Artificial Intelligence May Be Wasting Your PPC Dollars

April 8, 2022 Chuck Kessler

Artificial Intelligence May Be Wasting Your PPC Dollars

Life's Bumpy Road Really Throws Algorithms for a Loop. Here are PPC Keyword Strategies Used by Top Amazon Management Agency Pros!

While researching this post, I did what I always do. I asked Google to ONLY show search results from last week. Then, I pulled back and filtered for results from the previous month. Finally, I widened the filter parameters to show results from the last 12 months. 

I do that because it gives me a sense of the news cycle trajectory regarding a particular subject. Is it brand new, or has it already lived out its 15 minutes of fame? 

For this subject, I needed to expand my search parameters even further. I had to open the filter all the way up and specify results from “any time.” 

Is AI’s 15 Minutes of eCommerce Fame Already Over?

After typing the keywords, “artificial intelligence + PPC,” almost every single piece of content that the internet search revealed was dated back to 2019. It seems that over the last few years, searches combining PPC, AI, and machine learning have all but disappeared. 


Artificial intelligence and machine learning tend to thrive best in periods of relative calm and when presented with regular and  predictable data sets. 

If recent global conditions have taught us anything, it’s that eCommerce sellers should always expect the unexpected. From catastrophic world events to supply chain disruptions,, the turbulent last few years have been particularly challenging (and more importantly, unpredictable). 

Life’s bumpy road tends to throw algorithms for a loop. But, it’s more than that. 

Using AI and machine learning to help optimize your Amazon product listings and automate your PPC campaign reminds me of what it’s like to get all your news from Facebook. 


The ancient symbol, Ouroboros is often depicted as a snake eating its own tail. In much the same way, Facebook’s algorithm continually filters the news in your feed until there’s almost nothing that you find objectionable. Everything is very much alike. 

Sorta like this Amazon product listing. 

What’s the problem with that, you ask? 

Avoid the Crowd with Long Tail Keywords 

A little diversity of opinion is a good thing, period. But, when it comes to Amazon PPC, the ability to use their experience to anticipate diversity is what allows the best PPC professionals to stop following the tail lights of every other Amazon seller out there and do something unique. 

What does that have to do with long term keywords? It comes down to the fact that long tail keywords allow Amazon PPC management agencies (and Amazon sellers) to really drill down into a specific niche. More importantly, it’s MUCH LOWER in the marketing funnel. 

Right down where shoppers become buyers! 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning aren’t going away any time soon. The problem with using AI in eCommerce is that artificial intelligence is much more comfortable with shorter, seed keywords. 

AI and machine learning programs use existing data to develop predictive models. 

The more data, the more precise the modeling becomes. Unfortunately, more data also means that you’re probably following large crowds of Amazon sellers marketing similar products. 

Long Tail Keywords and Amazon Listing Optimization 

How do long tail keywords help Amazon sellers rank their listing higher? 

After all, unlike Amazon PPC advertising, with listing optimization you’re not paying a cent for all of those popular, high search volume, short tail keywords. Why not use them in your listings? That’s because in two very important and related ways, they could be costing you significantly.  

If you’re not specific enough about the product that you’re selling, sellers are not going to click on your listings AND your click-through-rate (CTR) is going to suffer. 

That’s where long tail keywords come in. 

By making sure to optimize your titles, bullet points, descriptions, and listing backend with long tail keywords, the right shoppers will click on your listings. That will lead to higher CTR, a higher ranking on Amazon, and more sales. 

Just showing up at the top of Amazon’s search results isn’t enough. 

Yes, you want to show up high in the search results, but FOR the shoppers who are looking for a product exactly like yours. Otherwise, all that optimization work is wasted. 

Long Tail Keywords and Amazon PPC Advertising 

Amazon sellers taking advantage of pay per click advertising put a lot of effort into creating long tail keyword strategies targeting search terms that they (and their competition) are converting for. 

They do so for three main reasons:

  • Relatively low competition
  • A correspondingly lower bid price
  • Higher PPC conversion rates

Let’s consider the short tail keyword, “standing desk.” I’m going to open Helium 10’s keyword tool, Magnet and take a closer look at it. 

With a search volume of 370,751, it’s clear that if you choose to sell a standing desk on Amazon, you won’t be the only one. The word frequency (on the right side of the screenshot) gives us a pretty good idea of the words that most often make up the longer keyword phrases. 

Magnet also gives you the full list of all the keyword phrases that are closely associated with “standing desk.” As you can see, if I was the Amazon seller trying to sell an “electric height adjustable desk,” I wouldn’t have nearly as much competition. 

More to the point, the chances that an Amazon customer looking for exactly that, would be more likely to purchase. That makes both Amazon AND the customer happy. 

Ultimately, that’s Amazon’s goal.

Strangely enough, this list of ranked keyword phrases demonstrates another tactic that many skilled Amazon sellers take advantage of. I’ll admit it. Sometimes if I’m moving too quickly, I’ll accidentally misspell a word. 

Amazon shoppers do too! 

That’s why many experienced Amazon sellers will place misspelled versions of important keyword phrases (both long and short tail) in their listing’s back end. 

From looking at the keyword phrase, “shapred desk,” including this misspelling of “shaped” could get you competition-free access to 348 Amazon shoppers. 

Why You Might Want a Human at the Controls

AI automation for Amazon PPC can be a powerful tool for optimizing bids for short tail keywords with high search volume. Because all that keyword data is the result of repetitive sales, machine-learning algorithms are able to make sense of the information. 

These shorter tail keywords are most often used to increase brand awareness, making your product known to a very large number of prospective buyers at the top of the advertising funnel. The top of the funnel is also home to an enormous amount of competition and poor conversion rates. 

It’s a little like paying PPC dollars to advertise your product. 

Amazon sellers really want to be taking advantage of the higher conversion rates and lower PPC bid prices that live at the bottom of the funnel. 

That’s where an Amazon agency like CANOPY Management comes in. 

Agency Skills + AI Offers the Best of Both Worlds 

CANOPY Management isn’t technology adverse. In fact, CANOPY was behind the development of PPC Scope, one of the first (and still best) Amazon-selling software tools.

The difference is this: CANOPY uses software to free up the bandwidth of our Amazon-selling experts. We love a good piece of technology as much as the next person. But, it’s a tool. 

Our most extraordinary resources are our teams of eCommerce experts that are producing amazing creative assets, fully optimizing listings, and closely monitoring custom PPC and Amazon DSP advertising campaigns.

CANOPY Management is a “full service” Amazon Marketing Agency. When you take a look at the list of the ways in which CANOPY Management is able to help you grow your Amazon business, you’ll know why.  

  • Strategic Growth Planning
  • Listing Copywriting Optimization
  • Listing Photography
  • Product Videography
  • Amazon Advertising Management
  • Customer Service
  • Demand Side Platform (Amazon DSP)
  • Amazon Posts
  • Full Service Amazon Management
  • Amazon Review Aggregation

Are you looking to expand your income stream, or transition away from your primary career? It’s a new year and with the growth of eCommerce, now is a great time to reap some benefits yourself! 

Ready to Grow Your Amazon Business?



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Chuck Kessler

I'm a western Colorado based trail runner, climber, surfer, and adventurer who loves to write. My focus is on eCommerce and technology as the Content Manager and SEO Strategist at CANOPY Management.