Watch out! Amazon will raid your PPC budget! Underhand tactics at work

At first I thought I was imagining it. So over the course of a few months, I set about carefully monitoring PPC spend between certain hours, manually switching it on and off, adjusting budget sizes, taking meticulous notes of sales and sale times and plotting quantities of clicks on PPC sponsored ads against those sales. You might think paying this amount of detailed attention is ridiculous, but I was doing it for a reason.

I noticed that toward the end of a typical day, I would get few sales, sometimes none at all. And yet, if I allowed my PPC budget to be limitless (ie. by letting it take as much as it needed), there would be a heavy run on the available budget toward the end of the day. Also accounting for the delay in registering clicks and adding to the running total.

After these past months of meticulous recording, I’m sad to tell you that Amazon does engage itself in underhand tactics to raid remaining PPC budget toward the end of day and will ratchet up more clicks if there is budget left in your pot. There simply can be no other explanation save for competitors dummy clicking on ads, which I cast doubt on as the reoccurrency is too frequent.

It is for this reason that I am forced to manually switch on and off PPC budgets and when I do this religiously, I save myself a lot of money without sacrificing sales.

Tonight was another of those tests. I had one sale at 8:35pm, it was to be my last of the day. Checking the advertising report, it showed a spend of £126 for the day up to this point. I also continued to check the report for clicks not yet added. Yet by midnight, that spend increased suddenly to an incredible £188 and no sales to show for it (about 40 to 50 PPC clicks).

Unless Amazon have a grandiose reason for this, it seems quite obvious to me that Amazon will raid your PPC budget if it is unspent and I would guess it makes a small fortune in doing so.

Just a heads up to those of you out there using PPC sponsored ads.

That’s not the only underhanded thing they do.

A while back I wanted to rank for certain keywords which didn’t seem to be getting picked up in the searches. I set a high bid and then kept checking to see what happened… Ads never showed up and no impressions.

In the end I conducted an experiment and set a bid of £100 (on a £10 item).

Not a sausage.

It wouldn’t rank for love nor money, yet some of my competitors evidently had no problem.