Mastering the Maze: A Comprehensive Guide to Lowering Your Amazon ACOS

While navigating the ever-evolving world of Amazon Advertising can feel like traversing a maze, understanding your Advertising Cost of Sales (ACOS) is one metric that can significantly impact your bottom line.

This guide delves into the intricacies of ACOS, exploring situations where a high ACOS might be strategically advantageous, and equips you with actionable strategies to achieve optimal profitability for your Amazon Ads.

Demystifying ACOS: Understanding the Numbers Behind Your Ads

ACOS, or Advertising Cost of Sales, is a fundamental metric in Amazon Advertising. It reveals the percentage of your total ad spend that directly translates into sales.

Calculated by dividing your total ad spend by your total sales generated from those ads, ACOS provides a clear picture of your advertising campaign’s efficiency.

Here’s the formula for calculating ACOS:

ACOS (%) = (Total Ad Spend) / (Total Sales from Ads) x 100

A Word on When a High ACOS Isn’t Necessarily a Bad Thing

While keeping your ACOS low is generally a desirable goal, there are situations where a high ACOS can be a strategic move.

Consider the example of a seasonal product, like a scratchable world map, that experiences a surge in sales during holidays. Here, running Amazon Sponsored Product PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns at a loss during the off-season can be beneficial.

The objective is to secure a top spot in Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank (BSR) just in time for the peak season.

The resulting high off-season ACOS can be offset by the significant increase in sales during the high season when your product holds a dominant position in search results.

This example underscores the importance of aligning your ACOS goals with your overall business objectives.

While maximizing profitability is often the primary aim, there are instances where strategic use of a higher ACOS can propel your product’s visibility and pave the way for future success.

Unlocking Profitability: 6 Powerful Strategies to Lower Your ACOS

Now that we’ve explored scenarios where a high ACOS can be strategic, let’s delve into actionable tactics to reduce your ACOS and optimize your advertising spend:

1. Prioritize Your Best-Selling SKUs:

Focus your advertising efforts on the SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) that consistently generate the highest sales.

By directing your ad spend towards these proven performers, you’ll maximize the return on your investment (ROI).

While this might lead to a temporary dip in sales for less popular variations, the overall increase in profitability often outweighs this potential drawback.

2. Analyze Keyword Effectiveness: Unearthing the Gems and Discarding the Duds

Effective keyword research is the cornerstone of successful Amazon Ads.

Your product listing likely ranks for a specific pool of relevant keywords, which are the search terms customers use to find your product.

Some keywords are high-volume, attracting a broader audience, while others are more specific, leading to a higher conversion rate (the percentage of clicks that result in a sale).

The key lies in identifying the keywords that deliver the best results and eliminating those that drain your budget without generating sales.

Utilize tools like Amazon Seller Central’s Bulk Download File and Search Term Report to gather comprehensive data on your keyword performance.

Analyze metrics like ACOS, click-through rate (CTR), and conversion rate to identify high-performing keywords that deserve increased bids and low-performing keywords that should be paused or removed entirely.

3. Pause Keyword Bleeders: Cutting Off the Drain on Your Budget

Some keywords, despite appearing relevant, might be silently siphoning your ad budget without delivering any sales.

Don’t hesitate to pause these keyword “bleeders.”

While you can revisit them later, temporarily pausing them allows you to focus your resources on keywords that are demonstrably converting clicks into sales.

4. Optimize Bids for “Almost There” Keywords: Fine-Tuning for Maximum Impact

Keywords that fall within the range of break-even to a moderately high ACOS (let’s say 80% for this example) have the potential to become profitable with strategic bid adjustments.

Here’s a formula to calculate a coefficient that can guide you in setting optimal bid limits for these “almost there” keywords:

  • Divide your current ACOS by your desired ACOS for the specific keyword. For instance, if your current ACOS is 65% and your desired ACOS is 25%, the calculation would be: 65% / 25% = 2.6.
  • Take your current bid for this keyword and divide it by the coefficient you just calculated (2.6 in this example). Let’s say your current bid is $3.70. The calculation would be $3.70 / 2.6 = $1.42.
  • This calculated value, $1.42, represents the new bid limit you should set for this keyword. By doing this, you’ll maintain some sales volume while driving your ACOS closer to your desired level.

5. Double Down on High Performers: Rewarding the Champions

Once you’ve identified and addressed the underperforming keywords, shift your focus to the champions – the keywords that consistently deliver excellent results.

Increase bids for these high-performing keywords using the coefficient formula mentioned earlier.

This time, however, your coefficient will be less than 1, resulting in a higher new bid that will allow your ads to appear more prominently in search results and potentially generate even more sales.

6. Don’t Neglect Low-Impression Keywords: Unearthing Hidden Gems

Don’t disregard keywords with a low number of impressions (the number of times your ad is displayed). While they might not have generated significant traffic in the past, a higher bid could unlock their potential.

Experiment by assigning them bids comparable to your well-performing keywords.

Give them a trial period of a week or two.

If they continue to show low impressions or a low click-through rate, you can revisit pausing them.

However, if they start generating clicks and conversions, you’ve unearthed a hidden gem that can significantly contribute to your overall advertising success.

The Journey to a Lower ACOS

Optimizing your ACOS is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring, strategic adjustments, and a willingness to experiment.

By implementing the strategies outlined above, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your keyword performance, refine your bidding strategies, and ultimately achieve a lower ACOS, maximizing the profitability of your Amazon Ads and propelling your Amazon business toward long-term success.

Remember, the journey to a lower ACOS is a marathon, not a sprint.

Embrace a data-driven approach, consistently analyze your results, and be prepared to adapt your strategies as you learn and grow.


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