Five Mistakes Brands Make When Using Amazon Advertising

Amazon Ads (formerly known as Amazon Marketing Services) is an essential search advertising tool for brands to drive targeted traffic to Amazon product pages. But once a campaign has been launched, it needs to be monitored and adjusted to get the best results possible.

In our experience, here are the most common mistakes brands make when using Amazon Ads.

 1.  Setting and Forgetting Amazon Ad Campaigns

It’s easy to create a campaign with Amazon Ads, hit the launch button, and assume extra conversions will start pouring in.

But to get the most out of your advertising dollars, you need to monitor the data from your campaign to see what is and is not working and adjust accordingly.

Amazon Ads offers detailed reporting metrics for each of your marketing campaigns, including impressions, ROAS, new-to-brand metrics, and more, to help you better understand your campaigns and your customer base. After a campaign has been up and running for a while, it’s important to use this information to adjust keyword bids, pausing low performing keywords and introducing more effective ones.

2.  Creating and then Ignoring Automatic Targeting Options for Sponsored Product Ads

For campaigns that use automatic targeting, you don’t have to worry about adding your own keywords. Amazon will target these ads to relevant customer searches based on product information, getting your products in front of qualified shoppers who are more likely to buy them.

Sponsored Product Ads - AMS

This is a great way to get started, but because this method relies heavily on Amazon’s algorithm, the Average Cost Per Click (ACPC) for ads served this way is typically higher than when you insert your own keywords.

A better solution is to think of automatic targeting as a tool to learn which keywords customers are using to find your products. We recommend using automatic targeting for a month or so, as a starting point for keyword bidding, and then using manual targeting to set appropriate bids for the specific keywords and products you wish to focus on. 

3.  Not Using the Customer Search Term Report

The Customer Search Term Report allows you to see what exact search terms shoppers are querying to get your keywords to trigger—an incredible insight into which search terms are stickiest with shoppers.

Though this will differ depending on each brand’s goals, common data points you’ll want to keep an eye on in the report include impression volume, branded vs. unbranded searches, sales, CPC, and CTRs.

Monitoring these metrics can help ensure your ads are being served to the right people at the most cost-effective CPC.

4.  Not Defining a Clear Campaign Naming Convention

With Amazon Ads, brands can run several campaigns at once when advertising product pages. One of the biggest mistakes brands make when creating campaigns is not standardizing a descriptive campaign naming convention. Sometimes, we look at our client’s existing campaigns and see labels like “Brand 1,” which doesn’t tell the campaign manager anything about the ad campaign itself.

Instead, make sure your campaign names include descriptive information that makes it easy to understand what products are being advertised without clicking into the campaign. A few good examples of information to include in an efficient campaign name are brand names, dates, product descriptions, and ad campaign types.

5.  Not Running Ads Year-Round

The inclination to only pay to advertise certain products for the part of the year they are most relevant, such as the holidays, is understandable. However, valuable knowledge can be gathered by running campaigns all year.

Nonstop campaigns allow advertisers to target shoppers with contextual ads, which can provide additional insight into seasonal and keyword trends. Understanding what works well from season to season and applying that knowledge to other products allows advertisers to leverage successful campaigns for unexpected promotions.

The Takeaway:

No advertising campaign is perfect right out of the gate. Use all the tools at your disposal to learn from and adjust your campaigns to get the most out of Amazon Ads.

For help taking full advantage of those complex tools contact us at content26, where we manage Amazon advertising and content for some of the world’s most recognizable brands. 


Editor’s NoteOn September 5, 2018, Amazon rebranded its advertising platform. Amazon Marketing Services changed to Amazon Advertising and Amazon Advertising Platform changed to Amazon DSP, among other changes. This blog post was edited on October 52018 to reflect those changes, and further updated on September 8, 2022. 

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