Mastering Amazon Advertising: A Guide to Finding Profitable Broad-Match Keywords

ams broad-match keywords

Broad-Match Keywords for AMS Ads

Keywords lie at the heart of all Amazon Advertising campaigns. In a three-article series, I will present the different keyword choices (broad, phrase, and exact) available to an Amazon PPC campaign, how to find profitable keywords, and finally how to utilize the best performers to increase your return on investment (ROI).

Broad-match keywords offer a great opportunity to capture a wider audience, but discovering profitable candidates can be a challenge. This article provides a comprehensive guide to help you identify and use profitable broad-match keywords effectively in your Amazon advertising campaign.

What are Broad-Match Keywords?

Broad-match keywords play a significant role in expanding your reach and driving traffic to your books on Amazon. By allowing your ads to appear for search terms that are variations, synonyms, or closely related to your chosen keyword, you increase visibility and attract more customers. However, it’s important to be aware of the challenges associated with using broad-match keywords, such as the irrelevant clicks and wasteful spending.

Examples of Broad-Match Keywords

Broad-match keywords appear for a wide range of search terms related to your chosen keyword. For example, if your broad-match keyword is “thriller novels,” your ad might also show up for terms like “suspense books” or “free thriller stories.” Or you might target “romance stories” and inadvertently attract readers searching for “young adult romance” and “erotic romance”.

Using broad-match keywords offer several advantages for your Amazon advertising campaigns. They expand your reach beyond exact-match or phrase-match keywords, allowing you to target a larger audience. Broad-match keywords are particularly useful when you’re unsure about the search terms readers will use to find your books. By casting a broader net, you capture more relevant traffic and increase your chances of making sales. Another benefit is broad-match keywords are cheaper, keeping the CPC for your Amazon ad campaign low.

While broad-match keywords are advantageous, they also present challenges. As I demonstrated in the earlier sample, your ads might appear for search terms that are not relevant to your book, leading to clicks from users who are not interested in what you offer. This results in wasted ad spend and a lower ROI.

The increased visibility from broad-match keywords may lead to higher impressions and click-through rates, but it’s important to monitor the conversion rate and actual sales generated by these keywords to ensure profitability.

To mitigate the challenges associated with broad-match keywords, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research, monitor performance, and optimize your campaigns.

I suggest using negative keywords to improve your profitability and limit the possibility of falling into money pits. If you’re selling an urban fantasy novel for $5.99, you don’t want to pay for readers searching for “free urban fantasy books”. Unless I’m giving a book away, I always include “free” in my negative keyword list.

If you are advertising a Kindle e-book on Amazon, you should include “paperback” and “hardcover” in the negative keyword list. Don’t pay for clicks which almost never result in sales.

In the next sections of this article, we’ll delve into the strategies and techniques for finding profitable broad-match keywords and maximizing their impact on your Amazon advertising campaigns. We’ll explore effective keyword research methods, the identification of profitable keywords, leveraging Amazon advertising features, testing and optimization techniques, and the importance of ongoing monitoring and refinement.

Broad-Match Keyword Research

Keyword research forms the foundation of a successful Amazon advertising campaign. By understanding the keywords readers use to search for books, you can optimize your campaign to reach your ideal readers.

If you write thrillers, you might target James Patterson, Dan Brown, or Dean Koontz. Better yet, if you self-publish your novels through Amazon KDP and include your stories in the Kindle Unlimited (KU) program, it makes sense to target self-published authors offering their books through KU.

Don’t limit your keywords to similar authors. Describe your book and whittle the description down to a few keywords. For example, “gripping mysteries with a twist”, “teenage love stories”, or “post-apocalyptic without zombies”.

Here are a few strategies for effective broad-match keyword research:

  • Amazon AutoSuggest: As you type a keyword into the Amazon search bar, AutoSuggest provides a dropdown list of suggested search terms. These suggestions are based on frequently searched keywords, giving you insights into what customers are actively searching for.
  • Amazon Search Terms Report: This report provides data on the search terms that led to clicks and conversions in your sponsored ad campaigns. Analyzing this report helps you identify keywords that are generating results and can be expanded on.
  • Competitor Analysis: Analyzing your competitors’ strategies offers valuable insights into profitable broad-match keywords. Here are a few methods to conduct competitor analysis:
  • Book Listings: Examine your competitors’ book listings to identify the keywords they are targeting. Pay attention to the keywords used in their titles, bullet points, and product descriptions.
  • Sponsored Ads: Gain insights into the keywords successful authors bid on. Look for recurring keywords across multiple competitors’ ads, as these could indicate profitable broad-match keyword opportunities.
  • Customer Reviews: Read customer reviews of your competitors’ products to identify keywords readers are using to describe similar books. This qualitative approach helps you discover unique keyword variations.
  • External Keyword Research Tools: In addition to Amazon’s built-in tools, several third-party keyword research tools exist that provide additional insights. Here are a few popular applications:
  • Publisher Rocket: Developed by Dave Chesson, Publisher Rocket takes your keyword ideas and offers numerous variations that you can use in your KDP metadata and sponsored ads.
  • MerchantWords: MerchantWords is a keyword research tool designed for Amazon sellers. It offers estimated search volumes and provides keyword suggestions based on real Amazon data.

When using external tools, it’s important to cross-reference the data they provide with Amazon’s own keyword research tools to ensure accuracy and relevance.

By leveraging these strategies and tools, you will build a robust list of broad-match keywords for your Amazon advertising campaign. In the next section, we will discuss how to identify the most profitable keywords.

Identifying Profitable AMS Keywords

After conducting keyword research, the next step is to identify the most profitable broad-match keywords in your Amazon advertising campaign. Here are factors to consider when evaluating keywords:

  1. Search Volume:
    Evaluate the search volume of each keyword to determine if there is sufficient demand. High search volume indicates a larger audience actively searching for those keywords, increasing the chances of generating traffic and conversions. Warning: High search volume keywords portends strong competition, and hence high CPCs.
  2. Relevance:
    Choose keywords that are relevant to your product. Relevance is crucial to attract the right reading audience and increase the likelihood of conversions. Ensure that the broad-match keywords you select align closely with your book.
  3. Competition Analysis:
    Assess the level of competition for each keyword. While high competition may indicate a popular and potentially profitable keyword, it also means that bidding for ad placements will be fierce. Consider the strength of your competitors’ book listings. When placed side by side, how does your book compare to another author’s story?
  4. Cost-Per-Click (CPC):
    Evaluate the average cost-per-click (CPC) for your broad-match keywords. Higher CPCs indicate intense bidding competition. While it’s important to consider CPC, it shouldn’t be the sole determining factor for profitability. Focus on the potential return on investment (ROI) rather than trying to minimize CPC. A higher CPC might be justified if it leads to increased revenue and profit.

To identify profitable broad-match keywords, track and analyze the performance of your campaigns. Some keywords will print money, while others will spend like a drunken sailor but yield no results. Cut your losses quickly and double down on your winners.

  • Search Term Reports: Review the search term reports provided by Amazon. These reports show the specific search terms readers entered before viewing your advertisement. Analyze the data to identify which broad-match keywords are generating positive results and which are not. Use this information to refine your keyword list, adding profitable keywords and excluding irrelevant ones.
  • Negative Keywords: As you analyze search term reports, identify irrelevant or non-converting search terms and add them as negative keywords. Negative keywords prevent your ads from appearing for specific search terms, ensuring that your budget is allocated to more relevant and profitable keywords.

By monitoring and optimizing your keyword strategy, you will maximize the profitability of your Amazon advertising campaigns.

In the next section, we will explore how to utilize Amazon’s advertising features and implement testing and optimization techniques to enhance the performance of your broad-match keywords.

Utilizing Amazon Advertising Features

Amazon provides authors with a variety of tools for finding broad-match keywords. Here are some tools to take advantage of:

  1. Automatic Campaigns:
    One effective way to utilize broad-match keywords is by setting up automatic campaigns. In automatic campaigns, Amazon’s algorithms match your ads to relevant search terms for your book. This allows you to cast a wider net and reach potential customers who might use unexpected search terms. Monitor the performance of your automatic campaigns to identify profitable broad-match keywords that are driving clicks, conversions, and sales. Whenever your campaign produces a sale, check your search term report and note the keyword which sold your book.
  2. Amazon Keyword Suggestions:
    Did you know Amazon provides suggestions for broad-match keywords? Open your campaign, click on Targeting, then choose Add Keywords. Tick off the Phrase and Exact options, then choose a bidding option. I prefer Custom and Default bidding. Never use Amazon’s Suggested bidding option, as the estimates are unreliable. Now choose relevant keywords from Amazon’s suggestions. This is a great way to mine for keywords you wouldn’t have considered including.
  3. Split Testing:
    Conduct A/B testing by creating multiple ad groups with different sets of broad-match keywords. This allows you to test the performance of different keyword variations and identify which ones generate the most favorable results. Monitor the click-through rates, conversion rates, and overall ROI for each ad group.
  4. Bid Adjustments:
    Optimize your bidding strategy based on the performance of specific broad-match keywords. Increase your bids for keywords that are generating positive results and have a strong ROI. By allocating more budget to these profitable keywords, you will increase your visibility and maximize the potential for conversions. Conversely, reduce bids or pause keywords that are not performing to avoid unnecessary ad spend. Some keywords will become profitable after you lower the CPC and are worth keeping around.

In the final section of this article, we will discuss the importance of ongoing monitoring and refinement, and offer advice on how to funnel your best keyword ideas into an exact-match campaign.

Monitoring and Refinement of Amazon Ads

Successfully optimizing your Amazon advertising campaigns requires continuous monitoring and refinement. Here are some important aspects to consider for ongoing improvement:

  1. Consider Revenue Increases vs Ad Spend:
    Your ROI won’t tell the entire story. Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re advertising the first book of a three-book series. Even if you’re losing a small amount of money selling book one, chances are you’re profiting when readers go on to read the next two books in the series. Track ad spend versus overall sales for your series, not just for the book you’re advertising. It pays to know the worth of your book.
  2. Expand your keyword list by testing new broad-match keywords. Identify relevant terms that have the potential to attract your target readers. Remember our tip about using Amazon’s suggested keywords? These suggestions change every day, and Amazon knows which keywords are likely to convert for your book based on previous sales. Leverage this knowledge.
  3. Stay up to date with Market Trends:
    Keep an eye on market trends and changes in customer behavior. Stay informed about new book releases in your genre, seasonal trends, and industry shifts that may impact the relevance and profitability of your broad-match keywords. By staying up to date, you can adjust your keyword strategy and capitalize on emerging opportunities.
  4. Funnel Broad-Match Successes into Exact-Match Advertising Campaigns:
    Take your Amazon advertisements to the next level by funneling successful keywords into an exact-match campaign. Here’s how it works. Let’s say you’re a horror author and you target the broad-match keyword “Stephen King”. You notice this keyword is producing sales. Upon further inspection of the Amazon search terms report, you determine two sales resulted from readers searching for “authors like Stephen King”. In this case, you would enter “authors like Stephen King” into an exact-match campaign. Repeat this process every time your broad-match keywords produce a sale. Soon you’ll develop an exact-match campaign that is highly profitable and driving your books up the charts.


Finding profitable broad-match keywords for your Amazon advertising campaign is a dynamic process that requires continuous monitoring and refinement. By analyzing performance metrics, adjusting bids and budgets, refining negative keywords, testing new keywords, and monitoring competitors’ strategies, you can optimize your campaigns for maximum profitability.

In our next article, we’ll examine phrase-match keywords for Amazon PPC ads.

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