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Amazon PPC Keyword Research with Sonar

Amazon Sponsored Product (‘PPC’) ads can only appear when a customer’s search term matches one of the keywords running in your PPC campaign.

If you want to maximise the visibility of your ads to all potential customers, you need to perform thorough keyword research as part of your PPC campaign strategy.

You can use Sonar, our free Amazon keyword research tool to build your PPC keyword lists. Sonar has a comprehensive Amazon keyword database (currently 110 million keywords) which pulls keywords from the customer search queries used by real Amazon shoppers.

Importantly, Sonar’s internal algorithm only looks at Amazon data, meaning sellers minimize the risk of bidding on potentially irrelevant keywords. Conversely, if you relied on Google AdWords for your PPC keyword research, you risk bidding on keywords that are not relevant to the (usually product centric) search queries of Amazon customers.

In this article, we will show you how to use Sonar to find the best PPC keywords for your product ads on Amazon.

Find Short tail keywords (Amazon search volume displayed in Sonar)

Keywords with a high search volume (‘short tail keywords’) on Amazon are lucrative for sellers because they already promise a high sales potential. With Sonar you have the ability to sort keywords by search volume, allowing you to immediately identify the short tail keywords you want to add to your PPC campaign.

Sonar’s search volume indicator allows you to prioritize keywords by relevance, ranging from 0 (very low) to 5 bars (very high).

amazon search volume sonar

Amazon search volume displayed in Sonar

Research Long Tail Keywords

Running profitable ads on Amazon has become challenging as more sellers and brands compete for the same (limited) advertising space on Amazon. This has made it increasingly expensive for sellers to bid on the short tail keywords that guarantee a high search volume, and therefore a higher sales potential.

Long tail keywords are search queries that usually contain three or more words, and highlight a more specific search intent by the customer. Long tail keywords are lucrative to bid on because you are targeting customers further down the conversion funnel, meaning you will typically see a higher conversion rate for you ad.

Of course, less search volume will also mean less sales potential, however with minimal competition for long tail keywords, your CPC will be lower as well.

We recommend a two step method for building your long tail keyword list:

The first step is to run an ongoing PPC Auto Campaign, and comb through your Search Term Report (‘STR’) for the relevant search terms. However, because you will want a broad list of search terms, relying on your STR alone will be insufficient to build your long tail keyword list.

The second step is to copy & paste the relevant search terms you’ve identified in your STR into Sonar, which will generate a list of similar relevant keywords, which can then be exported via Excel and pasted into your Manual campaign.

Reverse ASIN Search (research your competitor’s PPC keywords)

sonar reverse ASIN search

The Reverse ASIN search function in Sonar shows all the keywords a competitor’s product is ranking for organically, and also if a product is running PPC on any of the displayed keywords (indicated by the ‘PPC’ label’).

Performing a Reverse ASIN search is useful for PPC keyword research in two aspects:

  1. You can see the keywords your competitors have chosen for their PPC ads, and consider adding them to your own ad campaign.
  2. You can analyze your own products to see the keywords you are ranking for organically, and consider adding keywords not yet running PPC to a new or existing campaign.

Exclude Permutations filter

This default-enabled filter removes all the keywords that only differ by word order from the Sonar search results. E.g. if both the keywords “gloves black” and “black gloves” are found, then Sonar will only display the keyword with the higher search volume.

Note: The word order is not relevant for PPC keywords using the ‘Broad’ match type. Using this filter will help you save time by reducing the number of irrelevant keywords and avoid keyword repetition. You can deactivate the filter when researching PPC keywords for Exact or Phrase, as a different order of words can produce different keyword results.

Keyword research for international Amazon marketplaces

amazon keyword translator

Sonar is available internationally and can be used for the Amazon US, Amazon EU (DE, UK, FR, IT, ES), and Amazon India marketplaces. This makes it very easy for sellers to overcome the language barrier when setting up new PPC campaigns for overseas Amazon marketplaces.

Use the Sonar Keyword Translator to search for a keyword in your native language, and Sonar will then display the matching keyword in your targeted language.

Simply select any input language (i.e. your native language) from the drop down menu, and pick your desired Amazon market for your keyword research. For example, if you’re looking to sell on Amazon Germany, simply toggle to the German flag on Sonar to research the German keywords for your product.

How many keywords should I research using Sonar?

The number of keywords you research is strongly dependant on how much effort you want to put into optimizing your PPC campaigns, and the degree of control you want over your paid keywords.

The Keyword Match Type you decide to use is decisive here; using the Broad match type will require less effort than the Exact match type, as fewer keywords are required to display your ad to potential customers searching for your product.

However, the benefit of using Exact is that it allows for more precise ad targeting; your ad will only be displayed to customers searching for the exact keywords you are bidding on. This minimizes the risk of your ad being displayed for customer search terms that may be irrelevant to your product, and consequently costing you clicks without conversion. You can learn more about keyword match types here.

We recommend that you use Sonar to research the first 20-50 keywords for your new PPC campaign. You can also run an ongoing Automatic campaign to assist with keyword research; download your Search Term Report and identify relevant search terms you may want to add to your Manual campaign.

Your most relevant PPC keywords can be found by looking at the Amazon search volume of the keywords displayed in Sonar, and prioritizing them accordingly.

Export and Analysis

Sonar will always display the first 50 keyword results. The complete results (up to 3000 keywords) are available for download as a .CSV file via the ‘Request Download’ button at the end of the search results page. You can then open the .CSV file in Excel.

There are two ways to open your downloaded file in Excel:

Option 1: Drag & Drop

  1. Open a new sheet in Excel
  2. Locate your downloaded Sonar .CSV file
  3. Drag the .CSV file with the mouse to your new sheet in Excel and drop it

If this option does not work for you, you can open the .CSV file in the following way:

Option 2 : Using Excel Text Conversion Wizard

  1. Open a new sheet in Excel
  2. Go to the “Data” tab  
  3. In the Get External Data group, select “From text”
  4. Navigate to the location of the Sonar .CSV file (i.e. in the download folder) and open the file
  5. Click “Next” in the Text Conversion Wizard in step 1
  6. In step 2, choose the semicolon as delimiter, click “finish” and then “OK”

Analysis of results

Your Sonar file will contain an exported list with three columns relevant for PPC:

  1. Keyword column: Contains the keyword suggestion.
  2. Search volume column: Displays the Amazon search volume for prioritizing or segmenting your keyword list.
  3. PPC column: Indicates whether the product is running a PPC ad for this keyword. Please note this column is only filled when you perform a Reverse ASIN search in Sonar.

To compile a list of all relevant keywords, successive rows with irrelevant keywords can be deleted. You can then add the keywords simply by copying + pasting your keyword list into the Sellics PPC Manager or Seller Central.




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Sellics is the leading Amazon analytics platform for brands and sellers. It is used by large multinational brands as well as small Amazon-only merchants to optimize rankings, manage product reviews, observe prices and monitor competitors to increase sales on Amazon.

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