Although they look okay on the surface, these keywords kinda suck. For starters, ‘yoga’ is highly-competitive, ‘mat’ could turn out to be irrelevant, and ‘yoga instructor’ is too broad. The best keywords to bid on are those that are high-performance and low-competition. Consider long-tail keywords, like the following:

  • Multi-purpose yoga mat
  • High-density yoga mat
  • Yoga mat with carry straps

It’s clear to see that these keywords are more specific and are likely to be searched by yoga fanatics looking for a new mat. When reviewing your keyword bids, you need to analyze your ACoS and your impressions rates. If your ACoS is high and/or your impressions are low, then you’re most likely bidding on the wrong keywords.

However, to truly know the keywords and phrases your ideal customers will be searching for, you need to undertake keyword research. Let’s take a look at how to do that…

  1. Lack of Keyword Research

In order to target the right people with your PPC ads, you need to know exactly what they are searching for. There are a couple of ways you can do this:

  1. Talk to Them

One of the most direct ways to find out what keywords your customers use is to ask them! Find someone who fits your ideal buyer persona and ask them a couple of questions about your product, for example:

  • What is important to you when looking for [this product]?

If we stick with the yoga mat theme, the customer might say: “I want a mat that is non-slip, stylish, and has carry handles.” That one sentence instantly gives you three keywords to work into your PPC campaigns!

  1. Spy on Your Competitors

A non-direct way to research keywords is to see what your competitors are using in their listings. You can do this by searching for the product you want to sell and reading the product descriptions and title tags of the current listings:

Straight away, terms that jump out from this listing are:

  • Extra Thick
  • 15 mm (measurements are always important)
  • High Quality NBR material
  • Durable and Washable

If these keywords work for your competitor, then they are probably going to work for you too, so you can start bidding on them to improve your visibility and sales.

  1. Run an Automatic Campaign

A really easy way to find keywords is to run an automatic PPC campaign and let Amazon do all of the hard work for you. When you set up an automatic campaign Amazon determines which keywords trigger your ads, all you need to do is set a maximum bid price.

This is great because it requires little effort from you, and you know that it is Amazon’s goal to maximize the chance of each click becoming a sale. Plus, Amazon has the benefit of the reams of data they build up about their customers every day, so if there is a great keyword for your product, Amazon’s algorithm will find it!

  1. You Don’t Track Your Ads

If you don’t track your campaigns, then you won’t know if they are successful or not. And you will be more likely to fail because you won’t know how your metrics look and what you need to change in order to achieve the results you want.

The first thing to know about tracking your ads is which metrics to track. When running a PPC campaign, you need to keep a close eye on your:

  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Spend
  • Sales
  • Conversion Rate

By studying these metrics, you should be able to spot problems and rectify them. For example, if you have a high CTR but a low conversion rate, then you know you need to tweak your campaign because you are being charged for the clicks but not receiving anything in return.

It can be difficult to pinpoint the specific problem with your campaign, so the best thing to do is make small changes and tweaks until you see performance improve. For example, tweak your product copy, make sure your product is in the correct category, and experiment with keywords.

  1. Lack of Patience

PPC is not a recipe for overnight success. It will take time for you to see a benefit from your campaigns, so patience is paramount in those early days. After all, it takes Amazon’s dashboards about 72 hours to display any new sales. With this in mind, and the fact that it takes PPC campaigns a little while to get off the ground, we would recommend that you leave your campaign running for a minimum of two weeks before analyzing the results.

This period of time will give your campaign a chance to flourish, allowing keywords to stand out – both the under-performers and the high-performers. After this period of two weeks (or longer), you should start to reduce your bids for the keywords that under-performed, (meaning they have a higher than desired ACoS) or remove them from your campaign entirely (by using Negative Match or just putting bid down to $0.01). Then put the money from those keywords towards the ones that performed the best – increasing your bids. This will improve the likelihood of your ads being the first to appear for those keywords.

Keep in mind that some campaigns take even longer than two weeks to mature, and it really is a judgment call when it comes to analyzing and tweaking. The graph below shows a PPC campaign that took a couple of months to get off the ground, but you can see that once it did sales increased exponentially:

Image source:

If this seller started tweaking their bid amounts at the two week mark, they may never have seen this sharp rise, so patience and a confidence in your keyword research is key to achieving results.

Every time you analyze and adjust your PPC campaign, you should leave it alone for another period of time before going back and repeating your analysis. This can be done as many times as you think is needed until you have a campaign that you are happy produces consistent results.


When your PPC campaigns are performing poorly it can feel like you’re pouring cash down the drain, and it can be very disheartening.

The good news is, PPC isn’t a born talent, it’s a skill – and it’s an easy one to learn! Using the tips in this article, you should be able to turn your failing PPC campaigns around in time, and there is very good reason to do so. When it comes to PPC, Amazon trumps other sites. The conversion rate for PPC ads on search engines is just 3.75%, for Facebook it is 9.21%, but for Amazon, it is an impressive 9.8%! So if you want to increase your success on Amazon, a strong, well-built PPC campaign can help you do that.

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