Amazon Automatic Targeting vs. Manual: Which Is the Best Strategy?

Amazon—it’s not just a South American rainforest anymore. The eCommerce behemoth provides countless opportunities for retailers to profit by selling their products on the worldwide platform. However, developing a successful ad strategy is easier said than done, and retailers must pick whether Amazon automatic targeting vs. manual targeting will produce better results for their brand. So, how should you decide between the two? Is it better to take a DIY approach to your ad campaigns or invest in Amazon PPC management services?

Here, the digital marketing and Amazon experts from Click Fluency take a deep dive into automatic vs. manual targeting. Read on to learn the ins and outs of Sponsored Products and PPC ads, the key features of manual and automatic campaigns, how to determine which strategy will work best for your brand, and more.

What Are Sponsored Product Ads on Amazon?

Sponsored Products are a form of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on Amazon. When a user searches for an item on Amazon, the Sponsored Product listings appear alongside the organic products that most closely match the search query. Retailers pay a small fee every time users click on their Sponsored Product ad.

Amazon places Sponsored PPC ads in high-visibility locations: namely, the first page of the search results and product pages. These ads promote product listings and relevant or related product pages. Furthermore, retailers can choose between bidding on a complete campaign or per individual keyword.  

Here’s how it works:

  1. Choose your products or targeted keywords for your ad campaign.
  2. Decide how much you want to spend on each click.
  3. The sellers who bid the highest get the top spots.
  4. When a user clicks on a Sponsored Product ad, the seller pays a fee—even if there’s no sale.

Amazon PPC Ad Campaigns: Manual Targeting vs. Automatic Targeting

Once you invest in PPC advertising on Amazon, you’ll need to pick a targeting strategy. Many sellers have trouble deciding between Amazon automatic targeting vs. manual targeting, as both offer unique pros and cons.

ppc ad campaigns

Amazon Automatic Campaign Targeting

Automatic targeting campaigns are best for sellers new to Amazon or inexperienced with PPC and eCommerce advertising. With automatic targeting, Amazon selects and controls your target keywords based on factors like related search queries, product pages, item descriptions, etc. Then, users will see your ads when searching for relevant products and target keywords or on product pages with items similar to yours.

With automatic targeting, sellers bid on the entire campaign. While the process is quick and easy, there are drawbacks. For example, automatic targeting optimizes your ability to find relevant, high-performance keywords instead of fostering rapid growth. Plus, sellers only have minimal control, which means they have to bid equally on both high-, low-, and zero-conversion keywords, which can raise the advertising cost of sales.

Amazon Manual Campaign Targeting

For more experienced sellers, manual targeting is the ideal option. This campaign type allows you to select and modify broad, phrase, and exact-match keywords by analyzing your automatic campaign data or via an Amazon keyword tool. In addition, you also choose how much you want to bid on each keyword, offering you more control over your ad spend.

Manual targeting is an excellent choice if you’re skilled at researching and identifying high-performance keywords or for brands selling seasonal products and trendy items. However, the process is labor-intensive and requires considerable time and effort to develop and refine your strategy for optimal success. In addition, sellers with extensive catalogs or a diverse range of products usually have better results with automatic targeting.

Key Features

Let’s sum up the key features of each campaign type:

Automatic Targeting

  • Best for new sellers or those unfamiliar with PPC ads
  • Amazon chooses the relevant keywords
  • Sellers bid per campaign
  • Ideal for identifying relevant, high-performance keywords
  • Can raise ACoS (advertising cost of sale)
  • Limited user control

Manual Targeting

  • Best for intermediate or experienced advertisers
  • The seller chooses keywords, not Amazon
  • Seller bids per keyword
  • Allows greater control
  • Ideal for driving rapid growth and profitability
  • Labor-intensive and time-consuming process
  • Requires regular keyword optimization to maintain profits

Amazon Manual Targeting vs. Automatic Targeting: Which Strategy Should You Pick?

Only you can decide which targeting strategy will fit best with your brand. Each eCommerce store is different and has unique factors that impact the effectiveness and success of an advertising campaign. However, many Amazon marketing experts recommend utilizing a dual-targeting strategy to maximize results, boost performance, and get the best of both worlds.

Step One: Automatic Targeting

First, launch a Sponsored Products ad campaign using Amazon’s automatic targeting. Let it run for a few weeks and monitor its performance closely. Once the campaign ends, gather data on search terms (cost per click, impressions, ACoS, etc.) to identify high-converting and negative keywords.

Step Two: Manual Targeting

Next, develop a new Sponsored Products campaign using manual targeting. Pick between 25 and 100 keywords based on the data insights from your automatic campaign.

Most sellers new to manual targeting choose “broad match” keywords. However, some prefer to set the most specific keywords to “phrase” or “exact.” Your bid costs should rest slightly above what you spent on the automatic campaign.

Run the manual campaign for a few weeks, then gather and analyze the data to benchmark the highest- and lowest-performing keywords.

Step Three: Automatic and Manual

Finally, you have the critical data and keyword research necessary to execute a dual campaign leveraging automatic and manual targeting. Don’t forget to periodically analyze campaign performance to find new keywords and eliminate the weakest phrases.

Drive Clicks, Conversions, and Sales Using Amazon PPC Advertising

Clicks Conversions and Sales

So, what’s the final verdict on choosing between Amazon automatic targeting vs. manual targeting? Generally speaking, both offer unique advantages and benefits for sellers. If you’re having trouble choosing the right campaign type for your brand, the Click Fluency team is ready to take over. We’ll utilize our PPC advertising expertise and extraordinary marketing skills to help you learn how to increase your Amazon conversion rates, driving growth and success for your brand. Don’t wait—schedule your call with Click Fluency now to get started.

Imagine looking at your Amazon account and:

• Seeing a higher return on ad spend
• Not worrying about issues with your seller account because it’s handled by experts
• Feeling in control of your Amazon success
• Spending less time on the complexities

All of this, and so much more, happens when you work with Click Fluency. Schedule a call today to get started.