Improving ACOS with Sponsored Display product targeting

A storied brand and a cutting-edge agency

Founded in 1922, PF Harris has a nearly 100-year history in pest control products (one news article from the 1920s cites the use of PF Harris products in the White House during the Calvin Coolidge presidency). As a historically established brand, PF Harris retains its vitality in part through placing great importance on cutting-edge marketing. Working with Ad Advance, a full-service management agency specializing in Amazon Ads, PF Harris sought to maintain a 20% advertising cost of sales (ACOS) while scaling sales.

Adding further challenge, PF Harris’ products are prone to seasonal popularity. Ad Advance was tasked to mount advertising campaigns with adjusted bids to maximize effectiveness and sales for in-season products, while maintaining the desired 20% or less ACOS for out-of-season products.

Better together for campaigns and testing

Working lower down the funnel, Ad Advance’s Sponsored Products strategy focused on product segmentation by product group, campaign objective, and targeting breadth. Focusing on narrower targeting for newer and less-reviewed products facilitated sponsored products adoption, allowing for a widening targeting breadth over time. With per-product strategies, Ad Advance kept up a consistent review of PF Harris’ products and their individual life cycles, to adjust strategically as necessary.

Sponsored Brands video, currently in beta, provided Ad Advance with an opportunity to make a connection with PF Harris’ audience. Ad Advance CEO Joe Shelerud describes Sponsored Brand video (beta) as “a fantastic introduction to our ad mix.”

Ad Advance’s strategy for PF Harris included using Sponsored Products to help find the best product candidates for Sponsored Display product targeting campaigns. “All of our Sponsored Display campaigns are integrated with and linked to our Sponsored Products product targeting campaigns and ad groups,” explains Shelerud. “By linking the two ad types, we have a near-continuous feed of new products into our Sponsored Display campaigns.” Products with the most ideal performance in Sponsored Products were then featured in Sponsored Display campaigns, both on brand and competitor product detail pages.

Using the Amazon Ads API for linking and reporting

“Utilization of the Amazon Ads API is one of the keys to our success,” says Ad Advance CEO Joe Shelerud. For Ad Advance, the Amazon Ads API provided the opportunity to continually access data to help inform search terms, keywords, and products. Additionally, the Amazon Ads API allowed Ad Advance to review data from Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and Sponsored Display campaigns together, to form a holistic picture of overall campaign performance that was critical to further optimization.

New product targeting, improved results

Ad Advance had early closed-beta access to Sponsored Display product targeting. The improved new Sponsored Display product targeting resulted in a 240% improvement in ACOS.

Looking at overall performance across all ad types, PF Harris achieved record sales in July 2020, with an average 17.4% ACOS. Currently, PF Harris is on track to achieve 5.5x ROAS by the end of 2020.

Ad Advance CEO Joe Shelerud credits PF Harris’ openness and trust with contributing to campaign success. “We feel very lucky to have clients like PF Harris who are open to testing new features and ad types like Sponsored Display ads,” says Shelerud. “Since Ad Advance is designed to test and implement new features quickly, we feel that this first-mover approach gives our clients an edge.”