We can all agree that even if you are using powerful ad tech, Amazon PPC is far from set-and-forget. Constantly improving your paid strategy is a big part of how brands stay ahead on Amazon.
But how much time should you give ad strategies to take effect? And when is the right time to make changes?
Bobsled’s Ross Walker has shared his insights and recommendations regarding attribution windows, reporting quirks, analysis timelines, optimization cycles, and paid vs organic ratios. Read on to get up to speed!
Understanding attribution is the first step to figuring out how long it will take for optimization to work. Amazon’s reporting is not real-time, and there are delays in data for the campaign manager to consider. Sales are attributed to ad campaigns in different time periods too.
An attribution window is the amount of time after an ad is engaged with, in which a sale of that product (or another product from the same advertiser) is attributed to the engagement. For example, If a Seller’s sponsored product ad is clicked on by an Amazon shopper, then any purchase from the brand’s product line this shopper makes within 7 days on Amazon can be attributed to the ad, and a sale will show up in the campaign manager. If the shopper doesn’t purchase anything until the 8th or 9th day after they clicked on an ad then no sale will be attributed – in this instance, only the cost associated with the click will show up in the campaign manager.
How long do I have to wait to get reliable data?
Well, it depends on what part of the attribution you are attempting to measure! See the breakdown below:
- Sales data - it can take up to 12 hours for your sales data to update
- Payment failures and/or canceled orders - these can be removed from sales totals within 72 hours
- Attribution window - 7 or 14 days depending on your seller/vendor status, the sponsored ad type, and the targeting options selected
- DSP – these ads have a 14-day view-through attribution window. If your DSP ad is viewable for even a second and a purchase is made then sales will be attributed for the advertised product or any product of the brand advertised. Learn more - Amazon DSP Retargeting - The First 30 Days
- Sales deduplication - Amazon automatically deduplicates sales when DSP and sponsored ads are in play at the same time. For instance, if someone views a DSP ad, then clicks on a sponsored product ad, the last ad clicked will get the attribution, not the last ad viewed. So in this example, the sponsored product ad will get the sale.
- Date of the sale reporting:
- For sponsored product ads, the sale is reported on the date of the ad click.
- For sponsored brand ads, the sale is reported on the date of the sale.
- For sponsored display ads it gets a bit tricky: audience interest targeting sales are reported on the date of the sale. Audience views remarketing and product targeting sales are reported on the date of the ad click.
So how long do I REALLY have to wait?
In summary, you should wait at least 14 days before evaluating the success or failure of your optimization activities. Any decision made before this period of time is being made with incomplete data. Wait for all your campaign data to settle before pausing a campaign, adjusting a bid, adding a search term as a negative, or changing your bid placement modifiers.
At Bobsled, we have optimization cycles that run at two-week intervals. This way we can make methodical changes and know what caused performance impacts two weeks later (within reason).
If you make changes and alterations every day you won’t be able to see the benefit of your optimizations play out or know exactly what change caused fluctuations that you see in the performance.
💡 Pro tip: protect yourself! Set budgets that will allow your campaigns to spend enough to gather data every day and all night if possible. You never know when a customer with high purchase intent might be shopping. These budget caps will allow you to conduct proper research but not run out of control.
On the right: Bobsled PPC Manager, Ross Walker
Advertising vs Organic sales
We always say at Bobsled that Amazon runs on coal, meaning that it can be slow to see the impact of advertising successes on organic performance.
Today, there are fewer and fewer organic placements in search results and more ads than ever. Gaining visibility and growth through advertising is essential. Therefore, we expect a healthy percentage of sales to come from ads.
Depending on your brand's lifecycle stage the paid vs organic ratio can vary. A new brand just launching can expect 80%+ of their sales to come from ads. A healthy brand in its prime might want to see around 35% of their sales coming from ads so that they don’t lose an edge to new competitors. A brand hyper-focused on profitability might expect only 10% of sales to come from ads.
Getting from launch to maturity can take time, and so can the impact of new ads on a brand’s overall organic performance. In our experience, it can take three or more months of concerted advertising effort to lift up a brand’s organic ranking, and then three or more additional months to wean off advertising sales with steady optimization.
So, while it may be the case that we recommend waiting 14 days before making specific optimization decisions, it often makes sense to wait 3-6 months before determining if a concerted advertising strategy has made a lasting impact on your brand’s overall organic performance on Amazon.