PPC Strategy, Structure and Campaign Setup - Sellics

Course: Amazon Sponsored Products Vendor Academy

You will learn:

  • Basic concepts and KPIs
  • How to set goals
  • How to set up and optimize campaigns

PPC Strategy, Structure and Campaign Setup

You will learn:

  • PPC Campaign strategy and structure
  • How to setup your ad campaigns

Many vendors launch their Sponsored Products campaigns without a proper structure or strategy. However, campaign structure is critical as it significantly influences the effort and precision of campaign management. Structure and (optimization) strategy are therefore closely connected.

Furthermore, it is difficult to change the structure of your campaigns after they have been set up. If you begin with a well-thought-out structure, you will save a lot of time later and will get better results.

In this lesson, we show you how to create a structure for your campaigns that will deliver good results and requires only moderate effort.

The Myth Of The Perfect Campaign Structure

It is important to note right at the start that there is no ‘perfect campaign structure’.

As an advertiser, you will always face the trade-off between effort and accuracy when setting up your campaign. You need to think about how much time and effort you are willing to commit to your PPC campaign optimization.

  • Effort: The time and effort it takes to create the campaigns, maintain, and optimize them regularly.
  • Control/precision: Precise control of the campaigns to deliver the highest revenues at the lowest possible costs.

By cutting back on effort, you end up compromising in accuracy and vice versa. This relationship becomes evident when looking at the extreme points in the spectrum of different structures in the following graph:

The differences in effort and accuracy between automatic campaigns and exact manual campaigns are summarized in the following table:

The Middle Ground Between Campaign Effort & Precision

Between these two extremes, there are many different ways to structure your campaigns and find a suitable compromise between effort and control.

Finding this middleground depends on how you use and combine the available PPC elements based on their advantages and disadvantages:

  • Campaign hierarchy and differentiation: How are products and keywords divided into different campaigns?
  • Campaign types: Which campaign types are used? (automatic/manual)
  • Match Types: What keyword match types are used? (broad/phrase/exact)
  • Negative keywords: How and to what extent are negative keywords used?
  • Combination of elements: How are all these elements combined?

The resulting structure should fit your needs regarding control possibilities and the time you can set aside to manage the campaign.

Campaign Structure With Efficient Control & Manageable Effort

Most vendors do not have the luxury to spend a lot of time on regularly optimizing their PPC campaigns, but still want to advertise as profitably as possible. We have therefore developed a structure and strategy that helps you find the sweet spot.

Overview of The Main Elements

In our recommended structure, the following elements are used to advertise a single product (or group of similar products):

  • 1 automatic campaign.
  • 1 manual campaign for keywords with Match Type Broad.
  • 1 manual campaign for keywords with Match Type Exact.

The following graphic provides an overview of the recommended campaign structure:

Objectives Of The Campaigns

The concept behind this structure is that each campaign has different objectives:

  • Automatic Campaign – Keyword Research: The main objective of this campaign is to continuously research new keywords with little effort. New, high-performance keywords can then be transferred to the broad campaign in order to further optimise them there. Due to the high inaccuracy and scattering losses of this campaign type, a low bid level is used.
  • Manual Campaign (Match Type Broad) – Advertise the relevant keywords and identify the top keywords: The goal here is to advertise relevant keywords of the product. The Match Type Broad covers many different keywords from generic to specific without much effort. The keyword targeting is more accurate than in the automatic campaign. However, scattering losses still occur, so a medium bid level is generally advised here. This campaign also serves to identify the top keywords of the product for the exact campaign.
  • Manual Campaign (Match Type Exact) – Precise advertising of the top keywords: With Match Type Exact, CPC bids can be precisely matched to keywords and scattering losses are minimal. The goal here is to generate as many sales as possible. This campaign is suitable for efficiently advertising keywords that have a high search volume or sales potential but also high competition (fathead keywords). Due to the high efficiency, a higher bid level can generally be used in this campaign. Since the exact precision also involves a higher effort, only the top keywords are advertised here.


How many products is this setup suitable for?

It is generally best to create the setup for each individual ASIN separately (1 ASIN per campaign). This allows greater precision, especially in these following aspects:

  • Product and keyword specific CPC: If only a single product is advertised in a campaign, the keyword CPCs can be controlled specifically for the individual product. As soon as you add several products to a single campaign, CPCs apply simultaneously to all those products. No differentiation is possible for the performance of the keywords.
  • Search Term – Product Matching: Due to the structure of Amazon’s search term reports, search terms and their performance can only be evaluated for a single product if there is 1 ASIN per campaign. This is the only way to accurately evaluate the performance of a search term for a specific product in order to make decisions based on the findings (e.g. transfer a keyword from automatic to broad).

Products with similar keywords and margins can be grouped together:

The setup can generally be used for multiple products per campaign, if the products share similar keywords (e.g. product variations). Again, there is a trade-off between effort and accuracy. A stronger separation or differentiation according to individual products means that more precision can be achieved. At the same time, the number of campaigns to be controlled (effort) increases.

When several ASINs are combined in a campaign, you should ensure that they have similar margins or similar target values for the ACoS. Otherwise, the ACoS of the campaign or individual keywords cannot be used to reliably indicate profitability.

Why is the Phrase Match Type not used?

Our structure uses only the match types Broad and Exact. We recommend to skip the Match Type Phrase because it does not offer a significant advantage, but instead leads to more effort. Here is the logic:

  • The Broad Match Type covers all the word variations found in Phrase, not just in the same order, but in any order.
  • Order also doesn’t significantly affect the meaning or relevance of the search term.
  • For keywords with only one word, there is no difference between Broad and Phrase.

As a result, Broad covers more search terms per keyword than Phrase. The Match Type Phrase does not offer a decisive advantage and is therefore omitted in order to save additional effort.

Use of Negative Keywords to Control Traffic

In this structure, negative keywords are not only used to exclude irrelevant search terms but also to control the distribution of traffic between campaigns.

It is possible within our structure that the same search term is covered both by the automatic campaign and by a keyword in the Exact or Broad campaign. You can use negative keywords to prevent impressions and clicks from being split between the various campaigns. This ensures that the division of tasks between the campaigns is clearly separated:

  • Traffic control between Broad and Automatic: If a keyword is added in the Broad campaign, matching keywords should no longer generate impressions in the Automatic campaign. For this reason, a keyword added to the Broad campaign is simultaneously added as a negative phrase in the Automatic campaign.
  • Traffic control between Exact and Broad: When a keyword is added in the Exact Campaign, the keywords with an exact match should no longer generate impressions in the Broad campaign. For this reason, the keyword is added simultaneously in the broad campaign as a Negative Exact keyword. If the keyword has not yet been excluded in the Automatic campaign, it will also be added there as a Negative Exact keyword.

This use of negative keywords is illustrated again in the following example:

The advertised product is a men’s purse. The search term “wallet men” and various variants  (e.g. “leather wallet men”, “wallet men black”) are relevant search terms.

To advertise this product, the keyword “wallet men” with the match type Broad is added to the campaign Broad. In order for this search term and its variants to no longer receive impressions in the automatic campaign, the negative keyword “wallet men” with the Match Type Negative Phrase is added there.

The exact search term “wallet men” is also advertised as a keyword for the exact campaign, as it has a particularly high search volume. Again, in order for this Exact search term to not receive any impressions in the Broad campaign, it is added there as a negative keyword with the match type Exact. Other variants such as “leather wallet men” will still receive impressions in the Broad campaign.

Setting Up Campaigns

When creating campaigns with this structure, you can proceed in the following order:

  • Create Manual/Exact campaign.
  • Create Manual/Broad campaign.
  • Create Automatic campaign.

The following settings should be used:

The settings described are used for the following reasons:

Name – Be clear:

Using clear and names makes it easy to recognize the respective contents of a campaign at a glance. Navigation, analysis and optimisation are more difficult if campaigns are not named in a meaningful and systematic way.

Campaign Budget – Budgets are cost airbags:

If no fixed marketing budgets for sponsored products have been set by the company, the campaign budgets should mainly be used as cost airbags. This means that budgets are used to prevent excessive costs due to unforeseen events (such as bids that are accidentally set too high).

Here an approximate budget of 10€ per ASIN can be set at the beginning, which is then adapted to regular cost levels during the optimization process.

Products – Group only similar products together:

For the best analysis and control capabilities, ideally use only 1 ASIN per campaign. However, depending on the number of your products and the subsequent effort involved, this may not be practicable. In this case you can group several products.

A campaign should only include products that have similar keywords/search terms and similar margins (variants or other similar products). Otherwise a precise evaluation/interpretation of relevant keywords is impossible.

Standard bid – Align with target margin:

We recommend to start with a slightly higher bid right at the beginning in order to shorten the lead times for campaign activity and data quality. In order not to get too high, the maximum CPC required to achieve a certain target margin should be estimated. This can be done as follows:

Max. CPC if target margin is met:

[profit before PPC (€) – target profit after PPC (€)].

x expected conversion rate (average PPC CR of product or org. CR)

x 1.4 (40% premium for average difference between actual CPC and bid)

This standard bid is used in the Exact campaign. In the Broad or Automatic campaign, 20% and 40% respectively are subtracted from the standard bid, since it is to be expected that the conversion rate will be lower due to the wider spread (decreasing average keyword relevance).

Initial Keywords – Research top 20-50 keywords with Sonar:

We recommend to start by researching some strong keywords with our free Amazon Keyword Tool Sonar (also integrated into the AMS module in Sellics VE) (for tips see lesson “Keyword Research”). These keywords are added in the Exact and Broad campaigns with the respective match type.

Negative Keywords – Used to control traffic:

Negative keywords are used to achieve a clear separation of traffic according to the targeted search terms. In the Broad or Automatic campaign, the start keywords are therefore also added as negative keywords with the match types Negative Exact or Negative Phrase.

Boost Your Amazon Ad Performance with Sellics

Analyze, optimize, and manage Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands (previously Headline Search Ads) campaigns with the AMS Module in Sellics Vendor Edition. Maximum success with Amazon PPC campaigns- it’s never been easier!


  • PPC automation: Save time with automated bidding. Managing keyword bids manually can be very time-consuming. Sellics automates these tasks for you and saves you a lot of time.
  • See your KPIs and ad performance: Get an immediate bird’s eye view of your PPC performance. Compare your Sponsored Products vs. Sponsored Brands campaign performance with ease.
  • Intuitive trend visualization: Understand how your PPC performance develops over time. Visualize and easily evaluate past campaign performance with our Trend Chart.
  • Smooth workflow for campaign management: Full integration with AMS. Create and optimize your campaigns easily with Sellics. Efficiently handle bulk changes to campaigns, move keywords between campaigns, use negative keywords, and more.
  • See your PPC history log: Changes you make to your keyword bids, budgets, added or removed keywords are all visualized for you. Learn from the past and know exactly which changes correlated with a boost in ad performance.

Action Steps:

  • Apply our recommended Sponsored Products campaign structure for a product of your choice, and start the campaigns.

Try Sellics today and start boosting your sales