Amazon PPC Tools – Should You Use Them?

There are a plethora of Amazon tools out there. And a fair number of them focus on helping sellers with Amazon PPC.

But are they any good?

Will using a new PPC tool get you sales you wouldn’t otherwise? And what sort of benefits do you get from these softwares that you wouldn’t without them?

Well, the short answer is that it all depends.

Generally speaking, an Amazon PPC tool will help you save time and work more efficiently. But they aren’t needed to achieve great results with your ad spend. In fact, a skilled PPC manager can achieve better results without ad software than an inexperienced manager can achieve with software.

But as always, the conversation is more complicated than that. And it’s important to understand the fundamental differences between what humans are good at, and what software is good at. So let’s explore that.

Things Software Is Good At

The nice thing about software is that, generally speaking, it will do what you tell it to. The key benefits of software are related to efficiency.

While every PPC tool is going to be different, there are some benefits they almost all have in common. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are key commonalities:

Software Is More Accurate

Because software is always “plugged in” to Amazon’s API, the changes that a PPC tool can make are significantly more accurate and precise. This in turn can give you better data to accomplish your goals.

A lot of software tools come with data wrangling capabilities that are difficult for most people to achieve on their own. Custom PPC tool dashboards help you organize your data, access insights, and make changes much more easily.

By leveraging PPC software, you can cut back on the number of human errors that would normally occur in advertising management. Many tools have formula and custom metrics already built into the software, which can make accurate information far less strenuous.

Without advertising software, you’re left to do everything manually. Calculating, analyzing, reporting, iterating. Every time you want to make a change, you have to do it on your own. And everything you touch has the risk of human error.

But with advertising software, those important (but tedious) tasks are always done automatically. And not only does that guarantee accuracy, but it also saves you time. Speaking of which…

Software Is Faster

When working without software, you have to pull reports manually.

Organize data manually.

Analyze insights manually.

Make changes manually.

As you can imagine, this can take a lot of time to do well. If you’re making a lot of changes on a regular basis, this kind of work can take hours each week.

Unless you use advertising tools.

If you use a tool, this whole process gets a lot faster. Most Amazon PPC software allows you to automatically pull reports at intervals you suggest, import the data into their custom UI, and access insights instantly.

So instead of spending hours each week building your own process to then have to import changes all on your own, you just log into your dashboard and click a few buttons.

Or even better–many tools allow you to automate tasks with “if/then” rules.

You can tell the Amazon PPC tool to automatically, every two weeks, bid down on exact match keywords above $10 in spend with no sales.

Or you can tell it to do whatever you want.

With advertising tools that have this feature, you can create your own custom strategy and automate your way to success. The only time you would need to make any changes is if your strategy changes.

Software Tells You What Amazon Doesn’t

This is only kind of true.

There is no PPC tool that will give you data that Amazon won’t give you. However, as stated before, some insights take a massive amount of effort to get.

But with an third-party tool, you can get these insights with ease. Here’s an example:

Amazon only allows you to look back on the last 90 days of advertising data. Usually, 90 days is enough time to know if an advertising tactic is effective.

But not always.

There are a lot of long-tail keywords that don’t generate a lot of traffic. And these long-tail keywords usually don’t cost very much to advertise on.

So if your rule says “don’t spend more than $10 on a keyword without getting a sale”, that might be a hard rule to follow. Because some of your keywords are only going to generate a few clicks per month. And that might only result in $6 after 90 days.

Do you keep the keyword? Maybe. But it’s hard because you don’t have enough information to know if that keyword is going to be profitable. You just know it’s not profitable yet.

Well, some software, like PPC Ninja, allow you analyze keyword effectiveness, not based on how much time has passed, but instead, how many clicks have been generated.

This means that when you look at a low-volume keywords, you can make decisions based on traffic–not just time or ad spend.

And this actually brings us to our final benefit of Amazon PPC tools.

Software Gives You Data Retention

Not only do third party tools make data more accessible, but they also keep that data.

As mentioned before, Amazon only lets you analyze data from the last 90 days. However, most PPC tools log data on a regular basis, and then they store that data for you as long as you continue to use that tool.

This is super important because growth is relative. You might be analyzing performance from Q2 of this year, and Amazon would only let you access data from that quarter (if you time it right).

But an advertising software would allow you to look at this quarter vs last quarter. Or this quarter this year vs last year.

These are powerful insights that you can only get if you’re looking at data long term. You won’t be able to make the same educated decisions without that kind of longitudinal data.

Things Humans Are Good At

But PPC tools aren’t great at everything. And they certainly shouldn’t replace an advertising manager. And that because there are things a human can do that a software can’t do–just like there are things software can do that humans can’t.

So again, here is are some key benefits of making sure that a human is at the helm of your advertising:

Humans Build Narrative

Data extraction and insight generation are important. But it’s what you do with that information that’s important. And only humans can build a narrative around what’s going on with advertising.

For example, what if you cut a bunch of bids and your ad sales went up? Depending on the brand, category, and season, that might mean different things.

So data interpretation is just as important as data collection.

Perhaps it’s not impossible for really good software to do, but humans are just better at it. A skilled PPC manager will be able to look at the keywords, ad groups, campaigns, and overall ad strategy and be able to build a story around what’s happening.

From there, advertisers build hypotheses and create tests. And the cycle continues.

Humans Understand The Brand

No matter how smart a PPC tool is, it will never understand the Brand being advertised better than a human. And that’s because the stories we tell ourselves about the brands we interact with is a uniquely human experience.

Based on market trends, an advertising tool might tell you to increase or decrease bids–the market zigs.

And maybe that’s a good idea for your Brand. But then again, maybe not. It might be better for you to do something else–you should zag.

That’s always a tough call to make. It’s hard to know what the best strategy for your Brand should be. But the fact is, if you don’t know what’s best for your advertising, the software isn’t going to know either.

Brands that succeed both on and off Amazon have a customer base that identifies with their products. The Brand understands the customers, and the customers understand the Brand.

When Amazon sellers defer important brand decisions to a tool that uses homogenized data, they compromise their ability to succeed with a specific customer demographic.

This makes it absolutely vital that a human–one who understand the Brand and the customer–is at the helm of advertising efforts. Full advertising automation will never be as effective as intentional advertising.

Humans Are More Dynamic

A comprehensive ad strategy would include multiple ad types that exist for multiple reasons. You might have a brand awareness campaign, a profitability campaign, and a research campaign all in the same portfolio–advertising the same product.

That’s a lot going on. And in some ways, each of those goals contradicts another. But they all exist for a specific purpose and are important to the Brand’s overall growth strategy.

Maintaining a strategy like this is something that humans are just better at than PPC software. The goals that most software applications afford sellers are rather simplistic. And usually, you only get to pick one.

Relying too much on an advertising tool would force sellers to approach ads in a less wholistic way. And for some Amazon sellers, that might be okay. But for others, it’s just not enough.

Additionally, it’s not uncommon to need to change your advertising strategy as the market changes. Messaging changes, customers’ needs change, and the products change. The ability to appropriately adjust advertising strategy is something that is also done better by a human.

The Ideal Situation

Most Amazon accounts can be benefitted by a PPC software. But no matter how good the software is, it’s no replacement for an experience ads manager.

The ideal scenario involves both. A software with the features you need, and a manager with the skills to use it well.

Although the things that software and humans are good at are different, they’re also complementary. Good software enhances the ability of an ads manager, and an ads manager makes good use of the software.

Having an expert in your corner can be absolutely vital to the growth of Amazon accounts. Balancing profits, sales velocity, and growth is tricky. And it can be extremely useful to have someone who knows what they’re doing steering the ship.

Here at BLAZON, we understand that ads have their place–but they’re not the end-all-be-all to selling on Amazon. Although almost every seller is benefited by investing in PPC, how much and how to manage it is the tricky part.

We’ve built our team with true experts on Amazon. And we pull from a vast collective knowledge to help sellers grow their sales. We take accounts and develop a strategy that fits the needs of the business. Campaigns, budgets, and targeting are all adjusted to fit inside a greater strategy for the seller.

And that’s something that absolutely no software can do better than we can.