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Michael Erickson FacchinMichael Erickson Facchin is the Founder and CEO of Ad Badger, a bid optimization SaaS company based in Austin, Texas. Ad Badger’s mission is to make its tool so smart that bid optimization only takes sellers 20 minutes a month.

In order to share their expertise with the Ad Badger community, Michael and his team run a valuable YouTube channel where they discuss the intricacies and nuances of Amazon PPC. They also launched the first-ever Amazon advertising podcast, The PPC Den.

 


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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • The challenges that Michael Erickson Facchin’s company solves for Amazon sellers
  • Michael shares his best practices for optimizing Amazon campaign structures
  • Amazon’s hidden keyword preferences
  • Michael talks about bid optimization for Amazon DSP
  • What makes Ad Badger different and better than other similar tools?
  • Michael’s thoughts on ASIN targeting
  • How the Ad Badger tool can help sellers reduce their Amazon advertising workflows to just 20 minutes a week
  • Where to learn more about Ad Badger

In this episode…

The Amazon channel can be quite intimidating for new brands. It can take time for sellers to learn the ropes and become experts in promoting their products on the marketplace. So, how can you start taking your Amazon advertising to the next level sooner rather than later?

The team at Ad Badger believes that with the right support, brands can reduce their Amazon advertising workflows to just 20 minutes a week, thereby saving their resources and spending more time making smarter marketing decisions. With the use of its powerful PPC software tool, Ad Badger helps Amazon sellers optimize their product listings, boost their marketing strategies, and grow their businesses to new heights.

Michael Erickson Facchin, the Founder and CEO of Ad Badger, joins Eric Stopper in this episode of Buy Box Experts to discuss the ins and outs of Amazon PPC. Michael talks about his company’s bid optimization tool, how it helps Amazon sellers reduce their workflow, and how it compares to similar tools in the market. He also shares his best practices for optimizing your Amazon campaign structure. Stay tuned.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

Buy Box Experts applies decades of e-commerce experience to successfully manage their clients’ marketplace accounts. The Buy Box account managers specialize in combining an understanding of their clients’ business fundamentals and their in-depth expertise in the Amazon Marketplace.

The team works with marketplace technicians using a system of processes, proprietary software, and extensive channel experience to ensure your Amazon presence captures the opportunity in the marketplace–not only producing greater revenue and profits but also reducing or eliminating your business’ workload.

Buy Box Experts prides itself on being one of the few agencies with an SMB (small to medium-sized business) division and an Enterprise division. Buy Box does not commingle clients among divisions as each has unique needs and requirements for proper account management.

Learn more about Buy Box Experts at BuyBoxExperts.com.

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:09  

Welcome to the Buy Box Experts podcast we bring to light the unique opportunities brands face in today’s e-commerce world.

Eric Stopper  0:18  

Hey and welcome to the Buy Box Experts podcast. This is Eric Stopper. Today’s episode is brought to you by Buy Box Experts. Buy Box Experts takes ambitious brands and makes them unbeatable. We’ve got a team of consultants who would love to talk with you about what in the world is going on with your bids right now. There are a lot of intricacies to Amazon and I don’t think that any one person should ever be responsible for knowing all the answers. And so come and talk to us, you know, free office hours free consulting and we’ll and we’ll tell you how you’re doing go to buyboxexperts.com click on the free analysis button and you’ll be connected with me and be a member of my team and please stay safe out there. today. I am very pleased to be joined by Mike Erickson Facchin, founder and CEO of Ad Badger, a bid optimization SaaS company based in Austin, Texas. And for those of you that don’t know, I’m actually from San Antonio. So me and me and Mike are Kindred souls right now. And adventure is really interesting. They’re looking to make the tools so good. That bid optimization should only have to take you 20 minutes a month. Michael and his team have a great YouTube channel, Ad Badger Den, where they discuss the intricacies and nuances of Amazon. They also launched the first ever Amazon PPC focused podcast called the PPC Den. And I’m really hoping that Mike is going to play some classical guitar for us on the show. Because apparently he’s a classical guitarist Mike, what do you think? I see it behind you. Is it tuned?

Michael Erickson Facchin  1:52  

That’s that’s pretty afterparty. That’s pretty

Eric Stopper  1:54  

good. I want to hear it, man. I’m really interested. Mm hmm. Well, Mike, welcome to the show.

Michael Erickson Facchin  1:59  

Dude. Eric, thanks so much. I’m stoked to be here. Thank you for the wonderful intro.

Eric Stopper  2:03  

Yeah, absolutely. I’m, you know, I’m glad to bring you on, I have this mission, right to just show everybody what the best stuff is. You know, like, let’s, let’s have an open conversation about the tool. Let’s talk about where the tool is going. And then just tell us about Amazon in general, right? Like, what does everybody need to be paying attention to? Um, I have lots of questions for you, man. But like, what, what’s been on your mind lately? What’s your biggest challenge right now that you guys are trying to solve?

Michael Erickson Facchin  2:32  

Yeah, my biggest thing, the thing that I wake up and I’ve been waking up for the last several weeks, is really what do we have to do to better support our community of Amazon marketers and Amazon entrepreneurs to succeed and thrive during this crazy time? You know, What kinds of things do we need to throw away? What kinds of things do we need to adopt? Specifically, the way that we optimize our bids, the way that we manage our keywords, the way that we structure our accounts, the way that we think about KPIs and goals on Amazon, I think, if people haven’t shifted the way that they consider all of those things in 2020, they’re definitely not moving as fast as they probably should be. So sort of re evaluating all the strategies that we have, and all the things that we do modernizing it for today’s ecosystem on Amazon.

Eric Stopper  3:33  

Yeah, democratizing it right. And making it really simple to try to figure these things out with effort, right, the idea is to have good inputs, good outputs, that’s actually probably a really good place for us to start. So I’ve heard you talk in the past about, like the structure of an account. And I understand that a lot of tools, they need a certain type of campaign structure to even operate right to the process. And so I want to get your thoughts, what is the right way for somebody to set up their Amazon PPC?

Michael Erickson Facchin  4:03  

This is a yes, this is a fantastic question. And I think the thing that is that I believe, to my core that others do not, is really Amazon advertising. It has best, it has best practices, and it has guidelines, but in general, I always try to say let data guide the way and always try to not have survivorship bias. So a lot of times what happens in sort of the Amazon space is one person does one thing maybe once or twice or five times. And that gets published and then people will try that one thing and it doesn’t compute with their particular product in their particular industry.

Eric Stopper  4:50  

I think every tool I have perpetual and Kenshoo haven’t let me down yet because I’ve been demoing their software’s right now. But like and sorry Taking metrics but the tool broke like for like two months, I it was just like worthless to me. And a lot of people were reporting that to me as well. I understand that I made some changes now and are trying to get back into it. But that seems like a pretty common problem.

Michael Erickson Facchin  5:14  

Right. And, you know, I, I love the the tools space on Amazon, specifically Amazon PPC. I mean, it’s the same sort of thing like Apple. Apple makes bones, Google makes phones, other companies make phones. And what that ends up with is like all the consumers have like, awesome phones. Yeah, they’re cheaper. Yep. So I definitely think there’s a lot of nuances. And I feel like it’s important for people when they sign up with any tool to really understand what the underlying philosophy is behind sort of the not even the the way that it’s built, but more so the philosophy that went in to making it. So one core tenant that we have at Ad Badger is that we know that Amazon PPC is not a one size fits all, everyone needs this exact setup, everyone needs to do this this particular way. So while there are best practices, we wanted to build a tool that works whether you have single keyword campaigns, one a sin, you’re spending $100 a week, or if you are spending your $25,000 a week, and you have 100,000 A since we wanted something to be as extensible to be able to support all of these different situations. So a lot of those best practices are baked in. So for example, to go back to that initial question, what is an optimal campaign structure? I like to think of this in terms of tiers of complexity. So there are some people that have very, very low complexity, they have one acent. Maybe it’s a solopreneur. They’re just starting out. They have one asen incredibly simple campaign structure. And the principle that guides all campaign structure is are we balancing discovery? And are we balancing shining a spotlight on things that work really well. And those are the guidelines for every campaign structure set up? Because people are going to be searching, potentially unpredicted keywords to trigger our ads, because we will be because language changes in the way that somebody searches for a fitness band today might be different than a fitness band. Seven years ago, there’s new products that hit the market, people think about products differently, people want to use them for different things as time evolves, too, because you can never predict all of those things, you can never predict what brands what products if you go head to head underneath their product that you’ll convert super well for. Because you cannot predict those things you want to be prepared for. And you want to have a mechanism inside your account to maximize your discovery for as inexpensive as possible. And then you need another mechanism to find the things that do convert and then bind specifically to them. So it’s as if we call it our PSB or research, peel, stick and block where you do some research. You see what converts, you peel it out, you stick it into an exact targeting campaign, either an async campaign or an exact match keyword campaign, and then you block it from appearing in the first one. And I will finish this by saying that’s the general theme. However, there are times where again, the underlying principle is to let data guide the way. So there’s a lot of different intricacies and nuances of where that makes the most sense. And there’s certain times where it would make sense to modify that particular thing. But in general campaign structure is all about balancing your auto campaigns, your category targeting campaigns, and your ex sort of exact targeting campaigns.

Eric Stopper  8:57  

I think the first place that I had ever heard that was from the CEO of Blue Whale Media actually, Trevor George there he talked to me but he called it keyword isolation. Are they the same thing? Or is there a nuance to exactly what you’re describing?

Michael Erickson Facchin  9:13  

So that there is that concept that has been around since forever? It started

Eric Stopper  9:19  

bidding on keywords right?

Michael Erickson Facchin  9:20  

For sure. As long as there has been digital marketing. There is the concept of casting a wide net seeing what does well and then amplifying What does well and calling the things that don’t do well, that is as old as digital marketing. You know, probably pre everything where you would you know send out emails with different subject lines to see what opens what right that or opens then you just do more of what works. So that concept has been around. It goes by a lot of words like search term isolation, search term graduation, where you’re graduating. We went with the confusing acronym RPSB because We’re kind of crazy, but it really just outlines the entire process. Research, peel, stick and block.

Eric Stopper  10:07  

Okay, I’m gonna have to, I’ll create a little diagram on the show notes for this, just just to show everybody the general process that you guys have. So, so the structure so you’re talking about optimizing at the at the keyword level, it’s all keyword, keyword keyword, you’re going down to the very bottom of it, you’re not really you’re not doing what would we call it like, like a campaign and ad group level strategy, optimization strategy? It’s right at the keyword level, is that right?

Michael Erickson Facchin  10:34  

well know that, optimizing at the keyword is one major component of it. And the way that we think about optimizing an entire account is you optimize for, like profitability, you optimize for volume, because you want to make a bigger, and both of those categories sort of expand and optimize expansion, making it bigger, spending more more clicks, more conversions, and optimization. Improving margins, both of those have a huge list of factors. Keywords are one of them. Keyword selection is another one of them. Match type composition is one. Placement settings are one. But one thing with regards to campaign structure is does Amazon like the structure that you have? Are they able to understand what you’re trying to accomplish? And, you know, this might mean putting similar products in the same ad group, it might mean breaking things out into separate ad groups, it might mean breaking things down into single product campaigns. So there’s a lot of variability there.

Eric Stopper  11:50  

Wait, I want to, I want to stop there and hold on a second what. So I know that with new campaigns, Amazon treats them as like the stepchild like this, you know, you’re gonna get the last of everything. And so like the longevity of a campaign, or the longevity of time that you’ve been spending and the data that you’ve been able to provide amazon for those gives you, you know, kind of this slow rise in rank? I don’t know, I don’t know how it works. Maybe it’s a log normal curve. I have no idea. But you’re saying that the way that you break all of that out appeases the Amazon, you know, praise Jeff Bezos kind of like, yes, machine. Wait, how do you figure that out?

Michael Erickson Facchin  12:37  

So what’s cool about my experience is that I’ve been advertising on Amazon before it was cool. My previous company that I was CEO at was at Google ads, Facebook ads, and Amazon ads agency. And we got really lucky in the early days of at least my professional career, where we got clients because we just started out Google ads, Facebook ads, because those were much more popular doing it for e-commerce. We got really lucky at the time. I mean, this is almost 10 years ago. But we got really lucky at the time, because we got some clients that were already on Amazon like 10 years ago, this is before sort of, maybe the FBA explosion, where, you know, now there’s so much information, there’s so much support. So we started with these clients that were on Amazon way back when. So we were able to observe all the things that Amazon did over time for their platform to mature. And really, what they’ve done more recently, they started customizing things just for Amazon now that their platform has a lot of momentum. But for the longest time, and they’re still doing it. They borrowed and we’re inspired by Google ads and Facebook ads. Sure. So Google ads and Facebook ads, both have a system for evaluating your bid. But also the quality of the thing that you’re presenting inside the ad auction. You hear stories all the time from people that say, Man, why isn’t this keyword getting any traffic? I’m bidding so much like what the heck is going on, I can’t seem to get any meaningful clicks. That is because there is another factor that gets factored in on Google ads, they call it quality score, the way that they determine ad ranking and your total bid is by taking the bid that you’re that you have multiplying it by this quality score, and then that determines what you ultimately pay. And that determines what you will ultimately rank in position on the ads. Facebook has a relevance score, where you know, you get a lot of engagement, it starts to get a lot more, it starts to get much cheaper. So this sort of an ad In both platforms, Google ads and Facebook ads, it’s very difficult to quantify and pin down. Google says it’s a combination of keyword relevance and expected click through rate and landing page quality. And Facebook says it’s engagement, whatever. On Amazon, their goal is to get customers to click as few times as possible, and buy something to increase the revenue per click. So if Amazon clicks their heels together, you know, they know how many clicks they get in a day, they don’t know how much revenue they get in a day, like that’s what they are looking at. And if they can increase those numbers, they win. So they want to reduce the amount of steps that a consumer needs to take in order to buy something. So therefore, if you’re selling something, and I’m selling something, and we’re both bidding on the same keyword, and we’re both bidding, the exact same amount is both bidding $1. But my product converts way better than yours. Amazon will have preference over my product. And you will be saying, Man, I’m just bidding so much for this, like I can’t seem to, you know, generate a lot of clicks for this thing. And so if your conversion rate is going to be much, much lower than others for the same keyword, you’re going to have a hard time. So there’s this metric of sort of account quality or ad quality. You see, you also see this, when it comes to what we call keyword dumping, where people dump 500 keywords in an ad group, or say, hundreds of keywords in an ad group. What happens there? Well, you end up with like the top 20 keywords are getting almost all the clicks and all the impressions clicks, right. So that is a perfect example of something that Amazon doesn’t explicitly say that they obviously have a preference for a keyword size for a keyword amount in an ad group. So there are loads of those sort of hidden leavers to be aware of when you’re optimizing campaign that Amazon doesn’t make explicit, but you just see this time and time again,

Eric Stopper  17:02  

on the PPC Dan on ad budget. Dan, have you guys talked through what those leavers are? I mean, do we? Do we know them? How are we able to quantify them? I guess, if you have, we got access to a ton of accounts, we could probably figure this out pretty quick. I’m the only because I’ve never seen it. The only reason that that makes sense to me is because oftentimes people call in and I’ve had this happen to me to where they say, I am advertising, like $20 for this bid. And I’m not showing up anywhere on anything on any of the first seven pages. And I’ve referred some people to Amazon, I’ve referred some people to our account managers, I’ve tried to manage it. And every single one of them had a duplicate campaign or ad group that was double bidding for something. And we’ve we’ve now I guess found out that like, if you do that Amazon sees that there’s some sort of problem, and they don’t want to populate your ad is, is that’s what makes me believe that but what you’re saying is like it gets it gets way deep into like the way that widgets are utilized on your Detail page, like they’re looking at whether you have good quality pictures, are they purely looking at like your unit session percentage to see whether or not you have a good conversion rate? Like how granular Do you think they can get?

Michael Erickson Facchin  18:24  

All of the above, in the same way that a company like Facebook and Google have way more information about you than you will ever understand is the same way that Amazon is evaluating how they organize products. You know, if you’re going to Amazon DSP, you can target people based on whether or not they’ve watched a prime video with Tom Hanks in it, you can get that specific on Amazon DSP. And so there’s a wealth of data that we’ll never understand. In terms of you know, that example that we talked about where you’re bidding, and you don’t get any impressions, you get any meaningful impressions for it. If you were to it’s a similar thing in the sense of, if I’m selling running shoes, and I go and bid on a keyword jump rope. You I mean, we all know this, you can already expect what the performance will be like. And compared to if you’re actually selling a jump rope and you’re bidding on jump rope. Sure, you know that there will be some degree of throttling happening. We took a backpack and me and I took a class at the local university.

Eric Stopper  19:49  

We tried to see if we could get the backpack to rank for the word pistachio. Mm hmm. And we couldn’t do it. Right with 250 people in the room. We couldn’t do it. And we had them all go. I even like, I made like a little link that had the asen in there and it was great. And Amazon just wouldn’t force it to the top. We didn’t do it, we didn’t do the ads. I think we only did phrase matches. But yeah, it didn’t work. So I definitely see that. Now on the DSP. Talk to me about bid optimization there. Is it? Is it worth it? First of all, is it worth somebody’s time to be digging in that Master? Do they have enough on the other to add products?

Michael Erickson Facchin  20:29  

So in terms of my general recommendations for DSP is that it’s definitely a premium product, it is, it is difficult to access for the average company. And due to its large fees associated with it due to its large minimum spends, it is a sort of a labyrinth to even get to that point where you can do DSP. So in general, how do people think about DSP, I would say if there’s someone who is not spending at least $25,000 a month, or at least the capabilities to spend $25,000 a month on their normal campaigns. So I’m saying normal sponsored products, normal, sponsored brand ads, sponsored, display all those things, if those things don’t feel maxed out, DSP shouldn’t be on your radar. Because it is CPM based, meaning you don’t pay per click, you pay per thousand impressions. So it can become very expensive very quickly. And because Amazon’s DSP network is so vast and so huge. It’s very easy to spend a lot of money very quickly. So generally, that is sort of at the top of my priority list. I’m sorry, it comes out that way. After sharing your sponsored products,

Eric Stopper  22:01  

get your sponsor brands, get a critical mass, optimize your efficiency there and then move on. Aye, aye. I think that it’s going to be democratized as soon as possible. I think that they’re going to try to take away those minimums and fees and they’re going to try to get losers like me to just go after it like automatic campaigns when those first launch you remember, I think they’re gonna do that. And I because mainly because I want to target Tom Hanks, movie watchers, right? Like I have I sell these Kanye West phone cases. And so if I can target only music by Kanye West through the DSP, that’s pretty compelling. Right? I want that to democratize but like phone cases, come on.

Michael Erickson Facchin  22:44  

Right? So yeah, DSP has a lot of quirks. You can if you were to go through a company, like Ad Badger you could get started on DSP for 5000 bucks. Because you feel like you have to go through a provider enterprise account. Basically, it’s not a self service, meaning like, you can’t go and just start your ad you need to go through a partner or you need to go through Amazon and then they’ll manage it. So it’s, it’s a little Yeah, it’s definitely not like the perfect, perfect DSP client is going to be someone that’s like, are you spending 100 grand a month on their, you know, standard ads on Amazon, and they’re looking for an extra boost? Yeah. And yeah,

Eric Stopper  23:30  

I think that I mean, we have, we have clients that are spinning out their tails, just so much spend and DSP is a pretty good fit for them. Because I mean, they bought seismic, right, like a year and a half ago, and those guys had so many ad placements, it would really make your head spin. So they’re just everywhere. So tell me for someone who is looking for a tool. And they’ve got all these competitors. It was really funny. In one of your videos, you said hello, it’s all them selling psychometric cellar labs, Jungle Scout, PPC Entourage, CPC strategy presses down and reprice or express right, so I’ve got this smorgasbord of options to choose. And then you’ve got like the Kenshoo and the perpetual is of the world a little bit bigger, right? kind of focus on enterprise accounts. So if I’m somebody who is looking for the tool, Ad Badger is better? Or does this thing for me better than anybody else? What would that be?

Michael Erickson Facchin  24:25  

Right? I would say, if anyone’s interested in our tool, my first responses, go listen to our podcast. First, like, actually hear how we think about PPC. And because that is so such an important and difficult thing to teach. And that’s part of the reason why we sort of intentionally have been flying under the radar. We don’t do throttling users. I wouldn’t say throttling but just you know, we’re not advertising like gangbusters. Sure, telling people to sign up now. That’s sort of twofold. One, you know, we’re recording this April 30 2020, we will have our version two, which I will consider, like my real vision for the tool live during the summer of 2020. So like, that’s the first thing that we’ll say once we have version two, we probably will start advertising a lot more to really get the word out. So we sort of wanted to test it with our existing users, make sure that it is where we want it. really learn like what do people actually want, when it comes to their PPC tool, what really gets results for people? And then in version two are really going to essentially rewrite the entire app with more powerful technologies. We have a lot more experience in this now. So that’s the first thing I would say, check out our podcast to learn our philosophy of what really makes us great. And then check us out. version one is here right now. version two coming out in the summer of 2020, I think is going to be really solid.

Eric Stopper  26:05  

Okay. Yeah, no, I mean, when that happens, it’ll probably be launching right around then. So I’m excited to offer it out to people. Yeah. So there’s, there’s lots of spaces for you to go. And I and I want to pick your brain on, on ASIN targeting. Hmm. It seems to be some of my better performing keywords, just all the time, I have like these few aces that Dang it, if I just ASIN target like it works. And I’m wondering, does it Ad Badger Is there anybody out there that has really liked giving people insights into their ASIN targeting campaigns where they make it visual, or they say, if you show up next to this person, you have a tendency to steal market share away from them. Give me some of your thoughts on this.

Michael Erickson Facchin  26:55  

Yeah, ASIN targeting is really interesting type of product targeting ads, in the sense of what in the sense of it’s possible that another competitor did all the hard work for you. And then if you are different or better than they are, you can grab that attention. And it’s very interesting, like, from a psychology perspective of, you know, bidding next to another product with the product detail page. It’s very interesting psychologically, in terms of what piqued their interest. So like, that’s where that’s where that sort of RPSP strategy is helpful, because you get to target the entire category, you get to target many brands, you know, in an auto campaign, you’re showing up next to these other products. And then you can see, and, and this is where a lot of that complexity comes in, where you may not even know what it was about that product that you were able to steal the customer away. So that’s a really interesting component of that. But like once you have that data that when you do appear next to this other competitor, you end up converting really well. So in terms of that process of like graduating, you know, the keyword like we talked about earlier, graduating the search term, turning it into a keyword, we have a similar process inside our tool, which shows you the essence that you appear next to that you convert well with, and then you can just go and add those to your account in the similar way. Search Term graduation, there’s also product targeting graduation,

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