Sponsored Ads for Advanced Sellers with Danny McMillan
271 Sponsored Ads for Advanced Sellers with Danny McMillan Part 1 of 2

Today we will be talking about sponsored ads with Danny McMillan worked in the music industry for years. From about 2008, he created a website and was responsible for managing that site including running Pay Per Click Traffic. In 2015, Danny started selling on Amazon. In 2016 he launched Seller Sessions, which started as a YouTube channel then became a podcast. It focusses on helping more advanced Amazon sellers.

Richard is Danny’s business partner at Seller Sessions.

PPC /Amazon Adwords

Are Amazon sponsored ads still worth using?

Yes, there definitely is.
Even going back to Danny’s website days, he would always start with PPC (Pay Per Click advertising)
It’s the best way to answer the question – is there demand?
If you get good at PPC, it’s a quick way to do this.
You need to find if keywords are converting keywords,  not just keywords with good search volume.
And you want to find out as fast as possible.

Is it enough to bid high on Amazon ads to get shown?

No, Bidding high is not enough now- you need relevance and also some data showing Amazon that there are sales happening via that keyword on a particular listing.
It’s not category based.
Sometimes sellers run Amazon ads and don’t get impressions (ie nobody sees their ads). Mostly new accounts or or in a new category.
They make a complaint to Amazon etc.  but isn’t the solution.
You need sales history to get impressions.

What ’s the solution?

You need a launch funnel.
Here’s one way Danny does it:
Basically you do giveaways.
  1. FaceBook ads with 90% discount
  1. landing page
  2. to Amazon storefront URL and code
You may find that your  widget – for example “blue widget” – may appear for a
e.g. “blue widget left handed”
Even if it doesn’t yet  rank for the main keyword, e.g.,  “blue widget”
If you started making sales on “blue left handed widget”,  you’ll start appearing for blue widget
This will take longer because you also need reviews.
This is based on Danny’s data -yes, it’s based on millions of data points from their clients’ data. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t going to change in future!

So how do you do that?

Put the keyword In backend
Have as a phrase multiple times in the listing (again, this is a backup procedure; Danny does this based on his data).

Always follow the people with access to good amounts of data!

Danny listens to people who have access to a lot of data:
Casey Gauss of Viral Launch, who do 25,000 launches a month;
Brad Moss, who helped build Seller central;
Anthony Lee of Zonblast, who are constantly testing.

Is Amazon ads a tool for launch only? Or is it okay for ongoing sales?

It certainly is for both. But you need to treat it differently.

Using Amazon Ads for Launch

A case study of Danny’s Recent Launch

He focussed on 5 keywords exact match using sponsored ads.
He worked with external traffic (ie off Amazon).
Danny sent traffic from google ads to the Canonical URL (product) – listing with keywords  in
He also sent [Google] traffic to the storefront page URL.
Plus sponsored ads traffic exact match
With this, Danny was converting every 6 clicks (17%) with no reviews
Danny attributes this to the work they did on the listing.
They spent a lot of time and effort on:
  • Images
  • Right keywords
  • Listing
  • Enhanced brand content
PPC and sponsored ads are only one facet.

Sponsored Ads for people with larger accounts

With 100s of SKUs – you can’t launch across 100s of listings that aggressively – i.e., bidding high,  without a big spend.
On larger accounts, Danny works on profitability.

Is ACoS in isolation a good metric?

Danny is not a fan of ACoS in isolation.
Not really – they had a client recently who had a product with 30% ACoS; if they had moved 30-20% ACoS, they would have cut 45-50% of sales. A lot of their conversions were taking place at a high ACoS.
Instead, they look at Return on Investment and profitability.

“You can’t break the maths”

If you’re selling something for £13.99 converting every 10 clicks at £5 a click, that product is dead in the water.
At some point, you back off the cost per click on short tail keywords.
You’d look for less costly keywords (longer tail) if they are available.
You need to be aware of the ratio between organic and PPC driven sales.

Is there a better metric than ACoS? Is ATS (Advertising to Sales Ratio) good?

Know what profits are so you know what you can spend per keyword.
Danny’s system will do between 6 and 20 calculations.
But the simple version is: What is your breakeven point? Are you being aggressive?
When you come onto the platform, you need to not treat PPC as a silver bullet.
Know your margins
Know how much you are willing to or can afford to spend on PPC
  • Aggressive
  • Breakeven
  • Profitable
You don’t always get to choose this! It all starts with product selection.
Danny gets people to come to the agency because they want DataBrill to put things right for them.
But they can’t help them; you can’t escape the maths!

Launch Strategy for Sponsored Ads

Assuming that people have made a good market niche choice, have good product quality and sourced at a profitable price, how do you do the launch?

Case study- Danny’s most recent launch

Tools/Detailed launch funnel

  1. Facebook ads
  2. WordPress – landing page – Danny worked on with developer
eg Japan has no launch pages or India – font and
Used “Amz coupon server” plugin which costs around $69
This  gives away coupon code eg 90% off
  1. Ask  email address
  2. Thank you page – instructions on how to claim the coupon code
  3. Link to Amazon – Geni.us – rotates the URLs, each of which has 3 main keywords
eg. “Blue widget”, “Blue widget left-handed”, “blue and black widget black left handed”
Facebook ad targeting:  Focus on mobile devices only because most people use FaceBook on their mobile.
They use retargeting to reduce costs.

How Danny uses geni.us to rotate URLs

Using geni.us rotate based on operating systems.
Main keyword iOS
2nd window
3rd Android
This is so Amazon sees organic looking results.

Why do a rotating URL?

It’s a bit of protection against TOS change eg stop giveaways. On Amazon, giveaways of storefront URLs are okay now.
There are 2 kinds of naysayers
  • Never done giveaways and don’t want to do giveaways don’t exist
  • It doesn’t actually work.
Amazon is more competitive than it was. The naysayers who don’t understand it, they want to use the same process each time. It costs them money and they would prefer giveaways didn’t exist! They are criticising things that change, rather than basing things on data.
You need to move with the times.
“If you don’t move with the times, this is where people come in,… disrupt industries and take the industry over.”

Is this safe? Is it also a review funnel?

At the moment, all launch services are within ToS – They are still operational. They work now.
So Danny is happy to do giveaways.
But this is not a review funnel.

Where do people go wrong with ToS?

They mix reviews with giveaways.
Danny doesn’t build review funnels.  He aims to get reviews organically.
He relies on the quality and pricing of the product; giving value for money.
Spend time on packaging and photos etc. It’s about a premium product at a fair price.
Costs often run away with you. People often try to sell at a high price to make up for that.
BUT you can only sell what the market demands. You’re not Apple!
If the market price average is £14, “premium” might be £18.

Why get an email address as opposed to going on straight on to the listing?

Some people just go straight through to the listing; of course, it reduces friction.
Make sure you understand GDPR and have processes in place. (This is for those based in the European Union including of course the UK).
Pre GDPR Danny was following up not for reviews but asking how people using the product and if any other issues.
That was very helpful because they caught an issue last time before it became a 1-star review.
Danny gave people money back and a free product and thank you note.
They are still YOUR customers because they signed up with you before they reached the Amazon system.

Is your initial traffic for a launch just from FaceBook?

It used to be that Danny would just use FaceBook ads to launch;  then prop up a listing with Amazon Ads.
But Danny is always experimenting. Now Danny is doing exact match sponsored ads for launch as well. The proof will be to see how organic sales work!
Danny is also running Google Adwords. The issue is that you can’t track sales going from Adwords to the product page.
You could if you use an Amazon affiliate account – but it’s risking your account to run it to your own listings. It’s not worth the risk to Danny.
But you can track sponsored ads sales.
And can track anything sold via discount codes (including sales from the FaceBook ads funnel)

If people want to discuss working with Danny

Usually bigger sellers
30+ SKUs, can put a package together
If 1-2 SKUs, DIY, learn it yourself