Amazon PPC Strategy – 2020 ( For Beginners and Advance Sellers) w/ Brian Johnson

Amazon PPC Strategy – 2020 ( For Beginners and Advance Sellers)  w/ Brian Johnson


are you ready to scale and outsource
your business okay let’s go welcome to the outsourcing and scaling show I’m
your host Nathan Hirsch a show where we talk about everything
Amazon shopify ecommerce and digital marketing let’s get started
hey everyone welcome back to the outsourcing scaling show my guest today
is Brian Johnson Brian how you doing today
fantastic glad beer awesome we’re excited to interview you for those you
that don’t know brian is a driving force in the e-commerce world not only is he
achieve success of the online seller but he’s become the leading strategist and
Amazon pay-per-click advertising over the course of his career brian has
founded the Amazon PPC troubleshooting community Amazon PPC consulting
Association PPC scope ad management software sponsored products academy
training course and canopy management a management advertising agency for
million dollar brands we’re gonna talk all about that and I’m excited to dive
into PPC but first let’s take a gigantic step back what were you like growing up
are you a rebel were you a straight-a student did you always know you want to
be an entrepreneur let me hear that story um you know I mean I was I was
gosh growing up I mean I guess I think I’d probably been a geek my whole life
honestly as far as the entrepreneurial bug hits you know most of the time I
actually was not a straight-a student you know I mean I was you know I’ve
always thought myself to be intelligent and excelled at math and science but I
my study habits sucked you know my ability to focus on one thing without
squirrels you know running past me you know wasn’t always that you know was
always great but I think Bobby entrepreneurial gosh man I must have
been I don’t probably teenage years by 12 13 and I was looking just for for any
kind of side business household that I could do you know I wasn’t I wasn’t as
early as like selling kids to you know selling that kids selling candy to other
kids at school I wasn’t that early you know but I certainly jumped in my early
teenage years and would spend twice as many hours as I was in school or working
or my own thing and so I just kind of I
think that’s probably where I developed either my ability or my curse to be a
workaholic so it’s it definitely requires more family balance these days
in order to work around that but so did you graduate college did you get a real
job after college or yeah actually I had a pretty pretty traditional route so I
was actually in retail and wholesale management for gosh probably good ten
years and then I did then I shifted over to more technical and I worked in
fortune 500 for like software development and technical project
management and that kind of stuff so I was kind of a hardcore I was more of an
engineering line I didn’t have an engineering degree I actually had an
e-commerce degree and so I think I knew back you know when I was you know 2021
that that was the path for me and that’s what I keep on coming back to so how’d
you get into Amazon what year was it how did that come about well so I’ve been
selling on eBay for about seven years and I was primarily doing drop shipping
for a bunch of different banking equipment brands like Queens orders and
money counters and that kind of stuff and the margins sucked you know in in
drop shipping you know I was probably running you know maybe 15% margins and
so I had worked on a couple of other like software projects related to the
MLM community back years a years ago with some friends of mine Dave Koechner
and some of his groups he teaches in the community as well and he had actually
started up with cash was at ASM you know the amazing selling machine one or two –
I think it was and that’s when he pulled me over to the dark side of Amazon I’m
like oh no and I already test it you know it doesn’t work for my product line
well that was my mistake because I was had the wrong product you know for what
I was trying to sell on Amazon so yeah I came over during ASM – which was Yash
was a four or five years now maybe yeah four years ago maybe and so yeah so I
came over during ASM too and wash my own my own products
primarily in the kitchen line and showed up happy as can be at the next amazing
selling conference and I do recall sitting in the audience with you know I
don’t know five 600 other people Jason Clayton gets up on stage and says
you know hey here’s a wide-open opportunity and shows my competitor was
one of those things was like my very first product just got crushed by you
know 40 new competitors with within a month after that conference you know so
we were talking before and you’re like don’t ask me about warehouse fulfillment
don’t talk about listing I want to talk about PPC I work with a ton of Amazon
sellers and I feel like PPC is one of those things they they run away from
they want to do everything besides PPC why is PPC something that resonates with
you something that you want to spend your time and focus on well so when I in
my when I was getting beat up on my first products I sell these days I sell
basically an eclectic line of products that I usually have acquired from other
sellers getting out of business so I kind of it’s my charity work if you call
it but most of most of what I started doing Italy is I actually got into
consulting pretty quick earlier than I should have honestly it was one of those
things where there was some off Amazon brands that wanted to either like one
brand wanted to improve they had they were the Beauty category and they had
like 700 SKUs on Amazon but they like couldn’t get their head around like how
to promote the right products how to manage that on Amazon so I started out
essentially consulting for them doing everything customer service and setting
up listings and the whole nine yards and one of the areas that I kept on coming
back to was like okay how do I promote sales how do I promote sales you know
Amazon has this advertising platform this is back when they broad match broad
keyword mattress the only thing available back then and yeah that’s why
I kind of went in there I started you know trying to learn it and figure it
out and I realized it’s like okay nobody else has got any training nobody’s
talking about this let me start a Facebook group just so I can start
talking with a few other sellers and we can just kind of
mastermind you know like a techno 1020 of us right obviously that has changed
over the years as far as growth but that was the Amazon PVC troubleshooting group
and I just kept on getting more and more into it and maybe a very analytical
engineer type I you know I got into spreadsheets and just had to figure it
out you know out of survival for what I was
doing and I started getting to the point where people just kept on asking me more
and more questions and it kind of it helped me to learn it faster and it kind
of constantly challenged me and it still does to make sure that I’ve got the
latest and greatest information so that because people are always asking me like
what about this and what about that you know so I think it was it started out of
survival and really has lost them to a lot more than I would have expected you
know for as far as specialization so we’ll dive deep more into it but let’s
talk about the basics of PPC someone who’s listening who’s a seller maybe
they just launched their first product or they’re thinking about launching it
what are the basics that they need to know in 2090 Wow
I mean there’s a lot of different options I think most people what they do
is they look at all the different options and realize like wow this is a
huge learning curve and they don’t just start with the basics you know the first
thing you’re trying to do is just figure out how to identify what the audience is
you know motor sellers are going to say well how do I sell a ton of my product
yeah that’s the desire but ultimately if you don’t know who your product who your
target audience is and the search terms that they’re using to find you you’ve
got no idea how to focus in on that audience any further not only with your
listing optimization or your pricing or how you are relative to your competitors
let alone your advertising so just starting out with an automatic campaign
is a good safe bet for most you know use a basic there’s plenty of you know
checklist as far as how to optimize you know ads you know on a weekly basis and
it doesn’t require that much work anymore especially with the available
software on the market you know start out with automatic campaign that’s a
good starting point for somebody’s a complete novice who’s just getting
started and then from there then worry about you
know scaling up to manual campaigns and targeting you know keyword matches and
you know and you know ad placement and all those other kinds of you know more
you know intermediate to advanced level things you don’t need to learn all that
starting out if you’re just if you’re brand new to the game start out with
just the very basics you know simple automatic campaign start with that you
mentioned understanding your customer and the keywords are searching how much
time should you spend Gantt gathering that data is there a certain amount of
time that you recommend or a certain way to go about it before you kind of go
all-in with PPC well I wouldn’t say that I mean because PPC definitely feeds into
that you know you can get a little bit information if you’ve got access to
brand analytics but a brand new seller probably doesn’t have access to brand
analytics yet right because they don’t have brand industry but the PPC gives
more the insight as far as the specific terms that people as shoppers are using
in order to find your product your ad in the first place and then actually
purchase your product I’m as far as getting to know the product I think most
of us as private level sellers we’re more opportunistic as far as the
products we’re not like going have had a lifelong passion about this product line
let me go and introduce it that’s very rare
most of the time we’re like going oh the numbers look good let me go to the
source I know nothing about the audience or the product you know but ultimately
if you are doing your due diligence in other words you are introducing a
product to the market that has some kind of a unique aspect that people actually
search for that’s probably kind of a critical error there is you know trying
to you know introduce a product it’s like oh it has all these you know
secondary benefits yeah you can’t market a secondary benefit you can mark primary
benefits I would say you know you know it well enough but you you know you know
the product well enough you don’t have to master exactly who the target
audience is I think it’s more of a case of you know you throw it out there you
try to separate it from your competitors now I simply just mirror what all your
other competitors are doing trying to separate the product from you know so it
stands out a little bit and then look at the advertising that’s probably the best
source of data as far as the mindset of the shopper when they’re
looking and that the click-through rates and the conversion rates will tell you
are you getting in front of the right audience and is the audience actually
want your product make sense let’s talk about the bigger sellers let’s say that
one to five million maybe even more you we work with a lot of them you can Seoul
with a lot of them what do you see that that’s working right now and what do you
see that’s really not working right now that’s maybe a common mistake that
people are making well you get to larger larger scale where you’ve got a lot of
SKUs and a lot of SKUs I mean that can vary you know I mean we work with we
work with clients that might have you know half a dozen products that do you
know half a million dollars a month right you know it’s very narrow a set of
key you know a really narrow set of products but they excel well in those
areas you’ve got others that have hundreds of SKUs hundreds of products
that they’re constantly trying to market and they’re generally grouped together
you know there’s usually a theme of some kind but a lot of times what the bigger
sellers are doing is they are doing a huge amount of testing you know they
must say they’ve got a hundred products that they’re selling they’re introducing
20 30 40 new products just so they can find five they’re going to continue with
got it they’ve gotten to the point where they can invest in that test get you
know a small bath you know a smaller batch and a smaller batch me Moore’s
probably a thousand units right of a product throw it out there and see you
know test it with ads and just other general promotion and see if they see
what sticks and then they focus back in that’s the kind of the key is they
continue to they they test but then they focus back in on what really is going to
provide the biggest return for makes a lot a lot of sense um you you hear a lot
of sellers talking about budget or ACOS what’s your mentality there and is
it the same across the board are you customizing a plan for every seller I
mean it’s yeah it’s done it’s definitely custom we’ve got our own proprietary
methods when it comes to campaign structure and management but the it
works very well for us generally you know budget is secondary I would say for
sure you know we continue to focus on first
of all the the technical analysis that would be looking at metrics like the
click-through rate of the conversion rate to tell us how well we’re getting
in front of the right audience and then how well we’re actually converting that
audience to a sale that’s primarily going to see that through the the sales
funnel metrics of the click-through rate and the conversion rate beyond that well
there’s a lot more contextual analysis that usually is language that is used by
the shopper and the audience that’s where you really have to learn what the
audience is and what the product is you can’t simply just look at it from from a
spreadsheet and just understand it and manage it well you have to go beyond
that of course let’s say that your seller and you’re interviewing a PPC
expert a PPC agency maybe it’s on the free up platform maybe it’s off let’s
assume that they’re not working with you what questions would you ask that expert
that guru that agency that consultant to get a better feel of whether they’re the
right fit for your account or if they actually understand what they’re doing
well I mean I would say that I mean coming in with you know first of all
they’d have to come to me with a plan that says I’ve looked at your account I
understand where the strengths and weaknesses are relative to the market
and here it basically tell me what strategies that you intend to use in
order to hit the goals that I have already stated right I want to increase
sales I want to increase profitability I’m gonna launch few products whatever
the case is you should be coming to me and saying not not coming with like yeah
I’m gonna manage your account you know using best practices it’s like if you
don’t come to me with some kind of a plan you know even if it’s an outline as
far as the strategies and kind of project where you think it’s going to
what we’re going to win and where we’re going to struggle then I’m not gonna
trust that you understand my product well enough in order to hand it off to
so that’s yeah no I like it our requirements would be a lot higher than where do you see PPC going yeah I mean I
started at selling in Amazon 2008 PPC wasn’t really there it’s obviously burst
out of the scene it’s a big part of selling now or just tough to be a big
seller without maximizing PPC where do you think it’s headed in the
2019 and beyond well I think it’s going to get a lot more you know a lot more
rich as far as the content you know one of the things that we certainly see year
over year is some of the features that are available through some of Amazon’s
higher-end paid platforms you know the DSP and you know that used to be called
like the AMG you know advertising typically though those more like
Amazon’s own in-house agency type of features and tools being able to run
videos being able to target demographics those are all things that aren’t
currently readily available to the average private label seller through
seller central but I definitely think that we’ll we’ll see a lot more that
typically AMS is going to be you know basically to advertising amazon.com
platform is typically going to be the one that’s gets the first kind of the
beta features and then they’ll roll out to seller central over time there’s some
features that amazon has done like the the sponsor display advertising which
they keep on changing the name over time you know they’ve been beta testing that
for two years now you know and some private label sellers just got it you
know in the last week and like when hey here’s a brand new feature it’s a yeah
well it’s been around for two years but Amazon’s
very slow on some of those but kind of to your point I guess is I definitely
see it evolving more into some of the feature sets that we see through like
say Facebook advertising or you know YouTube or Google AdWords is the the
ability to target more demographic information and to interact with more
you know have more live content like video what would you say to someone that
struggled with PPC over maybe they’ve done it they’ve tried different things
they’ve tried different experts different best practices over the years
what advice would you have for that well I mean there could be a number of
reasons it could be a troubleshooting issue that they need to figure out you
know is that is it a product problem versus an advertising problem most of
its most of what I see is I see a lot of settlers that have picked up a
suggestion or you know basically a suggestion from you know course say over
here and podcast be over here and somebody posted up on Facebook or Reddit
you know some strategy and they picking picked and choose you know
because they don’t have anything to Sala dated ideally it what I would recommend
is they try to reduce the number of voices that they’re listening to you
know and to simplify don’t you know don’t make it more complicated simplify
it more no there’s really kind of focus in on what is it that I need to get out
of this and how do I focus advertising to achieve that and most most sellers
that get overwhelmed by it it’s because they’re trying to do too many things at
once and they don’t have the experience or the training in order to to do it
well what are your thoughts on automation verse having an expert
actually manages is there a time where you should only use software is there a
time where you should only use an expert is it always a combination of both I
think it’s a combination of both anymore you know it’s definitely this is an
evolving area I think it’s got a lot of room for improvement I’m certainly
there’s there’s plenty of systems out there as you know artificial
intelligence what they’re calling artificial intelligence it’s more like
just machine learning and automated rules you know we’ll even use even
within our own agency or software it’s like we’ve got you know automated rules
that you can set up in order to automate the really basic tasks that you want to
do every few days right so I think that that definitely benefits I think it
works fine for the most common technical analysis kind of changes but where it
fails typically is the contextual analysis no that was really
understanding the flavor of the audience and the products that’s usually where it
falls flat and usually under performs or over spends you know so I think I think
from a from a standpoint of the technical analysis I think software gets
you you know fifty sixty percent of the way there if you are a full brand and
you actually have an audience that you know of that you want to target
I think the software is gonna let you down yeah let’s talk about the brand how
does your PPC strategy change when you have someone that really has an engaged
following is growing a brand opposed to someone who is just has maybe that that
few products that they’re selling on Amazon yeah so more of an established
brand is going to have also have brand recognition this
tip we’re gonna have off Amazon marketing and traffic generation as well
that could be anywhere anything from you know retail we’ve got clients that have
you know they sell nationally on retail you know breaking border but then they
also do other they sell in other platforms they they have advertising
outside of Amazon all these things that you can outsource right but the the
brand recognition typically increases conversion rates for products and so
generally the strategy is going to change a little bit because we could be
a lot more aggressive when it comes to terms that have a higher conversion rate
because of their brand especially when it comes to competitive at in other
words our PPC strategy will change to be a lot more aggressive against
competitors and against query market share from competitors for branded terms
in for brands that have the higher conversion rates because they have a
competitive advantage that they can then leverage and a lot most of those brands
they come in they haven’t even started using all the different ad types and
strategies available that they could be using Brian what did I miss any any last
PPC tips that you want to share with the audience you know what some of the
things that you know some of my the this year it’s kind of funny is that you know
you do this – I’m sure is that you know the speaking engagements that you have
you know in different conferences and stuff is the message tends to change
based on where your heart you know most compels you right this year I’ve been
really big on Perret oh you know no one’s really focusing in on what are
those you know where can you spend 20% of your time and effort in order to get
80% of the result you don’t need a hundred percent now that additional you
know 80 percent of work in order to produce you know 20% additional benefits
can’t give you a competitive advantage but most sellers they don’t need that
right now they don’t need to spend several hours each week doing certain
tasks when they’re not any good at it they really should be outsourcing it or
they should be limiting you know focusing their efforts
– what’s the 20% of my effort that is going to produce most of the results
that I want without overwhelming my time make sense Brian where can people find
out more about you and what are you most excited about for the rest of the year
you know what my focus is pretty heavily on on my agency canopy management we we
certainly were building a fantastic team here and so we’re doing a lot of great
things second I would say my my next core responsible products Academy we
actually took a year off but now we’re actually bringing back sponsor products
academy 3.0 later this year I haven’t announced win yet but that will come
back later this year our our software as far as like say PPC scope that’s our
that’s our software has been around for for four years we’re actually we’ve got
a major update that’s coming out but I would say most of the interaction most
of the community is going to be through like say the Facebook group
you know the Amazon PPC troubleshooting just cuz there’s you know there’s 15,000
you know sellers out there you know I mean it’s it’s a good community and and
all we’re talking about is you know is advertising you know so it’s a good is a
good group to be in elevate guys check out Bryon’s group check out his agency
Brian thanks so much for having it for coming on pleasure thank you for being
here yep hey everyone thank you so much for
watching did you enjoy this content if so click
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About the Author: Oren Garnes

1 Comment

  1. do you know if many of the Chinese sellers/suppliers on Amazon use PPC? I ask because I am in a niche with a lot of Chinese sellers and I am wondering if I can beat them on PPC ads. Any advice on this?

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