How to Use Targeted Advertising to Build Effective Campaigns

4 min readOct 31, 2022
A shopper on their phone seeing Sponsored Display Ads through targeted advertising.

The goal of every marketer is to put the right ads in front of the right customers at the right time. Gigantic online markets like Amazon contain a staggering number of competitors all trying to sell similar products. This makes it incredibly difficult to reach your customers with normal ad campaigns. Targeted advertising is a way to cut through the noise and get specific ad campaigns in front of the customers you want to engage with the most.

You don’t need to gather and analyze years of customer data to build your targeted advertising strategy. Amazon offers tools to help you build effective campaigns and optimize existing efforts. The key is knowing how to use those tools in the right way to start seeing improvement in a matter of weeks.

What is Targeted Advertising?

Targeted advertising is the practice of using specific traits, interests, and behaviors of customers to develop ads campaigns and marketing that resonate with those customers. Targeted advertising relies heavily on data gathered from online behavior and often utilizes customer segmentation to ensure that the right ads are put in front of the right customer at the right time in their buyer’s journey.

Targeted advertising also includes retargeting, putting ads in front of customers who have already seen an advertisement or clicked on a listing. As explained in 100+ Tips for Mastering Amazon Marketing, retargeting with sponsored display ads is a potent tool to lead customers down the sales funnel toward making a purchase.

On Amazon, targeting can be used with Sponsored Products and Sponsored Display campaigns to target specific items or product categories and drive more consideration and sales. Amazon also offers tools to help sellers develop and refine their advertising strategies to improve conversion rates.

Targeting Tools on Amazon

Amazon offers two different types of targeting you can use for your sponsored campaigns: automatic targeting and manual targeting.

Automatic Targeting

Automatic targeting is the easiest and fastest way to begin a targeted advertising campaign. When you use this option, Amazon will automatically do the work of matching your ads to customer queries and searches. This is why keyword research and listing optimization is so important: you want the Amazon algorithm to recognize these keywords in your listing and the relevancy they have for specific queries and searches.

Working in reverse, you can use the insights you gain from automatic targeting to see which queries matched with your products to help refine your target keywords and targeted advertising strategy. As part of automatic targeted advertising, Amazon will also provide you with recommended bid ranges to help make your campaigns more effective.

Manual Targeting

As the name suggests, manual targeting allows you to target specific keywords and products in your campaigns and does take more knowledge of the marketplace and the algorithm. You can choose different match types for keywords and choose related categories, products, features, and brands. You also have the option to set different bids for each selection. As with automatic targeting, Amazon will provide a suggested bid range for each.

Although manual targeting does take more time, it offers greater control over where and when your ads appear. This makes it the preferred method for anyone with more advertising experience such as an Amazon advertising agency, as it allows professional marketers to create extremely specific, customized campaigns based on goals and analytics.

What is the Best Amazon Advertising Strategy?

Every brand, product, and category should develop a unique advertising strategy to account for the many factors influencing how customers find and select their listings. That said, there are best practices to follow and ways to take advantage of the tools Amazon currently offers sellers.

Sellers can begin by using Amazon’s automatic targeted advertising to learn which customer queries and searches lead to their product pages and view similar product pages based on those same searches. This is done by setting up sponsored product campaigns using the automatic targeting feature and allowing it to run for at least two weeks to gather data and analytics. Using the information gained, sellers can then create their own manual targeted advertising campaigns to drive more traffic to specific products and listings.

This two-step approach is incredibly valuable for a couple of reasons. Amazon’s automatic targeted advertising allows sellers to gain insight into current search trends and queries, while the manual targeting tools use those insights to create even more competitive campaigns. By using the best-performing keywords and search terms, you can confidently drive more traffic to specific listings.

Furthermore, you can continue to monitor the automatic targeting campaigns, using new data and insights to refine and update manual campaigns. Running multiple campaigns simultaneously is a terrific way to make the most out of targeted advertising and sponsored ad campaigns.

Updating Targeted Campaigns

One of the questions we hear most often is how often sellers should revise and update targeted advertising campaigns. The general recommendation is to review analytics often for areas of opportunity and update or optimize those campaigns every 2–4 weeks.

As mentioned above, every brand and category is different, so pay close attention to trends and seasonality that might impact ongoing sponsored campaigns. This is why it makes sense for larger brands or brands with extensive product catalogs to work with professional marketing teams who can constantly monitor and update their targeted advertising campaigns.

Learn More about Amazon Advertising Strategies

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