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Amazon PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns are one of the most discussed topics by FBA sellers. Why? Because an amazing product and optimized listing isn’t likely to get you in the top ranks alone.

Think of it this way: if your product is the engine and your product page is the car, then your  PPC campaign is the fuel that powers everything to bring in sales. Understanding the right way to execute and manage PPC campaigns is what separates successful sellers from those struggling to breakeven.

In this blog, we will to walk you through:

  • The role of Amazon keywords and their importance
  • What is PPC, and how is it used for product advertising
  • The different types of PPC models on Amazon
  • Optimal keyword research methods 

To help us do this, we will use leading keyword and PPC research software and take you step-by-step through the best way to do PPC keyword research. 

P.S: there is a small gift at the end of this blog!

All set then? Let’s get started.

What Are Keywords on Amazon?

Before we get into the meat of things, the first step is knowing how keywords work. A keyword can be a single word or phrase used by buyers on Amazon to search for a product they have in mind.

Despite being super-advanced, Amazon’s A10 algorithm is still incapable of ‘seeing’ images to determine what a product is about. So, for example, if a buyer searches for a “baseball cap” and you’re selling a baseball cap but—and here’s the twist—you haven’t mentioned the main keyword, i.e., “baseball cap” anywhere on the detail page, Amazon won’t show your product. 

Keywords are like signposts; they inform Amazon about two main things: the nature and functionality of a product or, to put into simpler terms: what your product is and what it does. 

Selecting the wrong keyword to describe a product will end up confusing shoppers. Once Amazon realizes no one is interested in your product, it will knock it down the rankings. Take a look at the product title in the image.

Using the right keywords to describe a product

In this example, the seller is offering a garden hose and has created the title accordingly. They even used “water hose” to ensure it appears against more search results. 

Easy, right? Let’s get into some more depth.

Understanding Seed Keywords 

On the quest to uncover ideal keywords, you will inevitably come across a term known as “seed keyword”. These are generic or broad-ranging words that describe a product. They are referred to as “seed” because they are a starting point to grow and generate lists of similar words or phrases describing related products.

Let’s consider the example of a baseball cap again. If “baseball cap” is our main keyword, a simple Amazon search will present us with a list of related keywords.

Searching for a “baseball cap” on Amazon USA

All of these keywords stem from our main keyword. However, as you can probably tell, not all suggestions accurately describe our product and are therefore worth targeting. For instance, we’re definitely not selling a baseball cap rack or baseball cap storage, so those terms go out the window.

Through this example, you’ve also learned one of many manual methods of PPC keywords research i.e. leveraging Amazon’s auto-suggest feature. Other ways of manually searching for high-volume keywords include:

  • Gaining Inspiration from Sourcing Platforms: Visiting AliExpress or Alibaba.com to find out which products/keywords generate interest for Amazon sellers worldwide.
  • Checking out Amazon’s Best Sellers: Amazon features a separate section of “Best Sellers” for each category, essentially letting you know what buyers are interested in.
  • Spying on the competition: Checking out what competitors are selling and what works out for them.

All of this and more are covered in detail in our Amazon product research tool for Australia blog. Go check it out!

Note: The product research methods discussed in our Amazon product research tool for Australia blog are universal and applicable to every marketplace.

What Is PPC and How Can I Use it to Market My Product?

PPC or Pay-Per-Click is a popular form of internet marketing where a seller pays a fee to have their product(s) displayed to a target audience. It’s the main method of advertising on Amazon in which the seller with the highest bid wins a spot at the top of the search results against specific keywords. There are three types of PPC campaigns you can run on Amazon: Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and Sponsored Display.

Three types of advertisements available to Amazon sellers.

Since our main focus is on Amazon PPC keyword research, we won’t delve too deep into each method. Nonetheless, you should at the very least know how each advertisement method works.

Note: The number of buyers that click on these ads and land on a product listing is referred to as “paid traffic”.

Sponsored Products

Sponsored product ads are the most common type of PPC advertising used by third-party sellers. They appear on virtually every search page and have a small, silver “Sponsored” tag just below the main image.

An example of sponsored Products on Amazon.

Within Sponsored products, you can engage in automatic or manual targeting campaigns. In manual targeting, as the name suggests, you manually inform Amazon about the keywords and/or competitors’ ASINs you wish to target to have your ads seen by shoppers.

In automatic PPC campaigns, Amazon’s algorithm analyzes your listings (both the front and back-end sections) to determine both the product and the appropriate audience. Naturally, the effectiveness of such ads depends on how well you’ve optimized your product listings.

Note: Not sure if your listings are super-optimized? We have that covered as well. Perfect your product detail pages by checking out our Amazon listing optimization guide.

Sponsored Brands

As seller's gain momentum and add more products to their store, Sponsored Brands allows them to market multiple products side by side via Sponsored Brands. 

A Sponsored Brands ad by MSI.

To make full use of both Sponsored Brands and Display, you will need to get Brand Registered first. It’s also a prerequisite to running video ads on Amazon which usually provide better conversion rates coupled with lower Advertising Cost of Sales (ACoS).

Sponsored Display

The latest addition to PPC, Sponsored Display lets you retarget customers both on and off the platform. These ads can also appear on affiliate websites like Google, Netflix, and Facebook. 

An example of  a Sponsored Display ad

In the image above, a Sponsored Display ad is found just below the buy box.

Optimal Amazon PPC Keywords Research Technique

Now that you’ve learned what keywords and PPC advertising are, let's check out the two main methods of carrying out Amazon PPC keyword research. 

Method #1: Picking out the Right Keyword Using ZonGuru’s Keywords on Fire Tool

In this blog, we touched upon a manual method of researching PPC keywords, but the optimal way to go about it is by leveraging PPC keyword research tools. In that regard, few come close to ZonGuru’s Keywords on Fire in terms of providing both accurate data and key insights.

Step 1: For our case study, we’ve randomly picked out a product from the Home & Garden category: a flower box holder (which will also act as our main keyword). The first step is to navigate to the Keywords on Fire tool, click on “Add products by phrases”, enter “flower box holder” in the search bar, and hit Search.

Step 1 of PPC Keyword Research: Add products in Keywords on Fire Tool

Step 2: Once that is done, twenty-five of the top competitors for this particular word will pop up. We recommend selecting all twenty-five, then choosing the marketplace (In our example, it’s set for Amazon USA, but ZonGuru offers functionality for a wide array of international marketplaces, including Amazon Australia and India)

Select the top competitors to find out top-performing keywords

This will create a new campaign. Click on the Details button to proceed to the next step.

Click the eye icon to view all the details

Step 3: Now, things get interesting. Opening up the campaign we just created will present us with all sorts of valuable information regarding our competitors, their positioning, keywords that we plan on using for our PPC campaigns, etc. Here’s what the Keywords on Fire interface will look like:

Using Keywords on Fire tool to find PPC keywords

At first glance, you can see that ZonGuru has presented us with the top 300 unique keywords instead of thousands of entries. Also, for the keyword “flower box holder”, the combined revenue generated by every seller amounts to $17,813,826 whereas the total search volume is 737,345. With this quick summary, we can tell right off the bat whether this product is viable or not.

As our main focus right now is Amazon PPC keyword research, we’ll remove a few columns from the search results. To do this, click on the settings icon on the right side of the screen and tick the boxes shown below:

Customizing Table Settings for our “flower box holder” campaign

Step 4: After we’re done customizing our table settings, we’ve almost reached the point where we can extract the most valuable keywords from our competitors. But before that, you need to know what information is present in each column. Here’s a quick explanation:

  • Search Volume: The number of monthly searches for a particular keyword. The higher, the better.
  • Top 25 Competitors: The number of competitors (out of the 25) that rank for each keyword.
  • ZG Launch: The ideal number of sales you should make during the first 7 to 14 days to rank at the top. A high average number count suggests an aggressive PPC bidding strategy.
  • PPC bid: This is super important information. It saves you both time and resources needed to experiment to determine the right bidding value.
  • Competitors’ Positions: Lets you know where each competitor ranks for a specific keyword. It also helps you in identifying relevant keywords.

The post-table customization looks something like this:

Keywords on Fire showing information for 300 keywords

At this point, we’ve tinkered with a lot of stuff and narrowed down our search to what we really want. There’s just one thing left to do: add filters to zone in on the most relevant keywords. 

Step 5: Just above the rows and columns on the left-hand side there are two drop-down menus and one search bar where we input values. Here, we’re going to apply two filters. 

  1. First filter: Select Search Volume, then in the middle bar choose Greater than equal to, and finally insert a value of 300. 
  2. Second filter: Select Top 25 Comp, then choose Greater than equal to, and insert a value of 3. 

When it comes to search volume, we’re only interested in targeted keywords that have a monthly search volume of 300. Anything below that won’t be worth pursuing. For the second filter, keywords that aren’t targeted by the majority of our top 25 competitors won’t be relevant to our product. 

After applying both filters, here are the results:

7 highly relevant keywords to add to our PPC campaigns

And there you have it, 7 highly relevant keywords that you can manually target in your Sponsored Product campaigns to drive in traffic. In this particular case study, we ended up with 7 keywords where in other instances you might be left with 50 or more. 

Note: You should create manual campaigns targeting a high-search volume keyword and then group up lower search-volume keywords in separate campaigns. 

Method #2: Analyzing Sponsored Product Search Term Report for PPC Keyword Research

Another method of researching keywords to use in PPC campaigns is by analyzing search term reports for Sponsored Products. This method is applicable only after you’ve already ran automatic and/or manual campaigns for some time so try out the first method before you move onto method #2. 

To download these reports: 

  • Hover over the Advertising tab and select Campaign Manager from the drop-down menu.
  • Select Advertising Reports and then click on the Create Report button
  • Select the options shown in the image and click on Run Report.
Download Search Term Reports for Sponsored Products

Image Caption: Download Search Term Reports for Sponsored Products

Opening the excel file will showcase the performance of your PPC campaigns. Out of all of the columns and bits of information present in this report, we’re interested in Impressions, Clicks, Cost Per Click (CPC), Spend, and Total Advertising Cost of Sales (ACoS). Here’s an extract from one report:

PPC keyword performance metrics within a Sponsored Products Search Terms Report

In automatic campaigns, Amazon’s Algorithm picks out keywords to target and lays out the performance of your ads against these keywords. These reports are invaluable because Amazon does the research for you and all you have to do is cherry pick keywords that convert. 

The keywords that we’re interested in are those that have a high number of impressions, a decent Click-Thru Rate (the percentage of people that saw an ad and click on it, or CTR), low Cost Per Click (the amount of money it took for someone to click on our ad, or CPC), and low Spend. Start new manual exact campaigns and target these keywords to boost sales.

Frequently Asked Questions – Amazon Keyword Research

Amazon PPC keyword research is tricky business! Let’s dispel some doubts by answering a few commonly asked questions.

What is Amazon Keyword?

An Amazon keyword refers to any word or phrase shoppers use to describe a product that they would like to see or purchase. Why is this important for sellers? Because some keywords are used more than others and by targeting such keywords, sellers can drive larger numbers of potential buyers to their product listings.

How Do You Do Keyword Research on Amazon?

There are two main ways to do keyword research on Amazon: manual and automatic. The manual methods usually eat up a lot of time which is why most sellers use intuitive and accurate PPC keyword research tools like ZonGuru to find high search volume keywords in a matter of minutes!

How Do I Find Best Keywords for PPC?

If you’re serious about bringing in sales by running PPC campaigns, then you have to use automated Amazon PPC keyword research tools like ZonGuru’s Keywords on Fire and Keywords Spotlight. These tools help you uncover high-performing keywords to bring in maximum amounts of traffic.

How Do I Add Keywords to my Amazon Listing?

By incorporating keywords inside the product listing namely the title, bullet points, description, and also within the backend fields like search terms. 


To conclude, we advise you to follow these two methods: 1) Analyze the sponsored product search term report for your PPC keyword research and 2) Choose the right keyword using ZonGuru’s Keywords on Fire Tool.

That wraps up just about everything—except the gift we mentioned at the start of the blog!

A lot can go wrong with keyword research; issues with strategy, execution, and listing optimization can result in hundreds of dollars of wasted ad spend. To stop that from happening, we want to share a ZonGuru Business Optimization Case Study series hosted by our very own six and seven-figure sellers, Jon Tilley (CEO) and Stefan Ratchev (CTO). 

Join them on their journey as they utilize the latest data-driven methods to revive underperforming product listings using keyword research, listing optimization, and PPC campaigns!

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