Updated: Sep 1, 2019
While most sellers who run PPC campaigns actively download and examine their Search Term reports, many probably don't know the existence of the Targeting Report available for Sponsored Product Ads. In this post we are examining some of the key differences between the two reports and how to interpret the data contained in each.
Search Term Report vs. Targeting Report
Search Term Report
Arguably the most important advertising report for Sponsored Products on Amazon, the Search Term report provides valuable insights into buyer searches that led to a sale of your product. The report provides 7 day attribution for sales of advertised products as well as other products purchased as a result of the 'Brand Halo' effect as Amazon calls it.
The Targeting report looks pretty similar to the Search Term report and has ALL the same columns as the Search Term report (in a slightly different order), EXCEPT the "Customer Search Term" column. This makes this report much smaller, as it only contains the keywords, ASINs and categories that you are targeting and not the matches that led to it.
When to use which report?
If you want to check the performance of your keywords and match types and are more interested in aggregates, then go for the Targeting Report. This will have way less rows and is more manageable. This is also the only place that you get an at-a-glance view of the new targeting options for Auto-campaigns namely, Loose-match, Close-Match, Substitutes and Complements. You can also see the performance of ASINs and Categories you targeted through the new Product Attribute Targeting and Category Targeting opportunities with Manual Campaigns.
Use the Search Term report to harvest search terms, block them or optimize bids on keywords that are performing well. Ideally you want to identify the best buyer search terms that brought in the most sales, and add them to manual campaigns where you can bid aggressively to maximize your sales.
You also want to identify poorly converting keywords and either disable them, lower their bids or block them entirely by adding them as negative keywords at the campaign or adgroup level. Finally you want to examine how your keywords performed overall as compared to your target ACOS. Keywords performing below your target ACOS are good candidates for increasing the bids on, whereas keywords that performed at higher than target ACOS should be down-bid.
How often should you pull each type of report?
It's a good practice to look at you PPC performance at least once every other week, if not weekly. Targeting Reports have a look back window of 90 days while Search Term reports are only available for the past 60 days. This can be a limitation because sometimes you need more data for slow moving products and 60 days is too short a duration to make a good decision.
One of the unfortunate things about getting these reports is that they need to be requested from Amazon for download. If you wanted to look at your data from a year ago you cannot access it anywhere on Amazon, unless you made the wise decision of requesting and saving your reports regularly. With tools like PPC Ninja, you can have a perpetual lookback window with no need to download and piece together multiple csv files. We do it for you programmatically from the day you start open your account, and your data just builds up over time, ready for you to slice and dice for analysis.