The numbers on the screen kept climbing and by midnight Michael Tunney, founder of KeySmart, destroyed his modest goal of $6,000. His Kickstarter ended with an incredible $329,862 and 8,000 pledges from eager backers and millions of shares on social media..
This raised a problem that the new KeySmart Team couldn’t solve on their own…
The immediate growth and notoriety Michael and his team found left them spread too thin.
When trying to execute Amazon advertising, their in-house marketing manager did the initial setup but he was not able to prioritize Amazon PPC to increase sales.
We spoke with Kevin, director of 3rd party markets and compliance at KeySmart, who said:
“…our internal marketing guy set some initial stuff up but we weren’t managing it at all. It was just, you know, set it up and forget about it.” – Kevin Tunney
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KeySmart realized early on that if they don’t find someone to manage and sustainably scale their Amazon advertising, then they would be leaving tens-of-thousand of dollars on the table in potential Amazon sales.
“…We realize there’s just a lot more potential with the Amazon advertising platform.
We had decent ads but our guy wasn’t able to spend much time on them as he was managing all the Facebook [Advertising] …so we didn’t really have the time to put in Amazon.”
The team at KeySmart made a strategic choice and decided to hire a professional agency to manage and improve their ad accounts.
“It was such a huge time commitment to learn all this stuff and implement it. …It made sense to hire an outside company.”
KeySmart also asked other Amazon sellers for solutions. A friend of a friend recommended AMZ Pathfinder.
“…We found out about [AMZ Pathfinder] from a friend of a friend. That’s how we initiated the conversations…”
AMZ Pathfinder diagnosed their business and Amazon campaign and implemented long-lasting solutions that not only helped their immediate challenges but allowed the KeySmart team to scale with practical Amazon PPC strategies.
“I think our spend was just low and our ads were halfway decent, probably half as good as they are today…
Amazon was putting a lot of time and effort into their advertising platform and Brent saw that very early so that was a win for both of us.”
When we first started working with KeySmart their Amazon ad spend was minimal but effective, carried by the quality of their products and their off-Amazon fame.
After our initial audit, it was evident that there was explosive growth potential and with Q4 about to start. We needed to build out full-scale advertising efforts fast.
Only a small portion of the product catalog was being advertised because at that point the company had not yet witnessed the full potential of Amazon and was investing heavily in Facebook advertising.
Sponsored Product ads were the primary means of advertising on Amazon and their CPC was at the time in the mid $0.60 USD.
Going into Q4 we were able to grow ad spend while keeping ACOS level, and drop CPC to the mid/ low 0.50 USD.
After a successful November and December at a sub 10% ACOS and two record-high sales months back to back they were convinced that the additional reach and exposure that advertising earned them was money well-spent.
At that point Keysmart understood that Amazon advertising is an investment in driving visibility and rank, not just a way to win a profitable sale.
“It was mostly geared towards spend and ACOS, like increasing spend as long as they keep the ACOS under a certain
percentage. That was the frame we used to set up the agreement.”
Amazon Tips for Sellers
1. Use Manual Campaigns, Test with Automatic
To make sure that every aspect of your Amazon ad campaign is being optimized, you should take manual control over your decisions. However, playing with automatic campaigns and targetting can help you expedite keyword research.
2. Optimize Product Listings
Showing ads to potential clients is only the beginning. To convert those clicks into sales, you must optimize your product listings.
- Make sure that you include the keyword in the title or description of the product
- Use high-quality pictures that best display your product
- Increase positive product reviews
You should always look to engage with potential customers since fast and thorough responses to complaints can ease skeptics into trusting you.
3. Get specific and more targeted with long-tail keywords
Sometimes the competition amongst e-Commerce sites can be fierce, which is why it’s cheaper to circumvent the competition by targetting the lower-yielding fruit. Going for more specific keywords that may have lower volumes, may actually increase sales, as its easier to get people to click on your product.
4. Keep Your Enemies Closer
Talking about the fierce competition in e-Commerce, studying what the competition is doing can save you a lot of work and money. Studying the opposition can help you:
- Accelerate keyword research
- Optimize your Amazon product page to increase trust
- Study how to improve search results
5. Have Fun!
There are some amazon sellers that stress so much over how to increase Amazon sales that they forget to enjoy the process. Amazon PPC is a long, complicated and everchanging world that is worth enjoying.
Since 2016, AMZ Pathfinder has continued to manage, launch, and scale KeySmart in 10 Amazon marketplaces! (CA, UK, DE, FR, IT, ES, MX, AU, and UAE).
Every opportunity to test a new strategy, feature, or scale a campaign, KeySmart had confidence in AMZ Pathfinder to learn it, implement it, and gain positive results.
Even though each marketplace had its own strategy, AMZ Pathfinder found ways to turn these unique challenges into high-profit results for KeySmart.
This was a result of several ad strategies, like separating products that need their own keywords and campaigns, treating some products like a variation of the same one (extensions) and many others.
“…Just watching the potential of it early on and jumping on it. Our ad revenue today is like half of our business. So I think we both realized it was going to play a huge role”
In Italy, branded campaigns were the top performers along with single keyword TOS campaigns for top relevant keywords.
AMZ Pathfinder went on to build and expand on the successful branded search result terms campaigns (side note: sales made against branded searches are excluded from our percentage of ad revenue fee arrangement).
“…Basically in the last 2 years we doubled both the ad spend and the revenue. So probably quadrupled since 5 years ago.”
In the last 3 years, KeySmart’s annual ad spend resulted in over $7 million in ad revenue with an average ACoS below 16% and average ROAS of over 6.0 in all marketplaces.
These results came from years of continual testing and a solid foundation of trust between KeySmart and AMZ Pathfinder.
Giving the experts at AMZ Pathfinder the flexibility to experiment with their ad account yielded positive results for both partners.
“[We] allowed them to test a lot of different things. We had a pretty flexible budget since we’re continuing to grow so much year over year.
We increased their budget and they’re able to test all the new beta programs and it’s really been a lot of fun testing all the new stuff, to be honest.
It’s always fun when they come out with a new advertising feature!”
By allowing the experts at AMZ Pathfinder to grow their Amazon advertising revenue in the past 5 years and beyond, KeySmart team edged over their competitors by being able to focus on scaling other parts of the business.
“The biggest thing is allowing us to test all these different things because we wouldn’t have the time ourselves nor the expertise, you know? That’s one of the biggest benefits.”
This synergistic effect continues to increase KeySmart’s brand awareness outside of the Amazon platform.
“It gives us so much more exposure too. The more KeySmart is out there the more people are going to see it.
Obviously it’s a thing that, you know, a lot of times you see other people’s keys on the table and just the sheer exposure that all the ads create. Just that big branding effect.”
KeySmart’s growth also means the growth of AMZ Pathfinder. The agency is continuing to grow and provide expertise for all available Amazon marketplaces for their clients.
“It’s really nice that you guys are covering most languages right now, always working towards being able to offer the full spectrum when it comes to all the different marketplaces.”
With constant communication between both partners, AMZ Pathfinder feels like an in-house marketing team building the KeySmart brand every step of the way.
“The biggest thing is just the time that it frees up for us and really allows us to focus on the digital assets.
It’s really hard to take on the whole advertising side and the whole digital side of our content, the copy, and all the other important things.”
KeySmart continues to work with AMZ Pathfinder as they stay up to date with cutting edge best practices and strategies like Amazon Store, DSP, and more that bring clients closer to their business revenue goals.
“I think it’s that important to stay on the cutting edge when you’re dealing with Amazon cause there’s so much opportunity spread out between the different programs that they offer.
Especially the ads, you know, it’s roughly half our business. It allows us to build a lot of momentum through those different avenues.”
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