Back to blog

Learn with Threecolts

Small group workshops to help you learn, optimize, and grow.

Learn About Coaching

Bidding smartly on Amazon with any budget - a complete guide

Kennedell Amoo-Gottfried
April 7, 2022
September 16, 2022
Bidding smartly on Amazon with any budget - a complete guide

So you’ve got some money you want to spend on ads, but you’re not exactly sure how. You don’t want to get beat on every bid, but you also don’t want to overbid so much on certain keywords that you’re just wasting your budget. So what do you do? 

Here’s something you shouldn’t forget: Amazon knows way more than you do! 

Amazon will let you pre-determine set ranges that you can change your bids by - based on its own data that it derives both from what your competitors are doing and from your own past performance - to automatically change your bids and give you the best chance to get your ad seen. 

It is convenient and based on data that you could never analyse to the same level of precision on your own, but could also increase your ad spend quite a bit. 

You will not have full control of the adjustments but you can set the parameters.

The first thing to do, however, is determining your base bid, so how should you go about it? 

Base bids

You can set up your base bid with some simple math based on the conversion rate of the ASIN in question, the price and your desired ACOS. 

Firstly, you take the conversion rate of the item in question, and multiple it by price of the item, multiplied again by your target ACOS. 

For example, if your conversion rate is 4% for an item that costs $80, and you don't want to spend more than 10% of your revenue on advertising, then the calculation is: 

0.04 (conversion) x 80 (price) x 0.1 (target ACOS) = $0.32

Once you’ve determined the base, you can think about possible modifiers. 

Modifying bids by placement

Obviously, better real estate will come at a premium. Bids by placement allows you to change your bid depending on where it is shown - if it is higher up on the search results, it will be more expensive. 

With bids by placement, your bid will be increased by a maximum percentage modifiers pre-set by you when they compete for high placements, much of the time against competitors that may not have put in place any bid modifiers themselves. 

There are three types of bids placements: 

  • Top of Search: Typically the first two ads you see below the sponsored brands ad on a given search
  • Rest of Search: any other ad below the Top of Search ads and on any other pages after the first page
  • Product Pages: In product detail pages

Top of Search placements are naturally more competitive, and bids by placement puts you in a position to win the bid that you might otherwise lose if you go in with a straight fixed bid. 

Dynamic bidding

Unlike bids by placement, where bids are adjusted depending on your competitors, dynamic bidding will adjust the bid based essentially on your past track record, giving you a bit more flexibility on where to allocate ad spend.

If, for example, you have used certain keywords in the past that have converted more sales, then you are more likely to see higher bids for that particular keyword than for ones that have been less successful. 

  • Dynamic bids - Down only:

          The bid will be lowered automatically in real time if it is deemed less likely to convert sales.

  • Dynamic Bids - Up and Down: 

          Under this model, Amazon can raise it to a maximum of double the base bid for a Top of Search placement, and by 50% for placements elsewhere. It would also           lower bids if they are less likely to convert. 

  • Fixed Bids:

         The exact bid you put in will be used and will not change based on likelihood of sale conversion. This is a bit of a riskier option as you may end up bidding for          keywords on which you are going to be heavily outbid for, but could potentially be a good option if you have a high level of confidence in your targeting. Chances          are your ACOS will go up. 

You can also combine modifiers for placement and dynamic pricing. For example, you could adjust modifiers to go up by 200% for Top of Search placement and  a 50% range for dynamic up and down pricing, then those can compound on top of each other for a significant increase in your bid, turning a $1 base bid into a $4.5 modified one.

That could well be exactly what you’re building in flexibility for in order to reach your intended audience, but also something to keep aware of so ACOS doesn’t skyrocket above where you want it to be. 

Best practices

  • Adjust to measurement:

Don’t make the mistake of not looking at your placement data after a campaign. Take note of the number of impressions at each placement, the click-through rate, total spend, ACOS, orders and other metrics to compare each of their performance and adjust accordingly. 

Naturally, Top of Search gets the most eyeballs and is the most likely to convert sales, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best as a one-size fits all solution. This is especially true if you have a low-margin product where the additional ad spend could eat into your profit, or even translate to a net loss if the modification is big enough. 

If your product grid has a bunch of low-margin products, you might want to go for more product page placements where the bids are less competitive and modifiers less drastic.

  • Mind the structure

A common mistake advertisers make on Amazon is to crown the ad groups. Having an efficient structure to your campaign will mean a more efficient allocation of ad spend to each keyword. Grouping in too many words, especially keywords with a large variation in their search volume, will mean that the higher volume words will cannibalize all the budget while the smaller ones won’t get much at all. Not only is this inefficient in itself, it also distorts the post-campaign analysis. 

Better practice is to limit not just the keywords per ad group, but also ad groups per campaign in order to prioritize certain keywords. 

In addition, search volume is not the only axis on which you can separate your keywords - some others include branded vs non-branded or by relevance. 

  • Don’t keep your strategy static

This is especially true just after a product launch. Keep in mind that Amazon uses a keywords track record to determine dynamic pricing for a particular product, so new products will not have enough data for good dynamic bidding, therefore will use fixed bids to begin with - something you will want to change as soon as good data is available after a few weeks of sales.

Need help?


Schedule a free 30-minute audit call with a specialist today. 

Our Solution Architects are trained to understand your business and present your best options to grow on Amazon. All advice is customized to your needs.

About us


Threecolts acquires, launches, and grows eCommerce software & services, and owns other stellar businesses including Old Street Media, HotShp, SellerBench, Tactical Arbitrage, Bindwise, RefundSniper, ChannelReply, and FeedbackWhiz.

Old Street Media supports businesses with their advertising, inventory management, and other eCommerce services. We collaborate with over 4000 brands and have generated $600M in sales in the past year.

Reach out to HotShp for help with product titles, descriptions, bullet points, social posts, and blog posts.

Reach out to SellerBench for help with shipment reconciliation and FBA fee reimbursements. 99% of FBA sellers are owed money. Get your free audit today.

If you are more interested in the #1 Amazon Arbitrage software, try TacticalArbitrage. With over 6,000 users, TacticalArbitrage will help you discover profitable products to resell on Amazon.

Bindwise will help you to identify costly issues with your Amazon seller accounts. Receive instant Bindwise Alerts about everything related to your store on Amazon. 

RefundSniper is an international Amazon reimbursement service that runs audits on both Vendor Central and Seller Central. Find out how much you are owed by Amazon today.

If you're looking for a way to streamline multi-platform ecommerce support, ChannelReply has you covered. Cut your customer response time in half by having all your customer information in one hub. 

FeedbackWhiz is an Amazon sellers management software that helps merchants scale their business by automating email campaigns, improving seller feedback, getting more product reviews, monitoring listings, and analyzing profit and accounting data. 

Learn with Threecolts

Small group workshops to help you learn, optimize, and grow.