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Beware of This Campaign [Plus a Plan of Action]

Aug 28, 2022


This weekend is turning out to be a scorcher, by UK standards! And we're in the garage, painting our new gym. However, being British, we are having tea breaks sitting on the bench in the garden!

Today, I have a warning about a particular campaign type, as well as a plan of action to get the most out of this campaign.

What I'm talking about here is Sponsored Brands Category Targeting campaigns.

If you don't know what a Sponsored Brands campaign is, they sit, predominantly, at the top of the search results pages, advertising at least 3 books and convert like crazy, with the right targeting in place.

I cover these powerful campaigns in-depth inside Amazon Ads Academy For Authors; from how to use them strategically, to launching them effectively, optimizing them for maximum impact and scaling them up when the time is right.

Here's an example Sponsored Brands campaign.

As you can see, they are very prominent when a reader is searching for a specific book or a particular type of book, which is why they convert so well.

The targeting options for Sponsored Brands campaigns are exactly the same as Sponsored Products campaigns, aside from Automatic Targeting:

- Keyword Targeting
- ASIN Targeting
- Category Targeting

It's the latter of these targeting types that you need to be aware of; category targeting.

The reason being that, yes, they can position your books in front a huge number of readers, but with the higher CPCs (Cost-Per-Clicks) of the Sponsored Brands campaigns (due to their prominence and conversion potential), using Category Targeting with them can quickly blow a big hole in your budget with little to show for it, if you're not keeping a close eye on their performance.

I always bid lower on Sponsored Brands category targeting campaigns than I do when using keyword or ASIN targeting with this campaign type, but even then, to gain any sort of traction, you're still looking at bids of $0.60 or more, minimum, for most genres (some genres are $0.80 or higher).

Am I saying that Sponsored Brands category targeting campaigns don't work? No, absolutely not. They certainly work extremely well, but, generally, you'll need to spend a considerable amount on them to find those winning categories, and optimize the bids to find the sweet spot.

And there is one quirky little feature of Sponsored Brands category targeting campaigns that make them very difficult to optimize.

What you'll find with these campaigns is that although you are targeting a specific category, which, in the case of Sponsored Products campaigns, targets individual ASINs, in Sponsored Brands category targeting campaigns, it will be predominantly keywords that are targeted, not ASINs.

Now, this may sound great on the surface because you can discover some unicorn search terms with these campaigns; and there's no denying that, they do find some golden ones.

However, if you spot a keyword that is sucking up a huge amount of the campaign budget, but is not converting, there's no way to negate that keyword.

The only negative targeting available with Sponsored Brands category targeting campaigns is Negative Products (ASINs).

And with 80%-90% of the targets in these campaigns being keywords, that is definitely an issue.

So, here's a plan of action if you want to test out Sponsored Brands category targeting campaigns:

- Daily Budget: $5-$10
- Bids: $0.60 - $0.80
- Structure: Target 1 category per campaign
- Timeframe: Let them run for 2 weeks
- Next Steps: Pull out any search terms that converted into 2+ Orders and target them in an Exact Match keyword campaign

Yes, these campaigns have their drawbacks, but if you're prepared to invest to find some stand-out keywords, they are worth every penny, cent or dime.

Have an amazing Sunday.

To Your Success
- Matt

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